Television Program Host and Executive Producer
The Story: I'm Judy Redlich. I am special projects co-coordinator for the Here's Help Radio and TV Network. This network consists of 2 full-power and 7 low-power television stations, and 16 radio stations that serve portions of four states—Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Kansas. (If you'd like to learn more about this network, go to www.hereshelpnet.org and click on the "Media" link.)
Included in my duties are planning events to promote the network, selling airtime (mainly for KNLC TV, Channel 24, and KNLJ, Channel 25), managing the 24-hour station phone lines, raising money, making special speaking appearances, and troubleshooting. I also host a weekly television show called Christian Connection. It airs presently on all the TV stations on the Here's Help Network, and in a separate additional run on our local cable channel. We are always looking for additional stations to pick up the show. Its radio version airs on the Network's radio stations as well as on ACB Radio on the Internet. Cry Justice, another show I host, is also picked up on ACB Radio as well as aired on our radio portion of the network.
What is a typical day like? Well, we start out with prayer and a short Bible study, then we do a combination of calling program syndicators and agencies about purchasing airtime, calling donors or businesses for contributions, reading mail, constructing show airing schedules, and just handling any other projects that come our way. Editing interviews for my radio show is another task. We do that editing on the computer and burn CDs of the finished program to send out for airtime.
My staff consists mainly of previously homeless people who are a part of our two-year training program. Each has her own set of challenges to overcome, and we are always in a learning curve. On the days that I tape my radio or TV shows, I meet my crew at the studio to do the show. Sometimes we go on remote shoots to cover an event and bring the footage back to the studio for editing. Often, I will do my radio interviews by phone, as that is so much easier than having a person come to the studio since my show isn't live anyway. I also tape five 90-second spots for community calendars that air daily on KNLC TV 24. We compile those calendars from upcoming event announcements that come to us by e-mail, fax, or snail mail.
I first heard about KNLC on a TV show. My boss was talking about starting a TV station in the metro St. Louis area that provided not only Christian but wholesome family programming. I went to talk with him, and before long I was helping to raise funds to build it. The only fundraising I had ever done was to organize a sorority walk-a-thon in college! I also had to learn how to negotiate contracts, and as the time grew closer to the station going on the air, I set up video shoots for our flagship show, Here's Help. I also wrote the words and music for its theme song.
Soon afterwards, I moved to the farmhouse next to our transmitter site in the country and took four women with me who were in our homeless women's training program. They received training in daily living skills, and office work. Every weekday I'd walk up to the transmitter building and record a five-minute community calendar/what's airing on KNLC today piece, which aired twice a day. What I'm trying to give you a grasp of is that you grow into your job, and expand with the territory. If you only stay at a job a short period of time and then go get another job, you can't be expected to do more than just menial tasks. People won't know your talents and won't necessarily include you in their expansion plans.
In 1986, after we'd gotten the approval to build KNLJ, Channel 25, I spent a couple days a week at times there supervising the fundraising project and construction progress. Recruiting volunteers to help with a lot of the jobs has always been something I've done, too.
In 1993, when we acquired our first radio station, KTCN in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, my husband and I, and our two children, six-year old Melody and five-month old David, took a cold icy trip to the station. My job was to orient the operators to the radio board, work with the station engineer, set up schedules, and help in other areas that needed to be established before going on the air.
For seven years I was program director of KNLC. That meant not only did I sell air time but I also researched and negotiated programming series to run on the station. It also meant putting together the monthly program guide and making sure the daily logs were filled out properly and listings sent to the TV guide makers.
I could continue to list things, like staff training, learning how to use the computer, writing computer programs to make the computer do what it needed to do, etc. But I guess the best thing I can say is you must stay one step ahead of the others. If you need something, you must work toward getting it rather than whining that you can't do your job without it. You must be very resourceful, and able to roll with the punches. As far as adaptive equipment, I started out with a Perkins braillewriter—I still have two—and a slate and stylus. One must keep up with computer technology and I now use Windows XP, Jaws 6.1, and a BrailleNote. And when we needed to write menu-driven programs for some of the things we did, I found someone who wanted to learn some DOS programming and we learned it together.
Being in broadcasting is not easy, because you must be better than the next person. One must be able to read on air without much preparation, write good copy, look stylish, and be ready for the unexpected. These characteristics must be in one's blood. Routine is just not the name of the game in broadcasting!
My best advice to you is—do not expect your boss to bend over backwards for you. If you want the job bad enough, you must be resourceful enough to figure out your own solutions. If your company needs to purchase something for you, you have to help them understand exactly what you need, and be ready to help them through the hurdles of providing it for you. Be appreciative—not demanding or expecting. And, yes, there is built-in prejudice in all of this. But, don't let that scare you—just do your best and prove your abilities by action, not talk.
The Contact: Judy Redlich