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Behind The Mic: Judith Nole

Any Public Radio Tulsa listener could recognize the warm, chipper voice of Judith Nole — “Support for Public Radio Tulsa is provided by...” And while Judith often encounters people around town who recognize “the woman from the radio,” it never fails to surprise her.

Her voice has reverberated through the airwaves for over 40 years — inviting listeners in, building pictures out of words, reporting the latest news and yes, asking listeners to donate to the station they love during fund drives.

“I've really worked here my whole adult life, off and on with breaks here and there,” Judith says. “My first job here was also my first job in radio. This would have been the fall of 1980.”

Judith was a senior at the University of Tulsa studying music. She wanted to earn some extra money while spending time surrounded by classical music.

“That was the beginning of the end for me,” Judith beams. “I just really fell in love with radio.

Judith fan-girling with Susan Stamburg on a visit to NPR West.

Since then, Judith has had many roles at Public Radio Tulsa. She has been a classical announcer, morning and afternoon news anchor, voiced underwriting statements, and in 2015, Judith returned to her current role as Development Director.

“I love the medium. I love the idea that we're telling stories that require us to paint pictures with words and sound,” Judith describes in her evocative, thoughtful way. “And just based on what they're hearing, the listener generates those pictures in their minds. No fancy graphics. No splashy video.”

On-air, Judith is succinct, informative and incisive. She can hit a time clock perfectly and find a way to clearly deliver a message in under 29 seconds. But outside the studio, Judith carries this air of wonder, wandering thoughtfulness and a fascination with stories.

“I grew up in a college town in Northeast Kansas and I really love small towns. I like to wander through them and try to discover hidden things.”

As Judith begins speaking, her eyes twinkle and you can see her drifting into another world of possibility.

Judith exploring an abandoned stone cellar in northeast Kansas.

“I’m fascinated by little towns, and imagining the backstories behind the quirky places you uncover.”

On her drive from Tulsa to her hometown of Manhattan, KS, Judith always passes through Neodesha, KS, a little town “where waters meet.”

“As you're driving up Highway 75, you drive by a building. I don't know the story behind this, but I'm going to find this out some time,” Judith says.

“Embedded in the brick work in the side of a building is a Star of David over a door. And when you look in that door, you don't see anything. There is nothing there to indicate what this is or was.”

“It just intrigues me,” Judith says wistfully. “A hundred years ago, 120 years, 150 years, was this a synagogue? What led to the Star of David in the brickwork?”

Judith trails off as her mind whirls. “That's the one that sticks with me. Every time I drive to Neodesha, I look for that building and it's always there.”

Back in Tulsa, you’ll find Judith exploring downtown buildings and their histories. “They’re not all good. Some of the histories are very dark, but they’re part of what makes us what we are.”

And at home, Judith spends her time watching grisly British crime dramas, playing card games with friends and family, gardening or sipping a glass of wine on the patio with a good historical nonfiction book.

If you don’t run into Judith on her hidden-places hunts or Southwood gardening supply trips, you’ll always find her, only a moment away, when you tune in to 89.5 FM.

Julianne was Public Radio Tulsa's Development Associate from June 2022-2024. She authored the station's newsletters, managed social media and planned events.