It was because of the encouragement of her step-father Bill Barry that Susie James took a leap of faith and brought local radio back to Wilson County in 1993.
James said that Barry had been in the radio business his entire life - owning and running WAMB since 1971. It was with his urging that James filed an application with the FCC for a new radio frequency licensed to Lebanon in 1988. "WCOR AM - Wilson County's Own Radio - had gone off the air in the early 1990s so we were able to bring that back to service the area along with the new WANT FM 98.9," she said.
Although James herself doesn't get "on the air" she manages the business and credits their success to her fantastic crew.
"Most of them have been with me for years - even decades now," she said. "We have filled a great need for entertainment, news, sports and music in the community. We cover a huge amount of public service activities and announcements."
James is a native of Lebanon. She said she was one of Mrs. Edna Bennett's original kindergarten Pixies in her home and attended the former McClain Elementary School. She is also a graduate of Friendship Christian.
Following high school graduation, James took classes at Cumberland College, now known as Cumberland University, but ended up graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
She is married to Ed James and said she is beyond blessed by her loving family - including her two adult children, Christopher Bay and Chelsea Bay. Christopher is married to Trish White and Chelsea is engaged to be married this coming April to Greg Nyce.
"We didn't know how much we would enjoy having grown children, but I am so blessed that they have both found wonderful spouses. I don't have any grandchildren yet but I am going to be really good at it," she said of eventually becoming a grandmother.
James said they are members of College Hill Church of Christ. She is in the Kiwanis Club of Lebanon and Ed is a member of Lebanon Rotary Breakfast Club. Both are graduates of Leadership Wilson.
James admires her mother, Joyce Barry, her grandmothers and her daughter. "They say you turn into your mother - well here I am," she said. "Sometimes I sound just like mine."
"I have been blessed with great examples of strong, Christian women through my life. I watched my great-grandmother, Allie Mae Ligon, my grandmother, Vera Bobo and am fortunate enough to still see my mother all work from daylight to dark, finding their greatest joy in serving others," James continued.
"The last few years I feel that my daughter, Chelsea, has made the biggest difference in my life. She has the most loving heart and has taught me to accept myself, be happy in the moment and try to overlook my flaws ... We have always called her 'My little Angel' and I think she really is."