How Does a Teacher From Texas End Up as One of Lexington’s Most-Loved Radio Personalities?
Deidre Ransdell may originally hail from Texas, but Kentucky is home. Ransdell grew up south of Houston in Angleton, TX. Both of her parents were long-time educators. Her mom taught third grade for 32 years and her father was a high school football coach for 34 years. Following in their footsteps, Ransdell pursued a career in education after graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Ransdell taught English for 15 years and coached track and volleyball. She taught in Dallas and Houston, where she was also the girl’s athletic director. She moved to Lexington in 1996 and taught at Henry Clay High School for five years.
“I loved the teachers I got to work with, the administration and most of all the kids I got to teach and coach,” she said.
In 2001, a temporary fill in gig turned into a new career opportunity. Ransdell was asked to join Bandy and Bailey in the morning on a Clear Channel station. She knew the pair through her husband, Bill Ransdell, who did U.K. football reports at the station. A match was made and Ransdell left teaching for a new career in radio.
“I took the leap of faith,” she said. The decision concerned her mother. Ransdell laughs as she recalls her mom’s reaction, “My mom said it’s radio, they probably don’t have insurance!”
After working with Bandy and Bailey, Ransdell moved to Cumulus where she is the host of Middays on Nash FM 92.9 from 10am-3pm. The High Noon Saloon all request hour is a chance to connect with listeners through phone calls, texts, and social media. She is also trying her hand at Producing for The Jack Pattie Morning Show on sister station 590 WVLK and loves the new challenge.
“It’s exciting for everything to be tied in digitally now. People can reach us in a moment’s notice. You don’t just have to try to get through on the request line. You can be sure I will see your request if you text me. It pops up on the screen. That has been a neat way for people who don’t have the time to have a full conversation or wait to get through on the line,” she said.
Ransdell also appreciates the benefits of being a local broadcaster connecting with local listeners. “If there is something significant going on locally, traffic, weather, school closings we can get the message out quickly because we are here,” she said.
For Ransdell, local is also about helping neighbors. She is passionate about volunteering. “We know that we will take care of people here in Central Kentucky,” she said.
The Cumulus network is a proud sponsor of many local non-profits. They contribute yearly to stock the shelves at God’s Pantry, sponsor coat drives, toy drives, as well as benefit walks and bike rides.
“To make a difference in the community where you are living and to see the faces of those who are on the front lines of that, it’s really amazing the way it fills your heart,” Ransdell said.
It’s the same feeling Ransdell had when she was a teacher.
“It’s amazing the spirit of giving Central Kentucky has. That’s what teaching was all about. Not only finding the children who were going to go be our leaders and make a difference in politics or in medicine, the legal field, whatever they were going to do, but also the kids who were working to make sure our factories stay open and our automobiles are running safely. You see all of those faces because we are such a great hodgepodge of people. That’s what I still get to be part of,” she said.
It’s also about meeting people who have a passion. From the country artists who share their stories on the air, to the listeners who make connections with those celebrities.
One story sticks out. Ransdell recalls a teacher in Georgetown who wrote a letter requesting a backstage pass to the Alan Jackson concert at Rupp Arena. The teacher wrote on behalf of a child with medical challenges whose birthday was the same weekend as the concert. All of the girl’s classmates affectionately called her “Little Bitty” because she was smaller in stature than her friends and classmates. “Little Bitty postponed a surgical procedure just to go to the concert. Jackson is one of her favorite artist because of his song, Little Bitty.
Ransdell had two passes she was willing to give to the family. “It was overwhelming to see their faces light up when I gave them the tickets,” she said.
Instead of taking a parent with her on the backstage pass, the young girl asked Ransdell to go with her. She watched as Jackson stopped everyone as his VIP guest approached him.
“It was like the sea parted to let her come through. She got there, he hit a knee, he took pictures with her, he hugged her. He wished her well on her upcoming procedure,” Randsell recalled.
“To see a star as big as Alan Jackson stop everything is so fantastic.” Ransdell said that’s just the country music industry from Garth Brooks, George Strait, Faith and Tim, and Brad Paisley. “That’s why I love country music because those artists are so great with their fans.”
Life outside of radio is all about family. “We hit the ground running with three children when we married 20 years ago. That’s a very busy way to start a marriage,” she said with a beaming smile. After they married they welcomed two more children, one of them is in college in Alabama and the other will be a sophomore at Henry Clay next fall. Their three grown children live out of state. Add in the two dogs, two cats and a four year old goldfish, well, it keeps Ransdell busy. “There’s never a dull moment. I will tell you that,” she said.
The busy life comes naturally to her. “I grew up with my parents being involved in coaching and teaching. It was never just about the four of us. It was always about having all of the team over to eat watermelon in the backyard, or someone working concession stands. It was just what you do,” she said.
Ransdell enjoys finding new adventures across the state to meet all the interests within her family. “Kentucky has so many state parks. There is so much offered here. You can find something that will keep your family busy at all times. It’s really amazing,” she said.
Whether she is attending the biggest concerts to discovering a small, off the beaten path restaurant, Ransdell believes living here is an enriching experience. “Kentucky may be a large state, but it’s a hometown state,” said the native Texan who is proud to call Kentucky home. •
"To make a difference in the community where you are living and to see the faces of those who are on the front lines of that, it’s really amazing the way it fills your heart."