While you're cooped up inside, you can still listen to the radio! In honor of Women's History Month, City Paper will be highlighting women in Pittsburgh's airwaves throughout the month.
Debbie Wilde Q92.9 (WLTJ-FM) M-F 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Time in radio:
Nearly 30 years. OMG, does that make me old?! Lol! Let me take off my headphones so you can count the rings.
How did you know this career was what you wanted to pursue?
When I started tuning everyone/everything else out because the radio was on …including bosses. I have the (un?)enviable ability to talk to someone and tune them out, so I can listen to a song I love on the radio. I came to it purely from the music aspect, though that’s only one small part of radio. I did a couple of internships here in town, and the more I learned, the more I wanted it. I actually got butterflies in my stomach … just like when you fall in love ... and I did.
What is your favorite part about working in radio?
It sounds so cliché, but I really like connecting one-on-one with people, whether it’s on the air or in person at a station event. Everyone we meet, talk to or hear leaves some kind of impression on us. I always want to leave a good impression. Too many haters in the world. That is NOT me.
What’s something most people don’t know about your job?
That we don’t get off the air and just leave. Lots of stuff to do behind the scenes to keep us busy for hours.
Is there any advice you can give to young women looking to work in radio?
If you want it, go for it! It’s hard to be a woman in any industry, but don’t take no for an answer. I highly recommend doing an internship if you’re in school … or an unofficial one if you’re not. I did two and was able to translate them into my first couple of radio gigs. Keep at it, volunteer, make yourself available for any and all things, ask questions. Things have changed since I began, the rules, certainly. Other options and consolidation have made less jobs available, but positions are out there. You just have to look. It’s definitely harder for women in radio. We’re outnumbered every time ... but just as talented.
One fun fact about yourself.
I’ve had two other careers. I started out as an administrative assistant for a big company, but I was bored within my first year. I went back to school – Point Park University!! – to do advertising, but that’s when I found radio. Years later, I took a radio-hiatus to care for my Mum when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We caregiver warriors are a special animal! After that I decided to go into healthcare to help families like mine navigate the waters after such a diagnosis. New found respect for nurses and aids. These girls work their butts off! Radio never left my heart, and I came back 7 years later ... and ended up at The Q.
How do you spend your time, when not on air?
With my husband, Rich. Three years later and still on our honeymoon! Also with my family. We get together on a regular basis and it’s extra special when the whole brood comes together under one roof … I come from the best! I have a small circle of really good friends, too. Most of them are from high school. It’s great to be around people who indulge in 13-year-old behavior … but no mean girls!
Favorite song of the moment.
Can’t go wrong with the new Lady Gaga! She is Mother Monster, after all. Or, as I like to call her, Mummy Monster ... making her Pittsburgh Proud!