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Ex-radio party girl has a new message

By Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/01/17/56/SLD9M.Em.138.jpeg|473
    NC Image Zone - MARLON TURPIN PHOTOGRAPHY
    Jacinda Garabito is leaving her television job for a prison ministry.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/02/17/34/SLPX3.Em.138.jpeg|383
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    Kaitlin Cody
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/02/17/34/d13ly.Em.138.jpeg|434
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    Michael Tomsic

Quite a switch: Jacinda Garabito is turning in her microphone for a Bible.

Garabito is going to work for a ministry, a big change for the woman who is still remembered as the party girl who provided saucy sex talk on the radio with Christopher “Brotha Fred” Frederick and David Livingston on the old station “The Beat,” now WHQC-FM (“Channel” 96.1).

“It was like, how raunchy can we get without getting the station fined?” she says.

Garabito, 29, grew up in Germany and Hampton Roads, Va., as a military brat. Her parents were both in the Air Force when they met.

After graduating from Old Dominion University in Norfolk with a degree in communications and working at a radio station in Virginia Beach, she came to “The Beat” as co-host in 2007.

“I was this wild child, this party girl with a little bit of the hood in me, and a little girly-flirty,” she says. “I used to stand on top of bars and got paid good money to do it.”

Raised a Catholic, Garabito found a different kind of church in Charlotte, Nations Ford Community Church. Being in an African-American Baptist church was a big change from Sunday Mass.

“It took me a good six months to a year to clap during a song. I’m the only white person who goes there, and I have never felt more comfortable.”

Garabito got baptized there, and her wild ways began to fade. She got tired of her ribald radio persona and started looking around for something else to do.

“It got hard to talk about those things. Things started to change for me, and no longer coincided with my role on the morning show. I grew up; I definitely changed,” she says.

In 2010, she moved into television as traffic reporter on a 4 p.m. newscast being launched on WBTV (Channel 3) with Jamie Boll and Brigida Mack. A year later, she went to WCCB (Channel 18), first as weekend meteorologist and later on the morning show “Rising.”

She also did inspirational stories for the station, and one of the first took her to Kershaw Correctional Institution in Kershaw, S.C., to report on a ministry called Proverbs 226, which connects inmates to their children and provides guidance to the youngsters so they don’t fall into a life of crime.

God spoke to her that day, she says, whispering, “This is your mission field.”

She got involved with the ministry, and finally decided to join it full-time.

She still plans to do fill-in work when needed at WCCB, but her main joy now is her new work. “I felt something like I’ve never felt when I go into the prisons or talk to the families,” she says.

Media Movers

Replacing Jacinda Garabito on WCCB’s “Rising” show is meteorologist Kaitlin Cody. She is a Michigan native who comes from the NBC affiliate in Bristol, Va. … Jason Hausman, owner of the agency Hot Sake, is the 2014 Silver Medal Award winner from the American Advertising Federation/Charlotte. He will be honored at a luncheon May 22. …

Bill Voth, the former WSOC (Channel 9) sports anchor who left to start the sports marketing agency Spiracle, is dipping back into the media industry. He has launched a website to provide commentary on the Panthers, BlackAndBlueReview.com. … Reporter Michael Tomsic of WFAE-FM (NPR, 90.7) will participate in the New England Center for Investigative Reporting workshop “Follow the Money: Fraud and the Affordable Care Act” in June.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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