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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Adventures in Speed Dating

St. Patrick’s Day 2012, aka the day I entered into the foray of the Speed Dating world. I’ve been talking about it, thinking it, and wanting to do it for a while. So armed with my Broadminded recording equipment, I dragged/coerced/invited my friend Alie to join me on this little adventure because misery loves company and two broads are better than one! And, remarkably, it wasn’t quite as ridiculous as I thought it could be. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

Fortunately, there were more men than women. Those are the kinds of odds I can work with! The women were seated in the same spot for the evening while the men were on a bench and would move down the row. Just like a conveyor belt, which was fitting since Alie and I felt like Lucy and Ethel, but instead of delicious gourmet chocolates speeding past us, we had Milk Duds. We had 90 seconds for each conversation. In some cases 90 seconds felt like 3 and in other/most cases, 90 seconds felt like an eternity.

First up, I had “Mr. 189” from Chicago who couldn’t wait to tell me he was a lawyer. While that may impress the women in Chicago, here in DC where there are more lawyers than Starbucks, I was not impressed. And it started to go down hill so fast from there I thought I’d get motion sickness. After the lawyer, I got a dating coach who said he was there for “research”, Alie said she met Chaz Bono, “Mr. 107” who was so infatuated with the girl next to me he didn’t want anything to do with me, and then there was the guy who couldn’t pronounce my name! Please don't ever call me Christi!!

But then, just when I thought the night would only provide enough fodder for Monday’s show, in walks (or rather slides down the bench), “Mr. 1420”. Cute….check. Tall….check. Personable….check. Cute….check (did I say that already?). And he has a 16-year-old son who is, as he put it, “the light of my life.” Ok “Mr. 1420” you don’t know this (yet), but you are my knight in shining armor tonight! I don’t know if he’s “the one”, but he’s definitely a great possibility. We spoke for a while after the whole speed dating part was over so we’ll see where it goes from here. Who knows, maybe 50 years from now, when we’re on our porch swing on our farm we can tell our grandchildren how we met. Too much?? Oh well, a girl can dream.

All in all, it was an entertaining evening. On a scale of 1-10, I’d put it around a 7, maybe 7.5. Would I do this again? Sure! Now that I have the hang of it and realize how not-ridiculous it really is.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Women's History Month

What started out as a small-town school event in Sonoma, California to raise consciousness to achieve equity goals in the classroom has since blossomed into a celebration of women throughout history. A celebration of women who have made contributions to society, politics, culture, and women’s rights. In March, to honor Women’s History Month, Broadminded is featuring extraordinary women who have broken ground with their ongoing achievements and contributions.

The theme for this year’s History Month is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment”. Since 1981, women have become 50 percent of college graduates in the United States and women now outnumber men in American colleges nationwide. They have slowly and steadily earned their way into “male-dominated” fields and have moved up the corporate ladder. Girls now have women like Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and Arianna Huffington as role models. Because nobody ever told them “you can’t” simply because they were a girl, or perhaps it was because someone did say “no” to them and they had the drive to prove them wrong, these amazing women all started from the bottom and created their own highly rewarding careers. There may still be a glass ceiling, but we’re finally starting to not just break through it, but shatter it!

It’s because of the trailblazing determination of Oprah Winfrey that I was even able to pitch Broadminded to XM Radio back in 2005. If it weren’t for Oprah paving the way for me, there would never have been an interest for a radio show created by and hosted by women, for women. Being a single mother to a nine-year old son, I’d like to think I’m a role model for him by demonstrating that a woman can be independent and create her own career.

I think it’s important for successful women to share their knowledge and experiences with young girls; it’s essential for them to realize they can be, and should be, whatever they choose to be, whether that’s a wife and mother, the CEO of a global company or even the President of the United States. There are no boundaries. Randy Pausch had a wonderful quote from “The Last Lecture”; he said, “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” Regardless of the brick walls, with determination and dedication there are no limits to what one can achieve.

Throughout history, women have been held back and not allowed to get an education. It was believed that women were either incapable of intellectual development equal to men, or that they would be harmed by striving for it. With this year’s theme for Women’s History Month, it’s important to honor those women who struggled for education equality and an equal opportunity for everyone to learn.

I’m very fortunate to have such an incredible job which allows me the opportunity to speak with so many people from all walks of life. We discuss a wide range of topics on our show, but the conversations we have with extraordinary women who have risen above adversity have truly been some of my favorite moments. I love when we hear from a listener who has been empowered due to a guest we’ve had on or a topic we’ve discussed, and now realizes that she, too, can do and be whatever she wants. I can only hope that in some way, through Broadminded, I’ve been able to open doors and am paving the way for the next generation of empowered women.

“Knowledge itself is power.”

A Matter of Perception

When we were told we’d have Kate Gosselin sitting in as a third co-host for the full two hours of Broadminded, I wasn’t sure what to think. I was anxious? Excited? Ambivalent? Quite honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect or how to feel. At the end of the two hours, however, I realized my perception of Kate was, for the most part, incorrect. Our listeners, on the other hand, were very outspoken and had a lot of thoughts – good, bad, outraged. In fact, many said they wouldn’t listen because we had Kate on the show.

Let’s be honest, when it comes to reality shows like The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Real Housewives of [any county], Kate Plus 8, etc., what do we truly know about the lives of these people? The producers edit down a week’s worth of filming into one or two hours. Granted, they can’t make up what isn’t there, but they can edit in a way to make someone look better or worse for publicity and to boost ratings. In other words, we see what the producers want us to see.

Someone who has a bigger personality is going to lift ratings. Kate, whether earned or not, has developed a reputation ranging from everything of being a bad mother, a bad wife, to someone who pimps out her kids for fame and fortune. And yet, for every person that has something negative to say about her, there is someone defending her for being able to raise eight(!!!) pretty well adjusted kids. When you’re blessed with a large family and you’re not sure how to make ends meet and a producer approaches you with a contract with what could potentially be your children’s college funds, I’m not sure many people would turn it down. It’s easy for us to sit on the sidelines and judge, but when placed in someone else’s shoes, can we be so sure we wouldn’t do the same thing? If that opportunity were presented to me, I’m not so sure I would say no. However, if at any time my son was unhappy and didn’t want to do it anymore, I would pull the plug immediately regardless of the consequences of contract.

Unfortunately, fame, specifically reality show fame, is not always what one expects it to be. How can anybody be fully prepared for instant fame, recognition and the ridicule that follows? Nobody is prepared for cameras in their face 24/7 and nobody is perfect every moment of every day. We all have our opinions of the people on these shows, but I dare say I’m not sure many of us would fair much better. We may think we would, but we’ll probably never have the opportunity to prove that theory wrong.

When we announced that Kate Gosselin was going to sit in with us for the full two hours, our Facebook page blew up. The way some reacted you would have thought we were having an amalgamation of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh! As it turned out, Kate was pleasant and, although at times guarded, was open and honest. She was entertaining and personable. I also think that if we close our minds to people because of what our perceptions of them may be, we also close our minds to the possibility of who they really are. We need to think to ourselves whether we’re seeing people for who they truly are, or for what we perceive them to be by the makings of creative editing.

I think the world would be a much happier and peaceful place if we weren’t all so quick to judge. When we’re born, we’re very trusting because we don’t know any better. Children are honest and the best judges of character. Too bad we can’t hold on to that innocence as we get older. Once I opened my mind to the possibilities of who Kate Gosselin could be, I found her to be very pleasant and fun. Hopefully, those of you that listened to the show felt the same. Now I can’t say this new found open mindedness of mine is here to stay, but for now I can say I was wrong to judge.