Career Capsule: My career in radio started in 1983 as the overnight DJ at pop/rock KMGZ in Lawton, Oklahoma. I was literally hired off the street because “my voice had potential and they could teach me.” With a background in print news, I eventually moved into the morning news anchor slot and worked at several small market stations over the next decade.
I joined my first Christian radio station, KMOC, Wichita Falls, TX as program director, news director and midday show host in 1992 a few years after giving my life to Christ. I, 1996, I switched back to newspaper for several years before moving to the Dallas area and joining KCBI in 2002 where I would move from the news department to midday show host and then back to news.
After moving to East Texas in 2008, I switched career fields, working in marketing, fundraising and freelance writing and did a part-time stint for KVNE in 2013-15. God opened the door for me to return to Christian radio fulltime in 2019 as the evening host for KVNE.
It was all in His timing. I lost my oldest daughter, Mandy a few weeks before joining the staff, and then a year later, my husband, Bryan, joined her in Heaven. Despite those incredible losses, I choose joy, and embrace life and laughter in hopes that sharing my faith and my personal journey is an encouragement to my listeners.
Lynda, tell us what’s new at KVNE… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
It’s an exciting time here at Encouragement Media Group with a large building expansion project underway and expected to be completed in spring 2023. The expansion will accommodate our growing staff as we’ve added stations over the last three years to include Fuzion, our Spanish Christian format, which has since expanded into the Lufkin/Nachodoches market, The Well, our Bible teaching station, and a streaming-only Spanish Bible teaching station, Moda Vida. Our streaming numbers continue to grow consistently on all formats, including doubling on our worship format, Lift Worship.
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
As the evening host, it is a challenge to engage in activities outside of work, but I do spend time with my children and grandchildren, frequently traveling to visit them on weekends. They live in North and East Texas, so we make that time a priority, and I keep a running house to-do list for them, for sure! I have recently joined a church and started attending in person after watching on-line services since the pandemic closures and losing my husband. Stepping out of my comfort zone to get involved, and even learning how to ask for help, has been difficult, but I know God has plans for me in that area of my life, so I am taking those steps now. I would say making time for family and church is vital to our work in Christian radio. Many of the breaks we share are born out of those experiences; the heartbreaking, the funny, the challenging, and the joyful moments that our listeners can relate to, even when it’s an admission to curling up on the couch and binge-watching our favorite show all weekend. I meet people at remotes who know me as the “crazy cat lady,” and that’s OK.
Overall, what is the best show/programming advice you’ve been given? The worst?
The best advice I’ve had in my career was when I switched from rock radio to Christian radio. My GM told me, “Just picture yourself talking with a friend across the breakfast table. Just have a conversation.” Also, edit, edit, edit. When sharing stories, or audio, get the point across in a relatable way with the least amount of words to make a maximum impact. The worst? Back in the day, we used the term “puking,” or talking from the back of the throat to deliver overly dramatic song intros and station IDs. That’s how I was taught to DJ in the early 80s. Those airchecks will stay buried unless you need a good laugh.
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?
That our words truly make a difference, and even when you don’t think anyone is listening to you on those evening hours, God is prompting someone to tune in at just the right time to hear a story or a song that He wants to use to encourage them. We all have a common hurt from that time with some of us losing a loved one, or losing a job, or battling with anxiety and uncertainty and the message we share in Christian radio offers a powerful anecdote to the chaos of this world: hope.
What are your thoughts on podcasting, should all Christian broadcasters have a podcast?… Please explain…
I don’t feel that every Christian broadcaster should have a podcast. I believe that’s an avenue that should be explored to reach more people, different audiences, you’re your brand of encouragement, but only if that’s part of your God-given talent, passion and purpose. If you force it because it’s the trendy thing to do, it isn’t coming from a genuine place. I can’t say I have listened to a lot of Christian radio personalities’ podcasts, but, speaking for myself, I don’t feel that’s something I’m passionate about, so, I wouldn’t pursue it. I lean more toward blogging because writing is still a passion for me, while a podcast would feel like a foreign land. But, if it’s a passion, and you’re versed in how to do it and provide great quality content, then yes.
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
I have been so impressed with how my co-worker, Laci Caviness has jumped into her role as afternoon host here with no prior radio experience, as well as our Fuzion announcers. They all come from different backgrounds, with Laci as a worship leader. The key is having a heart for ministry and the ability or desire to share your faith. I have decades of radio experience, but I learn from her every day as she shares from her heart. You can learn the technical part, but God gives us a gift of communication that can’t be learned in broadcasting school. The willingness of Christian stations to look beyond the radio experience line of someone’s resume can open doors for talent they never expected.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian air talent?
This may not be the biggest obstacle, but it’s one I’m a bit passionate about. The availability of what I would call true Christian show prep, is a big problem. There are a few services that we subscribe to that offer some great stuff, but finding the ones that specifically relate to Christian audiences are hard to find. Sure, it’s great to talk about everyday life stuff that we all face, but those nuggets that speak directly to Christians in a fun or informative way are rare without doing your own show prep mining from multiple sources for hours.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Sharon Geiger, who was the news director at KCBI in Dallas when I was there had a huge impact in my career. I learned so much from her even though I had been doing radio news for a long time. Learning from Sharon in an award-winning news department in a large market, sharpened me, challenged me and encouraged me to grow and stretch my abilities as a live reporter and as an anchor. Her work ethic and her passion for whatever project she faced, inspired me. These days, Mike Harper and Carrie Parsons, our morning show team at KVNE, inspire me to be authentic and share the funny and hard parts of my life in a genuine way. Making someone laugh or cry, smile and feel hope is a gift and that’s why I strive for.