Career Capsule: My radio career capsule is very short, but I began volunteering with Your QFM when my husband Josh got the opportunity to join on-air in 2013. I would be behind the scenes answering phones and taking pledges during pledge drives, and shot pictures at concerts and events. Two years ago after some staff changes, I was presented the opportunity to join Josh on the morning show. I wasn’t thrilled with it, and thought I didn’t have a “voice for radio” or have anything to contribute. Our GM Phil Ehlke had a vision in the shower one morning, and he called to tell us “Yvonne needs to be on the morning show with you, and we’re going to call it “Waking Up With The Joneses” I agreed to try it for a month, and with the encouragement of Phil & Josh, I have grown to really enjoy it, and bring our life & marriage to the radio! We’ve been doing the morning show now for two years.
Yvonne, tell us what’s new at KKEQ… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
Over a year ago, our General Manager Phil Ehlke was given the opportunity to buy out the original shareholders of our radio station, and he added Owner to his title. We added a new mid-day gal named Vickie, who was also a pledge drive volunteer! You never know where the new talent is coming from, they might be right under your nose! What’s new with me…I colored my hair pink again! As strange as that may seem, it’s part of who I am! I’m known for it, especially when it comes to taking pictures of all the artists we get that come through for concerts. That’s how TobyMac remembered me at Momentum!
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
Life is radio, and radio is life! Every experience we have outside the radio walls comes back as stories and adventures to share with our listening family! We live in a small town, and everyone knows us. It is important to document things to talk about that happen so you don’t forget them! Then you can create a story around them. They all relate to everyday life. You do need to get outside the walls and soak in some downtime, though. Sometimes road-tripping or relaxing at the lake is mandatory to recharge.
What surprises/challenges have you encountered since starting to co-host the morning show with your husband, Josh?
The fact that I actually have to talk on the radio, instead of just being behind the scenes! Josh reminds me daily that our listening family can’t see me nodding my head behind the microphone! One of the other challenges is that I now understand why Josh would come home mentally drained at the end of the day. Radio is very mentally taxing, but in a good way!
What’s something you’ve learned about Christian Radio due to the pandemic, that you didn’t know before?
How receptive people are to the message of hope that we offer daily! That was a dark time for many people, with lots of worry and uncertainty. The good news of Jesus was a light that we could offer.
What is a unique characteristic for your market (or station), that many wouldn’t know about?
Your QFM is a stand-alone station, in a micro-market. We’re up with the rocks & cows in northern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota, but we serve just about the whole northern half of Minnesota with our main signal & translators. We have two studios, one located in Bemidji MN, and an identical one in Grand Forks, ND connected by the internet and Comrex units.
On air talent has always been at the heart of Christian Radio, where do you think the future personalities will be found?
I was a Your QFM volunteer taking pictures. Vickie our mid-day gal volunteered during pledge drives. They are often right under your noses, and have already shown interest in your radio station! Listen to their life & their stories, then teach them the mechanics to run the equipment!
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
In our case, fortunately we are a “heritage station” and have been around for over 20 years in one area, but have only been on the air a few years in others. Many still don’t know they have a “local” Christian radio station in their town. Our staff is small, and we don’t have a ton of manpower to beat the streets. I’d say visibility is an obstacle.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Lisa Williams spent time with Josh & I, and she is amazing and was very encouraging to a radio newbie. Rob Wagman was wonderful to have an aircheck with, and gave us great ideas to be better. Scott Herrold has always offered great content and ideas, and he has been a great friend to Josh & I.Also,I’d like to give a shout-out to our Women In Radio group!! They’re always there for me when I have questions or just need some encouragement.