Throughout her childhood, Shae Perry was the kid who got in trouble in class for talking too much and making jokes. But it wasn’t until she met the president of the student radio station at UMKC that Perry was interested in becoming a radio personality—a profession that, looking back, seems to be what she’s always been destined to do.
During her time at UMKC, Perry emceed men and women’s sports, curated campus events, eventually became president of the student station and started her own multimedia business, SFTL Entertainment. Now, she works as radio personality Deona HuSTLe at KPRS Hot 103 Jamz, the country’s oldest Black-owned radio station. We chatted with Perry about her journey to her new radio name, career, personal style and favorite spots around Kansas City.
How did you decide on the name Deona HuSTLe? One of the hardest things I had to do while beginning my professional career in radio was my name change. Many people from my high school and college days know me as ShaeFromTheLou (SFTL). It’s self-explanatory, but I’m Shae, and I always put on for my hometown, St. Louis.
When coming into KPRS, I had to create a different name because of name conflicts. It took several months, but I created Deona HuSTLe. Deona is my middle name and HuSTLe explains my drive, plus you can’t spell HuSTLe without the STL. So when you see me in the streets, it’s ShaeFromTheLou, but it’s Deona HuSTLe on air.
What does a typical day look like for you? A day in radio can look so different depending on what’s relevant in news, culture and music. My workday generally starts with my full-time sales and marketing role at Crux KC, a marketing firm. Once I finish my eight hours at Crux, I take a nice drive down to Hot 103 Jamz to kick off the Night Jam and have some fun with the Hot 8 at 8 countdown. Working on air gives me the opportunity to be myself, and I get the chance to tell people breaking news. I even had the pleasure of announcing the 2020 presidential election results live as soon as they were reported. My mom will tell you I talk a lot, so the fact I have a chance to use that in a professional setting and get creative is everything.
How would you describe your personal style and overall vibe? Confident, stylish, calm but bold. I may be young, but I’ve always believed in myself, and you can tell that from my demeanor. I also think I have a unique, flashy style about me—I don’t think I blend in. In fact, I love to stand out.
What current projects and events do you have in the works? Throughout my time at KPRS, I’ve been able to work alongside some of the most talented radio personalities to ever touch a mic. Brian B Shynin’ is one of them, and he’s passing me the baton for the music show, Underground Heat, where I’ll be the new host. Underground Heat is a music show that focuses on “non-mainstream” and local music. There’s so much great music in the Midwest that should be heard. With the help of our program director Myron Fears, we created a new name for the show and it’s called Hometown Heat. Hometown Heat will be mixed by DJ Macc and airs Saturday and Sunday at midnight.
I’m also currently curating events with Kilo Productions and DJ Wildboy, and together we are “The Weekndrs” Once a month, we host events from Friday to Sunday giving KC nightlife a range of things to do this summer. Our kickoff weekend is June 3–5. Friday is happy hour at The Combine, 4 pm to close. Saturday is brunch at The Corner, and Sunday is a day party outside of Velvet Freeze.
The Combine: “The pizza is delicious, and the owner Alan Kneeland is very welcoming.”
801 Chophouse: “I’m a sucker for a good steak, and 801 Chophouse is definitely my go-to”
Wings Cafe: “I love macaroni and cheese. Wings Cafe in Westport is the only spot here in KC I’ve found to trust that delivers.”
Hy-Vee Arena: “I still enjoy playing basketball and typically have pickup games at Hy-Vee Arena.”