More Than a Job Positive Life Radio a positive experience

Melissa Erbenich remembers when she was five years old, sitting on her mom's lap on Friday evenings, listening to Positive Life Radio while her mom pampered her by painting her nails. Even then she wanted to be an announcer someday. Years later, when she attended Walla Walla University Days during her senior year of high school, Erbenich took a résumé to the station, located on the university campus, and asked for an audition. She walked away with a job.

PLR employs numerous WWU student interns each year. These valuable employees do everything from picking up office supplies to editing public service announcements and announcing on-air.

"It's so much more than a way to earn money for college," says Kevin Krueger, general manager. "Our students learn how to be highly productive in a real-world work setting and learn skills that will serve them well in whatever field they get into."

In addition to operating a soundboard, articulating thoughts clearly and concisely, going on-air, and myriad other things interns at PLR do, students learn to evaluate priorities and set reasonable goals.

"Our conversations with students go far beyond the day-to-day work duties," says Krueger. "We talk about life, spiritual growth, relationships. I love the mentoring side of what I do here; it is one of the primary reasons I've stuck around so long."

Krueger particularly enjoys watching the transformation of students as they grow and learn.

"I love their big hearts," he says. "When I hear them praying on the phone with listeners, I'm reminded how special this place is and how important their work is to the church."

Interacting with listeners is a huge part of the ministry that is PLR. Erbenich recalls a variety of phone calls she has handled over the years, giving her a deep appreciation for all kinds of people and teaching her to find the good in what each one has to offer.

"My experience at Positive Life Radio has transformed my life," she says. "It's more than a great technical, hands-on experience. Everything I've learned there has prepared me for the next step in my life, even teaching in Thailand. Being aware and respectful of lifestyle differences is important, and I learned that very quickly when working at Positive Life Radio. I had to set aside the fact that I was Adventist and they were Catholic or Baptist or from a different culture. It doesn't matter. We're all children of God."

To learn more and become a part of the PLR ministry, visit www.plr.org.

September 01, 2011 / Walla Walla University
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Becky St. Clair, WWU GLEANER correspondent