Iconic radio personality Pat Prescott's journey to becoming one of the most recognizable voices on the airwaves is a testament to a term we often use at Creative Artist Magazine, "art will find you and clear a path for you."
The Path To Broadcasting
Pat's initial ambition was to become an educator, and it was during her college years, majoring in English, that the path to radio started to reveal itself. Interestingly, she was an English major at Northwestern University, an institution renowned for its outstanding radio, television, and film curriculum. However, she had no interest in that department at all.
Pat recalls her deep-seated love for music, a passion nurtured by her father, Herman Prescott, who possessed an extensive record collection. In an annual tribute, the Boys and Girls Club honors her late father, who served as a director of programs.
With her innate passion for music, it was almost instinctive for Pat to become a DJ during her college years. However, she did not initially view it as a potential career. It was after graduating college and living in New Orleans as a teacher that fate intervened. Pat met a coordinator who was recruiting for the Disc Jockey Convention - the Black DJ Association. This event sparked the first glimmer on her path to becoming a radio broadcaster. Pat remembers telling herself, "I bet I could do that" after spending a week surrounded by great musicians at the conference.
At this point, Pat had never even set foot in a radio station and knew that if she were to take this path seriously, she needed to learn more about it. She quickly enrolled in a broadcasting course. Pat chuckles as she recounts, "you really believe in yourself when you're in your 20s." After completing the course, she was introduced to program director Anthony Wilson, who offered her a part-time position at WYLD FM in New Orleans. Pat takes a moment to acknowledge Anthony Wilson as the first person who believed in her.
A Full-Time Transition
While still working as a teacher in New Orleans, Pat's weekend gig at the radio station eventually evolved into a full-time job. She took a sabbatical from teaching and embarked on a remarkable 47-plus-year career in radio.
Pat eventually returned to New York, where her family resided. Over the next 23 years, she worked in radio, starting at WRVR, a vibrant Jazz station during the 70s. Continuing her journey, Pat served as a newscaster for the National Black Network and worked with Frankie Crocker at WBLS in New York. She describes this as an invaluable training ground that gave her significant exposure.
With the rise of smooth jazz in the late 80s, Pat began working at the brand-new smooth jazz station, CD 101.9 FM. Smooth jazz was gaining popularity as an "Adult Alternative" style of music, with luminaries like George Benson, Dave Koz, Herb Alpert, Kenny G, Al Jarreau, Chuck Mangione, and others topping the charts.
After 13 years at CD 101.9, Pat received an offer to co-host the morning show on 94.7 The Wave in Los Angeles, where she worked alongside her dear friend, saxophonist Dave Koz. This marked the beginning of Pat's legendary 21-year career at The Wave. She hosted the morning show with singer-songwriter Brian McKnight and later as a solo host. Her voice and presence became a fixture in Southern California communities, making it nearly impossible to find someone unfamiliar with the name Pat Prescott.
In September 2022, Pat announced her retirement from The Wave, a place she had called home for over two decades. She acknowledges that this was one of the hardest decisions she's ever made. Her choice to retire was not without reason; she wished to spend more time with her 98-year-old mother, Pat Dixon, who remains independent and sharp.
The good news for all of us who love this iconic radio personality is that Pat's journey continues. Thanks to technology, we can carry on working in most industries, and radio is no exception. With broadcasting deeply ingrained in her soul, Pat has launched her new show, "Favorite Things with Pat Prescott," on the legendary jazz station WGBO in the tri-state New York area, available on the radio and online Monday - Friday. Pat loves the new digital era, which allows listeners to tune in from anywhere. Her show on WGBO is on NPR, with no commercials and ample creative freedom. Pat's experience shines through as she introduces a thematic show each day, tapping into an endless well of creativity to entertain her audience.
A New Found Musical Journey
With her newfound excitement for sharing music, Pat engages her audience by creating a whole new level of fans. She recently dedicated a show to Brazilian musicians and artists influenced by Brazilian music. Other themes have included Mother's Day, where every song celebrated mothers and parenting. Another show involved audience participation, where listeners shared "the song they fell in love to." With this boundless enthusiasm for music, Pat is sharing her journey with her audience, fostering a deep connection.
In addition to her radio work, Pat is actively involved in hosting events such as the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Jazz Competition in the New York tri-state area with her WGBO family. She remains a beloved host of festivals and cruise events, including those by Dave Koz and Capital Super Cruise.
A Legacy of Accomplishments
Pat Prescott's professional accolades are numerous and impressive. She was the recipient of R&R's Smooth Jazz Personality of the Year award for six consecutive years and received the Alliance for Women in Radio and Television's Genii Award. Her influence extends beyond the airwaves as she produces and hosts the 20-part social justice program, "Justice Now." She is actively involved in the community and has received numerous awards and commendations for her contributions.
In Pat Prescott, we find an inspiring journey from the classroom to the airwaves, a testament to the power of pursuing one's passion. Her impact on the world of radio is undeniable, and her legacy continues to grow.
Pat Prescott may have retired from The Wave, but her voice and her spirit remain as vibrant as ever. Her show, "Favorite Things," offers a daily dose of creativity, music, and connection. As she embarks on this new chapter, we eagerly anticipate the diverse themes and topics she'll explore in the days to come, sharing her passion and love for music with an ever-growing audience.
So, stay tuned, because Pat Prescott's journey is far from over, and there's a whole world of music waiting to be discovered and shared with her loyal fans and listeners.
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