JTHS Alumni Spotlight: Derrick Brown, Joliet West Class of 1985, Media Executive for iHeartMedia

Derrick_Brown.jpgCareer & Education At-a-Glance

  • Butler University, Radio/TV Broadcasting
  • Lewis University, Radio/TV Broadcasting
  • Radio & Records Program Director of the Year
  • Radio Ink's "Best Program Directors in America" (twice recognized)


Derrick Brown, Joliet West Class of 1985, enjoys a successful and exciting career as a Media Executive for iHeartMedia, a leading global media and entertainment company with the largest reach of any radio and television outlet in America.

The energy and enthusiasm of air personalities, as well as the great music they played, inspired Brown to pursue a career in radio ever since he was a young boy growing up in Joliet. He began his journey at Edna Keith School and Laraway School prior to attending Joliet East from 1981-83 and graduating from Joliet West High School in 1985.

As a talented and hardworking high school student, Brown pursued his lifelong dream by participating in many extracurricular activities. Brown was very involved in Student Council, the student newspaper, and Black Student Union/ETIA. He practiced his public speaking skills regularly when giving the school’s morning announcements. He also served as the drum major of the marching band and served as a tennis team assistant.

After graduating from Joliet West, Brown studied Radio and Television at Butler University and Lewis University, where he learned valuable skills such as radio programming, radio hosting, and music research.

Describing his life as a Media Executive, Brown shares, “As Director of Urban Programming at iHeartMedia - Chicago, I oversee the on-air, online, and social brands of Adult R&B WVAZ-FM (V103), Hip-Hop 107-5 WGCI-FM and Gospel-formatted Inspiration 1390 (WGRB-AM). I am also the Urban Adult Contemporary Format Coordinator for iHeartMedia, providing programming support to like-formatted stations across the country.”

Through his passion and hard work, Brown has received several national recognitions. Radio & Records magazine recognized him as Program Director of the Year. Radio Ink magazine's has twice recognized Brown as one of "Best Program Directors in America".

When asked what advice he would give to students today, Brown said, “Always maintain a positive attitude and embrace change. Endless opportunities will follow.”

Brown added, “Travel our country and the world to better understand our differences with others. You will be surprised and encouraged by our similarities as well.”

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