Longtime local radio personality Barb Richards will be changing roles at WAJI, Majic 95.1-FM, but listeners will still hear her on the air and see her out in the community.
WAJI announced Tuesday that Dan “Kennedy” Baisden has been named station program director, effective July 5, taking over one of the two hats Richards has worn since about 1996.
Richards, who grew up in Fort Wayne, started at WAJI in 1984 and has been its afternoon air personality — currently noon-6 p.m. weekdays — also since 1996, she said in an email.
The change also represents a coming home of sorts for Baisden.
“I grew up in Fort Wayne and in Ohio, and Majic 95.1 is the radio station that inspired me to get into the radio business,” he said in a news release announcing the change.
Baisden has been director of programming for Grenax Broadcasting stations KFLX, KWMX, KBTK and KSED in Flagstaff and Prescott in Arizona, and has programmed radio stations in Lafayette in Indiana; Lima, Ohio; and Pikeville, Ky.
In December, he was named by Edison Research as one of the “30 under 30 Most Influential People in Radio” for his commitment to broadcasting and community, the news release said.
The popular Richards said she will continue her on-air duties “for right now.”
To reduce her workload, Richards considered resigning completely, but the station asked her to stay on the air, she said. She didn’t want to leave town, so the offer was “a great opportunity.
“I love being on the air!” she said. “It's why I got into radio. I love being able to share things on the radio, to make people happy when they win a prize, to talk about a local community event or fundraiser, or something important that is happening.
“Early on, I felt our radio station should work for the good of the community,” she added. “After all, I live here, have raised my kids here — why wouldn't I want it to be a great place to live? I believe I have done that with Majic 95.1, and I am sure it will continue in that vein.
“I am very proud of our team at Majic and excited that I can still continue to be a voice in the market!” she said.
Richards, who has done every air shift at the station except overnights, currently has no plans to scale back her active community involvement, both as a volunteer and as an emcee for various community events.
“Just try and stop me!” she said. “I love serving on the Riley Hospital for Children leadership board, volunteering for the Vera Bradley Foundation, Fort Wayne Track Club and hosting events for a variety of charities like Cancer Services, Ronald McDonald House, Mustard Seed Furniture Bank and anyone else who wants me!”