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Chatting With Matt


I walk into Dr. Matt Townsend’s office here at BYU Radio and my eye immediately is drawn to the painting in the top corner. The painting depicts a man standing on a pitcher’s mound, but only his legs are visible. I’ve heard the story before: one of Matt’s fans painted it for him as a gift, highlighting his best feature—his calves. He’s rather proud of it. Matt isn’t wearing the sparkly sequins he mentioned he would wear for this exclusive interview, but he is working diligently on two laptops. He greets me with a smile and we get to talking about the man behind the Matt Townsend show:

Morgan: So you’ve worked in several different jobs, including consulting some major companies, marriage counseling, and a segment on a local news station. What drew you to the morning show at BYU Radio?

Matt: Well morning was the time they wanted it so… But really I love the values, I love the principles, and I love the reach. I mean, Sirius XM is cool. That was a big draw. I have a lot of content and I wanted a bigger platform to bring the content out to. It’s cool because I get stories here and there—there was a lady out in California that just wrote me and we’ve had callers from about ten different states that I know of.

Morgan: You have so much communications and relationships knowledge that you get to share. What is most rewarding about being able to share that?

Matt: I have a lot of clients that have flat-out saved their marriages just because of the classes we teach, my book, and the workshops. I just did a cruise and we had about eighty people there total, but probably fifty of those were past clients that were nearly done with their marriages when they came to me. So that’s the coolest thing, when you get to see them as happy couples. And there was a fan from Ohio that came out here to visit and told me how much he loved my show and I’m just like, “You’re listening? People are listening?” It’s pretty cool.

Morgan: Do you believe that any marriage can be saved?

Matt: I don’t think every marriage should be saved. There are some marriages that are just unhealthy. But if there are two people who want to make it work, they can. They just have to change the way they’re thinking about it. I don’t believe in any of this “soulmate” stuff. You’re not going to find a perfect person. But if you’re willing to be a good partner and there are two people who are willing to work to be that, it can work. You can fix any marriage, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they always should be.

Morgan: So how do you come up with your content?

Matt: I’m very principle-oriented, so I think of everything as a principle—kind of a “law”—and then there’s a million ways to practice the principle. When somebody asks me for advice, I usually don’t give them advice, I give them a principle. And then we find a way for them to practice the principle. I get these principles from Buddha, from Ghandi, from Christ—from anywhere really. You really can’t run out of principles.

Morgan: What’s the number one piece of relationship advice you’d give to listeners?

Matt: Well first of all, don’t shave in the shower (he rubs the cut on his chin). That’s a good principle. Another really good principle would be “Get out of the smoke and down to the fire.” We tend to fight about smoke, but the smoke isn’t the real issue. The real issue comes down to one of seven things: Safety, Trust, Appreciation, Respect, Validation, Encouragement, or Dedication. When you fight about money, you’re really fighting about financial safety. When you fight about intimacy, you are really fighting about appreciation. So we need to stop fighting about the smoke, and get down to the basic human needs that are the real issue.

Morgan: What do you do when you’re with a couple that you can’t talk with because they’re fighting?

Matt: I just let them fight. It’s the easiest money I make! Sometimes I sit and wait until they stop. Or sometimes I’ll even tell them to stop and “shut their cake hole.”

Morgan: So tell us something your audience doesn’t know about you.

Matt: Well, I used to be an EMT on an ambulance and I’ve done CPR on fifteen or so people. My kids are more talented than me. I love learning—that’s all I do all day. I married my high school sweetheart. Hm...I’m an introvert. I’m probably a highly socially skilled introvert. When I have to, I’ll turn it on, but it drains me really fast. Speaking is the funnest thing I do, but it just drains me because you have to keep your energy up. My radio show, especially, because none of it is scripted—it’s all adlibbed—, so I have to think everything through. My parents divorced when I was eight, so my whole career probably stemmed from that. Now as an adult, I can see what my parents did and why. They weren’t bad people, they just didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Morgan: You stay pretty busy, but when you do have spare time, how do you spend it?

Matt: Well I don’t really have hobbies. When I do have spare time I probably just watch Netflix. Reading I do because of my job, but it’s also my hobby. Really everything I do for my job is my hobby. I usually read, write, learn, and teach every day. If I do all those things in one day, it’s been a good day. If not, I’ve probably just watched Netflix.

Morgan: And what do you watch on Netflix? Do you binge watch?

Matt: Well yes, I only have small periods of time so I’ll usually watch a few at a time. I love The Office and I love Arrested Development. I’ve seen Prison Break. I watch Sherlock and Parks & Recreation.

Morgan: What was the last song you downloaded?

Matt: There’s a bunch. I downloaded Bird on a Wire by Johnny Cash and Preacher Man by Aretha Franklin. I downloaded my son’s latest and greatest recommendation: Resolution by Matt Corby. There’s just so much good music. My son makes covers of a bunch of them and it keeps me young because I’m like, “Oh, that’s a good song.”

At this point, we got into a discussion about Spotify versus iTunes (I’m Spotify, he’s iTunes) and how incredible of a singer Ed Sheeran is (we’re in 100% agreement there—Ed rocks) and how Taylor Swift actually runs the world (Did you see how Apple Music just folded to her?). He committed to binge watch How I Met Your Mother, but only if I committed to Arrested Development.

So there you have it, dear listeners—an insider’s scoop on the man behind the microphone. Dr. Matt Townsend is one really awesome guy who actually knows what he’s talking about. Tune in to The Matt Townsend Show every morning from 7-9 am to start your day off right! 

Written By: Morgan Lewis—BYU Radio Social Media Student Assistant

Highlights of Traveling With Eric Dowdle

Traveling with Eric Dowdle is excited to be in our third year.  We always have fun on our adventures and these past few weeks are no exception.   Here are highlights about some of our recent episodes;

Charleston, SC is a city of firsts.  We divulge some our individual firsts before speaking with John Laverne from Bulldog Tours who is a fabulous tour guide in “The Holy City.”   John shares some of the haunted history of the city as well as some great places to see and dine.  Are you up to having new “firsts” in your life?

Portland, OR gave us a chance to discuss, “What is weird.”  Our guest is Kerry Tymchuk who is a 4 time Jeopardy Champion and the Director at the Oregon Historical Society tells us about coming exhibitions and some great attractions at the museum.  Don’t be “skeer’ed of the Weird” or get “shanghai’ed” and join us in helping, “Keep Portland Weird.”

With Cancun, Mexico we discussed what is “Old?” besides father Lynn that is.  Our guest was Carlos Aleman Ortiz, an expert in Anthropology and owner of LDS Tours.  Carlos tells us about some of the history and the things to do off the beaten path while you are in Cancun.  Past, present, and future all seem to merge in this wonderful place.

In coming weeks we will be going to the North Shore of Oahu and Quebec City, Quebec among other great locations.  Join us Monday - Friday at  XX:00 on BYURadio and Travel Well.

Top Ten Quotes From L. Tom Perry

An apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder L. Tom Perry, passed away last Saturday (May 30, 2015). He was an incredibly happy, hardworking, enthusiastic, and optimistic servant of God and he will be missed. When I found out he passed away, I thought of the impact he left on those he taught. I reflected on some of my personal favorite quotes from his numerous sermons, and compiled a list of my top ten:

1.“Today’s complexity demands greater simplicity.”

Elder Perry was fully caught up with the new technology and innovations that today has to offer (quite a bit has changed since he was born in 1922!) But he reminded us that these complicated modernizations do not require a more complicated lifestyle. He called for a much-needed return to simplicity.

2.  “One of the greatest weaknesses in most of us is our lack of faith in ourselves.”

One of the simplest and most eye-opening quotes from Elder Perry. Famous rap artist P. Diddy quoted this in a tweet a couple years ago, and received quite a positive response from his followers. He probably didn’t even know that he was quoting an apostle of the Lord.  

3.  “Have more confidence in yourself than allowing your decisions to happen just by chance.”

I love the empowerment in this simple statement! He recognized the infinite potential we each have within us and did all he could to help members of the church reach their full potential.

 4.    “The greatest teaching of all must be done by righteous example.”

He addressed parents in this quote, but it is so applicable to all of us as we try to live a good Christian lifestyle. Elder Perry was a wonderfully righteous example himself, living all the same principles he taught to others.

 5.      “All of us can be involved by making certain the light of freedom burns brightly within our own souls.”

Elder Perry was a wonderful example of staying involved in the community and government. He and Elder Christofferson recently represented the LDS church in endorsing the a new Utah legislation that promoted both anti-discrimination and religious freedom.

6.       “You are not competing with anyone else. You are only competing with yourself to do the best with whatever you have received!”

Another highly inspiring quote from the sports-loving servant of the Lord. He said of his time as a volleyball player, “I had more enthusiasm than anybody else on the team. I could fire up the players and the crowd while just sitting on the bench.” With quotes like this, I don’t doubt his motivational power.

7.  “May we humbly go about our day as honeybees go about theirs.”

L. Tom Perry emulated this quote in every way. According to his son, one of Elder Perry’s favorite sayings was, “I’m as common as dirt.” He was kind, humble, hardworking, and had an inexhaustible energy as he served the Lord with all his heart.

8.       “ Obedience is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power, and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence.”

Once again, Elder Perry reminds us of the simplicity of God’s commandments. Do I trust in our all-knowing Lord or my own limited experience? It’s a true and humbling statement that renews a desire in me to be obedient.

9.    “Family is the center of life and the key to eternal happiness.”

If there was one quote that summed up Elder Perry’s teachings, this would be it. The man had a passion for the family and expressed it heartily. He loved his own family and encouraged all to find the power in a strong, faithful, loving family.

10.    “We can't predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond a shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come.”

Despite losing his wife at a young age, L. Tom Perry was a beacon of optimism. He had strong faith in Christ and reminded us all that, although we will pass through trials, the best is yet to come.


By: Morgan Lewis, BYU Radio Social Media Student Assistant

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