Angela Stevens Interview

Angela Stevens
Afternoon Personality
WPER
Fredericksburg

Career Capsule: My radio career actually started when I was 17.  I was a freshman communications major and I worked for the college station on the campus of the little Christian college I was attending.  That’s where I met John Konrad who believed in me.  Then I met Alan Mason, John Frost, Tommy Krammer, and that’s where my radio career began.  I never planned to be in radio, but clearly it was God’s plan for me, and I was blessed to start it off interacting with some of the best minds in the business.  I briefly left Christian radio to work for Clear Channel Washington DC.  (God put me there to meet my husband when I was a traffic reporter.)  I then came back to Christian radio and have had the privilege of working for organizations like WGTS, Christian FM and their network of stations, and most recently Walk FM and WPER with Positive Alternative Radio.

 

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

Transitioning from spring to summer and now summer to back to school.  I was at home with my kids more this summer which made it waaay more busy.  Doing a happy dance now that my oldest is back in school.  

 

What unique obstacles do you face at WPER, explain?

I wouldn’t call it an obstacle, I’d call it a unique advantage is our broadcast territory at WPER.  We cover a huge portion of central Virginia, from Stafford to Richmond and King George to Front Royal.  These towns are all VERY different from each other.  Northern Virginia has a different culture than Richmond.  Front Royal has a different culture than Fredericksburg.  Finding ways to speak to all those places and unique cultures can be challenging especially when even the weather is completely different.  It’s even more challenging to plan engagement events that also serve all those areas.

 

What is the best show advice you’ve been given? The worst?

I’ve really had some amazing coaches throughout the years so pinpointing the best show advice is really hard. My foundation came from Tommy Kramer, and I really appreciated how he taught me to keep the focus on the listener.  I’ve spent a lot of time working with Chuck Finney too.  He taught me to be a better story teller, and how to tell stories in ways I had never thought of.  Recently I’ve been working with Lisa Williams and she had taught me how to keep my heart grounded and focused spiritually as we do this crazy ministry for Jesus.  I remember being told early in my career (probably at Clear Channel) to think of my job as air traffic control and not to worry about anything other than the liners.  That was probably the worst advice.  I’m glad I haven’t listened.

 

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

I actually agree in part with both sides.  Any time Jesus wins, in my book that’s a win for us all because isn’t that what we’re ultimately fighting for?  More Jesus in more places.  I do believe competition makes you better, and I believe in being competitive not to break your opponent but so that both of you can bring your best to the table.  I do believe it can become a negative thing if stations do not treat each other with honor and respect.  I believe the same is true for churches trying to serve the same city.  We all are placed here by God and have our unique missions to serve him.  Ultimately we’re here to serve Him and He gets to decide the opportunities he gives each station to serve Him better.  Our job is to do that the best way we can.

 

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

Coffee.  Show prep helps too.  Chocolate doesn’t hurt.  And when all those fail…bug your coworkers until content comes out.

 

Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Probably the internet.  Look at the how podcasting has grown, radio talent is starting to gravitate there.  Youtube is similar.  My kids never watch TV anymore, they follow their favorite YouTubers.  Since that seems to be a trend that’s growing I imaging radio will eventually follow suit.  And if you think about it, what a great place to practice your craft and your talent.

 

Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?

People no longer listening to radio.  I know the numbers say they are still listening, but how often and for how long compared to the past?  I’m a typical 38 year old mother of two.  Me and my friends still listen to radio, but we also listen to podcasts, and Youtube, and put videos on for the kids, and some mornings I even stream DirecTV in the car to keep the kids from fighting.  The choices are becoming more diverse and individualized so that’s the new battle I think we all are fighting.

 

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

(Wow, I’m actually scared to answer this question I suddenly feel really vulnerable.) My mom always listened to talk radio in the car growing up so I’ve always loved that format.  When I worked at Clear Channel I spent a few years working for the AM stations and I got to meet and get to know talent like Glenn Beck.  I loved how he told stories and teased things.  I know one of his radio influences was the Grease Man who I also met since I grew up and lived around Washington DC.

Since working in Christian radio I would have to say my two biggest influences have been Brant and Lisa Williams.  I would listen to Brant regardless of the format.  He makes me laugh and I love the way he talks about Jesus.  He even let me sit in on a show when he was at Way FM in Florida.  I learned practices that day I still use as part of my secret sauce for my shows.  I started listening to Lisa Williams a lot when I was just starting out and she was at Z88.3.  I would listen to learn how she could magically connect and relate to the listener so well.  I hear their influences in my tracks every day.  Brant taught me not to take myself too seriously and take risks, Lisa taught me how to connect to her through my heart.

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