Caryn Rivadeneira Talks Radio!

[I am very pleased to host Caryn Rivadeneira on the blog today. Caryn is a journalist, blogger, speaker and recently released her book Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed About God’s Abundance. As if that weren’t enough on her plate, she has begun co-hosting and producing Moody Radio’s Midday Connection. Somehow she also found time to answer my questions about her new life on the airwaves; I hope you are as glad as I am that she did. Read on, and then visit Caryn at]


What is the awesomest surprise about doing radio so far?

That I’m doing radio is the awesomest surprise. Though my life-longest best friend reminded me of the times we’d play Oprah and interview one another as kids (and okay, maybe even a little into high school and college…) and though I studied journalism in college, broadcasting of any stripe was not a career on my radar screen. When I was asked if I’d have an interest in joining a national radio show team, I was caught off-guard. An awesome surprise indeed.

Oh, and that the position comes with a parking pass. Anyone who’s ever paid for parking in Chicago’s Gold Coast understands what a sweet surprise that is.

What is one problem you never would have seen coming in a million years?

Because I’m a skeptic and tend to lean pessimist, I anticipate lots of problems coming. But here’s one that eeked by: I knew this job would require scaling a huge learning curve. However, I am a trained journalist and have interviewed a bazillion people during the course of my career. So I thought asking guests questions on air would be the easy part of this job. Not so.

Turns out, in radio there’s no going back and editing the questions to make yourself sound smart and succinct and insightful. Who knew? I hadn’t realized how different I’d have to frame questions and set ups. It’s live, baby! So I have to figure out how to smart and succinct and insightful without a delete button.

When I did radio 35 years ago it was at a tiny station and my show had three listeners. How many people do you reach with your show?

Here’s what my bosses tell me: We have a potential audience of 11 million people (!!!). More likely, we’ve got 50,000 or so listening in at any given time.

Is your radio voice* different from your off-radio voice?

I actually just laughed out loud. The answer: ah, no. I use the same nasaly Chicago-accented voice on air that I do in everyday life.

About once a year, however, I do get a cold that settles on my vocal cords and becomes laryngitis. I get this deep scratchy thing that lingers for a week or so. Pretty excited to be able to pull that out on the air. It’s a good late-night radio voice. Maybe I’ll see if I can do a Midnight Connection instead of Midday Connection then.

What is something you always have to keep in mind about your voice when the microphone goes on?

I’m a fast talker, so I remind myself to speak slower. And to ease up on the “ums.”

I’m actually listening to some podcasts of myself and doing some self-critiques right now. By the end of the summer, I’ll have a much longer list. I know I say “I love this” too much. So I need to love less. At least, out loud.

What do you hope your listeners come away with from one of your shows?

The same thing that I hope people come away from my writing: I hope folks think about or wrestle with the ideas presented and somehow experience God (be moved or transformed) in the thinking and wrestling. God doesn’t fear our big questions or “weird” ideas and neither should we.

When my kids got to school in the morning, we ask God to open their minds for learning and their hearts for loving those around them. That’s been my secret writing (and now pre-show) prayer as well. I hope listeners (and readers) will open their minds for learning and their hearts for loving. And in all that, that they open their souls to the presence and whispers (or shouts) of God.


Caryn’s prayer for her writing and radio show is a wonderful prayer for all of us to have on our lips.


*For those wondering what a radio voice is, I prepared this sample (turn up the volume for full effect):

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5 Responses to Caryn Rivadeneira Talks Radio!

  1. Tim says:

    Caryn, thanks for being on the air today on the train wreck!

  2. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for this, Tim and Caryn. That idea of opening our minds for learning and our hearts for loving spoke directly to me this morning.

    Nice video, Tim: I paid for the whole seat, but I only needed the edge.

  3. Aimee Byrd says:

    Sounds like such an exciting job! It’s funny what you notice about yourself when you’re recorded. I’ve noticed that I say, “I think….” a lot. And it drives me nuts!

    • Tim says:

      I hadn’t noticed that from your podcasts, Aimee. Then again, I listen to them precisely because I want to know what you think about those theology topics!

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