Steve Stilwell: a Voice that Makes Waves
The manager of Liberty University’s radio station, 90.9 “The Light”, Steve Stilwell has been influential in impacting student’s lives in digital media and journalism.Stilwell has been a digital media professor here at Liberty University since 2018.
Born and raised in Southern California, Stilwell worked in the radio industry for over 20 years. He graduated from Azusa Pacific University, where he met his wife while broadcasting basketball games for the university. He also worked for Fox Sports radio in Los Angeles as well as ESPN+.
Then, Stilwell and his family relocated to Lynchburg, after his wife accepted a teaching position in the School of Communications and the Arts at Liberty University. Stilwell was soon recruited to teach as a part of the digital arts program as well as working with The Light a couple of years later.
“If the Lord was going to open the doors, we needed to be ready to surrender,” Stilwell said. “Liberty has been very welcoming and accommodating to my family.”
Besides teaching a class full of students and managing a radio station, Stilwell also does sports broadcasting with Liberty Flames Sports Network, which he has been doing for about four years. He handles a variety of sports through the network, such as football, D1 hockey, soccer, volleyball and more.
“I’ve been passionate about radio since I was a junior in high school,” Stilwell said.
Since then, Stilwell has been zealous in the radio industry. His English teacher instructed his class to write a career research paper as an assignment. He decided to call the radio station and shadow a woman, Karen Sharp, whom he had listened to for a while.
“I came in, and I listened to her, watched her do a show, and I fell in love with it at that moment,” Stilwell said. “I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Sharp’s radio show revolved around love songs and dedications and sparked a fire in Stilwell for radio broadcasting.
“I really liked to listen to people’s stories,” Stilwell said. “In this business, we’re storytellers. I want to tell people’s stories.”
This idea pervades Stilwell’s teaching. His goal as a professor is to empower his students to tell people’s stories while making an impact for Jesus.
“Teaching is a ministry for me,” Stilwell said.
Stilwell reminds his students that just as careers in most industries, they will start at the bottom with the time slots and assignments that no one else wants, and they will have to work their way up. Stilwell teaches his students to embrace humility.
“I tell my students to remember where they came from,” Stilwell said. “For me, when I got into national sports radio, it was because I was selling cellphones at Sprint. It was a chance-meeting with the right person.”
Stilwell continues to be a light on campus to his students and everyone around him. With his passion for the radio paired with his faith, Stilwell serves as a caring professor at Liberty University.
Pickard is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion