Person 2 Person | Stories - Person 2 Person: Gina Barberi
Sunday, May 4 2014, 11:15 PM MDT
Person 2 Person: Gina Barberi
Radio From Hell ( is the longest running radio program in Salt Lake City, and Gina Barberi is still the new guy after being with the show for the past 18 years. She describes her relationship with her two co-hosts, Kerry Jackson and Bill Allred, as being similar to that of siblings. Off the air, she is a wife and a mother of three. Although she speaks very openly about her personal life on air, she has left some anonymity for those in her family. This week Shauna Lake sits down with Gina Barberi, Person 2 Person.

SHAUNA LAKE: Tell me first and foremost, I mean how many years have you been with "Radio From Hell?


SHAUNA LAKE: Eighteen years?

GINA BARBERI: And I'm the baby because Kerry and Bill have been together for 26 years so I'm still the new guy.

SHAUNA LAKE: And they still rib you like a little sister that you are to them.

GINA BARBERI: Every day.

SHAUNA LAKE: In all seriousness, is that a trying relationship at times?

GINA BARBERI: Oh not at all. I mean you described it perfectly. It's like a sibling relationship. They love me. I love them. But we tease each other every day for four hours.

SHAUNA LAKE: Four hours straight. I mean there's no music on that show which I think a lot of people don't realize.

GINA BARBERI: No. We play one potty break song at 9 o'clock, and it is three minutes to run down the hall really quick, but other than that it is four hours of show.

SHAUNA LAKE: How do you stay enthused and motivated to do the same job for so many years in a row? I'm being serious.

GINA BARBERI: Well it's funny you ask that because it doesn't even occur to me because I love it. I love it as much today as I did 20 years ago when I started.



SHAUNA LAKE: There's never days when you're like, "Ugh. I don't want to get up. I can't deal with Bill today." Or you know things like that? You love your work?

GINA BARBERI: You know what? You're going to think I'm lying, but it's true. I love getting up and seeing those guys in the morning. I love my job. The alarm goes off and I don't mind at all. I look forward to going to work.

SHAUNA LAKE: And I think what's special about your show is you guys really do share everything, everything on the air. But one thing I found interesting is you don't really use your children's real names. Tell me why you made that decision?

GINA BARBERI: So when my 16 year old was born I thought, "If he wants to be known or in the public eye someday, that should be his choice," and if I out him with his name from birth then he kind of doesn't have a say in that. So it started off with that, and then I picked a really silly name, Festus, I thought well everybody will know that's a fake name, but I still get people thinking, "Why did you name your kid Festus?"

SHAUNA LAKE: I thought that was his real name, and I was like, "Gina. Wow. That's really out there."

GINA BARBERI: But I thought it was so ridiculous that people would know it was a joke, but then I think well what if I did name my kid Festus? That's kind of rude for people to say, "I can't believe you named your kid that." So he's 16, and my daughter "Jonesie" is eight, and then my fiver year old "Muhammad" is six. I've kept my husband kind of secret too. He's "Joe" on the show, which is hilarious because he has a very not-generic name in real life. But I have kept him...he's a businessman and I you were saying, we sometimes say embarrassing things on the air, and I've never wanted to embarrass him in business so he's "Joe."

SHAUNA LAKE: I think it's interesting because you have such a good sensibility about that. Do you think it's because your father was in radio and you were the daughter of somebody in your line of work?

GINA BARBERI: That probably has something to do with it. I was exposed to it at an earlier age.

SHAUNA LAKE: So what was your childhood like? What was your relationship with your father like?

GINA BARBERI:  I mean my parents got divorced when I was really little.

SHAUNA LAKE: How little?

GINA BARBERI: Five. But you know we were close and saw each other and you know it's funny, his job was always very appealing to me, but I never thought I would end up doing it. And he didn't get me into the business. Sometimes people say, "Oh your dad got you your first job." He didn't even know until after I had my first job that I was doing it. 

SHAUNA LAKE: Did he try to talk you out of it?

GINA BARBERI: Yeah he wanted me to do TV, and that's actually what I was studying at the "U." I was in broadcast journalism. I wanted to be Shauna Lake.

SHAUNA LAKE: You interned at Channel 2 as a matter of fact. Didn't you?


SHAUNA LAKE: So was that just not as appealing or could you be a lot more like yourself in what you're doing now?

GINA BARBERI: I really did. I thought I wanted to be an anchor person. That's what I was going to school for, and I was doing student radio at the "U" just for fun, and I got a job at KJQ on the weekends, at a real radio station, and I loved it. And I didn't expect to. Radio is different than TV because we can go in there every morning for four hours and do whatever we want. If something happens in the news, breaking news, we can stop whatever we're doing and talk about it, take phone calls. Half the time we're doing a story, talking about somebody, and either they call or their mom or their brother, "Oh that's my brother. Let me tell you what really happened." And it's all happening in real time, and I love that.

SHAUNA LAKE: What do you do to just kind of decompress?

GINA BARBERI: Okay here's what my husband and I do. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, regardless of how busy we are, because there are wall to wall soccer, baseball, all of that going on, on Saturdays and Sundays, but we always get up early enough on those days to sit in front of our fireplace, with a cup of coffee, and we take a minute and breathe and talk and plan our day. It's never like get up and rush and go and go. We always make time together to do that, and it makes a difference in the rest of the day.

SHAUNA LAKE: And where do you think you'll be in ten years?

GINA BARBERI: I hope right here. I hope you have be back and I'm telling you I'm still madly in love with my husband and madly in love with my kids and madly in love with my job.

: It's been so nice getting to know you even better "Person 2 Person."

GINA BARBERI: Thanks Shauna.

SHAUNA LAKE: Thank you so much. 

Person 2 Person: Gina Barberi

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