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JVC Broadcasting’s Phathead Plays ‘Mr. Mom’ During His Wife’s Deployment

Juggling a two-career family with three small children at home can be difficult enough, especially when one person has a demanding radio group programming job that includes a morning show.

Juggling a two-career family with three small children at home can be difficult enough, especially when one person has a demanding radio group programming job that includes a morning show. But imagine making things work when one half of the couple is on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and has spent the last seven months deployed in Southwest Asia.

That’s exactly what JVC Broadcasting director of country programming Phathead and his wife, Dana, have endured since July 2015. While he’s overseeing WJVC Long Island, N.Y. (where he also does mornings), as well as Florida’s WOTW Orlando and WTRS Ocala, she’s working as a technical sergeant in the military police encamped halfway around the world in a country she cannot reveal, or even describe, for security reasons. (The couple also asked that her last name be withheld for the same reason.) That has left Phathead living the words of the Lonestar hit and playing “Mr. Mom” at home.


According to Dana, he’s good at it. “He really has always been a hands-on dad, but I could not have been away these past seven months without him. To get up at 4:30 in the morning for his morning show, work all day and still have the energy to take on all of the dinner, homework, baths, diaper changing, food shopping, doctor appointments and everything else has been incredible.”

Dana with Air Force 2 in 2000. Courtesy Photo


For his part, Phathead calls the experience “by far the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. The kids have learned a few choice words over these past seven months that I’m not proud of, but everyone has their moments. 

“For me, the hardest part is between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. weeknights,” he continues. “That’s the snack, homework, baths, dinner, brush teeth, bed time. It’s mayhem with three little ones. Sometimes going to work feels like a vacation.”

While this is Dana’s fourth deployment in her 18 years in the Air Force, it’s her first since becoming a mother. The couple’s children are 8, 5 and 3 years old. Early in her career she spent time in Oman, Germany and Africa. Back at home, she serves at the 106th Rescue Wing on Long Island.

She calls being deployed “tough, especially as a mom,” but credits making it work to the help of her parents, in-laws and “really good babysitters,” in addition to her husband.

Thanks to what she calls “decent Wi-Fi over here,” Dana can Face Time with her kids every few days, but has missed holidays, birthdays and other special moments. Still, she says, “our 8- and 5-year-old girls get it. They know why Mommy had to go away, and they tell all of their friends how proud they are of me, so that makes me smile inside. Our boy who just turned 3 doesn’t really understand what’s going on.”

The couple has been able to find humor in their unusual situation. “We do have two strange jobs,” says Dana. “Radio and the military are definitely a seven-day-a-week job with crazy schedules. However, we always joke that when we go to a wedding or are at a dinner party with people from other walks of life, we are the most interesting couple at the table.”

Adds Phathead, “The funny thing is when people don’t know what she does for a living and meet her. They never would guess she is a sharpshooter in the Air Force. I’m surprised no country stars have asked her to go hunting yet.”

Hunting invitations aside, Dana has actually befriended many country artists through her husband’s job, and both Jana Kramer and Kelsea Ballerini have recorded videos of support during her deployment and posted them on her Facebook wall. “I love country music, and I love going to the shows and meeting the performers,” says Dana. “We have become close with many of them over the years.” Phathead spent about three months during her deployment putting together a 15-minute long video featuring messages for Dana from about 50 different stars. “I was blown away,” she says of the finished project.

The good news is Dana is scheduled to return home in February. And while that means Phathead will miss Country Radio Seminar, which is scheduled for the following week in Nashville, he would much rather be with his wife. As for Dana, she just plans on hugging her kids and says she’s not sure if she’ll ever let go.

This article first appeared in Billboard’s Country Update — sign up here.