For better or worse, life has a tendency to take unexpected turns. For Denys Schaefer, that twist in the road lead her to find her life’s passion: radio. If you’re an avid listener of FM NewsTalk 97.1, Denys needs no introduction. She’s been the News Director for Allman in the Morning, a conservative radio show based in St. Louis, Missouri, for the last 13 years. With her up-to-date news stories and spirited, on-air relationship with show host Jamie Allman, she’s an essential part of what makes the show tick. She’s got a natural knack for radio, which is why it’s so surprising that radio wasn’t her first career choice. In fact, it wasn’t even on her radar.
Before working for Allman in the Morning, Denys made her living working for Boeing in their on-site fitness center. That’s right—their fitness center.
Her educational background at the time had nothing to do with media, performance—or anything that might remotely resemble a person who was destined to devote her life to talk radio. Denys was focused on helping others stay active and healthy, until a pull toward bigger and better things made her take a risk on learning an entirely new craft.
Young and incredibly driven, Denys enrolled at the Broadcast Center in St. Louis after seeing the opportunity on the news. She was immediately drawn to the idea and was eager to get her foot in the door. During her time at Broadcast Center, she made her official start in radio as an intern with FM NewsTalk 97.1, and she’s been there ever since. “A three-month internship turned into a full-time job. I got lucky,” said Denys.
Luck wasn’t the only factor. When she started at FM NewsTalk, Denys had a few incredible role models – Charles Jaco, Dana Daniels, The Smash, and Jamie Allman – who helped her learn the ins and outs of the industry. It was with their guidance that she was able to transition from providing traffic and news for multiple stations to eventually work alongside Jamie Allman of Allman in the Morning.
Rick & Tracy Ellis can attest to the hard work, dedication, and energy it takes to put two pre-recorded editions of the The Rick and Tracy Ellis Show together for FM NEWS TALK 97.1 every week. It’s hard to imagine how the Allman in the Morning crew manages to complete
a live show every weekday morning without a hitch.
For her, it’s all about preparation. Despite the fact Allman in the Morning is a live show with very little room for error, there are no professional writers, no set scripts, and no formal rehearsal times. Denys does her own research and writes her stories exactly how she speaks. That way, when the time comes to go on-air, the news flows as naturally as possible.
Mistakes are bound to happen on a live show, and no matter what happens, Denys’ main focus is to provide the show’s loyal listeners with fresh news that’s fair, balanced, and accurate.
“I love our station because we talk to everyone. We’re not there to have a one-sided conversation.”
Denys has seen change after change over her past 13 years with the station. For instance, FM NewsTalk 97.1 has grown much more conservative since her first years with 97.1. Even so, it was an easy fit for her from the start.
Denys’ alarm goes off at 3:15 every morning (and a second alarm at 3:30), and she’s out the door before 4 am. By 5 am, she’s ready to go live. She spends hours preparing for the show and has to manage some seriously early mornings, plus she’s raising two young daughters with her husband. Still, Denys has no plans to slow down any time soon.
“In three to five years, I hope I’ll still be doing the same thing. I’ve found my home [at 97.1].”
Tune into Allman in the Morning every weekday from 5 to 9 am on FM NewsTalk 97.1. For more information about the show, visit www.971talk.com, and be sure to follow Denys on Twitter @denysSchaefer