WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -Sheri Lynch did not have a lot of experience when she auditioned for a job co-hosting a morning radio show. In fact, she had no on-air experience prior to that day in 1992. Sheri wasn’t happy in Charlotte after leaving friends she made working on the production team at WECT-TV in Wilmington. She produced a television campaign for a radio station WBT-FM, and her personality got her a shot at landing an opening alongside veteran Bob Lacey. Lacey liked what he heard, and the Bob and Sheri show was born.
“I thought I’d last a month, maybe six weeks before someone caught on that I didn’t know what I was doing and fire me,” Sheri said.
Sheri brought something new to radio. A fresh, real perspective from someone unafraid to share life’s experiences with the audience. She was, and still is, brutally honest about surviving a difficult childhood surrounded by drugs and domestic violence. Those circumstances fostered her big dreams, and provided an inner-strength to seek out new opportunities and a better life.
“I come from a rough background, and had to work really, really hard to escape that tractor beam of poverty and addiction and violence and all of that,” Sheri says. “I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college. I wanted to pay back some of the good fortune and help that I’ve had along the way because even though I pulled myself up and out of that mess, you can be damn sure that I did not do it alone. I had a lot of support, a lot of help and a lot of blessings.”
Sheri showed that tough side early on, when during contract negotiations she demanded to be paid the same amount as Lacey for co-hosting the show. She talks about that 20:00 of the podcast, the first of many times she’s refused to take a back seat as a woman in the radio industry.
In the midst of balancing a successful radio career and being a single parent, Sheri checked another item off her to-do list in 2012. Calling it “the toughest thing I’ve ever done”, she went back to grad school and earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She’s had instances on-air of talking with victims of domestic violence, sharing her story and encouraging words. She finds working with victims and patients extremely fulfilling, and at times contemplated leaving radio to pursue clinical mental health as a new career.
“Some of the happiest hours of my life were spent in a lockdown psych unit,” she says with a broad smile. “I just loved it. I love the people. I loved that you could come to someone who is at a crisis point and make even the tiniest difference. It felt real to me, and meaningful. I haven’t ruled it out. I may still end up there.”
One example of how Sheri’s strength has helped others appeared in the July 2012 issue of Charlotte Magazine, written by Sosha Lewis. Here’s an excerpt:
“My first job in Charlotte was for a major wire distribution company. My shift started at 6:30 a.m. That is a lonely part of the day. I don’t like silence. As soon as I got to work, I always turned on the ancient office radio. I found The Bob & Sheri Show on 107.9 FM The Link. I developed an instant girl-crush on Sheri and her lightning wit. Her humor was tinted with sarcasm, but it never crossed over to being mean.
I realized that Sheri, through sharing her story, was also telling my story. She was once poor white trash; her father was a felonious drug addict. She told of DEA raids, of living with her grandmother. Sheri not only told her story, she owned her story. She did not live in fear, silence, or shame.
During my eleven years in Charlotte I have learned of true love, gained loyal friends, and endured devastating heartbreak. Just as Sheri did for me, I know that my purpose is to use my words to let all the others that are still hiding in silence know that they are not alone.
I am the white-trash kid of pill heads. I grew up in shame and hid behind silence. I am out of hiding, and I don’t plan on being quiet ever again.”
Sheri’s reaction comes at 12:30 of the podcast.
Sheri Lynch has been awarded six Gracie Awards by The Alliance for Women in Media, to recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. They also acknowledge the individuals who have made inspirational contributions to the industry. She’s written two books (discussed at 25:45 of the podcast) and hopes to one day to a third. Along with the show’s daily podcast, they have an “oddcast” that showcases her biting sense of humor, her family, love of animals or anything else on her mind at the time. Today, 26 years after the beginning of the Bob and Sheri show, she still gets excited pulling into the parking lot to start her day.
“I love what I do,” Sheri says. “I’m very very lucky. When I look at where I come from, the people I come from and the experiences I’ve had, I cannot believe I do work that I love, in a way that I want to do it, with people I love to work with. Yes, I’d like to write another book. Yes, I’d like to win the Powerball. But honestly, I feel kind of spoiled that I’m just so happy with where I am, that I’m not tasting that next thing.”
Millions of fans are happy Sheri Lynch is where she is every day. Life would be boring without her. I hope you enjoy the interview. I sure did.
You can hear the entire conversation with Sheri Lynch of the Bob and Sheri show by clicking on one of the links listed below.
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