SAG-AFTRA represents performers, recording artists and broadcasters. And many, like San Francisco-Northern California Local member Delores Thompson, are dedicated to teaching young people their craft.
Thompson is not only a radio host on the weekends at KBLX in San Francisco but also a high school teacher, mentor and advocate for her students at Oakland School for the Arts. She begin her career in the Bay Area, programming for Soul Beat Television, a pioneer station airing rap music videos and interviewing music artists. Thompson then moved to Los Angeles, where she worked at KGFJ, moving her way up from one show a week to assistant program director and music director.
After six years at KGFJ, hard work, dedication and countless hours in the studio prepared her for next move to KJLH in Los Angeles, a station owned by Stevie Wonder. At this station, her direct work with Wonder opened many doors and gave her the opportunity to meet countless broadcast legends. After 16 years at KJLH, Thompson moved back to the Bay Area to be back home and closer to her family.
She began as a volunteer at the Oakland School for the Arts while her daughter attended the school. This led to a position in the School of Audio Production and Engineering, where she shares with her students her experiences in the radio industry. Here she has a new title from her students: Ms. Delores.
At a class on radio programming, Thompson instructs the students on how to create a voice collage that will start each show and another that will play at the top of each hour. She explains the importance of providing listeners with the station ID and the importance of keeping all types of listeners in mind when building a block of music. After an hour of laptop work and practicing radio reads, class ends with homework to listen to Funkadelic and to practice reading the radio script.
She then crosses the busy streets of downtown Oakland and heads for the music building, where she will give her afternoon class on producing a radio show. A small class of three seniors and one junior work directly with Thompson, producing, interviewing and testing sound for their campus radio show.
Thompson shares with her students the importance of seeking out mentors throughout their careers. She has her students interview Director, Broadcast Amy Hall of the SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local, who discusses why it is important to become a member and what kind of training and programming opportunities the union offers.
Thompson’s students will someday be SAG-AFTRA members, and may become union leaders. She is preparing them to be confident both on and off the air, work hard and to be prepared for the road ahead. Our future is looking bright.