For this week’s segment of “People Behind Your News,” we sit down with Heather Brown, one-half of the Heather and Poolboy morning show on Alice 107.7 FM.

 

When you turn on the radio during your morning commute, any time from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., you’re likely to hear a couple of familiar voices. Brown is one of them. Originally from Sweetwater, Texas, Brown began working in radio when she was 15, following her parents’ divorce.

 

“My dad was in radio, and when you’re a kid, you think your dad is the coolest guy in the world. By extension, I thought radio was the coolest job in the world,” Brown shared.

 

She worked at her local AM radio station throughout high school before she went to college in Lubbock, Texas. While there, she worked at Texas Tech University’s radio station before working with two commercial FM stations. Brown moved to Little Rock in 1999 to begin work at Alice 107.7. She and her husband, Chad, have four children. 

 

Brown walked through her routine of getting ready for the morning show. 

 

“I’m not a morning person, I just have a morning job. I’ve got to get a nap in during the afternoon,” Brown said. “I love my Dr. Pepper, it fuels me — I don’t drink coffee. Fortunately, this is a fun job where I’m hanging out with a friend for four hours.”

 

Brown laid out the rest of her day once the show ends at 10 a.m.

 

“I have to have my naps, and I crash as soon as the show is over. I’ll go home and take a snooze. I’ll run errands for my mom, who no longer drives — I take her to the doctor, and I pick up my kids from school. I’ve got a child in college, one in high school, and a 6th and 7th grader. That’s my whole focus once the show’s over: I’m in mom mode — we have practices and games and school functions,” Brown explained. “I kind of have a dual life: I work, and I’m a stay-at-home mom at the same time — my work day isn’t a typical eight-hour work day. I feel like I spend most of my life in the car. Even five or so years from now, just looking ahead, I’ll still have kids in school, and I’ll still be here on your radio.”

 

Fortunately, Brown shared, she does have some hobbies to help her relax at the end of a busy day.

 

“I love to binge-watch shows. I love to find a good series and watch as many as I can get away with. Right now, I’m watching ‘Vikings.’ That’s my escape — I go into my room and get under my covers, I’ve clocked out, and now I belong to ‘Vikings.’ I have to dedicate myself to one show at a time. I’m also really addicted to my kids’ sports — I coach their basketball team, and I love to watch them play.”

 

After being one half of the morning show for years, Brown has had some memorable moments on the show and behind the mic. 

 

“We were hosting an event at Dickey Stephens Park for the American Heart Association in the outdoor concourse. We knew there was a chance for severe weather that evening, but we went ahead with our plans to be there. It looked like the weather was going to miss us on the radar, but not long after, the storm blew up. Tents were flipping, and they told us to take cover, so Poolboy and I run into a unisex bathroom — we thought it was going to be the end. I called my husband, and he said, ‘Yeah, well, I’ve got to let you go, I’m making dinner,’” Brown recalled with a laugh. “I laugh now, but at that time, I thought, ‘I’m going to die in the Dickey Stephens bathroom next to a diaper changing table.’” 

 

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Brown reflected on the nature of her career over the last few decades.  

 

“I’ve been doing this so long, and things have changed so much from the 1980s when I started in it. There was a whole different way of getting into the industry back then compared to now. Today, so many people have their own podcasts, and that’s a creative way to dip your toe in the water,” Brown said. “The most important thing is being animated behind the mic. People can’t see you, so you really have to make up for it with your voice and tone. When I tell kids about this job and they ask what kind of classes they should take, I tell them to take a theater or drama class or a public speaking class to be more animated when they tell stories, which is a plus for a job like this. Try to get over your fears of talking in front of people. It’s not a must-have, but it’s a plus.”

 

Brown shared some of the life lessons that she’s learned from a successful career in radio.

 

“We talk about our lives on the show and put it all out there. When I started in radio, my husband and I were still dating, and he was willing to be talked about. There have been some sore subjects on the air that I’ve mentioned before and maybe shouldn’t have. But that’s really rare, and my husband is a good sport. He gets recognized when he goes places, and he loves it,” Brown said. 

 

Brown emphasized the importance of honesty, not just on the radio, but in general.

 

“One of the things that you learn to do in this industry is self-editing as you’re talking. You have to try to hold back some of the more intimately personal stuff. I also feel that this job has taught me to really value honesty. Not being honest hurts people, especially in radio when you’ve got such a wide audience,” Brown said. “Whenever I’m on the show talking about an experience, I obviously have to be honest and fair about it. April Fool’s Day makes me uncomfortable because of the pranks and lying. Being authentic and honest is so important inside and outside of the studio; otherwise, people get hurt.”

 

Brown shared that throughout the course of her career so far, she’s thankful to have shared so many of her mornings with other Arkansans. 

 

“I’m so fortunate to wake up every morning and share some time with all of you,” Brown said. “I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

 

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