Wishing she could fly
PHOTO BY KC KRATT
Name: Yasmin Young
Current title: Brand manager, disc jockey, and personality at WBLK
Yasmin Young was named brand manager at Townsquare Media Buffalo’s WBLK-93.7 station earlier this year. She is also a disc jockey and a personality. Born in Ghana and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Young is a twenty-year veteran of the radio industry. Content on apps, websites, and streaming services is Young’s purview as brand manager, a job that used to be called program director. She came to Buffalo five years ago, hired as an afternoon host at WBLK. These days, she still plays music and does mix shows like a regular deejay but she’s also a “personality,” someone with a multi-faceted on-air voice.
WBLK is the oldest FM urban station in the country. Its audience comprises listeners across a broad age range who respond to a playlist that includes R &B, soul, jazz, and hip-hop. What you hear is primarily from, but not limited to, African-American artists. “If the music is good, we play it,” Young says.
Young started her career in Florida, where she studied business at Florida A & M (later earning a graduate degree from NYU in media consolidation) and worked briefly in Charlotte before she arrived in Buffalo—and never looked back. She’s grown accustomed to Buffalo, weather and all. “It did not take long for Buffalo to warm up to me and for me to warm up to Buffalo,” is the way she puts it. Young, who is forty-one and single, lives on the West Side. As a member of the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists, she takes her role as model and mentor as seriously as the work she does at WBLK.
What are you most proud of?
My community involvement as a whole. I know I’ve done my part to use my platform to help people. WBLK actively participates in, and supports, among other events, the Juneteenth Festival, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, health fairs in partnership with the YWCA, Girls Empowerment, and Books for Kids programs. My mom was a librarian, so anything about reading is dear to my heart, and we work a lot with the Central Library.
What’s your greatest fear?
Not living life, pardon my French, but grabbing life by the balls, doing what makes me happy. If I die tomorrow, I want to die happy.
Best advice you’ve ever gotten—or given?
Learn everything you can and never let anyone outwork you.
Tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you.
That I’m a huge Star Trek fan? I love the futuristic aspect of it, showing us what could be. And it’s very diverse: you’ve got women, different races, alien species. That has always intrigued me.
What does your future look like?
I don’t like to plan in that sense. If I stuck with what I’d planned on doing when I started college, I’d never have ended up here! I can say that I plan to be happy and successful, and where that takes me, I look forward to finding it all out.
Sounds like you take things as they come, which helps in dealing with a pandemic.
Yes, I’d say my outlook on the future works well in a situation like this. You can make all these wonderful plans, but things may turn out differently. I have always embraced the unknown, the unplanned. Life happens.
What have you learned during this prolonged crisis?
I’m fortunate that my work hasn’t really changed. I’m still at the station, doing my show, just not doing in-person interviews. It’s all on the phone. And there are also a lot of things I can do, working from my home. During this pandemic, I have learned that Buffalo definitely comes together, from feeding families in need and checking on neighbors to supporting health care workers. If this is really not the City of Good Neighbors, we’d know it by now! I think we have lived up to that moniker.