Ask Mom RN
Before the invention of television, families gathered around the radio to listen to live broadcasts of music, drama, comedy, news and weather. Although technology has changed from ‘The Golden Age of Radio,’ live radio programming remains part of the American lifestyle. Tamara Walker, Edmond resident, unexpectedly found her niche in the Internet version of radio.
“I worked as a full-time RN until 1993 when I started a home daycare so I could stay home with my oldest child. Parents began calling me to ask me for advice on health or parenting. Then it became calls from friends of friends and then complete strangers were asking for advice. My husband recognized what was happening and created a website that would be a ministry to share my knowledge,” said Walker. In March of 2001, MomRN.com launched and became a place to share insight with thousands of parents.
When Walker offered to be a resource at a local radio station, she was instead offered her own talk show and the “Ask MomRN” show was born. “For two years, I broadcasted live from 91 FM, now known as AirOne. The Ask MomRN show aired once a month during the lunch break, then more often until the station sold in 2006,” said Walker. Although the show ended with a change in management, the future of Ask MomRN was far from over.
As fate would have it, Walker became good friends with Marla Cilley, also known as ‘FlyLady,’ the host of an online network. Cilley encouraged Walker to bring her show back on the air. “FlyLady is a home and lifestyle organizational guru with over half a million subscribers worldwide. She’s allowed me and several hosts with varying areas of expertise to be on her network,” said Walker.
The Ask MomRN show returned to the airwaves via Internet on blogtalkradio.com in April 2008. “Our mission is to provide practical advice for raising a happy, healthy family. We offer parenting, health, safety and family entertainment information. There’s a wide scope of topics that fall within those categories so there’s something for any family,”
The hour-long show broadcasts Mondays at noon when most moms, whether working or stay-at-home, would have the best opportunity to tune in. With four shows monthly, Ask MomRN averages 8,500 listeners a month. Every episode airs live and is also recorded for listening on the website, downloaded from iTunes or to an mp3 player.
Not only does Walker share her own experience as a mother, home educator, nurse and childcare provider, she hosts a wealth of experts and celebrities on her talk show. “With our celebrity guests, high-profile doctors and other experts, sometimes it’s recorded interviews and not live due to their schedules,” said Walker. “My guests call in to the show’s switchboard for the interviews and we can either do a live interview or record them for a future episode. I’ve interviewed nationally-known pediatricians such as Dr. William Sears and Dr. Jim Sears as well as parenting expert Dr. Kevin Leman,” said Walker. Celebrities and authors are interviewed when the nature of their cause benefits Walker’s audience. “I’ve hosted Kathy Ireland because she wrote a book for moms and Nancy O’Dell wrote one on pregnancy. Lucy Liu promoted a campaign for the Heinz Corporation when they provided vitamin packets to third-world countries. Sometimes it’s talking about a family movie like ‘Fireproof’ where I interviewed Kirk Cameron and Stephen Kendrick. Doing the show on ‘Fireproof’ was one of the neatest things I’ve done. I had so many people tell me they went to see it and it caused them to look at their own marriage. They told me they wouldn’t have seen the movie if they hadn’t heard about it on my show. We’re an outlet for helping people,” Walker explained.
In keeping with family-friendly radio, Walker is very protective of her guests and callers. “I have a lot of moms who listen from home with their children around,” she said. “When I have a producer, we open lines for callers depending on our guests or topics. But with Internet radio, sometimes we get prank callers so if we cannot open the phone lines, listeners can still post questions and interact in our chat room during the show.” As the mother of two teenagers, Walker’s family values are paramount to her success on the show and at home.
“The Ask MomRN show has allowed me a lot of flexibility to be home with my kids full time. I am able to be involved in their activities and it’s rare that I ever have to miss something. My husband, Dustin, is extremely supportive. He designed the original website and has been my IT guy over the years,” said Walker.
“Although I use my nursing knowledge in a nontraditional way, I’ve kept my nursing license and stay current on health news. My plan was to go back to nursing but God changed that plan,” said Walker. “As a Christian, I openly share my faith but I want people of other faiths to know they’re welcome because the majority of what we share applies to everyone. It’s everyday family and parenting information. … This has completely been a God thing because I would’ve never pictured myself doing MomRN.com or the Ask MomRN show. But it’s in line with what I love doing and I’m able to use my education and knowledge to help people,” said Walker.
Listen, browse, find or follow at www.momrn.com, youtube.com/momrn, facebook.com/askmomrnshow or Twitter@momrn.