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One on 1 Profile: DJ Angie Martinez Transitions to New Radio Station and Continues to Evolve While Remaining 'The Voice of New York'

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TWC News: One on 1 Profile: DJ Angie Martinez Transitions to New Radio Station and Continues to Evolve While Remaining 'The Voice of New York'
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Radio is often a family affair. When you listen to a voice for years and years, that voice almost becomes like a member of the family, and Angie Martinez has a lot of listeners. NY1's Budd Mishkin filed the following One On 1 profile.

"OK, it's power 105.1 home of the breakfast club and me, Angie Martinez, yeah."

You may know her as the voice of New York, the DJ who's interviewed and charmed many of the biggest stars in the world—Jay Z, Kanye West, Pharrell.

What does Angie Martinez really want you to know about her?

"Nobody ever mentions it. Nobody ever talks about it. I'm good in math. could we get a thing on the bottom, math genius," Martinez says.

True, her math skills may not come up on the radio every day, but her many fans know her as knowledgeable, a born-and-bred New Yorker, influential.

When CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano held their charity basketball game at Barclays Center, who did they choose to host it? Angie Martinez.

When she recently switched from Hot 97 to Power 105.1, it sent shock-waves beyond the world of radio.

"I knew it would be a big deal to some people who worked in the radio world and people who actually worked at the stations. I knew it would be a big deal to those people. The fact that it was such a big deal to listeners and people beyond. Even local news, it was amazing that you guys were talking about it, to me," Martinez says.

For generations of New Yorkers, she is one of the faces and voices of hip hop radio.

Talking into a microphone is old hat for Martinez, but at her new station, she's still trying to get her bearings.

There's even more change in Martinez's life. She's a partner in a new restaurant in Tribeca.

She has a website and cookbook to promote healthy Latino cuisine.

Martinez is also running her first New York City marathon.

Martinez: "It's going to be fine. You are just catching me on a date where the training kicked my butt and I'm feeling a little freaked out. But maybe tomorrow I'll be fine.
Mishkin: "What's the date?"
Martinez: "November 2nd. You don't know this? You cover the marathon every year Budd.
Mishkin: Not every year, but we'll be there to watch you. Yeah, we'll have a camera right there... 'Oh, she looks great!"
Martinez: "Don't come too close."

She's lived in four of the five boroughs and comes across as a hometown girl—Angie, from the neighborhood.

"When I’m talking to people, I know the corners. People can tell me you're calling from a certain area in Brooklyn, and I know exactly where that is. I feel a real connection to the city," Martinez says. "When I see people in the street, they don't treat me like a rock star. It's like, 'Ang!'"

When rap stars want to talk on the radio, they often come to, or call, Angie. She's known for making them comfortable, in an industry where the pose of toughness often goes hand in hand with the music.

"If i see somebody is uncomfortable or posturing or putting on an act, I try to get through that as fast as possible, whether it's a joke or something that's like clearly obvious that you are doing, like...'Take your glasses off,'" Martinez says.

Martinez grew up in New York as hip hop was taking off.

She had a brief but successful career as a hip hop artist herself before deciding to concentrate on radio and her then newborn son.

The son is now 11 and a hip hop fan, complicating her love for the music.

"I'll hear him singing a lyric to a song, and I think, 'Oh my gosh, that's terrible that he's saying that. He shouldn't be saying that.' Then I think, 'OK, I guess we should have a talk about that.' I think we should have a discussion about what that is that he is saying. He doesn't even realize it," she says.

"I don't think it's the job of a rapper to tame his lyrics for an 11-year-old. I think it's the job of an artist to tell their truth and be creative. And I think then it's my job as a parent to, kind of, protect my kid," Martinez says.

Angie Martinez is a single working mom.

She was raised primarily by a single working mom, who moved her from Washington Heights to Coney Island when Angie was eight.

"She made her way. She got out of neighborhood, she took me and packed me up. She was a single mom. She, you know, one bedroom apartment, and she would travel. She would take the train into the city every day from Coney Island, and she made it work. I don't know how. I have so much support for my son and my life," Martinez says.

Her mom worked at a series of radio stations, including Kiss FM.

"She took me to work one day. I met Red Alert. He gave me what they had at the time, which was a KISS card and I went back to school next day. I was the coolest person in the whole world," Martinez says.

Martinez: "I went to John Dewey High School in Brooklyn and I went to Mark Twain in Coney Island, which was a junior high school for the gifted and talented."
Mishkin:"Just saying, just saying..."
Martinez: "If you weren't going to bring it up, Budd, I had to offer the information."
Mishkin: "I think we have our lede now."


Martinez says school wasn't her thing; music was. Just out of high school, she got an internship at Hot 97.

"I learned how to run the boards and once I started to learn how to run the boards, then I got the bug...'Well, what if i..." Martinez says as she reaches for the microphone.

"For me what was lucky that when I was starting, they were starting to build a brand at Hot, so we didn't know what we were building. It wasn't like I had to live up to any expectation. It wasn't like I had to follow in anybody's footsteps. It was really a new thing," Martinez says.

As Martinez's stature grew, she served as mediator for several high profile disagreements in the hip hop world.

One between the group The Lox, who were in studio, and—at that point Puffy—who was on the phone.

"So I let them, kind of, air it out. Ultimately, he gave them their publishing back. They wound up reconciling and being friends again and now they're like—they have made music together since then and have kind of mended that. I thought that was kind of cool, and that started from a conversation that happened on my show," Martinez says.

Not all resolutions came so quickly or smoothly, however; especially when Hot 97 fired Wendy Williams and gave Martinez her afternoon slot.

"Not everybody was happy about that. I had nothing to do with it. It just was that they put me there and that's where I was going to be. But her fans were so used to a certain thing at that time. I had to deal with a lot of hate mail and hate messages. It was not all, 'We love you, Angie,'" she says.

Martinez has been feeling a lot of love since announcing the move to her new station, though.

"The response I got when I made this decision was so overwhelming that...I could water up. You're not going to get me crying on NY1! That's entirely too much," Martinez says. "I don't want to do something that would not make them proud. So I do feel that. I feel responsibility to not disappoint people. I don't want to do something that makes people feel like, 'Damn. We were wrong about her."

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