How DeDe McGuire Is Charting A Path As A Pioneer In The Radio Industry

Dede McGuire has woken up millions over the years. Since the 1990s her clear, soothing voice has poured over the radio airwaves via different iterations of syndicated shows. One of her most popular stints was a 17-year run alongside Doug Banks and has since been hosting her own hit morning show, Dede In The Morning in 2011. The show is now enjoying its fifth year of syndication in 80 markets, a feat that no Black has achieved with an independently-owned media company.

But all of this almost didn’t happen because of a small misstep in her teens that wasn’t her fault.

“I went to school and majored in journalism to be a news anchor,” McGuire told ESSENCE. “But I didn’t finish school because financially things got ugly.”

Unfortunately, her story is akin to millions of others who have been forced to leave school. According to recent data, a daunting 40% college dropout rate every year, with a large portion citing financial issues as the reason.

Unsure of what else to do, a downtrodden McGuire went back home to her family in Killeen, Texas and eventually enrolled in the local community colleges. While pursuing her studies, she began working at a country radio station as a receptionist. And by a stroke of luck, the owner’s wife heard McGuire and recognized her talent.

“She told me I needed to be on the radio instead of working behind the scenes of it,” she explained. Without that acknowledgement, her career probably would’ve looked really different.

“It’s just really unfortunate that 18 or 19-year-old lives are negatively impacted because they can’t afford {expensive college tuition},” McGuire told ESSENCE. “That’s exactly why I launched my non-profit.”

Started in 2018, the Dede McGuire Foundation aims to educate minds, increase economic power and build stronger families with targeted resources and mentorship. One banner initiative is it’s “Achieve The Dream” HBCU Scholarship, in which five students attending a historically Black college or university would be selected to receive $2500. McGuire said this is to help off set their living expenses. Scholarship applications can be submitted until February 28, 2023 11:59 PM CST.

“I don’t want the students of today to go through what I did when I was in school, so I’m doing my part to help them stay the course and finish their education.”

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