Linda Strasburg, Utah's longest-running female DJ, got her start in radio in 1992. She has also given seminars on cruise ships and, when she was a child, lived at her family's Storybook Ranch in Durango, Colo., where they raised rodeo horses. Strasburg can be heard on her show InterViews & InterActions on K-Talk Radio (630 AM, K-Talk.com) every Saturday at 5 p.m.
How did you get started in radio?
It was like out of the movies. I was getting my master's in communications and was driving home and heard an ad on the radio for "producer wanted." I thought, "That would look good on a résumé." I made a quick left, right when I heard it, and went down there and said, "I'll produce for you." They said, "OK, you can be the producer for this lady who's a psychologist." People would call in, and she'd do armchair psychology. But she got really mad one day and wouldn't go on the air. She just left. I called the station owner and said, "You're going to have silence for the next hours." He said, "You go on the air." So I called all my friends and said, "Just call in and say something, 'cause I need to do the program." The question I posed was, "What's the hardest thing you've ever had to overcome in your life?" And that got the conversation going.
About a week later, he started getting all these letters from people saying they'd loved the show, so he asked me to do the show.
How do you pick your topics?
I have a sixth sense about what's coming up in the future—not psychic or anything; just what people are interested in, and trends. Now, I have people asking me to come on my program, so I just pick the cream of the crop. At the end of the program, I want people to have learned something new, to have opened up their minds. It's not confrontational; I don't do politics or really negative stuff. After about 10 years, they asked me to be more confrontational, but I said, "That's not me."
Why aren't you more confrontational? Aren't you on K-Talk?
We have so many talk-show hosts that are polarizing this country. And I thought, "I'm not going to do that." I look at things and see different perspectives. I'm good at putting the spotlight on my guests, and let them shine.
They let me have totally creative control over mine, and they've never hassled me if I've done something that's to the left. They're very open-minded about their programs. At one time, it was really right, but right now, it's really eclectic.
What's a question you would ask yourself?
Probably, "What's coming up in the future?" There's this guy I have on who comes on every year in January. He comes on and predicts where we're going in the world, America. I like the phrase he uses, that we're spirituality bankrupt in this country. In the future, I'm going to focus on getting a spiritual aspect.
You don't seem to have any trouble trying new things. What's your secret?
First, you have to validate yourself. Validate what you think you have to offer the world. And once you find that, then you can be daring. When you have that internal confidence, and people out here are not telling you who you are or what you are, and you have your own internal guidance system, then you can take a risk, because you know that no one can take you away from yourself. They asked men and women in their '80s what they regretted, and they said that they didn't take more chances, more risks, in relationships, jobs. You don't have to be stupid about it, but a calculated risk is where you learn the most. I've interviewed a lot of successful people, and they all had that confidence. Some of them went through a lot of bad stuff to find it. But once you find that, you can conquer the world.