Career Capsule: I started in radio at WONU while attending Olivet Nazarene University. I was fortunate to work with and learn from some great people, like Eric Allen, Beth Kaye, and Bill DeWees. After college I looked for work in radio in the Chicagoland area (very bold for a new grad, but I didn’t know any better) and finally landed a part-time job at WMBI (Moody Radio) in Chicago doing a program called “Just for Kids,” while there I learned and tried everything that I could!
I ended up moving to the San Diego area to work behind the scenes on the radio programs for The Institute for Creation Research (icr.org), and then onto Dallas working with ICR in their tours and events department. I stayed home with my kids for a time, and then worked for a couple of great Christian schools, so I was out of radio for about 12 years!
By God’s design, my family and I moved to the Champaign area for my husband’s job in 2017. I knew Johnathon Eltrevoog from WBGL and asked him if the station needed any part-time people, and he said they were looking for an afternoon show co-host. This made my heart beat a little faster! Long story short, I’ve been back on-air for close to two years, working with this fantastic team. It’s been a whirlwind for sure!
Danielle, tell us what’s new… latest news, changes, at WBGL & with YOU… etc?
As you may have heard, our network has had a lot going on. We are thrilled with our new podcast, hosted by Meridith Foster, and produced by Jason Rackow, The Unfolding. Check out an episode of these compelling and beautiful God stories. We have had over 100K downloads, and we’ve found that promoting the podcast on our network, as well as social media, and web, has made a great impact.
Our radio network has also recently been purchased by the University of Northwestern – St. Paul | Northwestern Media. We are thankful to be a part of such a God-honoring organization and we are all learning through the process.
I’m also personally very excited with how forward thinking our leadership and team is at WBGL. We are actively seeking new ways to engage and minister to listeners in this digital society.
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
We really want to be friends with our listener, and that’s what keeps them coming back and so connected. We are ourselves and we care, we encourage, and we have fun. What more could you ask for in a friend?
Recently I asked our Facebook audience, “What does WBGL mean to you?”
The heartwarming answers included, “It means knowing I’m never alone….Comfort….WBGL is family…..we share laughter, tears, good, bad, prayers, and worship…thank you for being part of our lives…a sense of belonging….a welcome home from my day at work……no matter what the day brings WBGL is going to be positive and uplifting, pouring faith and hope into my family…..life and inspiration…a safe place for my son….” And the list goes on!
It’s our team being connected to God and then connected to the listener. We’re conduits of His grace and love.
What is the best show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
At one point, I was very focused on the on-air “rules” making sure to say this and to not say that, and Johnathon Eltrevoog said to me that the rules are there as guidelines but it’s like we have to follow the Spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. That was so freeing for me.
And of course the oft given advice of, “be yourself.” It’s challenging to put ourselves out there as on-air hosts, because there are critical, discouraging people that listen and may call or text their thoughts, but when we are ourselves on-air, that’s when the listener can most genuinely connect with us.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
I would say that the more true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, & worthy of praise Christian stations in the market, the better.
You work with a show partner, what is it that makes things click when working with a co-host?
I’m so thankful to work with Eric Nichols, he’s such a pro, and with me coming back into radio he has been kind and encouraging.
I think to click with your co-host, time, coaching, patience and learning together is important, as well as playing off each other’s strengths and quirks. Eric is fantastic at adding fun audio elements to our show, and it’s been fun to watch him grow in that. He brings our show way up with his talents.
In your opinion, where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
I really like what CMB is doing with CMB University. I also see our station manager, Jeff Scott, pouring into our interns and having a willingness to bring on new talent. I also think that it’s important for station leadership to be patient with youthful, hopeful, broadcasters.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Not seeing the forest from the trees. When we’ve been somewhere a long time we stop seeing areas that need improvement. Getting outside opinions and fresh eyes and ears on our work is important.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Lisa Williams, Eric Allen, and Johnathon Eltrevoog.
Every time Lisa opens up the mic, she has so much genuine love in her voice. Eric Allen has had so much success in his career, yet he remains humble and willing to help those that are looking to grow. Johnathon Eltrevoog is the best all-around radio guy that you will ever meet, and he genuinely cares about the listener.