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Radio host Angela Yee on her departure from 'The Breakfast Club' and her new show

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Angela Yee is no stranger to the ear. She's the longtime host of "Lip Service," a podcast focused on sexuality and romance, and was a co-host of "The Breakfast Club," the massively popular and trendsetting radio program which featured all things culture, music and community. But she said goodbye to her host chair this past fall to launch her own radio show called "Way Up With Angela Yee."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTIST: (Rapping) Way Up in the morning - ain't nowhere else I'd rather be. You can be from any borough. It's where you come and get your tea.

RASCOE: It premiered just last week and has already got it all - big celebrity interviews, the news, financial and relationship advice. And even with all that time spent talking with call-in guests on her new show, Angela Yee managed to find some spare time to talk with me on this radio program.

Before we get into your new show, I do want to talk about your time with "The Breakfast Club." You know, I mean, this show, for those listening who may not know, I mean, it's kind of - it's known for, like, its no-holds-barred celebrity interviews and, you know, focused on different types of the entertainment industry. But then, you know, over time, it became known for, you know, politics. You had, like, every, you know, Democratic candidate ever on the show and, you know, tackling issues like police misconduct, the #MeToo movement. Like, why was it important for y'all to kind of branch out the way you did?

ANGELA YEE: I think it's important because of the critical times that we're in right now. And I also felt like it's my responsibility because for myself, I didn't grow up being involved in politics or even thinking that it mattered if I voted or even thinking that I could have any type of influence in what happens politically. But I've learned that the power of being able to vote and also voting locally and also showing up to town halls and also knowing who your local elected officials are - those things are really important, and they can matter. And they do matter. I think everybody needs to know that, and everybody needs to understand the power that you have as a citizen.

RASCOE: Why did you want to start your own radio show?

YEE: Well, I had my own show previously before coming to "The Breakfast Club." And so even when I started on "The Breakfast Club," I always knew at some point I would get back to it. I just didn't know when. And it was the goal. And so I just feel like no matter where you are and what you're doing, you always have to be thinking about, what's the next step for you to elevate?

RASCOE: Is that scary, though, to be starting all over from scratch?

YEE: Yeah, it's scary. But it's exciting at the same time. I love being challenged and challenging myself. And so part of it is, yes, it's scary. But, you know, my favorite genre of movies is scary movies. I like being scared. I like the...

RASCOE: Me too.

YEE: ...Adrenaline that comes with it. I like the rush of doing something that everybody doesn't think that you can do and accomplish and then making it happen.

RASCOE: See, now, I like scary movies, but I don't like scary in real life.

YEE: I love it.

RASCOE: (Laughter).

YEE: I think it's boring to, like, not be scared ever, you know? Even when - there's a lot of times that I'm scared. When I'm - I'll be nervous to go and talk in front of crowds of people. There's a lot of things that still make me nervous, but I think it's great when you're able to do it and overcome it. And you get better every single time.

RASCOE: So, I mean, with this show, like, how are you thinking about, like, differentiating it from your other projects that you've done, whether it's "The Breakfast Club" or what you're still doing with "Lip Service"?

YEE: I think I try to incorporate a little bit of every piece of me to make this all me. You know, this is definitely already different from "The Breakfast Club" 'cause it's what my curation is. And so for me, obviously, I care a lot about Black women. I care about women. I care about empowerment. I care about financial well-being. I care about entrepreneurship. You know, I care about advice. All the things that I've been doing, I'm able to bring here.

And so, you know, there's pieces of me that were on "The Breakfast Club," like I had my "Ask Yee" segment always that was focused on advice and then "Wealth Wednesdays," which is something that I started, like, five years ago. Now that's on here. And so I'm able to bring that with me along with the interviews that I do and who I am. So it still feels really authentic and genuine, and it's - but it's all me.

RASCOE: So what do you hope audiences will take away from your new show?

YEE: What I love is the way we start the show. It's this segment I created called "Shine A Light," where people call in, and they just say something positive about somebody who's impacted their life in a positive way. It could be something small, or it could be something huge. But what I wanted to do was just really show that type of gratitude and have a space for people to just talk about amazing, positive things. Like, one woman called, and she's going through a breakup, and she wanted to shine a light on her two sisters who are always there for her, that helped her through. I want to just spread love, and, like, people love that segment and the phones light up. And that makes me happy, that people want to call in and just be like, yeah, I want to shine a light on this person.

RASCOE: OK. I mean, it's 'cause I wanted to ask you that - I kind of feel like from that I have to ask - because a lot of times people will feel like positive stuff doesn't sell the way negative stuff sells. Like, you know what I'm saying? Like, if you're talking about somebody or calling somebody out, you know, on social media, that'll go way faster than that positive thing. So, like, I guess, what do you think about that dynamic of - it seems like you're trying to bring the light, but it seems like so many other people are like, is that what sells?

YEE: I think in radio, though, that's different. I remember the days of the shock jock and the negativity, and people used to love that. I don't feel like people want that on the radio when they're coming there to get their day going, when they're coming to get some information, calling in, asking real-life questions with real concerns. That is important to me - just a person who's listening that's like, OK, let me call in and trust you enough to share something with you.

RASCOE: Angela Yee is the host of "Way Up With Angela Yee." Thank you so much for speaking with us.

YEE: Thank you, Ayesha. I appreciate you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.