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Kelly Blackwell Interview

Kelly Blackwell
Midday Host
WPHN The Promise FM
Gaylord, MI

Career Capsule: My radio path began as a receptionist for KGCB (Flagstaff) in 2007, shortly after I married my husband, Scott. I knew how to do one thing- answer phones. Still, I loved people, helping out, and learning, so I dived in whenever asked. I learned how to manage the website, blogging, volunteer coordinating, prayer, traffic, writing copy, and on-air responsibilities starting with sharing thrifty tips with the morning team once a week. After the sale of KGCB, I worked for Great Circle Media. In 2017 God called my husband Scott and me to Michigan, where I am now on Middays at The Promise FM in Gaylord. I also work with social media and our website.


Kelly, tell us what’s new at The Promise FM…news, changes and new with YOU…

There is such a fantastic team here at The Promise FM. Everyone in Christian radio wears many hats, but sometimes we like to keep our hat on and put another on top. Our leadership is encouraging us to learn to pass that hat onto someone else to try. We can grow together and support one another and the mission that God has given us and better serve our community in the long run. The newest thing for me is getting the chance to learn music direction. I am beyond excited!


How has your show been affected by the Pandemic? 

I camp out a lot on hope and encouragement, but I also allow myself to feel along with our listeners. Things are not sure, but God is. I love that Jesus is our source of hope, and I get to share that hope! I get to pray with them! How cool is that?


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

That is a tough one. Lisa Barry encouraged us to create word pictures, and she is just dynamite at it! Johnny Stone shared here to be present during your show with your listener. That was a gift! I don’t remember the worst advice, which is probably a great thing too!


Some say the more Christian stations in a market the “better”…What’s your opinion?

We have several stations in our market. I believe we work well together. My husband and I are road trip fans. We love locating Christian stations wherever we go; for us, it is like finding that restaurant that the townies love that you head into and see the football team eating sundaes; it brings an area to life. Frankly, we are disappointed when we only find one. 


What’s your opinion on podcasts… is it necessary to have one, are they a threat to radio..etc?

Podcasts are a beautiful bonus! When we moved to Northern Michigan, we lived for four months in an old cabin in the woods. If it rained, half the home had no power! Bad reception made podcasts a lifeline for me. Each weekend I would head to the library to download podcasts for the week. It is advantageous to have a podcast because they are a great way to connect, but you need to commit.


Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?

I think many potential on-air talents may not have gone the traditional educational route but could have just the heart you’re looking for. It could be someone in traffic, reception, or a volunteer. Take a chance! Follow your gut and help them grow.


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

Recharge time with God is a struggle for me. I spend a lot of time with studies and the Bible but I have to take off the on-air lens and focus on what the Bible says about God himself. Working without coaching can be an obstacle for some too. I am grateful to have Gary Morland. 


Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

Christian radio is full of so many generous souls! I was so blessed to have my first radio experience be with the incredible team at KGCB for ten years. Steve White, for giving me a chance before I even asked for one and who let me adjust my schedule when my son was going through a rough time. The man leaned on the Lord, and it showed. Sally Barton models excellence and heart (I tear up thinking of a time when I bawled on the phone to her when things were tough towards the sale of KGCB). She is an incredible leader. Fred Young, my PD, is the guy you want on your side! Pat Scott dives in where God directs. There are so many dynamic women in radio: Lisa Barry, Stacey Stone, Beth Bacall, Terese Main, Laura Chase, and so many more have inspired me. Really I hope to one day meet them all face to face! I have to finish with Dave Schreiber from Arizona Shine. If you are in the studio with Dave, he makes you sound incredible! He’s also just the coolest friend, and I miss our chats.

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