Radio host talks job, Hoover and who’s influenced his life
Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Many around Birmingham wake up each morning to the voice of Hoover’s Chris Mileski. Part of the “Roxanne & Chris” radio show since 2011, Mileski broadcasts on 93.7 WDJC daily from 5 to 10 a.m. Mileski and his wife, Megan, have been married 15 years and have three children: Greer, 7; Lucy, 11; and Reeves, 13.
Q: How did you get started on the radio?
A: In the early 2000s, I was blessed to have the opportunity to be the initial TV producer and director for Rick and Bubba when their radio show was on cable TV’s Turner South network. Those years were filed with so much fun and proved to be a setup for Roxanne and I to end up together on the radio. After establishing a relationship with Roxanne, she was given the privilege to host the morning show on WDJC. I continued on with Rick and Bubba, and then in 2010, I decided that it was time to move on. I knew God was calling me to a different medium but just wasn’t sure where he was leading. A year later, during the tornadoes that came through Alabama in 2011, Roxanne invited me to lunch where I figured she was going to ask me to produce the morning show on WDJC. I had no idea she planned on me being her co-host. After a few auditions, I received the call where I was offered the opportunity to co-host the morning show with her. After first calling my wife, I called Rick Burgess to tell him of the news. I remember how special that moment was because after an initial laugh from Rick about me co-hosting a morning show, he gave me two pieces of advice that are bedrock principles in my approach to each morning as well as a very inspiring prayer for me. He told me that hosting a show is very therapeutic as you get to share your thoughts, struggles and really just work out what God is doing in your life. But the biggest piece of advice that sticks with me closer than anything is when he told me that “when we see God do something amazing in our life or another’s or maybe when we hear an all-inspiring sermon, the one thing we want to do is shout it from the mountaintop/shout it to the masses.” That is what I get to do on a daily basis, and I will never take that for granted. I am truly blessed and honored to have the opportunity each day to sit down in front of a mic and do life over the airwaves with my partner Roxanne and all of our incredible listeners.
Q: What’s your favorite part about your job?
A: What I love most about my job is the ability to share with a massive amount of people how God’s grace is real and new each and every day. I have such a heart for helping people see God in the real world. It would be very easy to find a devotional to share on the air or just quote scripture. However, I believe in transparency and authenticity, and I thrive on sharing what is going on in my life. Sometimes that includes struggles but always how God is working through the whole experience. I fully believe that people can relate to that. I think people are looking for people they can connect with, not just listen to. I am not your traditional radio show host with a booming voice: I’m more of an open book that is comfortable enough and intentional about sharing real life on the radio. There is no better experience when you can bring someone hope and encouragement to where they are struggling. We receive many calls off air from listeners who are going through some of the most horrendous circumstances, and they share how a certain word really helped them or spoke to their situation. That’s when I realize the impact that we are called to have. I don’t think there is any way I could have been put in a better position when it comes to working daily with my radio partner. We truly have a blast on the air together, but we also realize we are called to make in impact on this world. I have learned so much from Roxanne about radio and consider it an honor to be able to live out our faith on the radio together. I get to cheer for her on a daily basis what God is doing in her life and try to bring that to our listeners in a creative, authentic and entertaining way.
Q: What can people expect if they listen to Roxanne & Chris?
A: We hope they find hope, entertainment, accountability and purpose with the life that God has given them. We are very intentional with the content of our show. Our show has four breaks an hour. We plan for at least one segment to be centered around being a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ, one that is on relationships, one that is humorous and one that is for personal growth. That, of course, can change in a heartbeat, as we like to have a creative license to freelance. It has resulted in many funny moments, as well as some incredibly inspirational ones. Each segment is approached as if it’s radio gold, however we understand that it probably won’t be. We believe in diversity and being culturally relevant. We fully understand as it says in Romans 12:2 that we “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We also believe that God put us in this world with many gifts, many passions, many opportunities and we are to embrace life in this world. Psalm 139:13-14 states, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” That just paints a picture that we were created with purpose and passion. We need to approach each day with thankfulness and that will lead us to look at our days much differently. We often watch Fox News in the morning, and we see all the horrible things that are going on in this world. We don’t want our show to be oblivious to the current events, but we do want people to listen to us for relevance, laughter, insight, inspiration and growth. There is plenty of bad in this world, and we talk about it enough. My pastor, Chris Goins, said one morning during worship that he “wants to be known more for what he’s for than what he’s against.” God clearly spoke to me the day I heard that and that is something I try to communicate over the air.
Q: Why do you love Hoover?
A: Hoover has provided our family with so many incredible experiences and long-lasting relationships. No matter where you live, you need to be invested in the community because that is where relationships begin and are nurtured. I have had the opportunity to coach baseball, basketball and football through Hoover Sports and so many friendships have been made. Those relationships continue to this day, and many are vital to me. The school system has been such a great experience for our kids. Our two oldest went to Deer Valley, and our youngest is still there. We wouldn’t trade for anything the experience that our kids have received from the Hoover school system. Of course, my radio partner, Roxanne, is married to the principal of Deer Valley Elementary. Dr. Wayne Richardson has been the principal for my two oldest kids and currently for our youngest. Last year, I was at the school, helping Dr. Richardson with some technical needs when several kindergarten classes came down the hallway on their way to lunch. As the kids passed by Dr. Richardson, he gave each child a high-five, knowing them all by name. That was confirmation on what my kids were receiving and a peace of mind about their care.
Q: What is something not many people know about you?
A: Being on the radio, people think that you automatically have an outgoing personality. Make no mistake, I do have that, but at times, I am the biggest introvert. Sometimes that comes across as if I am not the nicest person and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I have this incredible phobia that I am not being nice enough to people when I meet them, therefore I will make sure that I not only tell them my name during an introduction, but I immediately take over the conversation. Meanwhile, I have become so concerned about being nice that I forget to pay attention to their name. It is a totally honest effort that I continue to try to adjust. I am just so concerned at making people feel relaxed and welcome.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Almost all of my spare time is spent with my family. I’ve been so blessed to have the type of schedule where I can be at the maximum amount of events that my kids are involved in. I’ve spent many years coaching my son’s and daughters’ sports teams, as well as being as involved as much as possible with my church, A2 Church. Growing up, I was a gym rat where I always loved to workout in the early morning. Having children and a show that requires me to be at work by 4 a.m. has altered that a bit. I know that’s not an excuse, and I am working on that change now so that I can be more consistent in the gym. At night, after homework and family time is done, you can normally find me wrapped up in an episode of 24. Praise God for Amazon Prime! Most nights I listen to an episode as I go to sleep. But with all that, my spare time is spent mainly helping others. A very close business associate and personal friend presented me with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who are really struggling in life. This past year, I have had the amazing experience of going out in the community to meet people where they are in life and help them in such a way that a door is opened to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’ve established a 501-c3 where I can help those in need. Now, I’m sure you have heard that before, however what’s different about this ministry is that I often will go and sit somewhere around town and just observe people. God has gifted me with the ability to read people with a pretty good consistency. If we would slow down enough and pay attention to people, we can learn a lot about them and what’s going on in their life.
Q: What’s your favorite song on the radio right now?
A: I know it’s not the newest song, but during the Easter service at my church, A2 Church, I fell in love with Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water.” On our station, I love Plumb’s “Exhale,” but the song that speaks the most to me right now is a song by Dara MacLean titled “Blameless.” During the bridge of the song, there is a powerful phrase that is repeated over and over, “I am yours, I am yours, I am yours.” It is such an encouraging reminder that when I am struggling, I can hear the words that I belong to God, that I can say over and over how I belong to a great sovereign and loving God.
Q: If you weren’t working with a radio station, what do you think you’d be doing?
A: I would love to be an actor in Hollywood or even a director bringing life changing media to the world. My passion has always been the visual arts. I find so much energy and fulfillment in telling a story through stage or film. I would love to combine what I do on a daily basis on the radio with a career that dips into the film and TV world.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: God has really blessed me with a lot of people in my life that I can learn so much from. My attorney, Rick Stotser is one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever been around and I have leaned on him so many times for insight. In 2008, my wife and I left the church we were a part of for 17 years and began to attend a church called A2 Church. This was when I met the pastor, Chris Goins. At that moment, God sent me someone that I desire so much to emulate. His heart for others, his desire to serve God with every breath and his zest for life is so encouraging. There have been so many times where I have sat down with him to share what I’m struggling with and he will just sit and listen with so much patience. But the person who I consider my biggest role model is my wife of 15 years, Megan Rutland Mileski. Observing her life and watching someone who is so committed to other people and their needs brings me such encouragement and the desire to better myself. Whether it was being a labor and delivery nurse for 17 years to now a professor at Samford’s Nursing School, my wife has the most tender and caring heart for students, patients, friends, family, etc.