No so silent nights on this radio

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Shelby native brings nonstop Christmas to airwaves

By Scotty McDaniel

With painful sighs of food-fatigue and turkey-induced naps finally fading into memory, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And if you've turned your radio to Lite 106.9 WVEZ recently, you know it's starting to sound like it, too.

"It's always pleasant to hear the Christmas music," said 106.9 Air Talent Tracy Bond Bird. "It's just nice when you're able to play that. It gets you in the mood."

Born and raised in Shelbyville by her lifelong-Shelbyvillian parents, Fred and Charlotte Bond, it is Tracy Bond's love for music that she attributes to her more than 20 years in radio.

She graduated from Shelby County High School in 1983 and went on to receive a degree in broadcasting from Western Kentucky University.

"Before I went to college, I was thinking about majoring in TV production. But I took radio class, and I liked it. I really didn't think about being on the air. I really thought I wanted to be a program director and decide what music they played. But I started off being a DJ, because that's where you start off."

And that's where she found her voice.

While in college she worked part time at WCND – then an AM country station in Shelbyville – where, coincidentally, in the 1960s and '70s her father, a retired judge, had broadcast baseball, basketball and football games for Shelbyville and Shelby County High Schools .   

From there she passed through different stations in Lexington, Georgetown and Louisville, including working the morning show in 1994 for 106.9 in Louisville.  

Her relationship with the station continues on a part-time basis to this day.

Now living with her husband, Garland, in Louisville, where she has been for around 19 years now, she gives her weekends and her voice to some of the city's most popular radio stations -- WVEZ-FM (106.9) and its sister-station, WSFR-FM (107.7).

The former is well known for playing nonstop Christmas songs this time of the year.

"They started years ago. They'd play it all day the Friday after Thanksgiving," Bird recalls. "Then they started doing it every weekend. Then when Cox [Radio, Inc.] bought it, they started doing the day after Thanksgiving straight through Christmas."

She takes to the airwaves at the so-called Lite 106.9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on 107.7 SFR from 7 to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.

Through all of the changes faced by radio over the last couple of decades, Bird has been evolving along with the business.

"When I first started, they had carts [cartridges], and they looked like 8-track tapes," she said. "Then in the early '90s everything started going CD, and in the late '90s everything started being computer-based. All the music, all the commercials, they're all on the computer."

Bird said at times she misses the days when the sound board was full of knobs and she kept busying filing through CDs, because today's digital and computerized technology take a lot of the hands-on work away.

"It was a little more fun when there always something you had to be doing," she said.

With radio as her weekend gig these days, you may have also unknowingly heard her voice when flipping through a different medium -- television.

Eight years ago she started doing voice-over work for Fox 41 WDRB in downtown Louisville on a part-time basis, and 3 1/2 years ago she joined Fox full-time, returning to her early interest in television production on a professional level.

She works in the promotions department where she does "a lot of voiceover work and promotions."

"Yesterday [Monday] I was recording some voiceovers for commercials [for Fox 41]," she said.

She has even started mixing her specialty, audio, with the visual aspects necessary for TV promotions.

"Naturally what I am – because I really like music, and plus having worked in radio – I'm not as visual of a person," she said. "But I do like doing the video production. It's fun."

 "Things keep pretty busy around here."