And how I got it—a complete newbie—because of the new EEO laws. For which I am forever and eternally grateful. I reported on politics, I wrote features, I put together the farm report. I covered crime. I remember Fred, the news director, looking at me askance for asking a robbery victim a question Fred thought was weird.
The news director was appalled. “Hank,” he said. Shaking his head. “Are you #%(@&( kidding me? How the #*%$@ do you think he felt?”And now, of course, those are standard—yes, clichéd!--questions. I like to think I was ahead of my time.
Fellow radio veteran Nancy Cole Silverman’s memories are—different.
By Nancy Cole Silverman
In the late nineties, I worked as the General Manager of a Sports Talk radio station in Los Angeles. Proof that God has a sense of humor. Sports was never my strong suit. I’m not a sports babe. But when the opportunity came to pitch the job, I did what any ambitious female executive would do, I leaned in. And what I learned from running a sports talk radio station back then could fill a book, and in my case several.
Allow me to explain. The station’s outdoor billboard campaign was a tight shot on a woman’s bikini top with the words FAKE RIGHT/FAKE LEFT and the station’s call letters splashed across it. Their promotional items were logoed jockstraps and g-strings. My first directive from corporate was to meet with the station’s afternoon drive personality who looked like Jabba the Hutt. When I walked into the studio and met him for the first time, he was sandwiched between the console and wall with two yardstick-sized pizzas in front of him, and his first words to me were, “Sit down, Babe, we need to talk.”Now if you’re thinking sexual harassment, I need to stop you right there. Sports radio was not for sissies and if I wanted the job I was going to have to learn how to succeed without crying for a lawyer every time I heard a dirty joke or someone shot a jockstrap across the conference room.
My point is, that to succeed in a man’s world, a woman needs to adapt more to her environment than her own sense of style. For me, that meant ditching the three-and-a-half-inch heels, and pulling my hair back in a ponytail. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to appear attractive, but what I didn’t need was for my team to be more aware of my femininity than they were of my ability to do my job.I’ve talked with other women who’ve mentioned similar transformations while working with men. One girlfriend told me she wore glasses when meeting with clients because she wanted to appear smarter. Another confessed she chose to wear bulky sweaters to hide her boobs, and a third confided she chopped her locks because men found her more believable.
My experiences in radio, particularly those working at a sports radio station during a time when there weren’t many women in the field, greatly influenced me when it came to the development of my character. When I sat down to write the Carol Childs Mysteries, I didn’t want a female protagonist who was physically faster and more powerful than her male counterparts. I didn’t consider that to be realistic. I wanted to capitalize on her feminine strengths; intuition and ingenuity. I wrote about a middle-aged woman who was smarter than she was strong, and had no trouble navigating her way through a crime scene or the nightmare of office politics, despite the fact her whiz-kid boss considers her to be the World’s Oldest Cub Reporter. My tagline; Where Brains Beats Brawn and a Mic is More Powerful than a Forty-five.How about you? How do you deal with brains vs. beauty? Are looks an asset, a liability, or a non-issue in a female protagonist?
HANK: Yikes. Wow. Things have changed, right? I hope? Reds? Weigh in....
WITHOUT A DOUBT
WITHOUT A DOUBT
As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
In order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts—pitting them against one another—before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.
Related subjects include: women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, suspense, noir.
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until after she retired that she was able to write fiction full-time. Much of what Silverman writes about is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce, and two standard poodles.