Career Capsule: I started my radio career in the summer of 2021 as a summer intern at KLRC and transitioned from there to the part-time Promotions Assistant at The Journey, and then in April of 2022, I was promoted to Full-Time as the Promotions and Production Assistant and the Midday Show Host. In March of 2023, I also started voice-tracking for Moody Radio’s Praise and Worship Channel.
Mercedes, tell us what’s new at WRVL… any news, changes etc… and what’s new with YOU?
Ahhh what isn’t new? Every day is a great new adventure! We’re gearing up for concert season here at WRVL, got Pat Barrett coming up and a few others in the works. I also just released a special podcast episode of “And The Artist Is…” featuring Liberty University’s new worship band (Seven Hills Worship) that is featured on our Sunday Worship Connection with their song, “Christ In Me”. We’re also partnering with Parkview Community Mission and their “Food For Thought” program to feed students! For what’s new with me? I just started voice-tracking for a station and I’m getting a puppy! (not radio related, but I’m really excited about it!)
How do you balance work & family, how important is it for someone in Christian Radio to ‘have a life”?
I think tying in Christian radio to my life is the way I balance it! When I’m stressed out about something or I need to talk about something, I turn it into an on-air break. It helps me because when I’m talking on-air, I’m relaxed! I do think it’s important to have boundaries, and that just comes with living in the moment. We aren’t called to live in the past or in the future, God has given us this moment, so the best thing that we can do is live every moment presently and with the people in our lives. When it comes to ‘having a life’, I think when we’re called to something it’s part of our lives, and when you’re in Christian radio, it’s because you’re called to it, so my life includes radio! With balance, I think it mostly comes down to ‘am I spending time with God and refreshing myself in the word?’ Because if we can answer that question correctly, the Holy Spirit is great about guiding us in the right direction.
Overall, what is the best show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
I’ve gotten a lot of great advice in the last two years, but the best piece of advice would definitely have to be to go out and do things in the community. How can you relate to your listeners if you’re not out experiencing things. Sitting at home in my apartment isn’t relatable to anyone. But when I got that piece of advice, I started trying new things, and not only did it give me great ways to relate to the people I’m talking to, but it also has gotten me out of my comfort zone on so many levels. The worst piece of advice? Ohhh I don’t know! Maybe because I’m so into cooking so to make that a part of my show, so in turn I’m always hungry! I’m just kidding, but in all seriousness, I can’t think of a bad piece of show advice that I’ve been given because even if the advice doesn’t help me personally, it shows me what not to do, so any advice is welcome!
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Christian Radio, that you didn’t know before?
Everything? The pandemic is actually how I got my start in radio. I was supposed to go see “Anastasia” the Broadway musical when it was on its tour but then because of the pandemic, it got canceled on the day of the show. Well, that was my 20th birthday gift and I didn’t know what to do with the refunded money. Because of my podcast, I was subscribed to PlayMPE (even though I didn’t know 100% what it was) and I saw the advertisement for a discount on a broadcasting conference…turns out it was the EXACT amount (with tax) that the refunded show ticket was, so I registered for something called virtual Momentum and that’s how I met a lot of my now radio friends who I kept in contact with while I sorted out what I wanted to do with my life and where I wanted to accomplish it at. When I started attending Liberty Online, I needed an internship and so I reached out to my new friend Kara from KLRC and asked if they had any available. Her response was that typically their internships went to JBU students, but she would check and see. Long story short, I got the internship, packed my stuff into my grandparent’s motorhome and moved 4 hours away to Arkansas for three months. The moment that I stepped into that studio, I knew that God was calling me to radio, I felt His peace like I never had before. So, the pandemic taught me what radio was and that it was my calling.
What are your thoughts on podcasting, should all Christian broadcasters have a podcast?
As a podcaster myself, I’m a big proponent of podcasting, however, I think you have to be serious about it to pursue it. The most important component of starting a podcast is, ‘do you have a subject that you’re so passionate about to commit to for the foreseeable future and be consistent with it?’ Something that is similar between podcasting and radio is that you have to be consistent or else the listeners won’t be there. I think all Christian broadcasters should understand it to some degree and understand why it’s so important nowadays. There are also so many podcasts out there that if you start one, you have to make sure that it’s different. Why would someone listen to your podcast versus someone else’s?
Where will new up and coming air talent for Christian Radio come from?
Honestly, there’s something to say about podcast hosts. Specifically, Christian podcast hosts. Because there are so many out there, it’s hard to get a podcast off the ground, but if you can get traction, then you know how to draw in a listener and relate to them, because that is what our audience craves, authenticity and vulnerability. I also happen to think that people that have a theatre or performing arts background have a talent for radio because of the attention to detail they have when it comes to speaking. I came from a theatre background before radio, and a lot of the skills that I have gained were rooted in the things I learned while acting and performing. So, I think great up and coming air talent can from there!
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian air talent?
This is one of those things that I’m still learning because I’m still new to the industry, but staying relevant within an ever-changing society that so heavily relies on streaming is a difficult task. Another obstacle that Christian air talent faces is the difficulty to be vulnerable with people. Because there is so much out in the world that is fake and surface level, being real and authentic is how listeners will better grasp on.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Everyone that has ever invested in me and believed in me to give me a chance to get me where I am today have been influences in my life. Kara at KLRC gave me my first shot at radio and is not only a great influence in my life, but also a great friend. Kenny Robinson has taught me so much about being an authentic on-air talent, and hearing his stories about all of his time in radio is an absolute blast. Learning production from Mark Edwards has been an incredible experience because of where I was in my production skills and where I am now. Jonny and Stacey Stone have also been such great positive influences in my life. There are so many names that I could put down, but for the sake of time, I won’t, but I am so grateful to everyone who have been there for me and offer advice wherever they can.