Feature InterviewInterviews

Mary OBrien Interview 6-12-17

Mary O’Brien
Mornings with Mary & Josh / Director of Community Outreach

Career Capsule: I started at 104.9 the River in 2006 as a part-time promotions assistant and eventually moved to a full-time position to assist with production responsibilities.  I then took on the Production Director position and joined the afternoon show.  A couple years later I transitioned to Promotions Director and moved to the morning show.  4 years later I switched gears moving to a solo midday show while heading up the station’s community outreach efforts.  As of May this year, I reunited with my former morning show cohost to (re)launch Mornings with Mary & Josh.  And I continue to head up the station serve projects and involvement in the community.

Mary, Tell us what’s new with WCVO… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

We are in the midst of some pretty exciting changes at 104.9 the River.  Laura Chase, former morning show co-host, just launched a solo show, The Good Life with Laura Chase, weekdays from 10am-3pm.  A new afternoon show will be launched near the end of June and Josh Hooper and myself reunited to do the morning show again.  I’m beyond thrilled to be able to join Josh in the mornings while doing the behind the scenes community work that keeps my heart in touch with the needs of the community.

What are some unique characteristics you’ve discovered about your market?

We have some of the most loyal listeners around!  The station has gone through some pretty big changes in the 10 years that I’ve been there, and the fans always stick with us and support the ministry during growing pains.  Some really interesting insights came from our last Auditorium Music Test last January.  The market’s tastes are slowly evolving and changing.  It’s exciting!

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

Get to the point!  I’m an expressive and tend to add a TON of details during every day conversation so I’ve worked very hard on weeding out the information that doesn’t move the story along.   Regarding the worst advice, it’s become a joke around the office, but the guys always encourage me to cry on the air as much as possible ; )

Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?

Ultimately, our goal is to impact more and more lives about the hope found in Jesus.  So the answer would be yes if you look at it from that angle.  However, when your competitive, human side takes over and you want to be at the top (I’m guilty), not so sure the answer would be yes ;)

What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job?

My anxiety medication? ;)  I thoroughly enjoy my job and wouldn’t change a thing, but the anxiety still beats me up every day.

Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Our internship program has led to many new hires.  It has become our “minor league” system.  I know that we’ve mentored college students and have found on-air talent just be being aware of someone’s potential even though they were hired for something completely different.

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

Attention is probably the biggest obstacle for all of us.  There’s so much out there competing for our time and energy.  I also hear that connected cars and driverless cars could be a thing by 2025 – is that even possible!  The car could become another workspace and TV and video could become more popular choices in that space.

Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

I adore and respect Lisa Williams tremendously.  She is incredibly talented, has a huge heart and is always entertaining to listen to.

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