Lee started her career as an announcer with the Dong-A Broadcasting System in 1996. When the company merged with KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) shortly after, taking that name, Lee became a KBS announcer.
Although Lee began her career as an announcer, she is better-known for her radio shows, “FM Big March” and “Lee Suk-young’s Power FM.” She hosted the former from 1986 to 1996 and still hosts the latter, which began in November 1996. Both early morning shows broadcast live at 7 a.m., which may be burdensome for some DJs. For Lee, however, the morning live shows were and still are places of comfort.
“Every morning, I feel as though I am dating the show,” Lee said. “I feel empty when I am not hosting. I guess you could say that I am addicted to it.”
Despite Lee’s current comfort with her job, it did not come as a “free lunch,” and she experienced difficulties before earning her reputation as a prominent radio DJ.
“At the start of my career, I only had some small shows and worked as a small show reporter,” Lee said. “I did not enjoy them much since I had always wanted to be a radio DJ. I knew the only thing I could do to achieve my goal was to prepare myself.”
She watched and analyzed how other DJs hosted their shows, read many books on the subject, and studied English to be qualified as a radio show host.
“Even if a train of opportunities comes your way, you cannot board it if you are not prepared,” Lee said.
Lee was prepared to board the train when it passed by her door in 1986. A fellow announcer had to take a break and asked Lee to fill in and host the show for two months. During her time as a substitute host, Lee showed that she was qualified to be a radio DJ.
She left KBS and went freelance in 1993 after hosting “FM Big March” for almost 10 years.
“I was asked to host a show called ‘Wednesday Special’ by myself,” Lee said. “The offer was from the Munhwa Broadcasting Company, and I had to become a freelancer to accept the offer.”
Lee says the large size of the program and the aspect of being a female announcer hosting her own show attracted her. However, the show only lasted six months.
“It broke my heart,” Lee said. “But I knew I should get myself prepared for another future.”
That led Lee to where she stands now, as the host of “Lee Suk-young’s Power FM” for 14 years and counting.
Lee says being faithful to a professional mentality and being honest and true with humanity has enabled her to maintain a long career as a radio DJ. She also says because the characteristics of a DJ are reflected in the show, being honest and humane are important – and can even help save a listener’s life.
She once took a call from a man who had failed to get into university for five years and was about to commit suicide.
“I did not feel very good when I heard the caller’s voice while hosting the show,” Lee said.
Nevertheless, she did what her heart told her.
“I called her and we met,” Lee said. “His situation was grave and I was just there, quietly listening to him. I think I met him times more after that.”
Several months later, a familiar face showed up in Lee’s office. It was her earlier caller, visiting to express his gratitude after he was successfully accepted to a university.
Lee says the sympathy she showed the caller came from indirect experiences she gained by reading books. Experience is what she considers most important for university students and she hopes Ewha students experience as much as possible while in university.
“The time we spend in university comes only once in a lifetime,” Lee said. “Do everything you can: study, read and love.”