“The phones kept on ringing; …which was fantastic! There’s nothing like the feeling of making a plea for someone to help out sick children … It’s so amazing knowing that you’ve helped make such a difference .”
It’s absolutely impossible to listen to Frank-FM’s Sarah Sullivan and not laugh at her unique insights and share in her enthusiasm. Sarah is not only an on-air DJ, but is the station’s program director.
Having lived and breathed music since a young age, it was only natural that Sarah would end up in a career that centered on it. “My parents have tons pictures of me when I was younger wearing huge headphones,” she says. “I took every vinyl record that I could get my hands on, especially ones that belonged to my six older siblings. They introduced me to the sixties and seventies, but the eighties is really my era. Music has been with me for my whole life.”
Sarah attended Keene State College, majoring in voice, and was trained to sing opera. However, after graduation she didn’t see the demand for opera singers in New Hampshire, and not wanting to leave her family for New York City, she went to work as a paralegal. As much as she loved working in the office, she wasn’t doing anything with music, her true passion – “I was in an office all day, it was very stuffy, and it just wasn’t me. I would listen to the radio, especially WBCN and Kiss 108, and I thought – if these guys can talk on the radio, then so can I. So, I left my office job, got an internship at Rock 101, and had my first real radio gig at WBFM in Nashua spinning oldies. I played everything from the Big Bopper to the Doors. I had two fans – my mom, and Mrs. Carson down at the nursing home,”
Thanks to her supportive family Sarah was able to achieve her dreams of being on the radio. “They didn’t want to see me in a position behind a desk. They knew I had to be performing somehow, someday.” So they gave her the support that she needed to quit her ‘day job’ and follow her dream.
However, despite their support, one her biggest challenges is balancing her time commitment to her radio job with that of her family. One thing which has helped over the years is being able to bring her son with her on the job. Occasionally, this has also proved to be entertaining. Laughingly, Sarah shares one of her favorite stories – “My son Colin has been in so many radio stations, he’s almost become immune to celebrities. When he was nine, I took him to his first big concert to see Elton John. Colin was used to going backstage to meet local performers, but I’d never taken him to meet anyone of the same caliber as Elton.
So after the concert ended, Colin looked up at me and said, ‘So Mummy, can we go say hi to Elton now?’ It was hilarious. It’s little things like that, that light up my day. You learn to incorporate your life into this job.”
For Sarah, one of the most rewarding parts of her radio career is being able to help those in need. One instance involved her working with the radio station to raise money for the Boston Children’s Hospital. “The phones kept on ringing; it was never ending, which was fantastic! There’s nothing like the feeling of making a plea for someone to help out sick children and having such generous people come forward. It’s so amazing knowing that you’ve helped make such a difference.”
Sarah loves being a radio DJ, and her enthusiasm is evident in her morning show. “It’s so fun! I would say if you’re going to do it, you have to do it with both barrels. It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy the ride, that’s a good indicator that you’re on the right career path. There’s an old industry expression, ‘if you’re bitten by the radio bug, you never get over it.’ I was bitten years ago, and I’ve never regretted it.”