Amy Byrd Interview

Amy Byrd
Morning show host
KFMK / Spirit 105.9
Austin

Career Capsule: This is where it started. ABC’s Country Radio Station, Eagle 106.7 in Atlanta, GA. My mom listened to Rubarb Jones every morning on her way to work. That’s him—He was funny and relatable. She knew everything about Rubarb—-how many times he had been married, the vacation he just got back from, how much his wife spent on the chandelier in their entrance to their home—haa! My mom had an hour and fifteen minute drive to work each day. She was their P1 for sure! So, when it came to choosing a place to intern while in college I was drawn to the place my mom listened to every morning. I knew there were going to be quite a few applicants. So, I attached my application to a plate of some homemade chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. At the bottom of the plate there was a blown up of picture of my smiling face. Shameless. But I got the internship:))

I was going to school for business but as graduation approached I had mentioned to my dad the possibility of wanting to go into radio. My dad said, “You don’t wanna do that, radio people are kind of like Carnies “. And at that—it was as if he gave me his blessing.

After working for several years in Top 40 and Country Music —We learned about this whole other format I had never considered from someone at our church home group. In following my husbands work to South Carolina, we could have never imagined the work God was doing in both of us by leading us to WMHK. So grateful to Jerry Grimes, Tom Green, John Frost and my current partner, Steve, for being kind, gentle and patient to this unqualified girl. The first year, I would have dreams about blurting out cuss words when the mic was live.

In the beginning, I may have thought that a plate of cookies and silly picture got me the job. But I now know it was really the relationships, community, and faith in following God’s plan that have led us to Spirit 105.9 in Austin, TX. I have been truly blessed by the One who can make the most unqualified truly loved and qualified.

WMHK/Columbia mornings 2005-2010. Mornings at KFMK/Austin since Dec 2010.

 

Amy, tell us what’s new at KFMK… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

Over the last year or so we’ve really begun to try and define what the “Spirit of Austin” is. From the Chief of Police to John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and The Patrón Spirits Company. Notice I don’t say all the city’s preachers and pastors. Although we have some of them too—I really appreciate that we’re using community leaders and influencers to share what the “Spirit of Austin” is to them. It’s fun, weird and meaningful all in one.

 

Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?

Embrace the community where you live.

Our family of 5 lived for the last two years in an RV at Community First Village, a place that houses the formally homeless. Homelessness is a real issue in Austin and a much debated issue across the country. “Did you feel like your kids were safe? So, why don’t they just go get a job? Most people like that are drug addicts and alcoholics, right? How can they afford a cell phone and drugs but not a place to stay? Doesn’t it make you mad that they’re just looking for handout? Don’t most people like that choose to be on the streets?” We learned the answer to all these questions. And it would break your heart.

We read that we are to weep with those who weep, we can clearly see that our Lord and Savior demonstrated that kind of empathy. It’s uncomfortable to weep. That tingly feeling you get in your nose and it makes your face all a mess. But it’s imperative that we all weep for the city we’re in, especially.

 

What is the best programming/show advice you’ve been given?

To always make your partner look and sound good. I certainly appreciate the same—so why doesn’t that come natural? I guess up until then, I was always just worried about myself. That actually applies well to marriage too :))

 

Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?

Only a “Walmart” would say that… and they only would say that because they really believe there’s no way the little guys can compete with them. And a lot of us have experienced the pain of “Walmart” moving in.  But as for Austin, Texas –I don’t believe our listeners want “Walmart”. I believe that for the rest of the country too. There was a Walmart store that was located just a few miles from my house and it closed down about a year ago. It’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed a community plainly revolting against something like a store —-that they don’t believe in. Instead, our top stores for those items are Whole Foods, headquartered in Austin and HEB. The first H-E-B opened in Kerrville, TX. In recent years, around the time of the store’s 100 year anniversary, the grocery store chain ran a series of ads using the tag line “Here Everything’s Better” . And then, they do just that —-Have everything that’s better. Selection, the fruits, breads and bakery, meats, the selection of Texas items… Truly, everything is better!

I don’t really mind that “Walmart” opened up here. Shoot, I may one day be applying for that Greeters Position 🙂  But there’s just something about HEB—all I know, is that for someone who does all the grocery shopping for my family it just seems like “There, Everything’s Better”. I’m hopeful our listeners feel the same about Spirit.

 

What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job/show?

To experience life. After work, I open up notes on my phone and try to take a quick note of anything prep worthy for tomorrow.

It’s 2:15 PM right now and these are my notes so far:

I just sucked of the chocolate off three donuts over the sink someone brought to the employee break room. It felt less shameful before I ate the third one.

Watched the movie Judy. One of the most profound moments happened at the very end one of her last performances when she looks out of the crowd and says “you won’t forget me will you? Promise me you won’t.”

What is it with movie theater buttered popcorn? You eat something that weighs less than a quarter of a pound, yet by the time you’re done eating it feel like you’ve gained 30??!

Mayberry devotional.

Ashton Lee’s Joke

I want to be a contributing author… I’m just not sure what I would contribute.

Jeremiah Beck’s beard talk.

Continue, continue…

 

Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Well, Kanye recently said he’s only doing Gospel music moving forward. And if that doesn’t convince you our talent can come from anywhere…

I went to school for a Business Degree, considered being a flight attendant, took a year of Russian (my tutor told me if I didn’t want to try she didn’t want to work with me anymore… ha!) worked with kids with special needs, tried to talk my parents into letting my friend and I work at a fish cannery in Alaska ….Nothing I was doing before radio would have indicated I would be doing this now. On second thought, perhaps the trying to learn Russian and fish cannery gave it away. But what’s more important is heart change —more than where they are coming from or the way anyone actually sounds.

 

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

John Frost was the first person to ever coach us as a show. I’m incredibly grateful for his continued patience, kindness and his encouraging us all these years.

Tommy Kramer. He’s whimsically quirky, incredibly funny, oddly lovable, sensitive and truthful entirely. He challenges sameness right out of us—-and continually gives us new goals and tangible changes to keep us growing and moving forward.

Also, my partner, Steve. He’s funny and he’s smart. He’s very New Jersey. He grew up saying things like “well, good for you”. Where I grew up, that would not be interpreted as actually wishing good for someone. He’s annoyingly great at debating anything from your life choices to pizza toppings to theology to Ben Franklin history. He’s wildly interesting and odd. He calls me the sister he never wanted. I like that he gives me a hard time—we all need a Steve.

2 thoughts on “Amy Byrd Interview

  • October 17, 2019 at 10:25 am
    Permalink

    Congratulations, Amy, on this week’s pick-of-the-week interview! Your humor is funny and your prospective on Christian radio seems honest and fair-minded. Competition can be good but too much competition can spoil the day for everyone. Keep up the good work at Spirit!

    Reply
  • October 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm
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    Thank you so much, Bill:))

    Reply

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