January 23, 2012
Fitting to her zodiac sign Gemini - the twins - radio personality Christina "Chrissy Love" Thompson has her hands in both media with her popular morning show "Immediate Response" on ZNS and her raw food and lifestyle restaurant Raw on Da Porch.
Though seemingly divergent, both tie into Thompson's desire to inspire and challenge those who listen to her show and visit her restaurant to think - something which she believes is hard to find in today's media landscape both at home and globally.
"I like to get behind a story - the why of the story - because I hated the times in the 70s and 80s where we were basically regurgitating government press releases," she says.
"To me that just was boring. I don't need any government telling me how to think or how to feel. I want to know why this story is happening," she continues. "I think too many times we're so content with taking the prepared statement that whoever is throwing the press conference gives us. Too many people in this business here do that. There's got to be more than that - there's got to be more to the story."
Though she's been in media since 1978, Thompson got "bitten by the bug" at age eight. Growing up in New York City with her family, she was selected with a group of peers to appear on the CBS show "Around the Corner" where she got her first taste of how media worked.
"We went to the studio and all of us were laughing and smiling and I remember sitting in front of the camera at eight years old and thinking, 'I can do this. I like this'," she remembers. "The funny thing is I never wanted to be on air; I never ever wanted to be up front in the media spotlight but I just ended up there. I wanted to be behind the scenes, a writer or producer."
After moving back to The Bahamas with her family in 1971, Thompson spent free time at the radio station ZNS where radio pioneer Elva Russel-Rolle saw a spark in her and soon offered her summer internships while she attended college abroad - first at College of St. Benedict to study communications and media and then Montclair State in New Jersey for journalism.
"Elva used to let me hang around in the studio when she spun records, and I was always intrigued by what she did," remembers Thompson. "I would come back and work for ZNS. I enjoyed it - I was the 'do girl' for many shows in the early days of ZNS. I did everything. Wherever there was excitement, that's where I wanted to be."
Thompson has come a long way since first finding her talent and joy in radio while spinning her own records in the Montclair State school radio and tv station WMSZ. Appearing on virtually every local radio station with different manifestations of talk shows such as "Morning Boil", "Every Woman" and "The Chrissy Love Show", her current show on ZNS, "Immediate Response" which began in August 2009, attracts numerous avid listeners every morning as she brings guests on air to engage in what she calls "real talk".
Indeed 2009 was a turning point for Thompson, who received a wake-up call in the form of full-blown diabetes and decided to take an active role in changing her life - a move that has begun a shift in many areas of her life, including career, as she makes the transition out of formalized media.
"I had a fasting blood sugar of 400," says Thompson. "It scared me. April 15th 2009, I went hardcore raw for 30 days. Intellectually I knew what I was eating was wrong, but you know how good the food tastes. It's addiction, and you can break it."
Indeed through her restaurant Raw on The Porch on #1 Rosetta Street in Palmdale, Thompson shares the physical and emotional benefits of delicious raw and gently cooked meals and the vegan lifestyle and has changed the lives of many Bahamians. It's a path that has brought her as much happiness as she felt the first time she spun records.
Yet time in media has brought its share of disillusionment, and coupled with her new change in life, Thompson plans to begin to leave formalized media behind, a decision that has largely to do with the lack of serious journalism she finds in the media landscape today.
"The days of the Athena Damianoses and the Nicki Kellys are gone - I think everybody just wants to be pretty and cute now in the media and rely on their connections for their job," she says. "Yes, your make-up and your dress are matching, now can we have some subject-verb agreement?"
"I know I sound like a snob but there has to be a standard. Get to know what the story means and read more," she continues. "I think we're becoming too shallow and there's so much more depth out there. Come out of the kiddie pool. We have to get it together - we have such great potential and there are so many great Bahamian stories out there. I'm tired of people coming from other places telling our stories."
It's because of this that Thompson maintains she will never entirely leave media behind even as she makes a shift in her life through promoting healthful living - indeed, if Thompson is able to become her own media enterprise, she can go by her own rules and begin to challenge her listeners even more.
"I still want to connect with the people. I don't think I want to completely distance myself from media - it will just be more relaxed," she explains. "I want to do more media outreach that has to do with getting our nation on a wellness track. We're talking about food sustainability and security, helping our children have respect for our environment."
"I may just set up a little microphone up here and have Raw radio!" she laughs. "I just want our people to sing a new song. I'm not saying I'm the catalyst or the messenger, but if I could just make you think, I'll have succeeded."
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News date : 01/23/2012 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories