My Radio Journey
By Twanda Black
I’ve always been a program narrator or host as a child growing up in the AME Church here in Atlanta. I never dreamed I would use my gift of gab in radio, I wanted to be a Public Relations Practitioner! I majored in Communications with a concentration in PR in college and I loved it! However, as a black female in the 80’s I couldn’t get a job in the field, so I became a proofreader at a printing company working the night shift. I then applied for a job at WIGO-The Heart & Soul of the City as a receptionist in the daytime and did everything from answering the phone to cleaning out prize closets.
One day I walked into the office of Byron Pitts, The Program Director at the time and told him I could do what his announcers were doing and he sat back and looked at me and said ok- you’re on this Friday night from 12 midnight to 6 am. I was shocked, scared and excited all at the same time- it was Wednesday! I had 2 days to train and I can truly say the rest is history!
From Atlanta, I went to St. Petersburg, FL WRXB for my first full time job and then WTMP in Tampa, back to Atlanta at WCNN-Love Songs & A Touch of Jazz then to Columbus Ga to work for Davis Broadcasting at Foxie 105 and back to Atlanta at WALR-104.1 Jazz Flavors and landed at WALR KISS 104.1 where I’m still employed today for close to 30 years. I’ve worked for syndicated radio at AURN for 9 years where I hosted a gospel show and I now host Inspirations Across America, syndicated in 23 markets. As you can see, I love what I do encouraging and uplifting people everywhere.
I’ve managed to stay relevant by the grace of God because the radio business can love you one day and you’re out the next. I’ve been through several downsizings in my career, but I have maintained my position as public affairs manager and gospel host by making sure I follow instructions, I add value to everyone around me and I forge great relationships.
My advice to up and coming announcers is to: 1. Learn all you can inside and outside about the business on radio 2. Don’t burn bridges-take a beat in challenging situations 3. Don’t say anything about anyone you wouldn’t say to their face-everyone talks and it comes back around! 4. Listen more than you speak- you’ll learn so much more 5. Don’t be afraid of new technology- become a pro 5. Create solid relationships, there are so many times you will need to pick up the phone and call someone personally 6. Be open to perform other tasks- I’ve worked in promotions, programming and continuity-it expanded my knowledge knowing how everyone around me performed their jobs 7. Read as much as you can everyday- it helps with spontaneity when you’re on the air 8. And most of all, remember that radio made you-you didn’t make radio. Don’t step on folks when you’re moving up the ladder –you may need those same folks on the way down. Be kind!
Public Affairs Director & Host of Good News Gospel
Kiss 104.1 FM Atlanta, GA