• ‘What drives me is telling the truth’
By Sean Pearson
Grandma Billie Watkins probably had no idea just how much she would impact her 7-year-old grandson’s future when she bought him a Walkman.
“It wasn’t fancy. It only had a radio,” said Chris Story, real estate and radio … . “I loved it, and was fascinated with how it could open up a whole other world for me.”
Story said he decided then that he wanted to be involved in radio somehow. He just wasn’t ready yet.
Along came Bay Realty, where Story started his career in real estate. One year, the company held an event for which KGTL Operations Manager Tim White was doing a live remote broadcast.
“They were asking people to volunteer to talk with him live, on the air,” Story explained. “I totally volunteered.”
Apparently, however, he still wasn’t quite ready for radio.
“It was a disaster,” he said. “I choked and could hardly speak.”
Undaunted, Story tried his hand at the mike again just a couple of years later.
“I decided to just have fun with it and found that I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It was cool.”
He might be ready.
“When we opened our own brokerage, I decided I was going to take the two things I loved doing – radio and realty — and combine them,” Story said. “We started with a 30-minute Radio Realty segment in 2008. By 2009, we had increased it to an hour.”
Story said he found the radio program rewarding, but noticed it often turned to things around the community that may or may not have anything to do with real estate.
“Alaska Matters” was born.
“I felt like I had no voice in matters on a national level and didn’t like the way the country was headed,” Story said. “I figured out that I needed to just keep doing my thing on the radio. I was doing my part.”
Alaska Matters soon started picking up more listeners, any number of whom were willing to discuss issues with Story on the air; (perhaps some a little more vigorously than others.) But it was all right up Story’s alley. He found his voice.
“I think if you put your heart and soul into what you do, it’s not about the applause,” he explained. “You’ve released that into the universe. Just because you don’t get immediate feedback, or don’t get to see the outcome, it doesn’t mean you haven’t impacted something; or someone’s life.”
Story said he was surprised to find that when he becomes passionate and vulnerable about things he’s discussing on the air more people have come forward to say, “We like what you’re doing.”
Still, the doubts creep in.
“Sometimes when I’m talking about something on the air, I wonder if I’m just talking to myself,” Story said. “Then I start getting phone calls and e-mails and messages from people who just want to say thank you. It’s a good feeling.”
Some could argue that Story would make a good candidate for some political office. He isn’t one of them.
“I think I’m already involved in politics,” he said. “I consider myself a spectator of politics and I think it’s OK to be a spectator.”
That doesn’t preclude him from “talking” politics, especially when it comes to the City of Homer and recent issues with the plastic bag ban.
“If we don’t stop the bag ban, the next thing they will do is start monitoring and mandating what we wear,” he said. “Alaska is the last frontier of freedom and liberty. We need to celebrate individualism and struggle against the collective. You CAN make national changes at a local level.”
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