Insiders reveal how to break into TV and radio

“The goal is
to help (attendees)
believe in themselves
and give them
the tools to get there.”

Alicia Samaan

Alicia Samaan of 4 Star Casting and Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club is hosting a panel titled How to Break into the TV and Radio Industry. The event takes place on Sunday, July 1st at the Velvet Lounge in the South Loop of Chicago, IL.

It features industry insiders Jenise L. Green of iHeart Media, Ericka Porter (Ericka Mauldin) of Edit Talent Group, author and businesswoman Karyn Calabrese, Maha of Power 92 on 92.3 FM, and Jessica Gisin Needham of 4 Star Casting.

Samaan explains, “The goal is to share my story, along with their stories, to help impact the lives of everyone there… to help them believe in themselves and give them the tools to get there.”

Each of the panel members will provide insight on their own paths into the TV and radio industries.

“A little bit about myself,” reflects Samaan. “I used to be on reality television. I was on the Bad Girls Club, and I had to pretty much recreate my life and myself after the show. The show took me down a very dark path.”

Panelist Ericka Porter states, “Every woman on this panel are women who have inspired (Samaan) on her journey and career.”

Samaan credits Porter and the other panel members for teaching her how to get back on track towards “the life that I wanted to live.”

Porter comments, “When I met Alicia… I recognized her because my kids love Bad Girls Club.” Porter didn’t know Samaan’s real name, but instead she knew her as Ms. ChiFly from the show.

After speaking with Samaan, Porter soon found out that the show had “broken her down… she had no home, she had no money, she had nothing.”

Before the Bad Girls Club, Samaan was already a media producer and public relations specialist.

She thought that the reality show would simply be the next step forward in the media industry. Instead, it was a giant leap backwards.

Samaan emphasizes that she is “so grateful” for the show’s fans and media presence. “However, the light that it shined on me was not what I wanted to be known as,” states Samaan.

Her new career at 4 Star Casting, originally as an extra and eventually as a Casting Associate, has given Samaan a second chance.

She and the other panelists will emphasize “the grind” and how to avoid falling down a typecast hole like the one Samaan found herself in.

Beyond personal stories, the speakers will provide tangible advice on how to take the next step.

For example, as the Co-Owner and Casting Director of 4 Star Casting, Needham will discuss how to land a spot on Season 5 of Empire.

Needham has done casting for numerous Chicago staples, such as Crisis, Empire, The Steve Harvey Show, Double Cross, and The Onion’s web shows. This summer, 4 Star Casting will be working on The Chi, Empire, Lovecraft Country, and more.

Also Read: Peele and Abrams bring new HBO series to Cinespace

Another owner of a casting agency, author and producer Ericka Porter, will give an overarching look into the production industries, as discussed in her new book, Confessions of a Media Maven.

Also Read: Reel Women: Ericka Mauldin — MBA

Porter stresses, “you can be a single mom, you can be an entrepreneur, you can be a producer. Pursue your dream in the industry.”

Sr. Account Executive Jenise L. Green of iHeart Media and Maha of 92.3 FM will represent the radio industry at the event.

Author and business owner of Karyn’s vegan restaurants, Karyn Calabrese, will explain how her own interactions with the media have helped shape her career.

For example, she has been interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and according to Samaan and the Chicago Tribune, Calabrese’s restaurants are a favorite of Beyoncé’s.

Overall, Samaan emphasizes that Sunday will be a great opportunity “to rub elbows with the top people in the industry.”

Beyond networking and career planning, How to Break into the TV and Radio Industry will be an excellent refresher on Chicago production.

For those looking to break in for their first time, the stories and insight provided is expected to be invaluable.

Samaan summarizes that the event will provide “a lot of tools and steps to help guide you to the next level… how to get on the set of TV shows, how to get on the radio, how to really do it.”

Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite for $10 and at the door for $15. Attendees can enter the lounge at 3 PM, the panel begins at 4 pm, and the event ends at 6 pm.

Contact Joey Filer at or follow him on Twitter @FilerJoey.