Career Capsule: I was born in Detroit, Michigan, but I was raised in Florida. Shortly after my family moved South, my parents discovered 91.3 Hope FM. My parents were unbelievers at the time, but heard about a Christian concert. Soon after, they came to know Christ at the church where they had attended the concert. I began a summer internship with the station in 2011 which led to becoming a volunteer and eventually, an employee in 2012. The radio station has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.
Shayna, tell us what’s new… news, changes, at WHIF & with YOU… etc?
Currently, we are in the midst of our back to school supply drive. It’s something we have done the past few years, but this year we have had an overwhelming and prompt response from our listeners!
Two of my co-workers have a show now on Friday mornings (the Morning Ride) and it’s been a big hit. It makes me feel like a listener again! It’s been fun being behind the scenes, taking video and pictures, producing promos and creating fun graphics.
My heart right now is the show I host for the youth on Friday afternoons, Hope for the Next Generation. It’s been a dream of mine for many years and it finally became a reality a couple of years ago. It was one of those why not me? situations. My first show was during Hurricane Matthew and the power went out mid-song, I’ll never forget it! My mission is to share hope, to pierce through society norms of have fun while you’re young to setting an example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity, as it says in 2 Timothy 4:12. I want the next generation to know they’re not alone, they don’t have to compromise and that there is hope!
Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Over the years of being at Hope FM, I’ve made it my purpose to grow where I’ve been planted. Radio is always changing and growing, I’ve had to do the same to keep up with it! Lately, I’ve been putting a greater emphasis on using social media to connect with listeners. I love using my artistic side to create eye catching graphics that get listeners excited about the next big thing.
One thing I love about our station is that there is a greater emphasis on ministry than competition. We have a small staff and are listener supported so we understand we have to be practical. It’s my hope that people hear what they need to get through another day rather than make us their number one preset.
What is the best show advice you’ve been given? The worst?
Be a storyteller is probably the best advice I’ve received and am often reminded of. I love hearing/sharing stories and it builds a strong bond with listeners. I never cease to be amazed when a listener I don’t really know that well, asks about my kayaking trip or how my sister is…
As for the worst advice? What comes to mind is being told to avoid exclusivity by sounding too church-y or speaking in “Christianese.” A big part of my show is spent reading straight from the Bible (no paraphrasing.) I view it as an opportunity to get our audience to ask questions and go to the Word themselves whether or not they’re believers.
Some say more Christian stations in a market the better, do you agree with that, why or why not?
Our station is community centered so I have a heart for smaller stations making an impact in their communities. The more, the merrier!
What is the ONE thing you must have every day to do your job/show?
Is it too cliche to say coffee? Iced, of course. A diffuser on stressful days helps during long hours in the studio. On a serious note, I’d say a thankful heart. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do and I never want to take it for granted.
Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?
My story began with a Summer internship. I hope to have the opportunity to see someone fall in love with radio the same way I did through volunteering. It was never something I imagined doing until I experienced it. There’s needs to be chemistry, it’s more than wanting to have a broadcasting career or having a good voice, you really have to love it and connect well with others who feel the same way.
Generally speaking to the industry what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio?
I’d say the biggest obstacle facing Christian radio is the ability to speak the truth, unafraid and unashamed. So often we try to fit in or even worse, blend in, rather than to use this as a platform to make a difference. Jesus was controversial and I don’t want to be afraid to take a stand, even if it makes people uncomfortable. Conviction is a tool to help people realize they need a Savior.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
I’m very inspired by Brant Hansen! I really value his honesty and his fearlessness in sharing his humor on the air and off. Last year at Momentum, I felt so relieved and refreshed by his testimony in one of the breakout sessions. I had all this guilt about days I just wasn’t feeling it along with this constant battle between an introverted personality and being in a field that calls me out of my box daily. I went back to work the next week with a renewed purpose.