Son of radio legend Donnie Simpson Sr who got married interracially chose a totally different career than his father – meet him

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Donnie Simpson Sr. is famous for being a radio DJ, but has a son who took a different path and founded the Uprising Muffin Company. Meet Donnie Simpson Jr.

One cannot talk about the major players in the US radio industry without mentioning Donnie Simpson Sr. The longtime radio DJ is known for hosting “The Donnie Simpson Morning Show” from March 1993 until January 29, 2010.

Simpson Sr. currently hosts “The Donnie Simpson Show” on DC-based radio station WMMJ-FM. He holds the record for being the first city-format radio personality to have an annual salary of over $ 1 million without being unionized.

The son of radio legend Donnie Simpson Sr and his family. | Photo: Getty Images

In 2003, the radio presenter became the highest-paid African-American radio personality of all time without a syndication following his eight-figure six-year contract with WPGC-FM.

Simpson Sr. has built a solid reputation and was previously Billboard’s Radio Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year. In 2020, he and six other broadcasters were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Simpson Sr. leaves big shoes to fill, and for a time it was believed that his son, Donnie Simpson Jr., would follow in his footsteps and become Washington’s next big radio star.

Radio personality Donnie Simpson on stage during the Urban One Honors 2018 at The Anthem on December 9, 2018. usage worldwide  Photo: Getty Images

Radio personality Donnie Simpson on stage during the Urban One Honors 2018 at The Anthem on December 9, 2018. usage worldwide Photo: Getty Images

Simpson Jr. was planning a career in broadcasting alongside his father. He started out as an intern before producing his father’s show on WPGC-FM.

However, with the rise of online streaming competitors like Spotify, Simpson Jr. felt that broadcast radio would be criticized because people would rather listen to their favorite songs on the go than wait for the radio station to listen to them. play.

Driven by how local entrepreneurs started big businesses by reshaping baked goods like cakes, cupcakes, and donuts, Simpson Jr. began to think of a similar revolution for muffins.

He quit radio to develop a business plan and took a job at Starbucks in Olney. At Starbucks, he learned the ropes of retail and customer service and rose to a managerial position after two years.

As Simpson Jr.’s business began to take shape, he reduced his role at Starbucks and eventually left the company when it was time to devote his full attention to his own business.

In a conversation with Grammy.com, he opened up about his career and how he’s been successful.

Simpson Jr. described what prompted him to start his business, Uprising Muffin Company, on his LinkedIn profile. He said he and his wife, Kate, came up with the idea for the business while working as a morning show producer for CBS.

He noticed that a guy always dropped muffins on the radio station on Fridays and observed how muffins made everyone happy. However, whenever he visited restaurants, muffins were an accessory to all the other items on the menu.

Lover of muffins, he imagined making them the star of the show by opening a muffin shop that also served excellent coffee. He followed through on that idea and prepared for the muffin shop for four years while learning the ropes during that time.

In 2014, Simpson Jr. opened a muffin store in the Shaw neighborhood of DC. His famous father supported his business by providing encouragement, start-up capital and frequent taste tests.

Simpson Sr. said his son was entrepreneurial. The broadcaster said he was always jealous of people who had businesses to pass on to their children, but said popularity could not be passed on.

Simpson Sr. added that it was gratifying to see his son’s dream come true. He also described it as a rewarding experience, adding that he looked forward to the opening day of the muffin store.

The Simpson Jr. muffin store measured 1,850 square feet and was located above the Shaw-Howard University subway station at the corner of Seventh and S streets NW. He was very excited about the brand of muffins because no one had ever made it.

From 2014 to 2018, the Uprising Muffin Company thrived in Washington, DC People loved what the brand was doing, and retail was fun for Simpson Jr.

However, due to various factors, the company closed its Shaw store in July 2018. It moved its business to TasteLab, a food incubator and commercial kitchen space in Langdon, focused on catering and wholesale.

Explaining the decision to go out of business, Simson Jr. said 1,900 square feet was a monster for the business model. He said the neighborhood was generally good for him, but his promise was not as big as he expected. He said:

“When I got there there were what looked like 100 projects were all going to happen, and I would say half of them went and half of them weren’t…”

Simpson Jr. said this was probably his business model in this part of the neighborhood, but admitted there were challenges and he always felt there was a way to go.

Despite the change, the entrepreneur said he was thrilled because he now had room to start thinking more about wholesale and eventually hoped to sell his muffins in local cafes, grocery stores and other outlets. retail.

Moreover, he did not give up owning a storefront as he expressed his desire to open another cafe someday in the future.

Following changes in its business model, Uprising Muffins stepped up its social media campaign by posting photos of several great moments and new achievements.

On the day the company’s Shaw store closed, its IG page shared a photo showing Simpson Jr., his wife, Kate, and their three children, posing outside the store. The caption of the message read:

“What a great day in Uprising today. If you have stopped by, thank you for coming out to support us and saying goodbye to our Shaw branch!”

In the final part of the caption, he thanked everyone for their support and expressed his and the company’s desire to move forward to a new horizon.

On Good Friday in April 2019, the company page shared a photo showing its progress. In the snapshot, Simpson Jr. was wearing a custom black Uprising Muffins Company t-shirt and jeans and holding two packets of muffins.

In the caption of the post, he expressed his joy at the trip by announcing that Uprising Muffins had landed his second local grocer, Yes Organic.

In May 2019, the page shared a group photo of Simspon Jr. returning to his old neighborhood, Shaw. In the blink of an eye, he posed with some of the teachers at Cleveland Elementary School, who used to patronize his muffins when his store was still in the neighborhood.

However, his Instagram page was not active, as his last post was in June 2020. Prior to that, the last page of the company page was posted in June 2019. The company website did not. is also more accessible.

Simpson Sr. has undoubtedly left a great legacy in broadcasting. In a conversation with Grammy.com, he opened up about his career and how he’s been successful. He said:

“It’s something I always say, and it’s so true: I don’t have to be great – I just have to be me.”

He added that it always works to be yourself because it’s the spirit that connects everyone and makes someone real to people. He added that people feel when they are real to themselves and know when they are trying to be someone else.

It can be said that Simpson Jr. also took this path and stayed true to himself and his dreams, which he made. Starting and maintaining a business is no small feat, and it’s great to see that he has done it his way despite the odds.



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