Brand journalist Gail Marie turns talk radio on its spine - McKinney

Brand journalist Gail Marie turns talk radio on its spine

January 14, 2016

Gail Marie has always been a reader. When a new radio station in her new hometown, Hillsborough, North Carolina — recently featured by The New York Times — was looking for programming volunteers, she had an idea. They bought it. And now she’s on the air each week with a podcast that explores the ways that reading shapes how we think, love and live. It’s called “The Spine.”

Each episode of the The Spine features an interview with a writer about their reading life, not their writing life. So far, authors such as Allan Gurganus, Jill McCorkle, Hal Crowther and Daniel Wallace have been guests on the program. In 2016, Gail began working with three publishers and interviewing writers such as Ed Tarkington, whose first book, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” is getting rave reviews. Listen live Sundays at 5 p.m. on 104.7 FM or; archived episodes are available here.

The name of the program comes from the similarity between books and our bodies. A book’s spine protects the pages that send messages to the reader, and a body’s spine protects the messages that travel to and from the brain. Both help ideas travel.

Brand journalist Gail Marie turns talk radio on its spine

The idea of a radio show conjures large headphones and a solitary microphone surrounded by blinking lights on a soundboard. But Gail wears many hats along with the headphones: researcher, interviewer, writer, producer, social media manager and host. Yes, you can follow The Spine on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. They come with a McKinney stamp of approval.

“Having led the strategy behind and being the voice of McKinney’s social media accounts, I know what it takes to do social well,” she said. “So I started with Twitter and added a website and Instagram only when I knew I could handle the extra load. Facebook is coming eventually, but I’m holding out! It’s my least favorite.”

We asked Gail how she brings influence through creativity to her show, and she said, “That’s exactly what books and The Spine are about: the power of words to influence you so much that the experience changes how you behave or understand the world. Both the show and its purpose are influence through creativity.”