If you listen to my show, you've heard me make a couple of promises over and over. I promise to only spread the "need to know information in the moment" and "only the good news" right now. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, the world needs it. As days pass, tension and fear grow within our Country. If a situation arises in which the public needs vital information, I will always report it. It's my job. Otherwise, I will be the source of comfort that you can come to for an escape. Before I worked in radio, and even now, there were/ are days when I couldn't/ can't wait to take a lunch break and listen to my favorite station, not just in hopes to hear a song that I loved to lift my spirits, but to hang out with people who I'd grown to love. The local personalities. They become my friends and they don't even know how much joy they have brought me on both good days and in hard times. So, first, that is why I'll spread good news, funny stories, and make fun of myself incessantly. We all need an escape.
Second, I am also overwhelmed. We in radio are in a position in which we are supposed to be the comfort in a time of chaos. However, from the moment we wake up to the second we go to bed, every single email, text message, news article and phone call revolve around COVID_19. We don't get to escape it. During times of crisis in the past, like Hurricane coverage, we knew that someday it would get back to normal, and it probably wouldn't take long to get there. With this, we don't know how long our lives will be like this, but we will continue to come in and do exactly what we love, which is serving you. My best way of dealing with this crisis is by giving others joy.
Once upon a time, I worked for a tourism company in Mobile. It was probably my biggest time of personal growth..ever. We gave tours in the blistering heat to visitors from not just the US that were travelling through Mobile, but from around the world! No joke, I once had a tour group from Italy that spoke not one word of English. Each day, multiple times a day, my entire mission for 90 minutes was to make people laugh with puns and cheesy jokes while showing them some cool sights. With a language barrier, how in the world would I make that happen? I put on my hat, my lipstick and my giant cheesy grin, and I delivered the tour exactly the same way I had done with any other group. What happened at the end is something I will hold in my heart for the long haul... As we arrived back and the tour concluded, I said the usual, "Thank you so much for joining me today! Watch your step and watch your head and if you miss your step and hit your head, WATCH YOUR MOUTH!". It always got a laugh, but not this time. I took off my headset microphone and motioned that it was okay to exit, and then I waved goodbye. Not one person stood up. They all started speaking to each other in Italian...color me confused...and then counted to three and yelled in unison, "ti adoriamo johnna!!!", which I found out meant, "WE LOVE YOU JOHNNA". Talk about tears. I started crying immediately. They motioned to their cameras and I knew that meant it was picture time, so I gathered with the entire group of 25+ strangers and we took a photo of pure joy.
Why does this matter right now? I have thought a lot about that day since it happened. Prior to their tour I had been in a pretty bad funk that I couldn't shake. I didn't even want to go, but my boss at the time, and now friend, Scott, told me (I'm paraphrasing) that the easiest way to feel joy was to give joy. That day, I strapped on a smile, regardless of how I felt, and not knowing a single word of this group's native tongue, made a direct connection with them for 90 minutes just by simply sharing a smile. I fully believe that a smile is the universal language of peace and comfort. That day is something I try to live out every single day with you. There are days when I come in and don't feel chipper. Life is real for "personalities" too. Sometimes I have to go walk outside and take a breather. I've been seen in the bathroom crying. But behind that mic, no matter what is existing in the outside world, I smile in hopes that when you hear me smiling through my words, bad jokes, and tidbits of personal stories, that you will relate to me and find comfort, and smile too. By the end of every single shift, I'm genuinely smiling. It works. Give joy, get joy. It's that simple.
You'll find many sources that give you news right now, and we will do that too. Some radio personalities just want to hit you with the facts all day long and make sure you know all the news as soon as its spoken. That's ok too. But if you listen to my show and only hear me telling the happy or wacky, this post should explain why.
Dolly Parton once said, "If you see someone without a smile, give them yours." - That is the mission I will live out until the day I die. I'm just really blessed that I get to live it out with all of you.