Feature InterviewInterviews

April O’Brien Interview 7-8-19

April O’Brien
Program Director

Career Capsule: Studied at Spring Arbor University with a BA in Communications-Class of ‘96

*Student Director of P.R. and On Air Personality for WSAE-SAU ’92-‘96

*On Air Personality & Assistant Production Director for WQTE in Adrian, MI-’97-‘99

*A short stint in Sales for WLMB TV 40 Toledo ‘99

*Creative Director at Clear Channel Toledo 2000-2006

*Production Director WYSZ-Yes FM Toledo 2006-2014

*Program Director WYSZ-Yes FM Toledo 2014-Present

*On Air Personality WYSZ-Yes FM Toledo-2000-Present, currently on afternoon drive


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

Although we’ve had a tower in Lima, OH and have been broadcasting there for several years, we now have a remote studio set up at a coworking space at a local coffee shop in Lima, so that we can better serve the Lima community, while continuing to also serve Toledo, Wauseon, and Fremont OH areas, as well as our on line and phone app listeners. We also launched a Classic stream last May, much to the delight of our old school listeners.  We’re playing the best of the best from 10 years ago and older.  You can check it out on www.yesfmclassic.com  We also have an Alexa for that, as well as YES FM.


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

Being competitive can help everyone bring their A game.  What that looks like for us is being on top of anything new from our core artists and getting that on the air as soon as possible.  We also strive to take every opportunity that comes our way to be out in the community, getting that one on one time with our listeners. 


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

When I was first promoted to Program Director, our President and CEO told me that I was going to fall flat on my face.  We he essentially was telling me was that I had the freedom to fail.  Some people would have found that insulting.  I found it to be the most freeing statement anyone had ever said to me.


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

I guess a little bit of both with that one.  While you want to have variety, and some competition to help spur on stations to bring their A game, the market can become easily over saturated, too.  I think there’s a fine line when it comes to balance.


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

Coffee, copious amounts of coffee!


In what area do you believe Christian Radio needs to improve most?

Know your audience.  What is it that they want?  What are their needs?  What’s going on in the community.  How is that station meeting those needs?  How is the station focusing on what’s going on in the communities they are serving?


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

I think complacency and mediocrity are two big ones.  Just because we’re a Christian station, doesn’t mean we have to be mediocre.  Christian shoddy is still shoddy.  As Christians, we should be the front runners in excellence. 


Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

Hands down Brant Hansen and Sherri!  They are real and they talk about real stuff.  I also love Brant because he’s open about being an Aspie.  My son also has Asperger’s and when I told Brant about him and asked if I could get a picture, he grabs my phone, puts it in video mode, and made a special message for Josh to watch.  That just spoke volumes, because it was the first time that I had ever met Brant and talked to him. 

2 thoughts on “April O’Brien Interview 7-8-19

  • Congratulations, April. Keep up the good work at WYSZ!

  • Sista April,

    I enjoyed reading this interview months later & you had some good points you mentioned. ( reaching your audience, finding out what they like, being involved with the community, that’s key to any media outlet ).
    Then not being fearful of being different in Radio mainstream.
    ( like me TCM trying to stand out from the norm ). Like Jesus did.

    Brant & Sherry Show, they are definitely real with the listening audience, that’s what matters in this day & age.. That was cool & “Brant” to make a camera video to send to your son Josh.

    Lastly, I just got around to opening up mail from February and read the YesFm Announcer, sad to read that you moved on. I remember us chatting about something like that coming up, just thought it was your husband Brian that was taking a step in Faith to pursue a new season.
    I m happy & sad to see you leave, knowing that I probably won’t get to chat with you at YesFm anymore.
    However, seasons change as I know all to well.
    We as Christians ( Jesus Followers ) need to follow the call that Holy Spirit ( GOD ) puts on our inner spirit/ heart. I’m pleased to know that U & Brian are in this new endeavor & call to step out of the comfort zone to pursue this new season together & with Josh to.

    Keep praying, praising & focus on JESUS Christ Almighty God..
    To GOD be the Glory!! ❤️👍🏽🙏🏽

    TCM 🚛


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *