Listen to Michelle Tellone
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God has rescued me and done so much in my life, I don’t even know where to begin. I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, yes, I’m a Florida native! My parochial school upbringing gave me a reverence and respect for God but I never understood that He wanted a personal relationship with me. After seeing some hypocrisy in the church and hurt in my own life, I made some really wrong choices. In eighth grade I was on the student council, straight A’s and a cheerleader and by tenth grade I was failing and pulled out of school. I went to work full time for my family in a men’s clothing and tux rental business. During that time my music was so important to me. I would win prizes from radio stations all the time and always thought that radio would be the greatest job in the world!
When I was 17 I went for three months with my grandparents. Even though I hadn’t given my life to the Lord yet, that trip had a profound effect on me. I met relatives from the other side of the world. I saw castles and Roman ruins and history like never before and I decided I wanted to do something with my life. I came back and took my GED and radio broadcasting license test and started at St. Pete. Junior College. After working in college and volunteer radio for a while I landed a part-time position at 102.5 FM, which was a dream come true at the time! I soon went from part-time to full time and became the music director. In the natural so much was going for me, I had a condo on Siesta Key, a brand new car and I had just been voted top female announcer in Tampa Bay by a local magazine. The drugs and partying in the secular music industry was unbelievable. For a 20-year-old tenth grade dropout I was making good money, but I remember feeling so alone, empty and unfulfilled. I didn’t like who I was.
Around Christmas time of 1981, I cried out to God and told Him I couldn’t live my life without Him any longer. He honored that desperate prayer and came into my life. After that it seemed that everywhere I went I met Christians who God used in my life. The Bible became so alive to me. God was speaking directly to me through His love letter! Through a co-worker at the radio station, I met my future husband. He had the same background as me and God was just beginning to do a work in his life as well. We were close friends for a year and went to church together. Then something changed and we realized we were meant for each other forever! December 3rd, 1983 we were married. Although I was still working in secular radio, I had written a term paper in college about the music industry and how the music we listen to affects us. Through that term paper doors opened in many churches to speak to teens. We were going all over the state, sometimes twice a week to share. The closer I became to the Lord the harder it was to work at the radio station.
I remember listening to a Christian radio station, WCIE, through the static and hearing that they were pregnant with a new radio station for our area! As God would have it, in May of ’86 we had a staff meeting at 102.5 and we were told that our station had been sold and we could lose our jobs. I was pregnant with our first child at the time. When I walked out of that meeting that day, on my desk was a message from the station manager of The JOY FM. God opened the doors for me to be a part of The JOY FM from the start in June of 1986. I’ve worked just about every air shift in these past 29 years and currently on 88.3 WAFJ during the middays. It’s so wonderful to be able to play music that offers people hope and life!
Jesus has filled that empty place that was in my heart. He has blessed me with a wonderful husband who loves the Lord. He is a worshiper who for years has been training up worship leaders in our community. John and I are blessed with six beautiful gifts from Him! Elisha, Joshua, Caleb, Crystal, Hannah and Angelina. And my grandson, Kieran who is the love of my life!