The Good News Radio (TGN) is based in Los Angeles, California, and promotes the voices of Black and Brown people, giving opportunities otherwise thought impossible.
Keith Good News, the CEO, and Founder of TGN, started the network in his father’s basement and has grown over the years to have 3 stations with 20+ programs.
OBVIOUS sits with Keith and his Co-Owners and Executives, Mykell Mathieu and Jackie Martinez, to get an inside view of TGN and what makes their work meaningful in the media space.
The Good News Radio Interview
Compare and contrast where TGN radio is now versus where it was when you first started. What do you think is the key factor to the network’s growth?
The Good News Radio (Keith): We started out in my dad’s basement. We were not a station; we were just one show. I go by Keith Good News. So essentially, the show was called The Good News Radio Show.
We outgrew the fishbowl, as you can imagine, and we decided to expand from a show to going into a radio station and give other people opportunities that we were creating for ourselves.
That’s where the idea and the birth came from. I guess what contributed to the growth of where we are today is perseverance and having fear, but acting like you don’t. That’s the biggest key, even though every step was always risky, and it was always a sacrifice of something else as well.
There’s no convenience to progress and I think most people wait for things to be convenient to progress. So, either way, there’s no such thing as convenience of a progressive nature.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): It’s having trust in each other- respect. All three of us are hardworking in each of our fields, and coming together has created our team to be what we call the “winning team.” We respect each other, we trust each other, and we know that we all have the same vision and goal [which is] to succeed and to create something.
When we first started, we wanted to be the next Howard Stern Show because he is a top-paid radio personality, but we never boxed ourselves in. We were always open to seeing what the universe was bringing to us, and that’s also helped us.
Allow yourself to continue to grow wherever it takes you, and it’s taken us to so many other platforms and other doors that we never even thought of [opening]. We would never have thought we were going to be this huge radio network with three stations. The fact that we didn’t have that closed mind is what allowed us to become and be where we are.
The Good News Radio (Mykell): It’s just hard work. Everybody just believed in one another and put in the work that was needed on each end. It’s everybody, not just us, but the personalities that are a part of the brand showing up every day for their show – whenever it was go time and them showing up to events.
It’s not just us three making it happen, it’s a lot of other people that we need to be on point as well. From humble beginnings, the people who continue to believe in us and trust us, they stuck with us and stayed with us. Without them, I don’t think we would be where we are today.
Talk to us about representation in the radio broadcast world, in the sense that TGN is one of the few, if not the only, Black and Brown-owned station of its kind in Los Angeles.
The Good News Radio (Keith): We are the only Black and Brown-owned station! There’s some that are Black, there’s some that are Brown, and then there’s all white. We bring a dynamic that most are hoping or wishing to have. Being from Los Angeles, I think in any inner-city community, you’re going to find predominantly Black and Hispanic people.
Of course, there’s everybody in between, but we are the majority of the minority, so to speak, so it only makes sense for us to work together. We’ve captured that idea, and it’s kind of the epitome of what it is to work together. We know what we’re after because we have a mix of both that literally work together under the same roof for the same purpose.
We are the leading example of what people are wanting to be moving forward or what people claim that they want to help with. Everyone says, “oh, I want to help, I want everyone to work together,” but nobody’s working together. Everybody’s working separately in the same direction. We’re actually putting it together and moving forward. I think it’s a big difference.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): It’s beautiful to see, and it represents the communities that we all grew up in. It’s exciting. Just hearing you say it made my heart so happy right now because like Keith said, we are literally living it, and we’re working together.
Every day we bring our ideas, and it shows from our cultures, our race, everything. Even down to the languages and the music that we listen to here in the station. We get to learn more about each other, and we get to showcase that to our network.
That’s what we seek too. I’m so excited to bring all these different platforms of people of color, specifically Black and Brown, to have a whole platform for our voices to be heard and for our community that we grew up in. We can’t wait to expand that, not only throughout the United States but around the world, to represent that, and I’m so excited about it.
The Good News Radio (Mykell): With our network here, we just show the city that we’re from and that we can work together. Some of the thoughts are that Black and Brown people do everything separately from each other.
When you come from South Central, Inglewood, and these areas, you’re around one another so much that when you can work together, it can be so powerful. I think that we are the epitome of that because we have a TGN Talk network that is primarily Black. Then we have TGN Latinx, where we can connect the communities, so it won’t be that separation inside, and we just do it with our work.
The media today, as Keith said, just separates us most of the time. I think with what we’re doing, our voices can share similar stories and grow within the game of media.
You currently have three stations under your belt: TGN Talk, TGN Sports and TGN Latinx. How many shows are under each station, and how many shows are there in total?
The Good News Radio (Keith): In total, we have 20. Under our Latinx station, we have 4, and our Sports station is at 5. Our biggest station, which is our Talk station, is at 11.
That is amazing, and that’s only the beginning, I’m guessing, right?
The Good News Radio (Keith): Yeah, we’ve had more. We decided to slim down the number of shows for a lot of different purposes. As we evolved and rearranged what we were doing, we realized the numbers aren’t as important. It sounds cool to have the numbers, but the work behind it – it’s better to have more exclusivity than it is to have a higher number.
What other passions or skills do you have besides working in broadcasting do you believe have contributed to your current success?
The Good News Radio (Keith): Currently, I run. I’ve been running for a year and a half now. Mykell and I both ran a marathon in November. So that has been something I’ve picked up over the last year and a half that has contributed a lot to my confidence.
It’s contributed a lot to how I spend my day and come to my day. I felt like after I ran a marathon or even picked up the habit of running, which I hated to do, if I was able to overcome that, I feel like everything else is kind of easy.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): We are open to learning new things. I’m currently learning to edit audio, and it’s never something that I’ve done. Just doing audio editing, I’m able to learn how to do commercials, audio bites, drops, and stuff like that, which adds value to us.
We’re building from the ground up, and I feel that I’m not just a radio personality. I’ve had to learn how to be a salesperson, how to be in customer service, how to cater to the clients that we have, and being on red carpet hosting.
We’ve all worn many hats here that have helped us become and learn what it is to build a radio station from the ground up. It’s not easy. We’ve all been producers, producing more and writing more. I feel that learning these little tasks, even though it’s a lot and we wear many hats, it is helping us learn.
As we continue to build our team, we can know exactly how to teach and how to share this knowledge that we’ve been learning throughout our journey and share it with the following- to the people behind us or the youth coming up. We get to share all this knowledge that we’re learning as we’re building here.
If you view outside of radio and entertainment, I play on a co-ed softball team once a week. I’ve been with that team for about nine years now, and from year 1 to year 9, we’re not the same team. We dominate now. When we first started, we were trash. Where we are now is because we learned from each other, and we respect each other.
I’ve been able to take from what I have learned on the softball field to my fellow teammates here, and we work so well. The more we work with each other, I know we’re going to be that solid team. Hopefully, it’s not going to take us nine years, but at the same time, we are way stronger than we were when we first started in year one.
The Good News Radio (Mykell): Like what Jackie said, it’s learning how to be a team player. That’s very important when it comes to business because everyone has ideas, and everyone has things that they want to do. Sometimes those things may not be what’s best for the team.
Being able to step back and kind of control your ego. You learn in sports that hey, you may be playing on this team that you’re not the best on, so you need to take a step back and find another way for your role to be utilized for the betterment of the team. Sports really help with that. My persona is Mykell the PG, with me being a big basketball fan.
If you know basketball, the point guard’s job is to not only score for himself but also to take care of others while he’s playing, and that’s how I look at it. Not only do I have to be as great as I can be as an individual, but I also have to help others along the way so that they can reach a level of success as well. When it comes to music, just always keep that grind and hustle.
Most of the biggest stars that we’ve heard in music had humble beginnings. No one steps into the booth and says,”I’m Michael Jackson.” No, you have to put in the work. You might have some music that no one listens to or no one’s heard of, but you have to continue to push forward in what you do. It’s the same thing with this business.
You have to continue to show up, continue to be at these places where you may not be seen at first, but you’re doing it knowing that if you keep putting in the work, you can stand out eventually.
One of the latest expansions of the network is the development of your new R&B station. What can you tell us about what’s to come with that, and why did you think that was important to start in particular?
The Good News Radio (Keith): We can’t tell you anything; that’s top secret. But honestly, we always look at new markets and how we can expand. This is a business, and as far as business goes, it’s about markets and money. It’s about what market brings in the most listens, what market can bring in the most money, and what market is most underserved that’s not given its proper due justice.
We looked at the R&B category of music. We generally steered away from it with our three stations because we felt like it was saturated. We recognize now that what’s saturated is Hip-Hop, not necessarily R&B. R&B has a very niche area, believe it or not, and it has a committed audience.
Everybody likes Hip-Hop, but people who listen to R&B love R&B. So, it’s a big difference. It’s primarily a woman audience in which women are higher consumers than men. So, we look at all these issues, we look at all these situations around R&B. Us just liking R&B, it’s bigger than that, that’s elementary.
Just because you like it doesn’t mean that everybody else is going to like it. We look at the business end of it and see that R&B is a market that’s not being served. They don’t have a huge place when it comes to music. They’re mixed in with Hip-Hop. It’s like 90% Hip-Hop, 10% R&B. They want to have a place to live, especially independent artists.
We see there’s a hole in the market. We know how to fill it. So that’s what we’re going after next.
The Good News Radio (Mykell): R&B and Soul and all that stuff need its own place. Trying to mesh it together with Hip-Hop and what Hip-Hop is today, which is a blend of Pop music, there’s not really a place to listen to it. Power 106, 92.3, these networks are not really spreading the word.
I couldn’t even tell you who’s the next up-and-coming Soul artist or Neo-Soul artist because there’s no platform for them. Like a BJ the Chicago Kid, who not too many people know about unless you’re truly following the music. Where do you find the next Erykah Badu or Musiq Soulchild? You don’t know.
You have to really be locked in that deep, and we want to be able to provide the people with the next voices who last forever. That’s why we still talk about Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan, and Aretha Franklin to this day because strong voices last forever. I believe that with our R&B station, we’re going to provide these voices to have a place to start if they’re just beginning.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): Us being a radio station that we’ve shared with the public growing from the ground up, they’ve seen our struggles, they’ve seen our success and our celebrations. We represent what it is to give people opportunities when they’re starting. It’s very important to give that platform to R&B singers who are independent artists.
We’re an independent radio station and [we want to] give them the opportunity to showcase their music and play their music. What better way but a radio station that you’ve seen grow from the bottom up and play my music on the radio station? We’re excited to hear people say, “you can check out my music on the Good News Radio; they’re playing my song,” and have that same excitement.
We’re not public radio, but at the same time, we want to fulfill that dream for them to be hearing and playing their music on an independent radio station just as they’re an independent R&B singer.
I do want to give a shout out to SoulfulofNoise. They are two people that we know who have seen us grow, and they host R&B concerts for artists who are growing and are here to showcase their art. We love them. But what better way for you to be able to say, “my music is on a radio station.” We want to be that radio station that gives that platform to those artists.
Nice. That is awesome. I love the intention behind this.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): It’s exciting. We are here to fulfill people’s dreams the same way that we fulfilled our dreams. We want to fulfill those dreams and give them that platform and say, “Yes, your music is on a radio station. It is on a Black and Brown radio station that has been building here from the bottom up within your community.” We’re excited, and we can’t wait to open our doors for that.
Talk to us about the dynamics of your team and how that plays out in the operations of the day-to-day running of the network.
The Good News Radio (Keith): What you see today, and I think what most people are afraid to do, is this wasn’t always the team that we had. We’ve evolved. I think the only ones that are here from our original team are myself and Jackie.
Jackie has been with me since 2016. Then Mykell really was a standout person, a standout on-air talent. I said I had to have him, and I didn’t care what it was going to take. I looked out like Kobe Bryant, or should I say, Magic Johnson, as he likes to say. I said, “what do you need?” He’s been proving everything since.
It’s very critical how the dynamics of our team [functions, which] we take super seriously. We’ve learned over the years that everybody can’t sit with us. I don’t mean that in any kind of way.
We’ve tried different people in our dynamic, and we’ve learned each time that everybody does not fit. It’s very much chemistry. It’s not balanced; it’s harmony, as well. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold. We’ve learned how to deal with each other’s personalities, angers…we are all annoying people, let’s say that. We’ve learned that about each other.
We’ve traveled together many times. When you’ve traveled with somebody, and you’ve spent 24-hour days with them, you get to know somebody. It’s those experiences that have allowed us to create such chemistry, which I like to call it locked in. There’s nothing that can break what we have. These two next to me are locked in. They don’t work for me. We work together, and we’re business partners.
They own a percentage of this company, and that’s an omen to them how much they’ve meant to me, to the company, and how much they’ve done so far. That’s what’s allowed us to have our day-to-day operation. I want this to be very honest. We’re still figuring out how to do it day-to-day. I want to make that very clear. I think people look at us from the outside and think we’ve got it all figured out. I love to say we’re not built; we’re still building.
We’ve been doing this for a while, but every year brings something different. We’ve only had three radio stations since the summer of last year. Now we’re learning how to do three, and we’re learning how to connect with four.
Every new step, every new stage is a new learning process, which is day-to-day changes. Whatever we need to do today, we do. A lot of it goes into programming. I would say they handle a lot of the personalities.
We have over 40 personalities that all three of us literally manage based on all our shows. Communication is super important. They force me, thank God, to do this. They handle the communication. I don’t talk to the shows all the time unless it’s necessary. They handle a lot of the communication that goes back and forth.
Now, we deal with a lot of sales. They handle a lot of the pre-intent part for sales, and I’m helping the back end. Mykell told me today, he said: ”listen, let us handle the company, and you handle the business.” That’s me understanding that my teammate is seeing something that we need to do. I need to play this part now.
My teammate is telling me, “hey, we need you to run the wing, we need you to play receiver,” or whatever is necessary. So, I listened to that, and he’s right. So, it’s changing every day. I hope that helps people out there that are building a business to realize that they don’t have to have it all figured out. You just gotta get out there. Sometimes you gotta figure it out in the field.
If you had to pinpoint one word that you feel resonates with you in terms of how you all work together in your day-to-day that guides you along, what would that word be?
The Good News Radio (Mykell): I will say relentless. I think that we all are very passionate about this business and what we do. There’s nothing that’s going to stop us, and that’s how we attack it. Whether we got family stuff going on, whether you’re dealing with sickness or whatever, we’re here doing our part to be where we need to be. We went to an event that was an hour-plus drive.
We knew this was going to help the brand, so we were there. A lot of people will come up with excuses like, “I don’t know if this is really going to help us,” and we’re like, “No, we’re wherever we need to be, [we do] whatever we need to do, we’re going to make it happen.” We’re so relentless with everything. That’s why I think we have grown and have so much more growing that’s going to happen in the near future.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): I will say communication. Communication is very important in anything that you do. One thing that I love about Keith, he’s always been very transparent about the business, numbers, everything. He communicates that with us, and we communicate that with the rest of the network.
A big thing that we love here as part of our network is we host our culture calls and we have our network meetings. Every month there’s one meeting. One month, there are going to be culture calls where it’s a one-on-one meeting with the Executive Director and the CEO and the show. So, we give every show one-on-one time with their director and with the CEO. Then we have another month where it’s the whole network together with everybody that has a show on the network.
We communicate everything that’s going on in the business, numbers, where our money is being spent, and all the changes that are going on. So, they knew about the R&B station when it was just an idea. That’s one thing that I love about our team that makes it work is that we communicate everything that’s going on. We’re not hiding anything. We’re so transparent.
Keith is always honest with everybody. I have trust in my guys. That’s another word that I love. I trust these guys with everything. I know that they have the best intentions for this company, as do I. I think that’s very important – communication and trust for sure.
What advice would you give to young hopefuls who are aspiring to create their own careers in a world of media?
The Good News Radio (Keith): Join somebody else that’s already doing it. I’m serious. I think Mykell probably brought this to my attention the most. There are too many of us trying to start things. When there are so many people that have already started. We just need to help each other.
If somebody’s doing something big, go help them make it bigger. We get caught up in this ego thing of, I want it to be mine, or I want to build something, and it’s like, well, everybody has that mentality, and when you die, somebody’s going to start over, and then you die, and then there’s nothing. You’re never going to build on top of anything.
Join someone who is already doing it and learn from them. If the situation prevails, which it did for me, you can go and start your own thing. I personally started out with somebody else who had an independent radio station. I learned from them.
I had no intention of doing it, and I just wanted to learn. I just wanted to get into radio. I said let me join this guy, you know, and then he just happened to be the owner. So, I learned the business a little bit more. Then when he said he wasn’t going to do it anymore, I’m like, well, I guess I gotta take it from here. So literally, I think that was part of my journey. At the time, I was willing to join him. I would be on his team if he didn’t quit.
The Good News Radio (Jackie): I will say what’s important for anybody that’s trying to do anything like that is fine and really focus on your why. Because there’s going to be days that you’re going to want to quit, and you’re asking yourself, Why am I doing this again? And you’re why should be your reason every time because there’s going to be days that you’re going to want to quit.
Your why is going to be your reason for you to do it every single day and show up and bet on yourself every time. Write your why down because you’re going to want to see it on days that you’re really wanting to give up on yourself.
The Good News Radio (Mykell): A word that I think that’s key in the game of media is a hustler. You have to wake up and realize in this business, you have to be exactly that because no one is going to hand you anything. The media business is not an easy game because it’s a lot of people in it. There are a lot of older people in it who you still have to compete with.
With some professions, once you reach a certain age, it’s kind of like that competition is gone, but not in the media game. You have to truly be a hustler. Whether you’re out getting stories by yourself or reaching out to companies to cover events by yourself, it’s going to take a lot of you saying, “you know what, I have to make this happen.” It takes that hustler mentality to not give up. Nipsey said it best: it’s a marathon. It truly is a marathon.
You hear stories of guys like Steven A. Smith, who, not until his 22nd year in the business, is when he got his big break. If he didn’t have a mental state of “I’m going to hustle every day,” then he would have quit. You have to have that mentality. It becomes you, who you are. You end up doing stuff like, “I never thought I’ll be covering this type of red-carpet event,” or “I’m there covering an MMA event where I’m not really a big fan, but I need to do anything to stand out above my competition.” I have to out-hustle them to be that person.