The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Creator of Raghouse Records and Rag House Mag, April Duran
By Myki Angeline
April Duran is living proof that it is never too late to chase your dreams. She is the founder and creator of Raghouse Records, Raghouse Mag, and an on air personality Saturday nights on Hot 103.9. All of this accomplished over the past three years, and she is just getting warmed up.
But before her newfound success in the music industry, Duran worked as a single mom while going to night school. Upon graduation, she applied to music corporations for entry level positions, working her way through the ranks. All while in her 40s.
Duran took time out of her insanely busy schedule to share with us her never ending passion for music, and she has in store for 2018.
WiMN: Give us a little background on your career in music, and what inspired you to follow this path.
AD: I always thought I was the typical teenager into music, although after high school it was obvious that it was something I was completely interested in—more than my friends. I was hitting festivals, researching and looking for bands before they made it big, and heading to the small dive bars to look for new music.
My path to work in music didn’t move forward until I was middle aged. I realized I was working jobs I was not passionate about, so I finally went for it and enrolled in Musicians Institute’s music business program. Located in Hollywood, MI is about 40 miles away from me and a 1 1/2 hour commute in good traffic. I completed with a certificate after one year of night school, working during the day and as a single mom.
I then applied at the Irvine Amp/Live Nation for an ushering position knowing it was minimum wage, but that I had to start somewhere since I was entering a new career. The interview went so well that they created a position for me as a VIP Supervisor. From there I have worked as an assistant for the general manager of a large venue, production manager, booker, and product manager.
I created my own brand in 2014—Rag House Records/Radio/RagMag to empower women in music, sports and entertainment. I created my own online radio segment, created an online magazine and caught the attention of a program director at an FM station! I am now an on air radio host of FM HOT103.9 on Saturdays. I am also the creator, producer, programmer and host of Sunday night’s Local Artist Spotlight, promoting unsigned artists/bands from Southern California.
WiMN: Can you share your story that led up to the creation of Raghouse Records/Rag Mag? What is the mission of the company and magazine?
AD: Founded and created in 2014, Raghouse Records and Rag Mag’s mission is to empower and promote girls/women in music, sports and entertainment. After working in the music industry for a few years, I noticed a lack of female support from every direction and wanted to change that. I have also found it helpful in daily life even before launching Rag House. Smile at the women around you and encourage them, give them hugs when needed because it makes work and life a lot healthier, easier and fun!
WiMN: Since the inception of Raghouse Records/Rag Mag, how has this platform impacted the music community, especially for women?
AD: We have been able to create and gather a sisterhood where girls/women know where they can reach out for basic information on whatever they are looking for in the music industry. I have also created many great friendships and networking is amazing. It was so refreshing to find out that I wasn’t the only woman who felt lost in the music industry and looking for other soul sisters searching for a safe place.
WiMN: You currently work for Hot 103.9 FM in San Bernadino, CA. What does it mean to you working as a woman in radio? Do you see a need for more women in this field?
AD: At FM HOT 103.9 the ratio of men to women working as on air personalities is pretty much even. The program director John DeSantis has been in radio for about 30 years and is a strong advocate for giving opportunities equally to those men and women with talent, and I am so grateful for that. Although, I was appalled when I looked up men to women ratio working in radio overall. From what I could gather, the percentage of women working in radio is under 20% and I hope my research is wrong! With this I am so grateful beyond belief that he believed in me after seeing what I was doing for two years, called me up and offered me a paid position at FM HOT 103.9. I also was the first on air personality to be hired without any education in radio or had previously interned for the station!
WiMN: Your focus is namely on unsigned, women artists. Do you find it difficult scouting for music and talent?
AD: In the beginning it was hard to find new talent, but now the word is out and I’m receiving email after email. I can’t keep up!
WiMN: How do you balance your music career with marriage and family life?
AD: I don’t know, LOL! I have a huge family support system (mom and dad) and my fiance has been helping me with my son for years. It takes a village to raise a child, start a new career and try to create your own company in your 40s. I take it day by day, make sure my fiance and son are healthy, make sure I run and drink wine—work hard play hard!
WiMN: Do you play an instrument? Have you performed musically?
AD: I’ve tried drums, guitar and singing. I suck at all of them but I can dance. I have worked in drama and theater throughout my youth.
WiMN: What hurdles or struggles have you experienced as a woman working in the music industry?
AD: In the beginning of creating Rag House I was vulnerable and people were able to take advantage of me from all different levels. In the past, I trusted everyone right off the bat because that’s who I am. Now, I have thick skin. I am still learning to trust others, but I’m not afraid to try anything, reach out to anyone, or talk to who ever.
WiMN: What advice can you give women looking to pursue a career in music as a journalist and/or radio personality?
AD: Work hard. Promote what you’re doing. Don’t be scared to try new things! You have to have grit and leap over those days that were bad or you didn’t feel like moving forward. HUSTLE!
WiMN: What do you have in store for 2018?
AD: So excited for the revamping of Rag, going digital, starting a new clothing line, brand ambassadors, and much more… and this time I have a team!