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Galaxy Glenn: from the Vegas stage to the pulpit

September 13, 2022 by  
Filed under Feature

Glenn Runnells, also known as Galaxy Glenn

The legendary Phillis Wheatley likely never imagined, as the first widely-known African-American poet, that poetry would one day be integrated into everyday life as it is today with rap music, daily motivations, and slogans bringing clarity to life. 

Las Vegas’ own Glenn Runnells (AKA Galaxy Glenn) embodies that reality of modern life. He is not only one of the most popular radio personalities — popularizing sayings like “Don’t Trip, Tie Your Shoe” and “Reach One, Teach One” — he also has an inspirational back story that has inspired his current passion as an ordained minister. Runnells is a member of 100 Black Men of Southern Nevada and will host his First Annual Galaxy Glenn & Friends Golf Tournament on Nov. 4. 

Growing up in San Diego, Calif. as one of five children, Runnells developed his talents as an entertainer to distract from the realities of poverty within his childhood home. He often used comedy, singing and dancing to make his family laugh and to take the attention off their financial situation. 

“As a kid, even through trying times, I would always keep my brothers and sisters entertained to keep our minds off struggling times. I know I was blessed with a gift — although I came from a very disciplined family. I always managed to find a chance to impersonate James Brown and to tell a funny story,” he said. “I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon, but I was always an eternal optimist and always looked at things as temporary. Any situation that appeared to be unfavorable I would always say, ‘This too shall pass.’” 

Arriving in Las Vegas in 1993 after reaching an entertainment ceiling in California, Runnells styled himself as “Galaxy Glenn —The Complete Entertainer” because he excelled in acting, singing, radio, and comedy. 

“I remember being in a band back in California and when the band and I broke up, I told the members, ‘I will make you guys regret that we broke up, and I am going to take this name, Galaxy, beyond comprehension’ — that is how I got my stage name, Galaxy Glenn.” 

After meeting onetime KCEP general manager Louis Connor (LC) in San Diego at a Def Comedy Jam show in 1992, Runnells was offered an on-air deejay position at the community station. He became an instant staple at the station and in the community as a whole. 

“One of the things I loved most about being on the air at KCEP is that I made amazing relationships and it gave me a platform to give back to the Historic Westside and the Las Vegas community at large,” he said. “Believe it or not, I was always involved in the community. I’ve always had a passion for any cause that would bring about change for the greater good. So, I was involved with causes combating poverty or bringing peace in the community — that has always been my passion, because of my mother’s influence on me as a child.” 

There was an eight-year separation from Las Vegas for Runnells in 2011, when he felt as though he was called to serve the community on a higher level. He is currently known, after finishing theology school, as Minister Glenn Runnells. 

“Well, a bishop once told me that both the entertainment world and the Godly world loves me,” he said. “The world that I currently serve is the world of building the kingdom. I also see myself in this world with God as my pillar — and those who don’t know God, but might know me, will get to know Him. My transition was a calling on my life where I now believe there is nothing more important than my mission. My ministry is based on why He went to the cross for me. It’s a process of being diligent. We all have a purpose. When He calls you He will make the nest uncomfortable — and I wanted to fly out because I initially wanted to stay in the mess. Who doesn’t love the bright lights and all the money that comes along with it and everyone loves you but I was fueling a world of sin. The more you sin the more you separate. My goal is to not drift and to stay focused and to use my gifts to bring people to the Kingdom of Christ. I am trying to save as many souls as I possibly can, and I also do this at Covenant Christian Fellowship as an associate minister.” 

Currently, Runnells can be heard on his daily radio show called The Afternoon Drive—Side by Side, on 91.5 FM. “Working at 91.5 FM was a perfect landing place for me and it’s a station that plays a variety of music unapologetically,” he said. “I’m allowed to do my radio show with music and encourage people as a minister. It gives me the opportunity to drop some nuggets and remind people that hope is prevalent and ‘life isn’t a ‘cake walk, it’s a ‘faith walk.’”

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