Meet A. Tita Antonopoulos of Soul Cocktail with Tita in Haverhill: An Interview with a Bay State College Entertainment Management Alum
August 7, 2018
Our Entertainment Management Alum, A Tita Antonopoulos, was interviewed by Boston Voyager Magazine. The full article originally appeared on BostonVoyager.com on July 31, 2018.
Meet A. Tita Antonopoulos of Soul Cocktail with Tita in Haverhill
Today we’d like to introduce you to A. Tita Antonopoulos.
A. Tita, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Massachusetts but I lived in Southern Florida for a time. I remember as a young kid wanting to do what the voices did on the radio. I didn’t want to sing, but I needed to play music for people. I had my long rectangle cassette player and I would tape songs off the radio and then I would play them for my friends and introduced the songs and told them about the artists. I would say that one day I would be on the radio. We moved back to Mass and I have been living here since I was 12. All through high school, I was very nerdy and had a few great friends. My dream was still to be on the radio. I even put in the year book that I wanted to be on Kiss 108fm. The first time I went to college was at Northern Essex Community College, at that time they had a radio station. I loved it. I thought that I was finally almost there. (I listen back to some of my tapes and I cringe, I was horrible)I had an amazing spirit about it. I took off some time with college and decided to go back. I attended Massachusetts Communications College and I was the program Director of Mass Comm Radio On-line. We had the guidance of the great Len Mailloux (R.I.P). Our Station was pretty ground breaking because on line radio was just starting and we ran with it. Len knew that it was going to be big. I had a show called Love Jones (before I learned about trademarks) I used to play slow jams. The other students called it the noon time booty call. I graduated at 25 with my Associated of Science in Radio Broadcasting (Dec 1999). I even auditioned for MTV Wanna be a VJ contest. I had the time of my life, doing crazy things. I got a job as the Public Affairs Director/On-Air Talent at 92.5 The River. I loved working there. The AAA format was not my favorite but I made a point to want to learn as much as I could. When I was just an intern for Keith Andrews and his morning show, I remember that just as an intern that he would put me on the air. Most of the other kids in my class were sorting Cd’s and I was on the air. I also loved the community aspect of my job. I was the producer of a weekly show called Community Forum. I had a host that would talk about things that were going on in the world and locally. I will never forget the time that he told me that it would be a good idea to take callers. Nope, I said it was a bad idea, well we did it, and the man on the phone asked if “The size of a man’s penis, mattered?” Yup, David J (my host) agreed that maybe I was right. We brought up so many topics of things that were going on. We came from different backgrounds so we usually did not agree on things. We even had interviews with many people. I was there for a few years. New Management came in and they wanted to shake things up and my position was eliminated. I was crushed. I thought for a minute that my radio career was done. I interned at a bunch of stations, because I needed to stay attached to radio. I just had to. It is truly my passion. I worked in the corporate world for a while. I even had a child. I decided about the time my son was born that I needed to go back to my passion. I needed to be in music. I saved my money and then made a crazy leap to quit my decent paying job with benefits/401k etc. and I gave up my apartment, with my son in tow and moved in with family. Was I crazy? Yes No? Maybe? I just knew that I needed to go back to school. Who quits their job at 40, has a 3 year old, gives up their apartment and completely changes everything that was comfortable? This girl, right here. I was crazy. Who did I think that I was to go back to school with all of these young kids? They could pretty much all be my kids. I did it. I took that commute into Boston. I had a village of amazing family and friends that would help me juggle with my schedule and my son’s. This was not an easy road. I had to keep myself on a strict budget. There would be no more disposable income and going out to eat etc. I had to be very disciplined. The commute killed me. Taking classes again. I had to write papers, what? With Work Citation? Seriously, I haven’t had to write a paper in 15 years. I entered into the Entertainment Management program at Bay State College. I didn’t work for the first two years that I was in school. I was focused on taking classes, dealing with that commute and raising my son as a single parent. My son had and has some challenges. I then had to start juggling his medical appointments/therapy and everything else that he needed. I was very overwhelmed and there were hundreds of times that I wanted to quit. I came pretty close. I had some great support to cheer me on. I had doubts every day. Our school was developing a radio station. What? Really? Sign me up. It was a little challenge to get in. I even remember when I wanted a show that there was a process. When I applied for the Program Director position they wanted my resume. I first created a show called The Groove Sessions with Tita I wanted to play 90s R&B and Hip Hop. I loved it. I could be myself when I was in the station. It is an on-line station. I used to say that it has come a long way since the days of Mass Comm Radio. I struggled with juggling it all. In that station, I felt alive. Once I became the Program Director then The General Manager, it became another challenge. I call Baby State College Radio as my second child. There was one point that I was GM/PD/Promotions/On-Air and everything else. I complained a little put I kept pushing. I would then create other shows because we didn’t have enough shows. I played Salsa, Hip Hop, Pop, Latin Freestyle you name it. I also wanted to get back to Soul Music so I created my new project The Soul Cocktail with Tita. It created a mood for my audience. I want you to feel love, lust, hate, jealous and all of it. I really wanted to develop it. I have big dreams for it. With the power of the internet as an Alumni I still am able to create a show at home and have it stream (prerecorded) thru the station. May 2018. I cannot believe this day came. I cannot believe with all of my blood, sweat and many tears that this day was happening. I had to walk down that aisle and get my diploma. It was important for me to have my son see that. It is important to show that with passion and determination that you can do it. It will not be easy, but if you really want it, you can achieve it. I then had to deal with if my son would be able to sit thru the ceremony. He has challenges that may prevent him to sit still and calm. God was seriously listening to my prayers. My boy not only sat still but he then walked me and my class down the row after I received my diploma.–So what am I going to do now. I have a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Management. I can do just about anything with live music, artists, etc. that I want. What do I want? I want to develop Soul Cocktail with Tita and take it to the next level. I am currently working with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and I work for Live Nation at the Blue Hills Pavilion. I just keep networking and growing and one day. One day, you will hear me again. I will bring the Soul Cocktail with Tita–To you!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
None of this has been a smooth road. While I was pregnant, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. As I look back on it now, I am shocked at some of the choices that I made. While it was happening I was caught up in the drama and I honestly didn’t see a way out. Until I decided that I just was not going to put up with it anymore. I can say that it was probably one of the most horrible and amazing times in my life. If I didn’t make the horrible choices that I made then my son would not be here today. When he was a young child and I made that choice to go back to school. It was a hard sell on my family. I was a single parent working at Comcast and I had a steady income, health insurance, perks etc. I had a small child. I was a first time parent. What was I doing? I was doing the unthinkable. You cannot just quit and go back to school and be a student again. You are a grown up. People do not do that. The struggle of that commute into Boston. Ohh the commuter rail and the T. I did that for a few years. It would make my day longer and when I came home, there was no resting. I had to be mommy and then once he went to sleep, then I did homework. I was beat every day. Quitting was not an option. Did I think about it all of the time? Yes! Self-doubt was all over the place screaming at me. That was a huge struggle. My son had some issues as well as speech issues. When he was diagnosed with Apraxia I had no clue what that was. I then had to do research and try to figure it out. Felt like endless appointments to Children’s Hospital and trying to figure out why my son doesn’t talk were always on my mind. I remember the first time that he said “Mama” he was 4 and a half years old. Most kids talk years before that. That was just one of the struggles that we faced. Again the doubts came in. Was I being selfish? Your son needs you, why are you doing this crazy thing of going to school while you could be working and spending more time with your kid? I thought of them all. I am a type A personality so it was rough. Little did I know that Apraxia was just the tip of the iceberg. So many doctor’s visits that I had to bring him to. Back and forth. The whole while I am trying to do homework at projects. Many sleepless nights. I took this class (many classes) and we needed to put an artist on tour. This project was very labor intensive. Just some tasks like booking tour dates, venues, flights, tracking mileage between venues, says off for the crew, and many other tasks. It is sort of a fake tour, but with very really information. My professor was not playing. It was so hard to think about music, classes, radio show and the whole while my kid was having issues with talking. He even had to walk around with a device so that he could have this device talk to people for him. He would choose the words on the device and it would speak what he couldn’t say. As a parent, this was heartbreaking to me. I was such a loud, talkative and outgoing kid. How did this happen? I had to keep telling myself that we would get thru this. We had to, again quitting was not an option. Many times that I would cry and just pray to make it thru this. So many other struggles. I have also decided since I am more in the Public Eye, especially now working at the Chamber of Commerce that I try to shield my son from social media as much as I can. I don’t usually post his real name and I refer to him as King. I tell him that he can be the king of the world, if he chooses so. I feel that in this business that it is important to protect that.
Please tell us about Soul Cocktail with Tita.
I am still in process of developing my brand for Soul Cocktail with Tita. I know that it is a work in progress. People know me as the radio chick. I used to make slow jam tapes and cd’s and give them to my friends. I never charged them for it. I was the one that was told that there were many babies made off of my blends. I am not a fancy dj that scratches. I am not blessed with that gift. What I can do, is I am here to create a mood. I am here to get you to dig deep into yourself and feel. So many people forget what it is like to feel. Music is such a powerful thing. It is truly the root of all feelings. I like to take my listeners on a journey. I hope that I am given the opportunity to have a platform to develop this dream. I am so passionate about programming music. I also love planning events. I want to plan events such as things that are a little different from the norm. I want to really dive into planning, Halloween themes, masquerade balls and other themed parties. Food Festivals, Wine festivals etc. I want to one day be able to provide for my son and I and do what I love. I just need an opportunity.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over. That is such a hard thing to answer. We succeed and we fail. If I didn’t do both then I would not have my son today. He is my proudest accomplishment. If though, I could still have him. I would have studied abroad at an early age. I wouldn’t have wasted so much time in the corporate world. I would have made better decision in men. There are so many what if’s that I try not to think of it. I want to deal with the “What Now” and move forward. I have learned that I need to accept my mistakes and sometime you have to put on your big girl pants and walk thru that storm. The storm will eventually pass and there is usually a rainbow on the other end. Everyone has to live their truth. You have to accept responsibility for your mistakes. Once you do that, NO one can throw it in your face. No one can tell you what you made mistake on. You make the life that you want to live.
Images courtesy of Maureen L. Healy