Jessica Flores is a musical artist, songwriter, and radio and digital personality. The daughter of a Mexican father and a Colombian mother, Jessica began performing Latin folk classics at family gatherings, karaoke bars, and open mics alongside mariachis and salsa bands at an early age. A stellar athlete in high school, Jessica was recruited to play soccer at the D1 collegiate level for USC.
Early on she became involved with USC’s outstanding entertainment program earning her own USC radio and television show, as well as the opportunity to create and package stories in the newsroom.
She went on to become Radio Disney’s newest and youngest on-air personality at the age of 19. She is currently running her own show on Cali 93.9 LA which airs from 7pm-12am Monday through Friday!
We sat down with Jessica to talk about how she made it in the industry, following her passion, and what she’s learned along the way.
The following interview has been condensed for clarity.
Talk to us a little about you + your journey. How did you start your journey in music?
Well I grew up singing. I always loved mariachi music. I always knew I loved to perform, but I was also a soccer player - so my journey brought me to USC where I [played soccer]. From there, I quickly realized that the music space was what I wanted to do long term. I stopped playing soccer. I interned at Univision and I did a lot of stuff at USC. I did whatever I could get my hands on.
In my sophomore year in college I landed my show on Radio Disney. From Radio Disney, I was at Power 106 as a producer with The Liftoff and with The Cruz Show. With that experience and my relationships that I had made in the industry, I then worked at Musical.ly, now known as TikTok. I was the Latin Partnerships Manager there.
I launched all the campaigns, worked with the labels, got a real big understanding on social media and music, and how the digital platforms are seeing music forward. It was so amazing to be on the forefront of that, but I also then realized at that point in my career that I didn't want to be behind the scenes. I still very much loved being on air, connecting with artists, interviewing - all that stuff.
From there I worked at Telemundo. I had a show there, came back to LA (because that was in Miami)...I did some stuff for Nike, built my own personal brand online, and now I have my own show on Cali 93.9, which is it's own station here in LA. So it's been quite a journey, but it has been honestly amazing.
What made you land specifically in radio?
Well, I mean that's a good question because I always loved singing and I always loved performing. In middle school, I was always singing the national anthem & in elementary school I was in choir. I loved singing with mariachis at family functions - so when I got to college I just remember being on the soccer team and being like, wait a minute, I need to get back into music.
I need to talk. I need to use my voice. I know I can do it. That was the inspiration for me - I guess tapping in to USC radio and all the little things that I could do. There were like three listeners on USC radio, but I did it, and that kind of catapulted me to a bigger gig and then a bigger gig. But yeah, like that's what it is: my love for music.
Can you talk a little about your slot on Cali 93.9? What goes into your daily prep since this is a very important time slot; people are getting off work, getting ready to go out. What helps you stay in that mode?
I was doing mornings previously, but my boss kind of recognized a young energy in me and a digital presence and she felt like that would be a good fit for night. She gave me my own show - 100% up to me to build my team; build the brand, build the imaging, build the vibe, build everything.
At first I'm not going to lie, I was a little sad because I loved mornings, but it has been nothing short of a blessing and I could not be happier with having the night show.
"On our fourth week - we hit the number one show overall market for women 18 to 54 - or it was something insane. It was like women, like millennial women, which is amazing!"
How do you decide what’s worth fighting for? Not only for yourself but for artists?
That's such a good question. When I first started in the industry, I was so relentless that I didn't care. I would go into any situation, whether it made me happy or not; whether I was getting paid or not. I was just hungry. I just wanted to get there.
I think as you get a little bit older, you just want peace of mind. You just want to be happy. You need to be able to find a balance. There comes a point in your life where you say, you know what, this doesn't make me happy, I'm going to stop doing it. I love what I do now on the radio, but I will not do things that no longer feed me, or make me happy, or make me feel filled.
What’s a key piece of advice for someone who aspires to work at a radio station - whether it be an on air personality, a program director, a DJ, etc?