POPULAR RADIO PERSONALITY
Bounces Back From Dark PastTo Win The Hearts Of New York’s Church Community After 4th Stellar Nominations and now a Stellar Award winner.
When New Yorkers tune-in to WLIB 1190 AM between 11 AM and 3 PM weekdays (Sundays 12-3 PM), they hear compelling testimonies from a who’s who in the church community, a good dose of laugher and a lot of great gospel music. That’s when veteran radio personality, Liz Black, holds court with the hundreds of thousands of people who show up every weekday to hear her “Inspirations with Liz Black” program which is also syndicated nationally via the Pittsburgh, PA-based, American Urban Radio Network.
A huge part of Black’s allure is her warm smile and open heart which so many fans can relate to and which has earned her a fourth Stellar Gospel Music Award nomination as Radio Personality of the Year. "Liz Black is one of the most talented air personalities in the business,” says Mike Chandler, CEO of the Musical Soulfood Radio Network.
It’s been a long journey to Black’s current state of bliss. She began modeling professionally as a child and continued to do so into adulthood. However, her career was sidelined when she got caught up with drugs for almost a decade. It started with weed and progressed to freebasing. “Drugs make you selfish,” she says. One day, she went into the city to buy drugs, came home and didn’t inform her boyfriend who was also a user. “I took too much and I was dying,” she says. “My heart wasn’t beating normally, I was in severe pain. I had a decision to make.” Should she call her parents, an ambulance or her boyfriend? She called her man who rushed to her aid and found that she had a secret stash. “He said I got what I deserved for not sharing,” she recalls. “He took my dog and left me on the floor to die.”
Black managed to drag herself to the shower where she cried out to God for a clean heart and says,” A beam of light came out of the showerhead and covered my body. It was the first time I felt real love and peace in my life. The pain stopped and I never did drugs again.” Black had not been in a church in nine years, so she found her way to a youth meeting and began to attend church. During that period, Black says that God revealed that radio was in her future. She found her way to WMCA, a Christian station, where the program director, Kevin Cottrell, who taught her the engineering side of radio. “I didn’t go to school for it,” Black says. “Kevin was my school. For two years. He showed me the ins and outs of running the board.”
From there, Black started hosting an overnight show on WFDU 89.1 FM in Teaneck, NJ and stayed there for 8 years. Then, in 2007, she went to WLIB, which was a new learning experience. “Even though I had been in radio, it was a different jungle,” she confesses. “You had to learn the ways of that environment. Skip [Dillard, the Program Director] sat
down with me once a week to make sure I perfected my craft. Even though, I had been on air, there was still a structure that I was missing. Nobody does that nowadays. “
One of the fan highlights of Black’s show is the Corporate Prayer segment. “When I meet people on the street one of the first things they say is, `I pray with you every Sunday,’” she adds. “It changes lives. There’s still power in prayer. ” She knows first hand. “When I was using drugs, I had been stopped at the George Washington Bridge with enough drugs to be considered a dealer and was released,” she says… “It was only God’s favor that I don’t have a record. I could have gone to prison.”
“It’s always an honor just to be nominated but I really want to win,” she howls with laughter. Black is happy with the way her radio shows are growing – including a Sunday morning show on WBLS 107.5 FM, New York’s top R&B station - and hopes to get back into TV. “Back in the day, I did TV commercials and all of that stuff but I’d love to do something that is faith-driven.”
In 2016, she was the voiceover host for the full season of BET’s short-lived, “Joyful Noise” musical TV series that starred Tye Tribbett. “That was a totally new world for me and it was so much fun,” she says. “I’m disappointed the show didn’t continue but I want to do more voiceover work and TV, so I have more things to accomplish.”
Since she’s triumphed over some high and harsh hurdles, does Black have advice for others breaking into the business? “Yes,” she says emphatically. “Never give up and be true to yourself.