John St. Augustine is one of the most powerful voices in the past century. He encourages people to live their lives to the fullest and not to be free of regret. Many people know him as a motivational radio personality and best-selling author. However, until 1997 he did not have this reputation. In fact, he didn’t even have the proper background to establish himself.
First Near-Death Experience
St. Augustine grew up like any other American child. He had no overwhelming appreciation for life, that is, until two separate near-death experiences. At 19 he tried to pay his way through college by working part time. For his job he had to use a baler machine. One day, the machine malfunctioned when he pressed the resent button and he was struck by 5500 volts of electricity. He felt it was unusually coincidental that he was in the company of a Marines medic who was able to flag down a fire department vehicle that just happened to be passing by and that the burn unit was only a mile away. To recover, he had to scrub off the burned skin so new skin could grow. The nurse who was originally tasked with the job told him he should “take ownership of the pain,” a life lesson he holds dear today.
Second Near-Death Experience
Years later, soon after his marriage, St. Augustine was driving with his wife when their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. St. Augustine’s arm went through the windshield, but he was rescued and was cut out of the car. Now having avoided death twice, he started to believe that the experiences were signs that he should be doing something more with his life. Soon after, a business deal left him in a rut he decided to use the opportunity to follow the signs. Evicted from his home, the Michigan man took his family to stay in a small motel in the state’s Upper Peninsula. With nowhere to turn, St. Augustine decided to start his life anew. A trip from the Upper Peninsula to Chicago and back on foot would signify his rebirth. On his return stride he finally decided what he would become – a radio personality.
St. Augustine did not know where to begin. He had no experience in the radio industry. However, he felt it was his calling. From 1996 to 1997 he was turned away from more stations than he can recollect until he was finally given a chance at a CBS affiliate station in Michigan. Given his lack of knowledge or experience, the station gave St. Augustine five shows to figure out what he was doing and make a solid production out of it. He ended up keeping the show, named Power!Talk, for nine years. The run would produce over 12,500 shows and earn him the title of Best Talk Host from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He also created a one-minute long program called Powerthoughts! which shared inspirational vignettes.
Life After Power!Talk
After nine years behind the microphone, St. Augustine expanded his focus beyond radio. He published Living an Uncommon Life: Essential Lessons from 21 Extraordinary People, an inspirational book, in 2006. He then accepted a job offer from none other than Oprah Winfrey and helped her establish a satellite radio network. He was in some way responsible for many of the programs on the Oprah & Friends channel including The Dr. Oz Show, The Jean Chatzky Show, and Soul Series. In 2010 he published a second book titled Every Moment Matters: Savoring the Stuff of Life. Today, St. Augustine has once again returned to radio. He now hosts The Voice of Chicago, a show titled after a nickname he has achieved over the years. As of 2011, The Voice of Chicago can be heard on the WGN Radio network.