Career Capsule: I began my career when I took an internship for my Master’s degree at a radio station and never left! A youth pastor had reassured my mom that when I decided that I could do nothing else for a living, that was the moment when God’s calling was on my life. It ended up being in radio and my passion has only grown over the past 24 years. From Dallas/Fort Worth to Chicago to the New York Metro to Family Life Radio network and now to WGTS 91.9 in Washington, D.C., my path has been laid out by the One who knows what the future holds and I trust Him.
Johnny Stone and I are so happy to be serving in afternoons in our nation’s capital for such a time as this. As someone joked the other day, “Making marriage great again!”
What’s new at WGTS and with you
WGTS 91.9 is an amazing group of people that I am honored to serve side-by-side with. The station is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary and we have WGTSfest coming up on April 1st with MercyMe, Citizen Way and Jonny Diaz. Farther into the year, we have an anniversary concert, Day of Hope and Gala that are all in the planning stages. I am astonished at what Jerry Woods and the team here are accomplishing with the support of management. You would think that there was a staff of 100 (there’s not) when you look at what they are completing in Jesus’ name. So that is the biggest news from the Stone family as we moved from Arizona to Maryland in January to join this wonderful staff. On another note, I graduated from Liberty University with my Master’s of Arts in Professional Counseling so I will be applying what I learned during that degree to on air and a future part-time counseling practice. The community service aspect of radio is what drew me in to begin with and I love how He has melded the two together so that our medium can bring more people closer to Christ.
What are some programming issues that you find are unique to your market?
There was a report by the District Department of Transportation yesterday that traffic in Washington, D.C. is five times worse in the afternoon than it is in the morning. That intrigued us here on the programming staff so I look forward to reading more of the report and applying it to the value of our traffic reports in the afternoons. Other than that, I am too new to the area to speak about specifics. Check back with me in about a year!
What is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
I have been blessed throughout my career to have some major players speak into my life over and over again so I hesitate to point out one but I will. John Frost has repeatedly taught me (and many others) how to stretch our mad skills beyond what we thought was possible. I remember a CMB where he provided a storyteller’s session and I have never told or written a story the same way since. Tommy Kramer also has this ability to say astonishing things that I never forget and I continue to teach others the use of camera angles that he taught me so long ago. It was one of those two who told me in a time of unemployment that, “You can’t turn down a job that you have been offered” and that has helped me advise many an intern over the years!
The worst is harder to emotionally recall but has set me on a path where I know exactly what not to do to build up another person. A PD who told me I had no talent, another who said I needed to lose the accent and the one who told me that listeners did not want to hear what a woman had to say were probably the top three. I learned something from each of them and I am stronger because of each interaction. And all three are out of Christian radio; I can’t imagine why? J
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better. Do you agree with that, why or why not?
I grew up in Fort Worth, TX where we had two very strong Christian stations and they both served very different purposes. But what stood out for both of them was the personalities that were talking to me and not the number of stations. These two stations raised the bar on each other and themselves and were considered competitors to the country station where I began my career so I believe that it is the quality of stations (personalities) and not the number of stations. And for the future, you can count the number of stations nationwide as your competitors with the connected car so I’m not sure our discussion about markets will be relevant a few years from now.
What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your show?
I have a little Vera Bradley pencil bag that Amy, my producer from Family Life Radio, gave me so I would always have my lipstick and pens with me. The bag represents so much more; all of the people that I know are in my corner and rooting for me to succeed.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
Working at WGTS, all I have to do is look around to see where they are coming from. We are on the campus of Washington Adventist University and our team includes numerous students who have that same passion that I spoke of earlier. Each day they defy what our culture is saying about their generation by working hard, applying themselves to ministry and serving others. There is not a “slacker” among our students and for that I am forever grateful. I am honored to have the opportunity to teach them the skills that they need to become the air talent that future generations will learn from.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I strongly feel that many times our biggest obstacles are what we are telling ourselves about what working in Christian radio means. If it means that you are to be hired because you are a Christian and that you are not to grow and learn, then we will never be competitive. If our competitive streak as an American is to be squashed because we serve Christ, then you are telling less and less people about Him. And if you are limiting your budget and not allowing God to bless your ministry or employees because it’s just not right to think monetarily, bless your heart.
Who are your radio heroes and influences and why?
My husband is my greatest radio hero and influence but other than him… Every woman who wakes up, knows that her family is taken care of then puts on these headphones is my hero. I look at so many of their FB posts or personal emails and I too wonder how they get it all done with happy and healthy kids to boot!