Career Capsule: You never know what the Lord has in store for you! My hometown is Virginia Beach, Virginia, but being an Army Kid, I have lived in many places including 4 years in in Okinawa, Japan. I attended college at a Historic Black College/University (HBCU) with a major in Mass Communications and Public Relations. I worked at the college radio station for a time, and I was hooked. I worked in commercial radio for 8 years in several formats from alternative rock to classical and as a promotions assistant. I met my “Honey,” Ellis B Feaster, in Virginia Beach where we worked across the street from each other at competing radio stations. Fast forward 20+ years later – we are working for the Lord at the same broadcasting company!
Hope, tell us what’s new at WPOZ and G Praise… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
I host the morning show on GPraise, WPOZ’s contemporary R & B Gospel station playing artist like Kirk Franklin, Travis Greene and CeCe Winans. We point listeners to Christ and serve God and help people. Our audience is looking for ways to help their churches, their neighbors and communities in more ways. When budgets are tight and resources limited we must make sure that we take every opportunity to share unity and peace. GPraise is continually looking for more opportunities to be able to carry out this mission. As for me I was off the air for 5 months due to a life threating infection with my foot and surgery. It was a challenging time but having that time to commune with the Lord and find out what direction I’m headed next was a well needed rest. Thanks so much for all prayers. It helped me to keep encouraged.
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
You must have an authentic life that you share with your listeners. There is no half stepping when working for God. If you don’t take the time to rest and get the message from the Lord so you can pass it on then you can’t be authentic with your audience or yourself for that matter. I like to read a lot, travel, hang out with friends and family and of course hang out with my “Honey” Ellis Feaster. People can smell fake a mile away and that is no way to spread God’s message.
What is the one accomplishment you’re most satisfied with in your career?
Taking this position at WPOZ/GPRAISE. I had given up on broadcasting for a few years and went to work in the financial industry. The work of it was pretty cool but it didn’t feed the soul and answer the first call of my heart broadcasting. So when God convinced me to get back into broadcasting I told him “I don’t know about this. You sure?” Of course he just laughed at me. Funny story… When Dean O’Neal found out that I use to work in radio he kept teasing me about getting back into it. I kept saying no someone in the family had to have the grown up job since my husband Ellis worked on the morning show at Z88. So every day for a month when I was driving home from my old job the God made me stop at the intersection at a red light with at GPraise billboard staring me in the face. I kept telling Him I’m not sure but you promise to help me? I finally listened and applied and got the position. It was a struggle for me to take the chance but I’m so glad I did. Jesus and I have an agreement. He gives me the words to say….. I say it and everything works out ok.
What’s something you’ve learned about Christian Radio due to the pandemic, that you didn’t know before?
That we may all be in different places in our life but we are where we are supposed to be on this walk. Sometimes it going to be rough but we are not alone and we’re going to be alright. Christian Radio plays a vital role in that walk with providing music that can keep the body & heart going thru rough times and happy times. Encouragement to keep going. That is our part as Christian broadcasters.
Reflecting on changes in the industry over the years what is one that you feel had the most impact on Christian Radio?
Being able to stream the music that you want to listen to whenever you want to listen to it. Don’t get me wrong… I love being able to do that but as an on air personality you must realize that people can do that and you must do your best to be relevant and have an engaging conversation that people want to listen to instead of and electronic “jukebox” and make sure they come back every day. It is a big challenge on my station because it is so music intensive however you can always use every break to speak to and encourage your audience and let them know were all together on this walk. Anyone can have a computer play music but it takes a person to help make that music relate to life.
On air talent has always been at the heart of Christian Radio, where do you think the future personalities will be found?
Our new personalities will be found in all walks of life and in new broadcast mediums. In radio we sometimes have a narrow view of what makes a good air talent. Back in the day people were beating down our doors to come work in radio. Not so much now. We must start to grow our own farm teams so to speak. Cultivate people who come to us. Make sure we are looking
Everywhere even in our own station family for talent. We had a receptionist that became an on air talent here at WPOZ and GPraise because we recognized she had the passion for radio and our mission we trained her on the rest. If we don’t do that Christian Radio will become stagnate.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
Making sure we stay up to date with our listener life concerns and keep being relevant. Encouraging them to be the best people they can be in Christ. Keep being the place where they know that we are plain ol’ humans sharing their life that looks like theirs and we all move forward and make it. That is a big boulder to move so to speak but we can do it. We also need to realize that we are unique to radio that we don’t have to answer to the world. We serve a higher purpose and that purpose will direct us which way to go.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Since I’m a rocker at heart and grew up in Norfolk / Virginia Beach, VA area I grew up listening to Mike Arlo, Les Wooten & Henry Del Toro. Loved their delivery and the way they connected with their audience and Frankie Crocker (WBLS) & Joe “Butterball” Tamburro (WDAS). Smooth delivery and very knowledgeable. Both brought a new and fresh feel that even in this day and time set a good example of what an air personality should try to be in any format. In Christian radio Beth Bacall at The Fish in Atlanta, GA. She is lots of fun on the air. My “Honey” Ellis Feaster of the Ellis and Tyler morning show at Z88.3 in Orlando Florida. What you hear is what you get. A fun on topic morning show that I learn something from every day. And of course the team at WKRP…… if you know … you know.