Career Capsule: I started this incredible journey in high school. I was in speech class when my teacher suggested I try out for an on-air position at the school radio station. At first, I really was not interested, but my grandmother encouraged me to give it a try! That led to part time jobs at commercial radio stations (in Anderson, Indiana and Indianapolis) after graduation and throughout my college years. I did take a 15 year detour from radio. My college advisor wanted me to sign up for an internship at a local television station. I was in college during the Jane Pauley years – so I spent a good part of my broadcasting career in TV News. After leaving television news and having enjoyed many wonderful years as a stay-at-home mom, the Lord opened the door for me in Christian radio at WGNR in Anderson and now WTGN in Lima, Ohio.
Linda, Tell us what’s new at WTGN…any news, changes, etc…and what’s new with you?
We’re so grateful and giving God the glory that the station is fully funded for 2022! I’m so humbled that as a listener-supported station, God stirs in the hearts of His people to not only pray but give very generously because they love Jesus and understand the power of radio as a conduit to share the Gospel. Our station has also been immensely blessed to have a major rebuild thanks to the generous partnership of our listeners. New boards for the studios, new consoles, furniture, mics, vox pro, phones – All new! As for me, I’m enjoying serving the Lord with wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m blessed to grow as a Music Director and look forward to future fellowship, learning and fun at Momentum again!
How do you balance work and family, how important is it for someone in Christian radio to have a life?
I’m an empty nester. Still can’t believe my one and only beloved daughter has graduated from college and is married! The years went way too fast! In radio, we all wear many “hats.” When it comes to balancing work with my personal life, I make time for friends, my church family and down time for myself. I love to hike and take photos. Photography – and getting outside in nature – is therapy for me! Balance is so important for overall health – physically and mentally.
Overall, what is the best programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken! Be real, be honest, transparent, welcoming and approachable. Listeners think of us as a trusted friend. What an honor and a privilege it is to be invited into their lives. I generally choose to focus on the best advice I’ve been given!
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?
I think I was surprised by the number of listeners who reached out to us – and at the time did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. They were looking for hope – searching for something and turning to us as their new friend. For all listeners, they consider us a trusted friend – a familiar voice to offer comfort and encouragement. It was such an interesting time for all of us as a radio family, when we had no idea what each day would hold. We had to turn to the Lord for our own comfort and strength – even with the many questions and uncertainty that we wrestled with as broken people. What an amazing God I serve that allows a broken person like me to pour into the lives of other broken people.
What are your thoughts on podcasting, should all Christian broadcasters have a podcast? Please explain.
I think content – including podcasting are vitally important for the future of terrestrial radio. Podcasting gives listeners a great option to listen at their convenience. I think back to when I was a new mom with my newborn daughter. I always enjoyed teaching programs, but at that time in my life, it would have been difficult to listen to a teaching program on-air at a specific time in its entirety. In the midst, of a new level of love and sleep deprivation, Christian music, and minute programs were great ways for me to be fed spiritually. Had podcasting been available, I would have enjoyed that listening option. Podcasting is here to stay. Content needs to be relevant in this story-driven culture. People can relate to a story or a message that equips and encourages.
Where will new up and coming on-air talent for Christian Radio come from?
On-air talent will always have to be good storytellers and good communicators, but not necessarily graduates of Communication programs. We are already seeing on-air talent who were former teachers and others who have counseling backgrounds. They are doing phenomenal on-air work because at the heart of it, these individuals are great storytellers and they know how to connect with listeners. Be teachable. Be humble. We are all privileged to be on the Christian Radio mission field. No matter the former work background, on-air talent who have a heart for the lost is a powerful weapon in God’s arsenal. We all are ambassadors for Christ.
Generally speaking to the industry, what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian on-air talent?
So far, praise the Lord, we still have the freedom in this country to open up the mic and talk about Jesus. Sometimes, there are challenges that can include a lack of vision and strategic planning that can be obstacles to growth. I am blessed to work for a Moody Radio affiliate that has some incredible programming minds willing to share their gifts and knowledge. We’re always looking for Gospel bridges. How do we reach younger generations? Grandparents get the smart phone and learn to text to stay connected to their grandchildren. We have to find ways to be a “bridge” – not offending our current listening base and financial givers – yet looking to reach the younger generation. Embrace change. We can’t always do things the way they’ve been done in the past.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? And why?
There are so many people I love and respect in this industry. I’ve had the honor to work with some incredibly talented people who have spoken into my life and have taught me how to think through my own personal hope stories and songs to share the Gospel. How humbling and amazing it is that God works through us/Christian Radio to change lives for eternity. I learned that being real, vulnerable, building relationships and having fun appeals to our listening family. As I’ve grown in my on-air announcing, I always want to be authentic with our listeners since we are all on their journey together.