GTPulse: Meet New Contributing Columnist Christal Frost!
I didn’t think a columnist was a real job before taking this job. It seemed like a breezy, made up gig that a fictional misguided yet carefree writer would have. That person would spend their days sleeping until noon and upon waking, would spend a leisurely hour slowly getting ready before heading to a cafe for an espresso, and a daily shot of writing inspiration.
“If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew I would probably say columnist. I think I like the idea that you can work anywhere and have people read your thoughts. You know, in my world a columnist always wears a beret and they’re at a coffee shop somewhere and they smoke cigarettes sometimes. They might be writing a column about Glen Arbor but they’re doing it from France,” Christal Frost joked as we enjoyed a little time at Brew’s outdoor cafe, sans cigarettes.
Christal has been a beloved media personality in Traverse City for six years now. You’ve heard her on the radio, and now you’ll be able to read her weekly columns every Friday for GTPulse.
“It’s exciting. It’s real and it’s not negative, it’s about the community, and it definitely doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows but it’s so in touch with what’s going on here. I’m so excited.”
And folks, we are excited to have her. Meet my new collaborator and GTPulse columnist Christal Frost.
GTP: I’ve gotta ask, is Christal Frost your real name? I know in radio sometimes people make up a stage name.
CF: “It is. It’s my dad’s name, so it’s my maiden name. I was actually adopted from my stepdad, so I was born a different name but I’m a Frost. I used to joke that it’s a cold-weather Viking slash, maybe stripper name.”
GTP: You grew up in Traverse City?
CF: “I grew up in Benzie County. In Beulah and Interlochen. My mom lived in Interlochen for a bit and my grandparents lived in Beulah and I lived with both of them.”
GTP: A lot of people who grew up in Northern Michigan kind of boomerang and do this thing where they leave but then come back. Did you?
CF: “No I didn’t.”
GTP: You should have a superiority complex.
CF: “I feel like I don’t! I just love it here, it’s not to say that I never would have thought about living somewhere else, but I just always loved it here. And I went to school here at NMC so I never really had the opportunity to leave. It’s funny because I have older kids, which is what happens when you have a baby at 22, all of a sudden you’re 40 with an 18-year-old, but now I’m like, ‘I can go anywhere.’ But I don’t really want to. I don’t really feel like I missed out on anything. This community has been wonderful to me.”
GTP: Did you take the WTCM job right after you graduated?
CF: “Oh no. No. I went to NMC for a bit and then ended up being a photographer at Sears portrait studio for a time, it was horrible. But, I pretended to like it because I was taking pictures of people’s kids and stuff but it was very stressful. It was a high-pressure sales job. But I always wanted to work with kids and I went to school for early childhood development. I got a job working with the Boys and Girls Club here in Traverse City and absolutely loved it and stayed with it until we shut down during the recession back in 2006. I was director of operations and then we shut down and I, honestly, I did not know what to do. So, I had a little experience with fundraising. I definitely had experience with kids and working with kids at risk, and some event planning and like, I had all these things that I had accumulated since I was there for you know, six years.”
GTP: What did you do after?
CF: “I saw in the paper that a radio station was hiring a salesperson and I was like, ‘Alright, I listen to the radio.’ So I went in, had no sales experience, and I got the job, but I was terrible. My boss, I don’t know why he didn’t fire me, was just like, ‘We like you so we’ll keep giving you a chance.’ So he said, ‘You’re terrible in sales but let’s try you in promotions.’ That’s another really fun part of radio stations where you get to plan things. So that’d what I did, was promotions for a bit for another radio station in town. One morning the morning show host for this alternative rock station called The Zone, he was here and they had just hired a cohost for him but he wasn’t starting yet. And we got along really great so he’s like, ‘Christal just come in. I hate not having a cohost.’ So, I got there and we had a great show. It turns out our boss said, ‘You’re great you’re part of the show.’ It was called the Rock and Roll Freakshow. I was Miz Christal.”
GTP: How did that turn into your own show?
CF: “I did that for a couple of years and was laid off with recession stuff, and that was in 2011. Even then, when I was first in radio people always said Midwestern Broadcasting, WTCM, that’s the place to be. So, when I got hired there it was like, ‘yes!’ So I started there and I was a producer and they wanted me to answer and screen calls for a show. Ron Jolly is the best in the business so I got to see him work for a while and then I got my own show. It’s going to be six years in February. I hate to say it’s luck, I think sometimes hard work pays off. I was a single mom. I had a second job like a lot of people in media. I would work from seven to noon in the morning and then I would work as the prevention coordinator for the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center in sexual abuse prevention. It was tough though, I had two little boys.”
GTP: Dang. How do you pull all of that off?
CF: “I think about that. How did I pull that off? Anytime I see a mom pushing a stroller and she has another kid, holding his hand and she’s on the phone I have this weird flashback almost. But, you do it. I just think that human beings get up in the morning and do what they have to do. They take care of their kids and work as hard as they can. Thankfully this community was wonderful to me.”
GTP: What do you think is the secret to having a great media personality in this community?
CF: “It’s really about having a conversation with your listeners. It’s a relationship. You have these really personal conversations sometimes. Giving opinions and sharing stories or sad news or happy news. Whatever it is. I think if you can come to that with a genuine sense of authenticity, you might not gain the adoration of everybody, but that is how you gain the respect.”
GTP: What can GTPulse readers look forward to with your upcoming columns?
CF: “I love that I’m going to be able to have conversations with people and, and talk about some of them. And you know, I think we’re dying for entertainment right now. It doesn’t have to be a big festival. If there’s something going on that people are talking about or taking part in, even if it’s online, tell me about it!”
Look for Christal’s columns every Friday morning on the GTPulse newsletter!
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