Spotlight: Ali on the Air

By : Categories : Industry Pro - misc,performer,spotlight Comment: 1 Comment


The woman behind the “Ali on the Air” blog, Ali MacLean, is an award-winning writer, actor, filmmaker and on-air radio personality. A classically-trained actress, she has a degree from Miami University of Ohio, and studied at the La Jolla Playhouse under Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff and then at the Groundlings Theatre, in their famous improv training program, under “Friends” star Lisa Kudrow.

Her professional career has included stand-up comedy, TV hosting and VJing, acting, and writing for television, web, print, and film, including her own comedy shorts which have made the festival rounds, some winning awards. She was a DJ back when DJ was a term for someone on a radio station playing music and talking and is now an on-air personality (see DJ for definition).

We wanted to find out what inspired this creative Jill-of-all-trades to put her distinctive voice and point-of-view on the web for everyone to enjoy and how it’s been going so far.

When and why did you start the “Ali on the Air” blog? I started Ali On The Air when I was on air at Little Radio and at Music Plus TV. I needed an AIM Chat for when I was on the air and taking questions from listeners and so one day I made an aim chat profile called Ali On The Air to differentiate from my private chat moniker. I started getting a lot of followers and the name stuck.

Meanwhile, I was blogging on Myspace and Facebook about behind-the-scenes of my life, interviewing these bands and going to festivals and movie premieres, art openings and fashion events. My friend Kyra Reed, who is a social media expert, suggested I move it to WordPress and get official about it.

People found my behind the scenes stuff interesting and I think liked the way that I didn’t pull punches. If I saw someone acting like a diva or being obnoxious, I called them out on it and named names. If I thought a movie was crap or a party was a waste of time, I said so. Everyone that makes money in the entertainment industry is incredibly fortunate. There is no room for throwing your weight around and I also have little patience for half-assed and half-baked ideas being presented as gold. I’m not afraid to say so.

What is your favorite thing about writing your blog? I love that it’s mine and I have the freedom to cover what I want, when I want and I can say what I want. When I’m hired out for another magazine, it’s expected that I will turn in a specific piece. Although at this point, I think people know my personality. I have a wry sense of humor so that is going to sneak into even the most straightforward interview.

With my blog I can be as funny, insightful, wistful, silly, tenacious or snarky as I want to. It’s my beautiful beast of a blog. That being said, I take great care in my pieces. I do video when I have the resources. I don’t blog every day. I only write about things that I feel passionately about or that lights a fire under my ass to go out and cover.

What’s the best reaction you’ve ever had? People loved my piece on laptops and hipsters being a possible downfall of DJing and turntablism. That led the way for a silly short film I made called “DJ Intervention” which took off and was on the front page of Funny Or Die. So a blog rant went all the way to Will Ferrell’s website home page.

I also got a great response from my piece about how much I hated “Jersey Shore.” That piece got thousands and thousands of hits and eventually got me a gig writing comedy for Huffington Post.

What’s the most surprising reaction? Most recently, the “Jersey Shore” piece. If so many people hate it as much as I do, then how is it still on the air? C’mon people. Turn it off.

In addition to writing her Ali on the Air blog, Ali has recently shot several pilots and has been writing for the Huffington Post and several other publications. She also has a new web series on Comedy Time and is shooting a pilot for My Damn Channel this summer.

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About JennyYM

Jenny Yerrick Martin is a veteran entertainment hiring executive with 20+ years in film, television, and music. She created to give students, recent grads and others a true picture of the layout of the industry, and how to break in, transition to a new area, or achieve more success on their current path.


  • Amy Swift Crosby

    June 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

    love ali’s voice and point of view…great interview!

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