Often thought by listeners to be married, Don Evans and DeAnn Stephens from WBUL-98.1 FM have a relationship similar to that of siblings.
They bicker like brothers and sisters often do, but have also bonded as close friends. It’s that relationship between the two, which has grown exponentially since they began working together in 2009, which led them to one of the top prizes in their profession.
Officer Don and DeAnn, as they’re known on their morning show on 98.1, aka The Bull, were announced Tuesday as the Country Music Association’s Small Market Personality of the Year.
The award was based on aircheck, ratings, community involvement and biographical information, according to the CMA website.
They received the phone call Tuesday morning from country music star Keith Urban, who informed the duo they won the coveted award.
“Our whole radio family heard the screams and came flying in the studio to congratulate us,” Stephens said. “No one has ever won that award around here. It’s a very big deal. We are so grateful.”
Despite having been nominated twice before for the award, the radio gig wasn’t easy at first for Evans and Stephens, who were involved in different avenues of the business. Stephens was and still is a TV reporter for WKYT and Evans was a traffic reporter.
They have grown into their roles as The Bull’s morning radio hosts and now feel comfortable just being themselves.
“We have grown more comfortable in just being real with one another, trying to relate to the listener who has the same problems we have and the same concerns about our community and our families,” Stephens said. “It’s been neat to see that change in us. We aren’t afraid to just be ourselves.
“We’re just two real people raising children and we have the same past as that person driving in their car going to work,” she added. “We have a lot of fun. Some people think we’re married because sometimes we fight like a married couple. A lot of people can relate to that banter between a male and a female.”
The relationship between them has grown so much that they know what type of mood each other is in the moment they see each other and know what pushes each others buttons, Stephens said.
It’s a unique friendship, she said, and one that radio listeners have come to enjoy for the past eight years.
They had almost given up hope on Tuesday, the day of the announcement about the award winner, when Urban gave them the phone call.
“It was a pretty cool phone call to get,” Stephens said. “It’s such a blessing to be able to do what we do every day. It’s something different every day. You never know what you’ll be talking about.”
Stephens and Evans will walk the red carpet at the Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 8, when they will formally receive their award.