By Shirley Hawkins
LEIMERT PARK — One of the hottest trends in media today is podcasting, where aspiring personalities can captivate listeners by posting their thoughts, opinions and ideas on such platforms as YouTube, Facebook and Spotify.
Veteran radio personality Felicia Morris is the owner of Morris Media Studios, a professional voiceover and podcast studio located in Leimert Park that is meeting the growing demand for podcasters by offering a “Podcasting for Beginners” class Feb. 12.
“You don’t have to be a celebrity or radio personality to launch a podcast,” Morris said. “Podcasting gives access to everyday people to become a personality on the airwaves. They don’t have to go to Hollywood or Burbank because there’s a recording studio right here in their own neighborhood.
“We’ve produced and recorded every kind of podcast you can think of,” Morris added. “We’ve produced comedy shows, sports shows, community issues shows and wellness shows.”
She also noted that tons of celebrities have been jumping on the podcast bandwagon for years, as well.
“It’s a way for celebrities to really connect with their core fans, and podcasting does not have the restrictions of the Federal Communications Commission that radio does.”
She added that some podcasters are “natural-born talents” when they get in front of a microphone while others may need some coaching.
“Some of [my] clients become a little overwhelmed with launching a podcast, but once I sit down with them and show them how to prepare a show, they become more relaxed. I tell clients that the more prepared they are, the better they will get,” Morris said.
Radio has been in Morris’ blood since she was a child. She first caught the radio bug from her father, popular disc jockey Johnny Morris. At the age of 5, she made her radio debut on KDIA-AM, a soul station in San Francisco where her father worked.
Morris landed her first radio gig in 1989 with “Lee Bailey’s Hip Hop Countdown and Report.” She then joined L.A.’s KKBT/92.3 The Beat (later 100.3 The Beat) in 1994 and eventually became the community affairs director.
After 13 years on the air at KKBT-FM, Morris resigned in 2007 and a year later joined The Foxxhole on Sirius XM Radio hosted by actor Jamie Foxx.
“After being in the radio business for 30 years, I realized that the landscape of broadcasting had changed,” Morris said. “It became much more corporate. I realized that I did not want to work for anyone else anymore. I knew I had the knowledge and experience to venture out on my own.”
Morris hasn’t looked back.
“I’ve been podcasting for 11 years now and I’ve probably helped a thousand people create podcasts that have aired,” she said.
Morris emphasized that the best way for a podcaster to draw an audience is to concentrate on marketing.
“I tell [my clients] that they have to create and market a podcast through social media and eblasts and paid ads on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube,” she said.
And Morris said her studio also has attracted its share of celebrities.
“Tiffany Haddish came to the studio and recently completed a voiceover for Netflix, and Guy Torry recorded a voiceover for his show ‘Phat Tuesday’ which is currently airing on Amazon,” she said.
Other clients who have recorded voiceovers at the studio include radio pioneer Cathy Hughes, Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson and comedians Earthquake and J. Anthony Brown.
Morris’ other talent is writing poetry and she is widely known publicly as “The Poetess.” Inspired by the many rappers she had interviewed over the years, she parlayed her poems into rap songs which landed her a recording contract with Poetic Groove/Interscope Records.
In 1992, she released her debut album, “Simply Poetry,” that included appearances by Jamie Foxx and rappers Def Jef and Kool G. Rap.
Morris said that her studio also owns a green screen where clients can stand to record and stream live video with a virtual background.
“We mostly do radio commercials, but people also come in to shoot commercials for their podcasts to air on YouTube. If a client needs help with their on-air presentation or with launching their podcast, I also teach classes that they can sign up for.
“A lot of people said starting a podcast is a dream come true for them. It’s fun to experience their happiness once they start podcasting and helping people achieve their dreams,” Morris said. “It’s been an enlightening experience being an entrepreneur.”
Morris Media Studios is located at 4309 Crenshaw Blvd. Morris can be reached at (323) 815-4204.
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.