10 Questions with ... Beth Waldeck
May 12, 2014
1. Brief history/Synopsis
I was born in Ft. Lauderdale, and lived in Florida until I was 21, except for two years in Phoenix, AZ. I lived in Tampa and St. Petersburg as well; but really consider The Florida Keys (Islamorada) home as that's where I spent so much time with extended family. I graduated from the University of South Florida in 1985 with a B.A. in Elementary Education. I spent 7 years on active duty with the United States Air Force and one year in the Hawaii Air National Guard (rough duty) as an Intelligence Analyst. My ADHD has lent itself to many jobs including the military, teaching at all levels, an EMT and of course, radio. I've been married to my wonderful husband, Scott, for 26 years and we have 4 kids. Alex (24), Kelly (21), Mackenzie (17) and Mary (14). We also have one fantastic grandson, Bradley who's three and our granddaughter, Emmalynn is due this June!
2. What was it that made you "catch the bug" for radio? When did you realize that it was what you wanted to do for a living?
I've always loved music and listening to the radio. I was quite the radio "groupie" in high school and got to know my local station DJ's pretty well. I got a look at the inside of radio by participating in Junior Achievement in high school. My group was mentored by a team from a small AM, top 40 station and we did everything to produce, market and air a weekly show. I was immediately drawn to the air talent/production side of the business. I moved back to Florida from Arizona during High School and as it turned out, one of the DJ's I'd known in Phoenix, had also moved to Tampa. Cleveland Wheeler became part of the "Q Morning Zoo" at Q105 in Tampa with none other than Scott Shannon; undoubtedly one of the most successful voices in radio. I got hired at Q 105 to answer request lines, track requests (the early days of reporting and tracking) and help with promotions as needed. I pretty much did whatever needed doing and it was a great learning experience. I only worked one summer as I headed to college full time and then into the military. With military service, marriage, kids, and following a military spouse all over the world, I took a "break" from radio for over 30 years! I've been back in radio since 2010, first as a volunteer and eventually hired in June of 2012. I'm still very much a rookie!
3. What's the most successful on-air bit/break you've ever been part of?
This is a tough one. Not sure about "successful," but probably one of the most meaningful bits would be a tribute day for my former boss and mentor, Kerri Drees. Kerri died last August following complications from surgery. It was a shock to say the least and her passing left a huge hole in our lives as well as our station's make up. She was our Program/Music Director, morning show co-host, production giant and all around energy of our station. She was the one who brought me back into radio, encouraged me, mentored me, taught me, and most of all loved me. Two days after her death, we did a 5 hour on-air tribute to her. Listeners called in, we played back many bits and breaks of hers, spoke with family members, news teams, etc. It was incredibly humbling to be a part of this event in her memory.
4. With the advent of "instant everything".....what do you do to show prep? How do you prepare?
For me, the key to successful prep is prayer! We pray before we do a show (my morning co-host and I) and have a regular time of devotion. This is so important in maintaining the right perspective, outlook and attitude in all we do. I do my best to keep up with what's going on in the news, both nationally, regionally, and locally. I use Creative Cardio, Christian Radio Prep, New Release Tuesday, His Air Net, and other sites and services for information, ideas, etc. We look for things that resonate with our listeners throughout our communities. We're local, but cover Eastern ND and NW MN and do our best to stay current with what's going on in all the communities. I'm a note-taker and always have a note pad and pen handy to jot down just about everything. Nothing gets thrown away until it's checked off, expanded on, or otherwise "completed."
5. What would you categorize as your greatest personal challenge in radio? What are you doing to overcome that?
I'd have to say my learning curve is still huge at this point. I've been doing this for less than two years and still have tons to learn about every aspect of radio. There are just two of us in our studio location so there are many hats to wear for both of us. Trying to keep all the different parts of everything that goes on is a challenge for sure. I try to read constantly, to look back and listen to what I sound like, what I said, etc. and self-critique without being critical. I can get down on myself pretty quickly if I'm not careful. I ask for feedback from my morning partner and from others I trust.
6. Who are 3 people that you look to as mentors/leaders? What is it about them that grabs & keeps your attention?
Only 3? As mentioned above, Kerri Drees. She brought me into where I am now and she taught me much about this business. My morning co-host, Josh Jones is an incredible teacher and friend. He is so knowledgeable and also very patient. He's a great teacher and he's not afraid to share his craft with others. He is always looking to make me better at what I do by coaching and encouraging me. Our boss and GM, Phil Ehlke is another great mentor and friend. He treated me as an equal when I was a few-hours-a-week volunteer! He sought my opinion, included me in decisions, etc. and made me a part of the station team before I was ever hired. He's been with this station since day 1 and his passion, love and drive for this ministry is tireless and contagious. We were privileged to win a year of consulting from Good Ratings at Momentum last year and working with Alan Mason has been a gift indeed. He is absolutely incredible at what he does and doesn't believe in keeping the reasons for his success in radio a secret! He is warm, friendly, funny and so willing to do all he possibly can to make us the very best we can be at all times.
7. What do you believe is the single greatest factor in building audience share/cume? Why do you believe it's that important?
Relationship is absolute key in this business. Yes, we play music, but our listeners can get music just about anywhere. They can play what they want, when they want, as often as they want, for as long as they want using media other than radio. They listen because they have a relationship with us. We talk to our listeners, one person at a time. We act as if we're having a conversation instead of addressing a group of people. Addressing listeners and regular callers, etc, by name is important. We refer to our listeners as family because that's the way we think of them and the way we want them to think of us. We expect to be on the "must call when this happens" list and they know it! We share our lives with them and they do the same in return. They cannot get this from their iPod, Pandora, etc. We are personable and personal and it makes a difference.
8. Most successful station promotion ever?
My favorite is without a doubt, our "Better to Give" campaign that we do each Thanksgiving/Christmas season. A minimum of 10 percent of revenue from our pledge drives is earmarked for tithing back to our community. This has taken several forms over the years; helping individuals, families, scholarships, mission trips, etc. Each holiday season, we take nominations from our listeners about those who may need a bit of a financial "boost" for whatever reason. Nominations have included families who've suffered job loss, unexpected car/home repairs, heating costs, etc. It's grown every year and this year we were able to give 19 families or individuals a gift of $500! Getting to call a family and tell them we are giving them $500 to pay for a car repair, money to buy fuel for on-going medical travel, to help with funeral costs for their son who lived just 87 minutes, a young mother battling stage-3 cancer who needs help with childcare, etc. is absolutely priceless! This is what we are all about! Shining the light of Christ in our community is why we do what we do and when we call someone, who most of the time is not a listener or even familiar with our station and tell them we're giving them $500 with no strings attached is a blessing indeed. We've all shed more than a few tears during these times.
9. What's the last book you read? How did it impact you?
I'm a great "re-reader," meaning that I read books I like over and over again. Right now I'm reading a couple of books about the "Duck Dynasty" clan as well as re-reading the "Hunger Games" trilogy. For Duck Dynasty, plain and simple, I LOVE that show and the family. They are just good old home folk who love the Lord and live out their lives according to His calling. The Hunger Games trilogy has provided some great conversations with my kids about government, civil disobedience, liberty, etc. and that's always a good thing.
10. Radio 101....in 101 words or less, how would you guide/instruct/advise a radio programmer/air talent who wants to get better at their craft?
Read "Beyond Powerful Radio" by Valerie Geller. Get a coach you trust to tell you the truth and listen to your own air checks. Have others do it as well. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS with your listeners. Take time to listen to them! Join Christian Music Broadcasters; even if it comes out of your own pocket! It's an incredible place to learn, grow, be mentored, prayed for, encouraged and most of all, loved by those in our industry! Know your label/artist reps and concert promoters. They will connect you to the artists whose music you play and they work hard to get you what you need to make your station the best it can be.
1. Most embarrassing moment on air?
I don't really have a specific one except that I seem to have a "knack" for going live when I think I'm in audition mode on the board. Inadvertently hitting the stop button with my elbow and taking us off the air has happened at least once, and the "I can't hold it back for one more second sneeze" is a frequent winter hazard too.
2. Favorite cereal, favorite cartoon character and favorite fast food choice?
Captain Crunch with Berries, "Mater" from "Cars" and Chick-fil-A (even though there's not one in the whole state of ND!)
3. You've got one last live break on air....and then the radio will go silent. What do you say, and why?
Share my testimony and why EVERYONE NEEDS JESUS. Pray that all who are listening would hear The Truth of the Gospel and respond.