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GREENWOOD Dist. —  Alicia Farrow is one of the coolest women you will meet in “the town,” generally speaking. She’s laid back, funny, charismatic, and endearing, just a few reasons why Steph Simon coined her “Mama Tulsa.” 

Farrow is better known as Ali Shaw, a long-time on-air personality for Tulsa’s 105.3 KJAMZ radio station. She has been a pivotal piece of the puzzle in the rise of Tulsa’s Hip Hop, and continually gives Tulsa artists their opportunity to shine on air.

Started From the Bottom Now She’s [Here]

Shaw hasn’t always been an on-air personality. She is from Lexington, Oklahoma, and moved to Tulsa in 2000 looking for a fresh start. She worked alongside her brother and sister at Chili’s while attending Tulsa Community College. She received her degree in Liberal Studies and a Spanish translation certificate. In 2006, her breakthrough came that led to her working at KJAMZ 105.3.

“A friend of mine was like, are you still looking for a full-time job?” she told The Black Wall Street Times. “She worked in the promotions department there, and basically, she said they’re hiring for a traffic assistant, which is usually not what you think it is. It’s more like data entry, a lot of clerical work.”

Shaw took initiative to learn more about other departments anytime she could. “I just started, [over time] asking questions, how to learn other things: how do you run a commercial? Can I learn how to run the board?” she told The Black Wall Street Times.

In 2009, her first on-air experience was with Perry Publishing and Broadcasting’s KGTO 1050 AM station. Her first show, the Weekend Getaway, was under her original radio name “Lisa Lee,” until her mother said that was not her name. 

“I was doing that show, and I think my mom said ‘that is not your radio name. I got it. I know what it is,’ and she wrote Ali Shaw on a piece of paper. Her uncle inspired the name change by the way he pronounced it when she was a young girl. 

“My uncle is a true okie,” she said. “He would say, ‘What are you doing Aliiii-cia?’ It is a derivation of Alicia, so when you say “Ali Shaw” you are saying my name, you just don’t know it,” she said with a sly giggle. In 2011, she moved to the company’s FM side, 105.3. KJAMZ, earning her own 2-hour segment.

 Musical Background and Influence

Shaw is a child of A Tribe Called Quest — her favorite Hip Hop group– and when asked to choose between two of their most popular albums, “Midnight Marauders” and “The Low End Theory,” she refused to name one, mentioning her disdain for comparison.

“It’s very difficult to choose, and I usually say I’m not choosing, because Marauders album came out in ’93, — and that was a beautiful time — but Low End Theory was the first album I heard from them.”

She continued to explain why she doesn’t like choosing one album over another. “If you think about it, why do I have to choose? Why can’t I have them all? They’re all going to be in my collection and I’m going to listen to them when I feel like listening to this person,” she told The Black Wall Street Times. “I can choose this today, and I can choose that tomorrow.”

More Than a Weekend Host

Shaw became a DJ in 2015 and credits A Tribe Called Quest as a heavy influence, specifically, one of the group’s producers and DJ, Ali Shaheed Muhammad. She is mostly known for her show, “The Weekend Rewind” from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., but wants people to know she is more than that. “I’m not just on the air, and that’s one thing  that people would never ever really know about me.” 

 “I’m the production director, I’m the music director. I help manage on air talent. I do a lot at the radio station and people just assume that I’m only on the air for four hours on Saturday.” She continued, “I take a lot of pride in my work and my work ethic, and I’ve been there for 17 years.”

Shaw was a co-host on Fire in Little Africa’s podcast where they did weekly interviews of the artists featured on the album. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, listening to new artists, and attending as many concerts as possible.

Eddie Washington grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, matriculating through Tulsa Public Schools. He graduated from The University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in Journalism. He was a contributing writer for the OU...

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