Feature InterviewInterviews

Stephanie Jenkins interview

Stephanie Jenkins
Morning Show Co-Host/Brand Manager
Springfield, MO

Career Capsule: After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media from Missouri State University, I worked in development for an NPR affiliate. The licensee acquired the local PBS station and I added television to my resume. After taking some time away from the workforce to expand our family, I joined my Alma Mater as the Professional Advertising Manager of the student run newspaper. Experience in radio, television and print let to being recruited by a local faith-based credit union to work in their innovative marketing department. It was while serving there that God opened the door for this crazy, fun thing I get to do now…on-air personality and brand manager.


Stephanie tell us what’s new at KWND… news, changes, & with YOU… etc?

In the last six months we have doubled our listening area! Wow, isn’t God good! We recently dropped 500 turkeys out of an airplane and our listeners loved it! Guess where we got that idea?! (They were small polyurethane turkeys. So no harm was done!) Personally, I stepped back into Children’s Minsitry after a four-year break (and by break, I mean serving in another area of my church). I also took a trip over the 40 hill during that break. Oddly enough, all of those worship song action are much more involved! Aerobics for Jesus!


Christian Radio has become very competitive… what do you do to stand out from the crowd?

We try to focus inward. If we want to gain something out of being competitive we need to be competitive with ourselves. How can we be better at what WE are doing? How can WE serve our listeners better?  Along with that we need to be willing to butcher our sacred cows. Just because we have always aired that program or done that promotion/outreach doesn’t mean it is still relevant. We must have those hard conversations and do those hard things in order to be the best representatives of Jesus we can be.


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

The best: Always be yourself. I have shared my mom fails, my wife fails, my struggles with depression/anxiety and so many more “ugly” things on the air…and all just as easily as the funny things. I don’t want listeners to wonder what I am like in real life, I want them to experience it.
The worst: Stay until the end of the concert. This is the absolute worst thing you can do for a morning show the next morning. Even if you miss the headliner. And be honest with the listeners…I went home early so I could be present with you this morning.


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

I say bring it! Maybe that is because in Southwest Missouri you can toss a rock and hit a church. There are so many. I am just used to it. The way I see it, if you don’t like one you have plenty of options.


What is the ONE thing you must have everyday to do your job/show?

Breakfast. Seriously, if I don’t eat first the show is not as good. It really is the most important meal of the day!


Where will future Christian radio air talent come from?

Maybe I am biased because this is how I came to be on-air talent, but there are so many great personalities just sitting out there doing regular jobs. These are the folks with the authenticity listeners are looking for.


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

Our biggest obstacle is being in ministry. Ministry is hard, messy and ugly. And if we are doing it right the enemy is going to fight us with burnout, frustration, tension, the list goes on an on. But if we cling to our Heavenly Father, trust in His ways and continually lift each other up we will see the rewards of ministry which are far greater than the hurts. We must be honest with ourselves and others in the industry when we feel ministry has gotten the best of us. If not, the enemy wins.


Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?

Growing up listening to a local country station, one of the on-air personalities was from my tiny hometown. She was bigger than life to me, I wanted to be like her! I even recorded my own radio shows on cassette while sitting on my top bunk. Thirty years later God reignited that dream and here I am!