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Lisa Marie Interview

Lisa Marie
Fill-in Announcer and Traffic Reporter
KSBJ
Houston

Career Capsule: As a teenager, always on my phone, my mother would yell, “Lisa Marie, get off that phone, Ain’t no one gonna pay you to talk!”. Before Alzheimer’s’ clouded mom’s mind, we had a good laugh at God’s sense of humor. I studied Broadcasting at Alvin Community College. Class of ’95. My first radio job was in 1996, at Shadow Traffic. I reported traffic, news, and weather for KILT, KMJQ, KHMX, KTRH, KPRC, and ironically, KSBJ. On September 11, 2001, I was reporting traffic for KSBJ and Susan O’Donnel’s morning show. Ten years later, while she was interviewing me, we both said,. “That was you!??” I’ve been here ever since.

 

Lisa, tell us what’s new at KSBJ … news, changes, & whats new with YOU… etc?

People!
I remember when we had maybe 75-ish employees. With the merger of WayFM and KSBJ into Hope Media Group, I no longer know everyone here. The halls are fuller! Change has been scary for this old-school KSBJ fan. But, to our listeners, have faith. I believe our hometown ministry is in good hands, because these are good people, and God is still in control.

As for me, my kids are grown. So, I’m learning how to make meals just for two. I make breads and pastas by hand. My striped ravioli and buttery dinner rolls are my current secret weapon.

 

What did you learn about Christian radio, from the pandemic, that you didn’t know before?

I learned the hard way, about the absolute reality that our listeners and callers are actual real souls, effected by even the smallest things we do and say.

In the studio, we’re often too busy to sit and just chat with callers. One of my long-time callers, “Mr. Tom”, would call to pray over KSBJ, and for me.  I just let him continue, and we became friends. One day, Mr. Tom stopped calling. Someone who knew him let me know that Mr. Tom had passed. They told me that as a KSBJ DJ, letting him pray over me, and me asking him if he was following is Dr’s orders, meant the world to him. Turns out, Mr. Tom was bed-ridden and had no family. Never forget the amazing responsibility you have as a Christian DJ; Loving every one of those callers.

To honor him, You can hear “Mr. Tom” announce: “You are listening to Lisa Marie”, when I’m on the air.

 

What is the best show advice you’ve been given, the worst in your career?

Best: Purchase 3 alarms; A wind-up, a battery-powered, and an electric alarm. There is no ‘Late’ in radio.

 

You have a long history at KSBJ, tell us how that came about?

Buckle up! God took me on a ride!

In 2011, I had been out of radio for a few years homeschooling my three kids, and then my husband lost his job. Pam Kelly (Sigurdson), who I worked with in the 90’s at Shadow, and was then the KSBJ Assistant P.D., met a young lady at a church small group. Turns out Pam was talking to my cousin. God surely giggled when we all realized that Pam and I, for years, had attended the same church, just different services! So, hearing about our money troubles, Pam invited me to come work for KSBJ. I told her I had never DJ’d anywhere. She didn’t care. She said she knew I could do it.

I have to tell you. I was a fan of KSBJ since 1991. And I had worked only in secular radio. I was afraid that if I worked there, I might learn it’s just another station. Thankfully, I had no reason to worry. The first night I was there, Pam turned to the phoned-in prayer request, that we had just received. She emailed it to the prayer volunteer, who would pray for them as well. With that, I said, “I’m In!” Since then, I’ve covered every shift, Including covering traffic, for Mr. Bill Ingram.

When God allowed KSBJ to rank #1 in the Houston ratings, in 2021, I was speechless. I mean, a native Houstonian, who dreamed of being on the radio, and a fan of KSBJ, gets to be on the team that God took to #1, in her own hometown? How do you top that? In God’s story, I’m happy to sweep the floors just to be a part of it.

 

What’s your feeling on podcasts, should air personalities have one?

I’m not a podcast fan. Most podcasts could be mistaken for some unpaved, unlit, dead-end road.
Look, if you want to get my ears, you’re going to have to lighten up and talk like a normal person. The “Anything But Quiet Time Podcast” has this nailed. And stop trying to cover every possible angle, trying to appease everyone. Boring! A dusty encyclopedia covers everything, but not exactly exciting. God’s word is THE single most exciting thing known to man. Our job is to tell the story and let that light shine through! Bill Ingram is the professor of storytelling. His “Welcome to Texas” podcast can shine a light on, and make you grateful for blessings around our state, while making you want to take a road trip, all in under 2 minutes. If you’re just doing the same recycling of that “Scripture of the day” that’s on my desk calendar, Bless your heart. But I’m not listening.

 

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

Podcasters and YouTube.

Today’s kids are already making their content. They research, create, and produce their own stuff already. All they need is a phone and a few apps. This younger generation might not know how to splice physical tape in time for the morning show’s news cast, but then again, I never learned how to use a teletype machine. The point is, techniques change, but the message will shine through. I mean, if I’m not mistaken, it was the kids on TikTok that made Katy Nichole’s “IN JESUS NAME” (GOD OF POSSIBLE) famous before any station played it, by using the music as the bed for their own content.

 

Generally speaking what’s the biggest issues & obstacles facing Christian Radio today?

Polarizing politics.

 

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

On Air: Shara Fryer 740 KTRH.
Before radio, she was a television news anchor for our local ABC TV station for years. As a ‘News Nerd’ kid, who constantly moved from foster home, to family home, to another home, she was my constant. In the old days of cable, each town had a station scrolling community news. This was my teleprompter, and I used it to practice working along side Shara Fryer. She is still the most professional example of who I wanted to be when I grew up. Still haven’t had the honor of meeting her.

Off Air: Barbara Beninati KSBJ
Or, as we at KSBJ call her, “Momma Natti”, because she makes sure the on-air staff is completely taken care of. She’s been the Programming Assistant longer than I’ve been here. And she is the definition of “A Servant’s Heart”. My first day was Share-a-Thon 2011, it was the final day, and everyone was excited and dressed fancy. I watched her, dressed in the most beautiful red gown, stop everyone in a crowded hallway so that she could reach down and wipe up big food mess on the floor. Since then, I have decided that I also want to be her, when I grow up.

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