The woman wears a red checked dress, a pink zebra-print headband, white-framed glasses and pink pig slippers. Her grin reveals a tooth coated with red lipstick.
“That’s Lucille,” said Patty Dudley, local radio DJ, pointing to a photograph. Lucille’s pig slippers are pinned to Dudley’s soundproof wall.
Dudley said Lucile is her alter ego, part of her Christian comedy routine. Using Lucille’s nasally voice, Dudley said Lucille complains about women’s issues such as PMS and diapering babies. She said Lucille is the founder of the Guffaw Girl’s Ministry and her goal is to spread laughter to women.
“We do not laugh enough as adults,” said Dudley. “And it’s a medical fact that laughter helps our bodies.”
Dudley says Lucille performs for women’s groups and conferences.
When Dudley is not wearing her pig slippers, she is broadcasting her encouraging words.
“It’s an amazing thing to open up a microphone, say words, and have them have an impact,” said Dudley.
Dudley has worked for WBGL, a local Christian radio station, for 19 years. She is the host of a nightly program called “What Matters Most,” geared towards talking about God, relationships and parenting.
Dudley, 51, was born in Peoria and is the youngest of four children.
“I’ve always had a creative tendency to express myself through performing, whether it was music or acting,” she said.
In college, Dudley majored in theater and minored in music dance at Kendall College in Chicago, Piedmont Community College in Virginia and Illinois State University in Normal.
In 1979, she married her husband, Terry and moved to Champaign where they have lived since. She said she did not finish her degree.
“I wanted to get married and have kids,” she said. “College was not a priority for me any more.”
Dudley said Champaign has been a great place to raise her three boys, Paul, 25, Danny, 21, and Andy, 14. She said she enjoys the diverse culture and the high educational standards that the University brings.
In 1988, she volunteered for WBGL doing voice recordings for “info spots.” Within a year, the manager offered her a job broadcasting. Dudley said she was apprehensive at first but believes it was meant to be.
Dudley said she works 30 to 40 hours a week, working on her pre-recorded show, “What Matters Most,” which airs from 7 p.m. to midnight on weeknights. Dudley said she made a compromise with her manager so she would not miss family meals or ball games.
“Patty is very dedicated to her job and ministry and works very hard for her product,” said Zoe Fuller, office manager and friend.
WBGL is a non-denominational, not-for-profit Christian radio station. The station is owned by the Illinois Bible Institute and is a member of New Life Media Network.
“We are exclusively listener supported and do not sell commercials, so we care about (listeners) first,” said Dudley.
She said listeners call the station when they have babies or when they experience hard times like a divorce.
“I think that is why I’ve stayed. You feel such significance in people’s lives when they react back to you as if you are part of their lives,” said Dudley
Her show is networked to all New Life Stations and reaches most of Illinois.
“She is very talented and has a great following,” said Fuller.
Dudley said she has seen many changes at the station.
“When I started, I had to use a turntable,” she said, “And then that changed to flipping CDs to play music.”
The station has also gone through six different managers the last 19 years.
“That was a hard transition for me to start one way and then grow with the times,” said Dudley. “It’s a hurdle you go through when you have longevity in a job.”
Dudley is also a public speaker for women’s events. One of her programs is entitled “Laughter and the Effects It Has on Stomachs.”
She said each season she sets new goals for herself. She recently lost 42 pounds and is writing a book.
“Even when you are 51 you can still have future goals and start something new,” said Dudley.
Dudley said she still enjoys the performing arts.
“I majored in theater, and I felt that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life,” said Dudley. “Now, my office is my theater.”

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