10 Questions with ... Faith Daniels
September 22, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1350AM WLOU, 1370 AM WABD, WQQK 92Q, KALA 88.5, WPXR 98.9, 1480AM WCIN, WVMX 94.1, WKFS 107.1, WIZF 100.9, WMOJ 94.9, WARM 98.5 AND WMOJ 100.3 and now, 92.1 WROU, Dayton, OH ... What a ride!
1) How do you use music in your life?
Wow, music has been a major part of my life since I was 14 and started in radio, but lately it's been a bridge to a very special place in my life. My mother has dementia and it's tough to see her, but who she was is not there anymore. I have found that playing music from her 'Hay-day' opens a window to the past for both of us! She will sing along, her eyes light up and most importantly she still can "bounce" a little. That brings me joy! The music gives me back just some of what dementia has stolen from me and my mother. The music soothes her anxiousness at times -- and mine. We don't know what the future holds for us with this disease, but I find comfort in the moments we do have within the music. My heart breaks a little each time. She doesn't remember exactly who I am or my birthday or some special moment in my life, like when I was chosen to interview President Barack Obama. Those are moments Moms should be able to share with you, but not mine. I am the baby of five children and it's so much harder for me to accept where this disease has taken my mother, and taken from her, and from all of us. But, what I do have left is music and love and that is what keeps us connected!
2) Do you see yourself as a product?
Of course! I am a product that is a brand and I would love to believe a motivational movement! As with some products, I am not for everybody. There are cheaper more accessible versions of me available! LOL
Honestly, I am valuable and I have to protect myself and my brand as any corporation would. I understand that what I offer and who I am has value. I strive to bring a positive energy to the environment, any project or my daily contributions to my station, to the community or on the air. Viewing myself in this business as a product allows me to take the emotion out of so many decisions I have to make or that are made about me. After all the passion that I have sown into my career and my community outreach through my foundation work and with other organizations in the community like the Urban League and various fraternities and sororities it can be personally taxing. As I have aged, I now make decisions about my involvement based on my heart, but also what good for "the product" (me) and business.
3) How did you get started in programming?
Being a radio personality is really all I desired to do. But I also knew that when jobs were scarce, I needed to be able to do anything to stay close to the business. So, I became a Promotions Director; I joined the Sales team and learn to sell radio; I became a Community Affairs Director while keeping at least a part-time shift on the air. Then, finally God smiled on me and blessed me with the opportunity to program and be on the air full-time and my vision was completely different. I wanted to create and shape what the audience heard, not just take direction and take up space with my little four to five hours on the air. I wanted my whole station to mean something to the community and to those that poured their energy into being entertaining and informative on the air each day.
Despite my age (45), I'm still a young programmer. I am learning everyday and I am overjoyed with the opportunity to make radio something today that it wasn't yesterday.
4) You were an army brat, so radio is a perfect fit for you. Between the two, could you tell us how many places you've lived and about some of your experiences?
Wow ... you do know I am in radio ... to remember all that requires brain cells! LOL
I'd say eight states and four countries. Being an Army Brat and Radio Rat has made me one of the most versatile and resilient people I know and that includes all the people that live in my head! One of the best experiences in my life is when I found my voice ... or should I say my mother's voice! Let me explain, I have always had a deep raspy and rich voice, for as long as I could remember people always said I sounded like a "grown woman." Growing up having a black mother, early on I realized she had a "work" voice and an "it's just us" voice. Until the phone rang and she was all business! At the age of nine, I learned I could imitate her and do it so well, I could fool my dad on the phone! I soon turned that into a business by extorting money from my older brothers! We were latch key kids and teachers would call after school to report their shenanigans and who would they get to take the call? ME! I got away with it for a full school year until Jr./Senior Night and my mother actually came face to face with a teacher she/we/ I had been speaking to almost weekly for a full year and well ... my cover was blown but my career was born! After I got off punishment!
5) Could you tell us about the Faith Daniels Foundation?
The Faith Daniels Foundation LLC is my heart venture. I see the value in children and building them up. I created the foundation when I saw a need to expose the community children to people (celebrities, professional athletes, community leaders and just regular people who are awesome) and experiences that they would otherwise never have. Our mission in a nutshell is to nurture, build and support children and young families while creating a thirst for knowledge to support financial independence.
Working with former Cincinnati Bengal Rudi Johnson as a station partner I saw just how much work went into helping others for free. When he left I also saw the void that was left. I just tried to my part to continue to help those in the community that needed it.
My foundation never does or did fundraising, my husband and I just do it and with the participation of generous sponsors and volunteers, God always shows up and makes things happen! To date we have offered free football camps and mentoring programs with professional athletes, Back-to-School supplies, and school uniform give-aways, November Turkey-a-day give-away for Thanksgiving, Shop with a Jock toy give-away and Christmas party for 20 families, and our NICU visits with professional athletes with gifts for babies and moms in addition to supporting other organizations that help families all year.
6) Other than radio, what is your passion?
I would say voiceovers and writing. Doing voiceovers are a direct connection to my daily job. However, writing is something that I am sure will feed me well into my 80s once I push this first book out. I write everything from motivational literature and children's books to a steamy, hot adult series (fiction and non-fiction) lol! Sometimes, I would rather write than eat!
My Pastor will get a kick out of knowing this ... better find another church home.
7) How do you divide yourself between being PD and on-air??
They are two positions that run parallel all day for me. I am constantly looking around and reading things for show prep as well as doing "Program Director stuff" all day.
Because I am on afternoon drive, my mornings and middays are spent scheduling music, developing promotions, artist/comedian interview, updating Facebook, consultant calls, school visits, sales calls with AEs, community meetings, production and all programming duties that need my attention.
During my shift I desperately try to focus on my listeners, that is their time with me. They deserve my undivided attention when I am on the air. From taking calls, executing contests or responding to their Facebook in-boxes about songs or whatever, they deserve me to be live and local, just as Alpha Media in all markets are known for being.
8) How do you balance research with gut when it comes to putting together a music list?
Research is a great tool and the gut feeling comes over time. I let my audience tip the scales a little as well. Taking, logging and factoring in requests is also a part of my process. The balance is delicate and I don't always get it right, but I think it would be fair to say that I come close with my Consultant's input. Percentage wise ... 50% research, 30% gut and 20% request research. However, these ratios can change from day to day week to week. After all the only things constant is change ... that's a nice little motivational closer ... sorry, told you I was trying to be a writer!
9) What's your opinion on the future of radio?
If we are careful and committed to the process we can again make it as great as it was in years past. But programmers have to get back to coaching talent, finding awesome personalities and let them be just that and give the audience a reason to listen! Yes, the music is the star, but keeping in mind, the listener can get music anywhere, what makes your station their choice?
We all hold the future in our very hands, we have to believe and encourage our listeners to believe as well that we are the only thing you need and show up for the challenge daily!
We have to take the future of our business serious and devise plans, station by station to groom interns into part-timers and part-timers into talent, not just using them to pick up lunch and drop off dry cleaning.
10) What people in radio and outside the business have helped you?
I loathe questions like this because if you leave someone out then I get the side-eye... Wow, there have been so many for so many reasons. I'll list categories instead of people ... fair? Then they can place themselves in the one that suits them best! LOL
No, seriously, Dr. Jerry Boulding, "The Radio Doctor" was a sounding board at all times, and I miss him. I saved his last voicemail to me and listen to it just about once a month for inspiration.
Mitch Faulkner, Tony Rankin, Phillip David March, Harry Lyles, Tony Fields, Garth Adams, Brad Waldo, Joes Sears, Edna Howell-Parrish, Dr. Bobby Cartwright Jr., Jeff Wilson, Keith Mitchell, Tori Turner, Everett Cork, Andrea Cramer, Dave Kampell, Bill Milliken, JoEtta Perkins, Bobbi Holloway, Alan Sneed, Sam Weaver, Karen Hunter, Joann Daniels, Kent Robinson, Brandon Hatchett, Matthew Robinson and Trinity Daniels, Donna Lavoie, Clyde Gray and Curtis Fuller.
What's a favorite childhood memory?
Realizing that no matter what I look like ... sooner or later, the voice is the great equalizer!