Delilah (radio host)
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Delilah Rene Luke (born February 15, 1960, North Bend, Oregon) is an American radio personality, author, and songwriter, best known as the host of a nationally syndicated nightly U.S. radio song request and dedication program, with an estimated 8 million listeners. She first aired in the Seattle market as Delilah Rene, though she is now known mononymously as Delilah.
Delilah's family moved from Coos Bay, Oregon to neighboring, Reedsport, in 1969 where she attended school. In 1974 she won a middle-school speech contest judged by owners of the local AM radio station. Delilah began her radio career there, at KDUN in Reedsport, doing school reports. She soon was creating advertising spots and then was given her own time slot during shifts before and after school. After graduating from high school in 1978, she worked at numerous stations in Oregon and in Seattle before creating the format she became known for at KLSY in 1984.
The show, known simply as Delilah begins at 7pm and ends around midnight local time. She takes calls from listeners in her home studio, providing encouragement, support, and receiving musical dedication requests. It is based in the Pacific Northwest.
One of the cornerstones of the show is its use of callers. Most of the time the caller tells Delilah their situation or story and then she chooses the song that she feels best matches the caller's situation. Callers are recorded during the show and replayed later, sometimes within the hour during the show. She also plays songs by direct request.
Originally heard only on weeknights, stations that carry the show have the option of doing so six or even seven nights a week, with most stations doing so at least one night of the weekend (usually Sunday) in addition to the weeknight show.
- Adult contemporary (AC): This is the most widely distributed version of the show between January and early November. It airs the usual adult contemporary music and is geared towards adults and their families. This is the version heard on most radio stations. It has also surfaced on hot adult contemporary stations. Maroon 5, Pink, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and many other music artists and groups are heard in this version.
- Gold-based AC: A version of the show that features several older adult contemporary hits, from artists including Elton John, Michael Bublé, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and others.
- Christmas music: This is the only version that is produced between November 1 and Christmas. It features all Christmas music, mainly because most of the adult contemporary music formatted stations that carry the show switch over to the format. Stations that do not switch to Christmas music at that time can receive the main version of the show.
- Christian Music version: A version of the show featuring Contemporary Christian music, specifically produced for stations and audiences favoring this genre.
The show includes "Friday Nite Girls", a "fan club"-style feature in which she honors groups of her regular female listeners with prizes. She occasionally also calls certain "Friday Nite Girls" chapters and speaks with them live on the air. She also airs a "Delilah Dilemma" each evening in the first and third hours of the broadcast.
The program debuted on four stations at the beginning of 1996, finishing the year on a dozen stations. In 1997, Broadcast Programming started to distribute the program, which was later bought by Jones Radio Networks. Delilah moved to Premiere Radio Networks in 2004, where she remains to this day. There are nearly 170 radio stations, and the Armed Forces Radio Network, airing the program. Jane Bulman is the original executive producer and has been in that role for 20 years.
Many of the stations carrying the show are owned by Premiere parent iHeartMedia. In November 2006, WLTW in New York began carrying her. The version of the show that runs on WLTW is a separate, specially tailored version of the show produced just for that station, with music programmed by local WLTW Programming. In 2007, longtime lovesongs host Zoe Bonet was dropped from KODA Houston and replaced with her. In March 2012, she went on the air in Los Angeles on KFSH-FM, a Salem Broadcasting owned station playing Christian music. This addition debuted the Christian Music formatted version of the program. iHeartRadio has an online Delilah stream where listeners can hear the show all the time regardless of time zone or broadcast market.
On January 26, 2018, Seattle soft AC station KSWD announced that Delilah would host weekday mornings and afternoons on the station beginning January 29, 2018. The station also picked up her syndicated show for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
The show is popular among women between the ages of 25 and 54. As many as eight million people tune in to listen to the program throughout the full week.
In popular culture
The show plays a role in the Hallmark Channel television series Cedar Cove, which is based on writer Debbie Macomber's book series and set in a fictional Pacific coast town in Washington state. Quotes and other inspirational pieces voiced by Delilah especially for the series set up some of the plot devices which occur in the course of each episode.
Delilah is a mother of 13 children, 10 of whom are adopted. Two of the children have died: a 16 year old child, Sammy Young Dzolali Rene, died on March 12, 2012, of complications of sickle-cell anemia which had gone untreated most of his life until he was adopted by Delilah and brought to the US just 9 months before his death. On October 3, 2017, her 18 year old biological son Zachariah died by suicide, following a brief but intense period of depression.
She has been married four times, and frequently jokes about, and refers to, her multiple divorces on her show. She is currently married to Paul Warner, who had been her longtime friend. The two were married at her home on October 27, 2012. The invited guests (and most of the staff) were only told that they were attending her annual Harvest party.
Awards and honors
Delilah was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2016, after having been nominated for it in 2015 as well.
Delilah received the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Marconi Award for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year in 2016; she has also been nominated for the award in 2008, 2013 and 2018.
Delilah is a public advocate of adoption.
In 2004, partly because of her personal experience with the foster care system, and partly because her heart was touched by a fact-finding trip to Ghana, she founded a humanitarian aid, non-profit organization, Point Hope, as a voice for forgotten children everywhere. It is focused on saving lives, providing purpose and restoring hope for foster children in America and for refugees and other vulnerable persons in Ghana and Liberia, providing a sustainable helping hand-up instead of a hand-out to these persons. The work in Ghana began through providing fresh, safe drinking water, thus alleviating the suffering of Liberian refugees who were camped at Buduburam, a refugee camp that was established in Ghana following the Liberian civil war. Point Hope now provides educational support, infant feeding programs and vocational training in addition to a fresh water program.
Delilah has written four books: Love Someone Today, Love Matters, Arms Full of Love and One Heart At A Time, all published by Rosetta Books.
- Boudway, Ira (June 14, 2016). "The Queen of FM Fights for Her Throne". Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
It’s destroying radio in general, and especially shows that don't play for the meter.
- "Talking off-air with Delilah, the 'Queen of Sappy Love Songs'". CNN. February 14, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- "Show information page". Premiere Radio Networks. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
- "Radio host Delilah announces break from show after son's death by suicide". EW.com. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
- "Radio Host Delilah Reveals Son Zachariah Died of Suicide". Us Weekly. 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
- "94.1 The Sound Adds Delilah For Middays". RadioInsight. 2018-01-26. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
- Yes, that Delilah lives in South Kitsap Archived 2008-02-28 at the Wayback Machine. Kitsap Sun. 24 February 2008.
- Delilah Loses Son; Then Loses WLIT-FM Chicagoland Radio and Media 13 March 2012.
- Pasquini, Maria (October 7, 2017). "Romance Radio Host Delilah Announces Her Son Zachariah Has Died of Suicide". People. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
- "??". Kcwaimg.co.kitsap.wa.us. Retrieved 2016-12-23. (registration required)
- Week, This (2014-01-07). "This Week's Chess Safari: A message from Delilah". Twchesssafari.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2016-12-23.
- "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11.
- 2012 Gracies Winners
- "2016 NAB Marconi Radio Award Winners Announced | NAB Newsroom". Nab.org. 2016-09-22. Retrieved 2016-12-23.
- "Past Award Recipients NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame". Nab.org. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
- "Point Hope". Pointhope.org. Retrieved 2016-12-23.