By Aaron Allen
The Seattle Medium
In the Black community and in most Black families where religion is the cornerstone of their existence, there is one ritual that you can take for granted that goes on if not every day, and definitely on Sunday.
That ritual is while getting dress for church, in the background, someone is listening to their favorite gospel radio station and host.
In Seattle that host and station is Sister Connie Gray and the Heaven Bound Train on 1420 KRIZ and 1620 KYIZ (Z-Twins).
Gray was recently awarded the 2019 Terrestrial Radio Announcer of the Year Award at The Premier Gospel Music Awards recently held in Montgomery, Ala. Gray, heard exclusively on KRIZ and KYIZ, was trained as a radio announcer by the legendary Frank P. Barrow, Operations Manager at Kris Bennett Broadcasting, Inc.
“I am most proud of sister Gray for her growth in the gospel radio announcer Industry both spiritually and professionally,” says Chris B. Bennett, chairman of Kris Bennett Broadcasting.
Gray has been hosting gospel music on the radio since 2010 when Rev. Ruth Saunders, host of the Truth Radio Ministry, called Gray and told her that the Bennetts’ wanted to speak to her about hosting their gospel show and as Gray puts it, “the rest was history.”
Gray’s signature up-tempo style of inspiration and the excitement you hear in her voice each Sunday is a testament to the love, devotion and commitment she has towards her craft as a gospel DJ and radio personality, as well as the deep faith that flows from her religious upbringing and her relationship with God.
Gray started her career by making mixed gospels tapes for friends and family. She had fond memories of her Godmother Ollie Taylor on the Z-Twins and how Taylor always wanted Gray to follow in her footsteps as a radio host.
According to Gray, gospel music has always encouraged her spirit and has been instrumental in getting her through some rough times and it’s her desire that her listeners have the same experience.
“We as radio announcers know not what someone may be going through, but when we allow the spirit of God to minister to us, we in return can minister to our listeners,” says Gray.
“It’s not about me,” continued Gray. “It is all unto the glory of God. I am satisfied if one person is touched by a word or song I share. One person is reminded that God loves them and hasn’t forgotten them.”
According to Devon Womack, producer of the Premier Gospel Music Awards Show, the award is a statement of the people, by the people as it is the listeners that vote on the National Gospel Announcer of the Year Award.
“Gray is deserving of this award for the great job she has done over the years in Seattle, making the Heaven Bound Train one of the best shows in Seattle and in the nation,” says Womack.
Humbled by the award, Gray is quick to point out that the award is not about her as much as it is about the word of God through song and her listeners and those that gave her the opportunity back in 2010 to expand her horizons and share her gift with listeners across the country.
“I want to thank Chris [Bennett] and Frank P. Barrow for welcoming me into the Z-Twins family and developing me as a radio announcer,” said Gray. “Thank you Frank P. Barrow for teaching me the ins and outs of radio and for inspiring me to be the best I can be on the mic.”