SAGINAW “” Although Saginaw’s Vicki Hill didn’t take top honors when the radio gospel announcer of the year was named last week in Nashville, she isn’t singing the blues.
“Being nominated was an honor in itself,” said Hill, the host of “Vicki Hill’s Gospel” on Saginaw Township’s WTLZ-FM, 107.1.
“Here I was at the Grand Ole Opry with all these gospel greats “” this was a first for me “” and when I realized I didn’t get the award, I just looked in my program to see what was coming up next,” she said.
That’s when she saw that nominated announcers were also being recognized for length of service and impact on the community. She heard, “Vicki Hill from Saginaw, Michigan” called from the stage.
Moments later, she was cradling a REACH Award, given to announcers who reach through the airwaves in a positive way through their words and music.
“My eyes got big, and my girlfriend started screaming,” Hill said. “I was shaking by the time I reached the stage, and after I gave my acceptance speech, people rushed me, giving me hugs and copies of their CDs.
“Then I sat down and I couldn’t stop crying. I told my friend, “˜My make-up’s coming off’ and she told me, “˜Don’t worry; you just go ahead and cry.’ It was so awesome.”
Hill earned her award at the 25th annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, where announcer of the year honors went to Philadelphia’s Lonnie Hunter.
Saginaw is no stranger to gospel awards “” RiZen took home Best New Artist honors in 2004 and Best Traditional Group/Duo in 2006. And Hill, who moved to Saginaw when she was 13 and graduated from Saginaw High School in 1977, headed for Nashville with a support team, her friend Carolyn Rand olph Witcher, who hosts a gospel show on Flint’s WFLT-AM, 1420, and Chris Banks, who hosted WTLZ’s gospel show for years before Hill was hired 14 years ago.
Hill said she can’t even begin to describe the feelings she had at the moment she received her award. But the people who invite her into their homes from 6 a.m. to noon every Sunday have let her know through the years that the Lord is working through her to bring them peace.
“I love my job and I love people,” said Hill, branch manager at the Catholic Federal Credit Union’s Cass Avenue office in Bay City. “My show isn’t really a job; it’s a radio ministry. People are stand ing on the bridge, ready to jump, as the Lord works through me and pulls them back.
“It happens at the credit union, too. That alone is a reward in itself,” she said.
It’s nice to be recognized by her peers as well, Hill said.
“It makes me feel wonderful.”