Camera…RADIO - A Piece Of My Mind
Variety is the spice of life.-Proverb
Life lies in diversity, not in monotony.-M.K. Soni
We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry,
and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry
are equal in value no matter what their color. -Maya Angelou
I always tell writing workshops that a good writer needs to diversify. I mean if you write romance, try your hand at writing a mystery novel. If you write novels, try writing plays or poems.
Know this, writing of any sort is a risk. It is reaching into yourself and pulling out a piece of work that you are happy to call your own. And even happier when an editor or a publisher wants to take a bigger risk in publishing your work.
In my 30 year career as writer, I have written plays, poems, short stories, novels, newspaper review columns, opinion-editorial columns, Internet columns...and done radio. Yes RADIO!
I have to thank the talented writer and radio hostess Diane Chapman for giving me a push.
About 15 years ago, around 2000-2001, after I reviewed her audio production in my AUDIOWORLD column, Diane and I happened to call each other. Diane is a great and funny lady to chat with on the phone. We discussed the review, what was good and bad about her audio. We also discussed other things. It was a business/social call. She listened to my honest feedback for her production and did not say I was totally wrong. Out of the blue, she told me I had a voice suited for radio work.
“Me?” I questioned her. I had never done any radio work before. Yes, some ham acting in a few High school and college productions.
She said “YES YOU, Bennet. I would love to have you as a guest on my show KUCI-Fm High Visibility.”
I replied in a matter of a fact tone, “Diane, I live in Maryland. Your show and studio is in California”.
Diane was and still is a professional in her tone and demeanor. “Bennet, you don't have to come to the studio at the university. You call in using your home phone...and it will pick up in the studio”. I was dumb in not knowing that, but that was fifteen years ago. I admit I was naive then.
I had never done any radio shows before. I had done print interviews in magazines and newspapers. Including with author Nora Roberts, radio host Dr. Demento and actress Brinker Stevens. I knew how to ask questions after I researched the person. Now I was asked to do a radio show with Diane Chapman. Was I thrilled at the idea of making an appearance? NO...I was scared out of my wits. So I do understand when my guests say they are scared to do any radio show. I was there once myself.
The show was Tuesday afternoon show. Six pm eastern standard, which was three pm California time. I called ten minutes early, a trait I hold to this day on my Blog Talk Radio shows. Diane told me what she would do and made me almost feel at ease.
Don't ask me who Diane's author guest was for my first show together with Diane. As I was doing the show, I felt my voice quivering and waving. I had thought I was terrible. In my mind, I thought Diane would never have me ever back on her radio show again.
Diane, always being the gracious lady she was and still is, called me on the phone after the show and told me I was fine and that the show went well.
I heard an archive tape of the show. I asked friends “who was that guy?.” Most replied that was me. I still couldn't believe it.
About a week later, Diane called me out of the blue. She asked me a question that almost freaked me out. “Would you be my co-host twice a month on my show?”.
Was I in awe of what she said or just in shock? I couldn't tell you. I slowly said “Yes”.
That YES was a joyous two and a half year radio odyssey that I will always remember fondly. I got to interview such talented people as Max Allen Collins, Will Eisner, Bruce Coville, Jerry Robbins and many others. My radio appearances started every two weeks and worked into every week. It was a joyous time. It was like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and my birthday rolled up in one hour.
I still was doing my print columns, Affaire De Couer and other things. When Diane closed her show on KUCI, I was depressed. It was an adrenaline high when I did this show and a low when it was over. I thought my radio days were over. I went back to writing and reviewing.
About 2009, I spoke with my friend Meg Collins. She read an article I wrote and asked me to be a guest on a radio show she was doing. I was calmer doing her show and I think it showed.
Always remember, Blog talk radio is a radio station on the internet. My shows are talk format. Others I know do music and outreach. However this is the way talk radio use to be for me.
This chance show led to an introduction to the woman who got l'il ole me back on radio earwaves...author and Blog Talk Radio personality Marsha Casper Cook. Marsha has a great radio program for the World of Ink Network, A Good Story is a Good Story. It is still running, you should catch a show or listen to it on archives. I was invited on a number of shows of hers. First as a guest, then as a co-host. I am still proud to call Marsha Friend.
Luck and breaks happen in this business. You know the old expression 'being at the right place at right time.' A friend I met on Marsha’s show, Barbara Watkins was supportive. I reviewed her first novel, Behind the Red Door. Later I did not know my editor at Washington Entertainment Magazine had cut out my review of her book. That night, Barbara and I bonded as friends on that radio show...and still she is tops. She asked me to come on her friend's radio show. Little did I know this visit would change my life.
Barbara was a guest on Ashley Fontainne's Blog Talk radio show Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman. Barbara brought me as a tag-along. The three of us had so much fun doing the radio show. It flowed so well. That night, Ashley asked if I would co-host her show. She gave me a nick name which I still hear used today regarding me, The Madder then a Hatter Critic. We blended well for six months.
Then Ashley had a private matter and was going to cancel her show. I told Ashley that she shouldn't. To this day, I don’t know if it was fate or foolhardiness or just my addiction to doing a radio. I said to Ashley “NO, I will do the show.”
Ashley's show was her show. I need to make my replacement show mine. Blame Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for the show's title. I was trying to think of a show name and that movie was on cable. I could not stop thinking about that song, ANYTHING GOES. So I had a show name.
I use to like Johnny Carson’s original Tonight Show. He had the fine art of conversation down. The guests were various. It was not just show business people. I modeled ANYTHING GOES on that show.
ANYTHING GOES was and is Bennet. It’s me and an author or authors having a good time and just talking. One of the best honors I received was the Betty Award in 2013 for Best Blog Talk Radio show Talk format. All I thought I was doing with ANYTHING GOES was having a chat with fellow authors and having a good time. This show airs at 11pm eastern time on Friday night.
Let’s cut to present day, I started a second show August 2013 with Huffington Post columnist and author of Broken Pieces Rachel Thompson. On our show we’ve tackled topics like Cancer, Hybrid Publishing, Crowd funding and even issues important to Rachel and myself. The show airs on Wednesday evenings 630pm Eastern time.
Now in February 2014, I have added a third blog talk radio show. The Legal Show, with attorney Sarah Kopel. She and I discuss legal topics of the day. This show airs on Monday Nights at 630pm
Does that mean I stopped writing because I am doing three radio shows? Not at all, I have more work than ever. As writers, be open to any opportunities, be diverse and if a lucky break comes at you, try it!
Reach for the Stars!
Columnist: Bennet Pomerantz has covered the Audio medium for the last 20 years. He has syndicated newspaper columns, AUDIOWORLD and "Movies of Your Mind", in Affaire De Coeur Magazine. In which he showcase his vast and diverse knowledge of the spoken word medium.
He is also known as a media review critic (books, music, graphic novels, DVDs, CDs) in his weekly syndicated newspaper column "A Piece of the Page". He also is a ranked media reviewer for Amazon.com. http://www.facebook.com/bennet.pomerantz1 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org