Q101 host Brandy Lindsey delivers America’s top pop songs to the Valley
Story by Mike Dolzer
Photos by Kanchan Woods
Q“101,” she says in a friendly voice into the mic. Her greeting is met with silence, followed by a dial tone. “That happens a lot,” she said, laughing. Brandy Lindsey, 31, can be heard throughout the Valley as the drive-time host of Q101, Harrisonburg’s radio station that plays the top pop songs. Known as “Drive Home with Brandy,” her show airs weekdays from 3-7 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. Even though she’s only on air at these times, Lindsey still works a 40-hour week at the station in addition to her six-hour Sunday show.
Although Lindsey works often, and not for a ton of money, she doesn’t regret becoming a radio personality. “I’ve always thought that if I’m going to pay tons of money in student loans, then I might as well do something that I enjoy doing so it’s worth it,” Lindsey said. Lindsey, originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, stumbled upon radio almost by accident. As a freshman at Radford University, she went to all the tables at the student organization night before landing at the radio club. She stayed with the club for all four years, and hasn’t left radio since. “I didn’t think when I joined the radio club at Radford that it was going to turn into a career,” Lindsey said.
After graduating from Radford in 2008, Lindsey was living with her parents and needed to find a job. Hoping to work in media, she applied to a news station and a radio station. That radio station, Z104 in Norfolk, became her home for the next three years. She also worked at an ABC store, but ended up dropping that to fully engross herself in the station, completing every task thrown her way. In December 2011, Lindsey jumped from Norfolk to the ’Burg, holding the position she has now. In addition to being a host, Lindsey is the assistant program director and the music director for the station. By balancing these roles, she’s been noticed by her colleagues. “Her attitude and work ethic is great,” said Steve Davis, the vice president and general manager of Harrisonburg Radio Group.
Aside from her work, Lindsey is also known as the comedic relief in the station. “You can count on her to be right on the edge of being inappropriate,” said Jonathan “J.R.” Ruppel, the operations manager for the Harrisonburg Radio Group. “Not crossing the line, but saying something that no one else would say in that moment. That’s Brandy.” Every time a memo comes out announcing someone leaving the company, everyone will pour their hearts out about how much they’ll miss that person, while Lindsey will respond to the email by saying “Who?” or “They’re still here?” “It’s a common schtick that you can always count on her for that,” Ruppel said.
Ruppel says she brings a lot more than just her sharp sense of humor to the station. “She has a huge heart,” Ruppel said. “Like a lot of people in this business, she wants to be liked, she wants to be loved, and the idea that someone doesn’t feel that way about her really, really would hurt her feelings. That huge heart is shown through Lindsey’s charity work, most notably with Bowl for Kids’ Sake, a bowling fundraiser for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Community involvement is important to Lindsey. When she’s not on the air or volunteering, Brandy’s passions include singing at Ruby’s open mic nights and binge watching “The Office.” She also loves going downtown to the bars. “Alcohol is fun,” said Lindsey, who lists Capital Ale House and Golden Pony as two of her favorite spots.
Despite her enjoyment of the bar scene, she does at times get recognized when she goes out, but usually not until she talks. “The weirdest part is people treat you like you’re a celebrity,” Lindsey said. “I’m like, ‘No, I’m not Justin Timberlake, but if you think I’m a celebrity feel free to buy me a drink.’” Lindsey even had a woman avoid her at a Christmas party because she was too “starstruck” to talk to her. “I didn’t understand that at all,” Lindsey said. “I’m like ‘I’m just me,’ so that’s when you make an inappropriate joke and maybe hope that it don’t go sour.” She’s also had fans tell her about how they were surprised by her physical appearance, saying things such as “I thought you were taller” or “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I thought you were white.”
Lindsey’s not sure how people can make assumptions about her appearance based on her voice, but she likes the interactions nonetheless because she enjoys being a part of people’s daily lives. She just has one thing to say to any of her listeners who want to know more about her.
“I’m single, and if any of their wealthy sons would like a wife, I am here.”