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National Radio Producer Welcomes Storytellers to New Radio Show

Lee Habeeb, photo by PJmedia.com
Lee Habeeb, photo by PJmedia.com

Lee Habeeb, a radio-talk show executive and producer who lives in Oxford, is starting a new radio show that focuses on storytelling this summer.

He will be hosting auditions for the radio show this Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Growler. Those auditioning will have a free beer, and they only need to bring a story.

Lee Habeeb said, “Too much of the media is yelling back and forth and focused on the negative news of the day. They’ve robbed us of our joy and inspiration. I know I’ve felt it and so many people tell me they have too.”

He believes the argumentative news culture has diminished acceptance of contrasting world views that influences one into becoming a more wholesome person and building a more diverse community.

“Our goal is to bring joy, inspiration, and dialogue back through a platform where no yelling or politicians will be allowed – only stories,” said Habeeb.

He hopes to launch the first show ‘Evenings with America’ this July. He has a goal: “(M)ake it the largest show in the country by next year.” The first show is called “With America” for a reason: the show’s vision is to tell great stories, and then ask the audience for their stories on that theme.

Habeeb feels that angle is missing today: “Conservative talk radio asks for your opinion and NPR is mostly pre-produced. Here’s the power of communal and raw story telling. When I guest-hosted a large national radio show on September 11 last year, Gail Sheehy came on and told several incredible stories from her book Middletown, America: One Town’s Passage from Trauma to Hope. And then we asked the audience for their 9/11 stories.

“One gentleman called in and told his story and waking up that solemn morning still drunk from the evening before. He was living at home with his father who told him about the plane crashes. He didn’t believe his father and thought it was his drunkenness playing tricks on him. Yet it was true, as was his sad state in life. It was the moment that woke him up from his slumber and he decided to do something with his life. He decided to fight for his country and he’s been a fulfilled human being ever since.

“That’s the power of telling stories together, live, every night, as a community, and inspiring America one story at a time.”

At the auditions he is looking for great storytellers who are fun and well-rounded to be regulars on the programming. The studio has five microphones hooked up to create a communal feeling in the programming.

Habeeb said, “We’re also looking for folks who would be interested in their own weekly segment with a common theme that excites them, and hopefully our audience. It could be a documentary of the week segment, a history segment or even ‘Meet the Hipsters.’ It can be anything!”

Having a radio show in Oxford is a must for him. “Too many media enterprises come out of New York, Washington or Los Angeles. Einstein said it well, if everyone is thinking the same thing then no one’s thinking,” Habeeb said. “Why not a small town, or a town in the South for once. The media doesn’t like the South if you haven’t noticed – they continue to perpetuate these myths that we’re backwards racists with no economic dynamism.”

Habeeb believes there are stories in the South that go against the status quo the national media has reported on the region.

Habeeb said, “It’s okay for us to be proud of being Southern. And this is from a guy who grew up in New Jersey!”

He is a graduate of University of Virginia School of Law, and he is the co-creator and co-founder of the Laura Ingraham Show in 2001 that reached seven million listeners in 2006. He is the vice president of content at Salem Radio Network where he oversees production and sales teams of five of the top 10 shows in America: The Hugh Hewitt Show, The Dennis Prager Show, The Bill Bennett Show, The Michael Medved Show and the Mike Gallagher Show. He is also a regular contributor for National Review.

With a successful career he has lived in Oxford for nine years ever since he and his wife decided to follow their dream of living in a Southern college town which Oxford was perfect for to them.

Habeeb said, “It’s our hope that by locating our network in Oxford and broadcasting our programming here we’ll be able to shine a light on this great city, state and region as well as inspire additional economic development here.”

Those with a great story to tell may reserve a spot at these auditions with Alex Cortes at alexc@OANetwork.com or (312) 286-5883.


Callie Daniels is a staff reporter/writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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