10 Questions with ... Cindy Dole
October 2, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
More than 20 years of broadcast experience in both radio and TV as news anchor, reporter and host in Los Angeles. Also among the top 100 DIY bloggers, with articles featured on the Tribune TV station websites. Seen nationally on Television Trend Reports and has contributed to Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius Satellite Radio.
1. How did you get into radio? Why radio?
My first exposure was when I interned for the Rick Dees Show in Los Angeles ( KIIS FM) while studying broadcast journalism at USC. I got his man-on-the-street sound. My eyes were set on TV News as a career, but then radio was my first job offer - reporting and anchoring news at an Adult Contemporary Music station in Palm Springs, KDES, and I loved it! I loved how it required being more visual as a storyteller and communicator, with great words and sound bites, and the kinds of stories I got to cover and the people I met; I had a blast - I interviewed Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Walter Annenberg, Howard Cosell, and many others. I transitioned to an All News station in Palm Desert, working for a woman who was a former LA Times Investigative Reporter, who taught me more about great interviewing skills.
After that, I went into TV news for many years as an Anchor and Reporter across the country. When I returned to Los Angeles, I was hired by KNX and then KFWB, covering news from the death of Princess Diana to the OJ Simpson Trial, September 11th, and more. It wasnâ€™t just the reporting I loved, but the anchoring - and working with other great broadcasters and communicators - as a close team. It really was like another marriage, in the on-air booth sitting across from that person for 5 hours at a time, through history - the good news, the bad news, the tense, the exhilarating, all live for all to hear!
2. You were a news reporter/anchor for years on L.A. radio, and now... home, garden, and lifestyle, on the air, which you've also done for Sirius, and writing as well. What prompted the shift, and how different is it for you from news anchoring -- how easy is it to get your head into this as opposed to news when you sit down at the mic?
I will always love the excitement of breaking news, the responsibility of getting it right, interviewing newsmakers and helping people understand. The biggest difference is that I get to laugh on the air a heck of a lot more, and that is more me. I am talking about topics that I not only love but which are uplifting and help you figure out how to enjoy the most important place in your life - your home! Our mantra for "Home Wizards" is "Improve Your Home, Improve Your Life," and I feel thatâ€™s what Eric and I do.
The turning point to switch from news to home improvement was a burning desire to not only talk about positive things on the air, but to own my own business and grow my own brand. When I met Eric and found he shared that similar desire to control his own career destiny and have fun doing it, it was a great match for a team on-air and in business. We figure if we are having fun, the audience is too, and in the process we are all becoming more empowered to try new things to make the place you call home more livable, more relaxing, and more you! I have always enjoyed decorating, gardening, crafting, entertaining, and home solutions since I was a kid and it was reinforced by my parents growing up. So with Eric it truly is like we are having a cup of coffee (which we drink a lot) and sharing stories about some trend, idea, inspiration or solution for a better home, and it all unfolds with laughter and great information. That is all very easy to get my head around!
3. You have an expert co-host, Eric, who can ostensibly handle any home improvement emergency, and you're a DIY ace yourself. But have there been any projects for which you could have used his help -- what have been the home improvement, decorating, or garden incidents that gave you the most trouble?
One of the nicknames I call Eric is â€œFix Itâ€ (he actually has his own CD with a song called â€œFix It Manâ€). We really do turn to each other depending on our strengths. I enjoy painting, but when you want to get it done in a hurry for the holidays, you may hire someone. I could have used Ericâ€™s help, because the guy my husband and I hired quit after he barely started - and it was just before our plans to entertain for the holidays. The excuse was it was â€œtoo much painting and he got tired.â€ Eric, as a contractor, could have smelled this was trouble coming. Other areas I could turn to Eric: anything electrical (not my thing), certain power tools, woodworking and plumbing. Although I did learn this great tip when you lose jewelry down the sink: A shop vac with a nylon over it to grab the jewel without it going all the way into the vac.
4. Speaking of Eric, besides his being the pro at home improvement while you're the pro broadcaster (and DIY blogger), what's the dynamic like between you? What do you each bring to the show, and what are the best and worst (if there are any) things about working with Eric?
Eric and I are honestly very good friends and have this great chemistry that is rooted in this nutty sense of humor, and a similar approach to life and people. We are both quick on our feet and crack each other up to the point of tears, and tend to bring that out in others. Beyond that, we also share a deep respect for each other as people - no ego, or attitude but total trust, fairness and goodwill. I am constantly learning from Eric, and he says the same about me, so itâ€™s a great balance, like a really close brother and sister. Eric brings an encyclopedic knowledge of anything you build or repair from his 20-plus years as a contractor just doing it all. Combine that with his years in TV being a terrific communicator, great ad libber and someone who just gets it.
Unlike a lot of â€œtool guysâ€ out there, Eric is so much more a renaissance guy too, with a great artistic sensibility; he enjoys gardening, and he isnâ€™t afraid to switch from man cave talk to girly decor, his marinara recipe, or what works as a kid-friendly project as a husband and father of three. So it really is this terrific blend.
I think together we bring that credibility and knowledge to the audience, mixed with our sincere and unassuming style that shows to a listener that itâ€™s okay, you donâ€™t have to be perfect; we can do this together!
All of that is what makes hosting a show together and building a business with Eric the best. The only bad part about working with Eric is that if I am having a bad day, I canâ€™t hide it from him. He is laser sharp. And sometimes the laughter is so over the top, I end up coughing for an hour. But I think we are both very lucky.
5. How are you planning to use social media in conjunction with the show, if at all?
We are absolutely using social media because, as we all know, itâ€™s critical to make radio multimedia. Thatâ€™s what we do, to keep the conversation going 24/7 - not just during the radio show, but constantly. Facebook is very important to us to engage the audience and get feedback on what is important to them for future shows and events, but itâ€™s also a fun way to reward people and create excitement. We will be cross promoting all we do from the radio show to web videos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, with links to shows, and tips, photos of trends and events, but also contests and makeovers with a chance for people to win things!
6. Of what are you most proud?
I am really proud of what Eric and I are building together as a team. And I often reflect on that what made it possible in part was having a dream, getting the proper support to execute it, and then having the guts to leave a full-time job to instead focus on this show - basically jumping without a net, and then making something soar. I am proud we are now in syndication, because learning that process is quite a journey too! Iâ€™m proud of the team we have built to help us on the way and that Eric and I are doing something that enriches peoplesâ€™ lives. Sappy as it may sound, when I read the emails and hear the sincere feedback from stations and listeners that it matters and makes a difference, it really does warm the heart. People will say they never thought they could grow a veggie garden, or choose the right color of paint, or take the plunge in a kitchen makeover, but we gave them the inspiration and courage to try.
7. Who do you consider your mentors and inspirations in radio and in life?
I am very fortunate to have had amazing parents who always laughed, had good friends, and instilled in me that anything is possible, just to treat people right, and work really hard. They gave me the confidence to be an entrepreneur and to pursue my dreams, but also to choose great friends to enjoy it with.
I chose a great husband, Bill, who is always supportive of all I do.
One of my great mentors is the first person I pitched the concept of "Home Wizards" to - David G. Hall. He was Program Director of KNX and KFWB at the time, and said it was a great idea, the best proposal for a show he had ever gotten, and to go for it. I did, and here we are! He has always encouraged me with very simple yet poignant insight on how to connect with an audience and make better radio.
I am also very fortunate to have been part of the CBS Radio family for many years and with that has come a long list of mentors, from Ed Pyle (former News Director at KNX) to Andy Ludlum (Program Director, KNX/KFWB), who helped me be a better more memorable storyteller. And then Rosemary Hernandez, the GSM of KNX/KFWB, who taught me how to monetize this radio show of ours and build a brand with sponsors and radio stations across the country so itâ€™s a financial success for everyone.
8. What's the quickest, cheapest way you can suggest for sprucing up a home -- what's one easy tip people who are otherwise all thumbs or with little sense of how to decorate can use to make their home more liveable?
Without spending a dime - itâ€™s shopping your home for a better way to display what youâ€™ve got and then repurposing it in another room.
Start by taking all of your collectibles and decorative items and stage them on a big table - group them by themes - vases, books, candles, or, in my case, antique radios. Now all that is left in the rooms is furniture - take a good look if one piece might work better in a bedroom, a home office, maybe an outdoor living room. Now select your favorite collection of things on that table and reassign it to your family room. Do the same for your dining room with another favorite collection. The key is to not overstuff the rooms, and to keep it to a grouping of similar colors/looks or things so you have a rhythm or method to your decor. That is the trick!
Another way to make your home livable is to downsize your stuff and only display what you love. Take a box and clear out one room. As you need things you get to keep that item in that room. The rest stays in the box because you donâ€™t miss it, and now you can donate it.
Iâ€™m also big on color - in the home and the garden. Start with a neutral backdrop in a room, but it doesnâ€™t have to be white or bland. Go with taupe, or light grey, or light yellow. Then pick a deep complimentary or contrasting color - get ideas from what you see in nature, for one wall in a more vivid color.
And in the garden do the same when choosing flower colors. A hot trend now is purple, silver with light green - itâ€™s soothing, and fresh yet has a bright pop to it.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ____________.
â€¦coffee and Dark Chocolate, my iphone and the internet.
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
This one is tough because there are many many great words of wisdom.
Donâ€™t be afraid of anyone - they put their pants on the same way. - one of the best
Itâ€™s not that hard to stand out - just do your best because a lot of people just donâ€™t try â€“another One of the best
Donâ€™t get a dog when you are in an apartment, youâ€™ll regret it - the worst - I ignored it