How much does Aubrey Williams enjoy working at WCHL 97.9 The Hill? So much that she’s done it twice, the first time from 2003 to 2012, and the second time from 2016 to present. During Williams’ stint away from WCHL, she worked for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.
After the station went through a change of ownership, Williams was approached about being a consultant to help look at the station’s sales team and operations and try to get sales up.
“They had sort of a vision for what they wanted to see happen that was different from what it had been,” Williams said of the new owners. “It seemed exciting. So, in October of 2016, I came back to the radio station.”
When General Manager Jan Bullock decided to pursue other interests, Williams took over the role in 2017. She said she couldn’t have been happier with the decision to return.
“I love my job, and I think I have the best job in the world. I love our community. It’s such a special place,” she said.
Williams was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She began to realize living in a large city made it difficult to connect with the community, and she was disappointed that it seemed no one around her paid attention to changes in the city.
“When I moved here I realized that people have feelings about their community, and they’re outspoken and involved in making changes and differences on a local level,” she said. “It’s so special and so touching, and it’s just really cool. Being here at the radio station we connect people, every single day — local law enforcement and the mayors and so many different people that we get to know and interact with that are doing such good things in our community. Being sort of a connector between all of these different people and communities is a cool opportunity.”
But her love of her job and WCHL isn’t all about its relationship with Chapel Hill and other parts of Orange County. “Radio is fun. It’s as it was explained to me when I first came here — it’s the theater of the mind. It’s incredibly creative, and we have a great staff that are really invested and love their jobs and are smart and capable and overachievers. It’s a special, unique place, and I don’t think there’s any place like WCHL anywhere else.”
Williams serves on the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee as Chair of Central Carolina Women in Business. It’s a role she took on because she wanted to gain greater knowledge of Orange County, particularly the northern part of the county.
“I felt in order to do my job and to do it well, and to represent our whole community it would be beneficial to me to have a relationship with the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber,” Williams recalled. “I connected with Kim Tesoro, talked with her about ways that we could partner. It’s been wonderful to get to know the community. The northern part of the county is such a great area, and it’s so close knit. I feel like I have a much deeper understanding through the relationships that I’ve built in the chamber.”
Going forward, Williams said she doesn’t see much changing at WCHL in the near future. The station has a niche that it fills for local news for its community. She wants The Hill to continue to grow and be able to provide even more of the content it’s providing now.
Williams said WCHL’s online presence — Chapelboro.com — has seen tremendous growth. “We’re proud of that platform being a digital newspaper, and that is, of course, all news that is generated out of our newsroom here at WCHL,” she said.
When she’s not at the station, Williams enjoys spending time with her husband, six-year-old son, and new puppy. They enjoy the outdoors, hiking and cooking. “I’m like his sous chef. I do a lot of prep work, and he does a lot of the execution.”