How to Be a Talk Radio Star!*

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 19 of February , 2012 at 3:56 pm

In the late 1990s I was a DJ at a local rock station in St. Augustine, FL.  When I moved to D.C. and began working at a small non-profit I was lucky that I already felt comfortable on radio.  I did tons of local and syndicated talk radio interviews.  Now that I’m scheduling a lot more radio hits for others I thought I would share some tips I’ve learned over the years, as well as some advice from my favorite DC101 DJ, Greg Roche.

– You’ll be tempted to have all of your research in front of you, that’s ok, but don’t rely on it too much. Have a separate sheet with talking points from each news item that are short enough to memorize. Natural talking with a few “um”s and “uh”s is more entertaining than hearing someone read directly from an article

– Listen to the host. Be prepared to go off-topic, but try to transition back to the points that are most comfortable for you.

– Smile. It really adds a bit of a lilt to your voice and you won’t sound like the coma-inducing NPR hosts.

– Don’t make listeners feel like the third wheel. Sometimes people want to brag to audience about a mutual friendship with the host and they’re tempted to bring up an inside joke. This is boring and makes listeners feel like outcasts.

– Act normal. If you like to sit a certain way, sit that way. If you use your hands a lot, still use them. Don’t be tempted to “act professional” and think you have to sit upright in a chair with your hands in your lap. When you stifle your behavior, you stifle your personality. A DJ I used to work with always did his entire 3 hour show standing up. He was great. I would do my show with the lights off. It made it feel more intimate and less like I was in an office building.

Great advice from Roche if you’re interviewing someone (for print or broadcast):

Let them talk. It’s really my main focus. I’ll come in with 5-7 topics I want to discuss. If you are doing a 15 minute interview, this is MORE than enough if you incorporate the “let’em talk” philosophy. Two of those topics will fall flat. It’s just how it goes. You should have at least three topics that you now will engage your guest. These will be the main focus of your interview. More than likely, these points will lead to other (sometimes more interesting) topics. Like you said, be prepared to veer from your topics. In fact, encourage your guest to go where they are comfortable by having a follow up to something they said. You can only do that by listening to their answer…which is my other point. Too often, we are focused on getting through our questions, we stop listening to the answers. Engage. Don’t interview. Finally, I always like to start with an icebreaker. Something the guest is passionate about (that doesn’t pertain to their area of expertise). That let’s the listener get more familiar with the guest and puts the guest at ease.

In addition to his DC101 shift (3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays), Roche does podcasts.  Follow him on Twitter @RocheOnAir.

(*Your results may vary)

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Category: Random Stuff

A Playlist for All Occasions

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 26 of January , 2012 at 7:13 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of cardio lately, so an upbeat playlist is a must.  My current playlist is about 70 minutes.  I always start with a song I’m obsessing about at the moment. It makes me look forward to a workout.  I hope you find some new (or old) favorites!

“Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn

“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (Don’t make fun! It gets me going.)

“The Cave” by Mumford and Sons

“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey (I actually skip this one sometimes. Cliche.)

“Party Hard” by Andrew WK (if this song was 6 hours long I could probably run a marathon… in theory)

“Precious Declaration” by Collective Soul

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

“The Boxer” by CarbonLeaf

“Waiting for the End” by Linkin Park

“Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

“F**kin’ Perfect” by P!nk

“Gives You Hell” by The American Rejects

“Hollywood” by Michael Buble

“In the End” by Linkin Park

“Life Less Ordinary” by CarbonLeaf 

“Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons

“Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac

“Let Your Troubles Roll By” by CarbonLeaf

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Category: Let's Get This Party Started,Random Stuff

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 7 of September , 2011 at 12:01 pm

Over the last year I did an interview feature asking well-known politicos about their pop culture obsessions.  It was a fun column that attempted to showcase the quirkiness and sense of humor of political leaders.  Some of my favorite interviewees included Ann Coulter, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sean Hannity, Robert Davi, Rep. Thad McCotter, Nick Gillespie, Greg Gutfeld, Andy Levy, Jen Lancaster, Ted and Shemane Nugent, among many others. (Check out the archives here.)

Since the column has now come to an end, I decided to answer my own questions.  Some of them were harder than I thought, so kudos to all of those who gave thoughtful answers and to those who read them!

1. If there was a television channel that only showed one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
LOTUS: The Godfather I and II. Every time it’s on I have to watch it. There’s no reason to channel surf because it’s guaranteed to be the best thing on TV.

2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
LOTUS: “My offer is this: Nothing.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather II

Side note: I have two sides to my personality – Sonny and Michael. The hard part is figuring out when to be Michael and when to be Sonny.

Side note, part II: Favorite Godfather scene is when Kay tells Michael she had an abortion in The Godfather II.

3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he was “cured.” If you could give President Obama the “Clockwork Orange treatment,” what movie would you make them watch?
LOTUS: Most answer this question with conversion in mind. I think we’re beyond a cure, so I would have to go for punishment and see this video of the President’s ums and ahs.

4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
 LOTUS: I have a paper target that I shot up and got Ted Nugent to sign. Oh, and my talking Ann Coulter doll. [Update: There’s one available on eBay here.]

5. What’s your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
LOTUS: It would be impossible to only name one show. The short list: Dance Moms (Lifetime), Project Runway (Lifetime), The Rachel Zoe Project (Bravo), Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo) and reruns of The Golden Girls (Hallmark).

6. Which movie, television or rock star would cause you to lose your ability to speak if you ever met?
LOTUS: Russell Crowe (easiest question on the list)

7. What was the first rock concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?
LOTUS: When I wrote this question it was because I had in mind the first concert I ever had tickets for – REM in 1995. I grew up in Tallahassee, FL and only country singers and groups came to the Civic Center. I was so excited that my favorite band was finally coming to town. About a week before the concert, a hurricane came through the panhandle and tore the roof off the Civic Center. I was devastated. Consequently, I don’t remember what my actual first concert was. I’m sure it was something at Floyd’s Music Store in Tallahassee. Probably a local band like Creed or Sister Hazel.

8. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, “This is what Elvis felt like every day.”
LOTUS: In 2009 I had the honor of introducing Rush Limbaugh at CPAC. I don’t think my time at the podium was Elvis-like, but when Rush’s intro music started and the crowd went wild I experienced Elvis-by-osmosis.

9. What is your cell phone ring tone?
LOTUS: The theme from The Godfather. If I really put my mind to it, I could probably answer every question with a Godfather reference.

10. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of your role in the political arena?
There are really so many amazing things I’ve done over the last 12 years. Shopping at Target with Ann Coulter, meeting Rush Limbaugh, walking through a Vegas casino with Ted Nugent, seeing Donald Trump’s hair up close.

11. What is your favorite home-cooked meal?
I once wrote a food diary for Washingtonian magazine and joked that I must have been born at a bridge game because I love snack foods more than meals. I would rather eat cheese and crackers or chips and guacamole than a regular meal. My absolute favorite thing to eat is homemade Chex mix. Three kinds of Chex, mixed nuts (no peanuts), Cheez-its, minimal pretzels.

UPDATE: I should have included some home-cooked items from others.  I love my dad’s sauce and meatballs that are the size of tennis balls and my mom’s carrot cake. 

12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
It was March 1999 and I went to D.C. for a long weekend during my college’s abbreviated “spring pause” (my college was in Florida and less than two miles from the beach, so they reasoned we didn’t really deserve a full spring break). I had it in my mind that I was going to find a job before graduating from college. I originally wanted a job with a newspaper or magazine. I ended up being interviewed for a program director position at a conservative organization. It included writing their newsletter and designing a website for them. It was a good starting point for learning how conservative organizations work even though the pay was awful. After 12 years split between two organizations, I’ve appreciated the experience, but I’m done with the non-profit world. On to the next challenge!

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Category: Random Stuff

Money-Saving Tips for the Fabulously Unemployed

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 16 of July , 2011 at 3:11 pm

Over the last three months I’ve become an expert in minimizing non-essential expenses. As a single woman that didn’t listen to Suze “8 months emergency fund” Orman as much as she should, I learned quickly that I had to cut back on spending. Below are a few tips I’ve compiled. Please read on… with an open mind!

1. Beware of a Good Deal
Every morning when I check my email the first thing I do is delete every “free shipping,” “one day sale” or “free gift with purchase” email. When money was coming in I loved to online shop, especially when there was an incentive. Now it’s best to just avoid these offers altogether so I’m not tempted. I also avoid coupons. Yes, avoid coupons. For me, coupons encourage me to buy things I really don’t need. Unless it’s a coupon for a staple like chicken breasts or vegetables or, um, Diet Coke, it’s really just adding to my expenses if I have to pay the remainder of an item I wouldn’t normally buy.

2. Go Out with Friends
When I was gainfully employed I was frequently the one to pick up the tab, particularly when dining with friends who were interns or just starting out in their careers. I didn’t dwell on the inequity and was happy to treat when I could. When friends who have benefitted from your generosity in the past offer to take you out to dinner or a movie, don’t protest, just say thank you and take them up on the offer. Don’t forget to send a thank you note the next day.

3. Go on Vacation
This is really only a good tip if you live alone and pay household expenses. I have a friend with a beach house who graciously let me stay there for a few weeks. During this time I saved on home expenses like water, gas and electric. I spent a little more on gas to get to the house, but once I was there I never had to fill up my car because everything was within walking distance of the house. Obviously, in order for this to work you have to make sure travel expenses are less than what you save in household expenses. In my case, it was worth it. Just don’t forget to turn off the A/C before you leave home!

4. Get New Clothes
Ok, not really “new” clothes. There are a lot of great clothing swap events (check that allow you to declutter your closet and get clothes, shoes and accessories for free or small entry fee. For the several swap events I’ve attended, my goal was to get rid of clothes rather than take some home. Also, all the clothes that are remaining usually go to a local women’s shelter or Goodwill. Going through my closet reminded me of what I have and sometimes felt like I was shopping in my own home when I found something new that I had forgotten about. While I didn’t take much home when I went to swaps, it still feeds the need to “shop” and see what’s out there. For high-quality items that are brand name or have tags, find a consignment shop in your area. Get over the fact that you won’t get anywhere near what you spent. Space in your closet is money in your wallet.

5. Indulge in Good Food
Not at a restaurant, at the grocery store. Don’t shy away from proteins. Similar to tip #1, you may have the tendency to go for the cheap food – snack or processed items that are on sale. Often these foods offer little nutritional value and end up costing more because they don’t serve as filling meals. You’ll end up eating twice as much. Any nutritionist will tell you to always eat something with protein when eating carbs or fruit because it makes you feel full longer. Indulge in nuts, peanut butter and other proteins when snacking or sitting down for a meal. When beef, chicken or your favorite fish is on sale, stock up and freeze them. The great advantage proteins have over other healthy foods is that you really can stock-up and save money in the long run. Sale on lettuce? Don’t be tempted to overbuy when you know there are only so many salads you can eat before it goes bad. Same goes for fruit unless you’re the type that really will freeze it and use for smoothies (don’t forget to add protein!). I don’t even want to calculate how much money good intentions have cost me. Be honest with yourself and spend wisely.

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Category: Random Stuff

Oscar Picks

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 27 of February , 2011 at 7:25 pm

I’ve been playing catch-up over the last two weeks.  In the past, most of the Academy-nominated movies were a mystery to me.  This year I really wanted to see more of them since I’ve been feeling the need to spend more free time away from politics.  I’m pleased to say that I saw six out of the 10 best movie nominees!  Since my Golden Globe picks were based on stereotypes (and mostly correct), my Oscar picks are a little more educated.  There seem to be a lot of sure bets this year, so below are my personal picks and those likely to win.  Bonus: Twice the chance of being right!

Best Motion Picture
My Pick — Inception
Likely Winner — The King’s Speech

Best Performance by Actor in a Leading Role
My Pick — Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Likely Winner — Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Best Performance by Actress in a Leading Role
My Pick — Natalie Portman, The Black Swan
Likely Winner — Natalie Portman, The Black Swan

Best Performance by Actor in a Supporting Role
My Pick — Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Likely Winner — Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Performance by Actress in a Supporting Role
My Pick — None
Likely Winner — Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech

Best Achievement in Directing
My Pick — David Fincher, The Social Network (Since Chris Nolan wasn’t nominated for Inception)
Likely Winner — Darren Aronofsky, The Black Swan

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
My Pick — The King’s Speech
Likely Winner — The King’s Speech

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
My Pick — The Social Network
Likely Winner — The  Social Network

Best Animated Feature
My Pick — Toy Story 3
Likely Winner — Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film
My Pick — Biutiful
Likely Winner — Biutiful

Best Achievement in Cinematography
My Pick — Inception
Likely Winner — Inception

Lots of other categories, but the “experts” know more about them than I do.

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Category: Random Stuff

Golden Globe Picks

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 16 of January , 2011 at 8:22 pm

Best Motion Picture (Drama) — The King’s Speech
Reason: Hollywood loves movies about royalty.  Also, I’ve always found Firth endearing.

Best Performance by an Actress (Drama) — Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Reason: Mental illness + lesbian = Lock pick

Best Performance by an Actor (Drama) — Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Reason: See above.

Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical) — Alice in Wonderland
Reason: Everyone wants to pick The Kids Are All Right, but no one actually saw it.

Best Performance by an Actress (Comedy or Musical) — Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Reason: Consolation prize

Best Performance by an Actor (Comedy or Musical) — Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Reason: Gyllenhaal, Spacey, Giamatti?  Seriously? (I still get points if Depp wins for the other role)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture — Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Reason: I always pick someone else and she always wins. I’m giving in.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture — Christian Bale, The Fighter
Reason: If you don’t agree with me, you’re f’ing amateur.

Best Animated Film — Toy Story 3
Reason: Because if it were in “Best Picture” it would win that, too.

Best Foreign Language Film — I Am Love
Reason: No description on ballot, so I can’t tell which is the saddest. So, viva Italia!

Best Director (Motion Picture) — Inception
Reason: Sometimes you just know.

Best Screenplay (Motion Picture) — The Social Network
Reason: Lots of words, lots of jumping around.

Best Original Score (Motion Picture) — Inception
Reason: This is the only nominee where I’ve even heard the music discussed.

Best Original Song (Motion Picture) — “I See the Light” Tangled
Reason: I don’t think any of the voters can make themselves to pick Burlesque or Chronicles of Narnia.

Best Television Series (Drama) — Mad Men
Reason: The “Golden Globes” headlines with photos of Christina Hendricks are already laid out. Also, it’s the best show on TV.

Best Actress in a Television Series (Drama) — Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men
Reason: Out-of-wedlock baby + lesbian kiss = Lock

Best Actor in a Television Series (Drama) — John Hamm, Mad Men
Reason: Great season for Don Draper. Also, remember when he played Scott Brown on SNL?  That was good, too. (Note: This was the hardest pick for me because I also love Hugh Laurie in House)

Best Televions Series (Musical or Comedy) — 30 Rock
Reason: It’s the Helena Bonham Carter of TV comedies.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Musical or Comedy) — Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Reason: Tina Fey is overrated.  And why the hell is Jane Lynch not nominated?

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series (Musical or Comedy) — Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Reason: To teach Steve Carrell a lesson.

Best Mini-Series/Motion Picture Made for Television — The Pacific
Reason: Tom Hanks + WWII = Lock

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series/Motion Picture Made for Television — Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
Reason: I remember hearing about this role, which must be a good sign.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series/Motion Picture Made for Television — Al Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack
Reason: Hoooowahhhhh!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television — Jane Lynch, Glee
Reason: Oh good, here she is. If not Jane, the girl who plays Britney S. Pierce. (Seriously, why Lea Michelle? She’s like the real life Rachel)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television — Chris Colfer, Glee
Reason: Totally the PC choice, but he also deserves it.

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Category: Random Stuff

Stormy’s Platform

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 7 of April , 2010 at 9:23 pm

For those unsure of where adult film star (and likely Senate candidate) Stormy Daniels stands on the issues, I’ve put together this handy guide based on her extensive filmography.

Operation Tropical Stormy (Strong on national defense)

The Price of Lust (Concerned with rising cost of living and inflation)

Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre (Able to relate to blue collar workers)

Spreading My Seed (Supports America’s agriculture)

Porking with Pride (Supports 4-H programs)

Thumpin’ Melons (Supports America’s farmers)

Trailer Trash Nurses (Supports continued education programs for single mothers)

Space Nuts (Supports increased NASA funding)

Breast Friends (Supports buddy check breast cancer education)

Finally Legal (Supports voter registration drives)

Young and Anal (Supports Congressional internship program for detail-oriented students)

Bless Their Little Holes (Supports midnight golf for inner city youth)

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Category: Random Stuff,Womyn

Every President Gets a Trophy!

Written by Lotus on Tuesday, 5 of May , 2009 at 9:39 am

Last night Ann Coulter spoke at Columbia University in New York.  She commented that she never expected to get as warm a welcome as another recent Columbia speaker, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Since I used to travel with Coulter to many of her campus speeches, I enjoy reading the local coverage following the event.  The Columbia Spectator gave a mostly fair portrayal of what Coulter said during her speech.  However, one line did jump out at me:

Coulter went on to criticize Barack Obama’s presidency in light of his recent completion of the first 100 days of his tenure.

President Obama gets an A just for participating!  I can only imagine that the reporter was educated in a modern public school that has been overrun with esteem-building activities.  It reminds me of the people that try out for American Idol, sing horribly and then question the judges by saying, “But I tried really hard and I really want this!”  Better luck next time “Cate Lynn” (or some variation of).  Try running on the Democratic ticket instead!

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Category: Random Stuff

MSNBC’s The Ed Show

Written by Lotus on Monday, 6 of April , 2009 at 9:46 pm

Today was the premiere of MSNBC’s The Ed [Schultz] Show.  The timeslot was formerly occupied by David Shuster, nee Gregory, of 1600 Pennsylvania.  MSNBC’s response to Fox News Channel’s success with Glenn Beck was to run out and find a liberal talk radio host.  Both seem to like the opening monologue format that I find really annoying. 

Some random thoughts while watching the show:

– Take the roller skates off the camera man

– Seems odd to sandwich between Hardball.  Too hyper-partisan. Should be after Maddow.  Yes, I realize Chris Matthews isn’t exactly objective.

– Too mean graphs and charts.  It’s like Mad Money.

– Opening guests for first show is some union guy and Transportation Secretary LaHood.  MSNBC not putting any bookers/resources (other than set design) into this show.  Maybe they’ve decided that this time slot is lost.

– Panel discussion with Katrina from Nation, Larry Elders and Lars Larson. Boring.  I can’t stand Katrina, but she won the segment because she showed some passion about the issues.  Lars and Larry weren’t engaging. 

– Segment called “Psycho Talk” is an attempt to be edgy.  Today’s honor went to Newt Gingrich for suggesting that there were several options to stopping N. Korea’s missle.  Ed fixated on whether Newt has ever attended intelligence meetings.  Just like N. Korea, it was a miss.

I don’t think The Ed Show will last very long.  It’s not entertaining at all.  The only positive aspect of the show may be that they’ll be so desperate for guests that up-and-coming conservative commentators will be featured on the panel.  Be on the look out for the first signs of death — segments on what’s going on in the the blogosphere and on Twitter.

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Category: Random Stuff

Craig’s List on a Saturday Night: Where Beggars Can Be Choosers

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 4 of April , 2009 at 10:30 pm

Here’s a confession: when I’m bored I peruse Craig’s List ads.  No, I’ve never (and will never) responded to one, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.  Since I’m home on a Saturday night (sore throat + it’s generally where I prefer to be), here are a few that made me laugh at humanity:

Headline: Have Fun and Make $$$$
Professional white male, tall, handsome, slightly overweight looking for a nice, white, female to spend two hours with tonight. We can go to dinner, have drinks, whatever, just want some good company. Will send a picture and am very generous.

Headline: For Asian girls who feel comfort in following
I write here on Craigslist because the girl I seek would probably be too shy and gentle to post a personal for herself. She would picture the burden of judging and picking through all the responses as improper and unenticing. Much better for the man to post and then she can reply if she feels drawn. I am a SWM in Northern Virginia. I am easy-going and gentle in many ways but prefer my relationships to be ones in which the man sets the course both will follow. I have always been respectful, and drawn, to the Asian culture, for the way they raise their young girls to be women. In America, we of course do not have this same culture of upbringing and so I ask that girls of Asian descent, and mindset, respond.

Headline: amateur male webcam stripper seeks female viewers
Want to watch an amateur male webcam stripper.  [was this supposed to be a question?]
Females only please.

Headline: let me fill you with bear juice
Top bear with big rubbable gut looking for chasers who want to take some bear juice…

Headline: A Good Man Is Hard to Find
[Hint — They’re not on Craig’s List]

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Category: Random Stuff


LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.