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My very first photo in radio, as an intern for the Preston and Steve Show on 93.3 WMMR.

Happy National Radio Day!

August 20th is National Radio Day. While some of these fake holidays can be a bit much, today is a great day to thank you for listening, and for celebrating this super fun medium with us today, and every day. Radio reaches more than 90% of the people in the United States on a weekly basis. We’re in your offices, homes, cars, and if you ask nicely, Alexa will even play BEN-FM for you too (just ask Alexa, to open BEN-FM).

We truly appreciate you listening, and singing and dancing along with us to Prince and Men Without Hats and A-Ha and yep… ‘anything we feel like’ here on BEN-FM. I’m on the air on BEN-FM weekday mornings, beginning at 6am and Saturday mornings for BEN Around Philly at 7:30am. Despite the early hours, I absolutely love waking up with this great music, and all of you, day after day.

If you listen and want to further connect with BEN-FM, please feel free to text in any time. The number is 95711 and I’d be happy to send a song out to you or dedicate one to your friend/relative/co-worker/pet any time! Oh, and sign up for our e-mail list! Not everyone knows this, but on your birthday, you receive a very special birthday message video from BEN-FM’s favorite (only) dog jockey Gloria. It’s super cute, and it’s only available via e-mail, on your birthday. Sign up for that through our Benefits Club HERE, and get artist updates, the scoop on the latest BEN-FM contests and more.

Another way to connect with us (and easily get on the air) is the Saying Anything You Feel Like Line. The number is: 484-434-1150, and I think it’s totally under-used. Call it any time, and use the voicemail box to record yourself saying anything at all! Do it multiple times a day if you like. You don’t even need to leave your name. We take the audio and play it on the air, all day, every day. I highly suggest saving the number in your phone.

2020 has been notable for all sorts of reasons (some better than others), but this year marks 95.7 BEN-FM’s 15th year as WBEN (call letters switched May 9th, 2005). It’s also my 15th year working in radio. Students sometimes ask me how to get a job in radio, and I tell them that internships definitely help. That’s the way I started, but it’s a bit more random than that. For National Radio Day this year, I thought I’d share how I ended up working in this industry.

In the spring of 2005 I was attending Temple University (woot woot!), and rowing (starboard) for the Temple Women’s Varsity 8. My major was Communications, but I didn’t have any solid plans for what I planned to do after school. I had no internships lined up (and if I’m honest, I wasn’t even thinking about it).

While school was on break during the summer of 2005 (between my junior and senior year), fate pretty much handed me a dream internship. Fate, in the form of Preston Elliot from the Preston and Steve Show. As a teenager, I grew up listening to Preston and Steve on my favorite radio station, Y100. I would be late going into my high school some mornings, because I didn’t want to miss the Bizarre File. They were hugely popular, even back then.

Years later, on February 24, 2005, I was a student at Temple when Y100 flipped from their alternative rock format. The end of an era. I wasn’t sure what would happen to the Preston and Steve Show, but I was lucky enough to meet Preston Elliot randomly, the following summer. The Preston and Steve Show was sort of in-between stations, and about to begin at WMMR in the fall. Here’s where the random part comes in. My husband Paul’s family (he was my boyfriend at the time) were doing that Trading Spaces TV show (where two families swap houses to do a home improvement project). Paul’s parents were swapping houses with his Aunt and Uncle’s house, and there was this big reveal party planned. Paul and I went out to the party in Springfield to see the big reveal.

What I would soon learn, was that Preston’s family was the first family that had been featured on Trading Spaces. He and his family had done the show years earlier. Preston and his wife just happened to be driving by Paul’s parent’s house on the day of their big reveal party. They saw the Trading Spaces truck, and decided to stop by and say hello to the cast and crew of the show. Random, right? It gets better.

Turns out, Paul (my boyfriend at the time, husband now… if you’re keeping track) had worked at the children’s photography studio Picture People in the mall while he was in high school. He had taken photos of Preston’s kids for years, and knew Preston’s wife through the photo sessions. (I told you it’s random.) Paul and Preston’s wife realized the connection and were chatting at the reveal party. Preston and I struck up a conversation while they talked. He asked what I was studying in college. I told him Communications, and he said that their show was looking for interns for their new station 93.3 WMMR in the fall.

That, is how I got into radio. I began as a Preston and Steve intern, and I’ve been here ever since. I worked at WMMR in a number of different capacities. An intern, then a producer for Jaxon (who is still on WMMR, afternoons 3-7pm). While working with Jaxon, I was also a board-op, and a DJ on Sunday mornings and fill-in overnights.

In 2012, I left WMMR to take a commercial production position (about 20 feet down the hall) at 95.7 BEN-FM. Fast forward to now, 2020, and I’m still here. Working in radio is the best job anyone could ever ask for, and I’m forever grateful to Preston Elliot, Trading Spaces, so many people along the way, and the universe in general for helping to make it happen.

The radio community is really special, and I am so lucky to be the tiniest part of it here in Philly. Thanks so much for being a part of it with me, and with BEN-FM. You could listen to anything you feel like, but we really do appreciate you tuning in to BEN.

Happy National RADIO day!

~ Kristen

Kristen and BEN-FM Dog Jockey Gloria