How I became a radio commentator


Hibiscus in my garden before being demolished by bugs.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself speaking on the radio as a regular commentator.  Here’s how it happened.

Sometime in late 2003, I sent Hawaii Public Radio five chapters from my book, “Like a Joyful Bird,” each one abridged to fit a 2-1/2 minute time span on the air.  Michael Titterton, the president and general manager of HPR, promptly called me and asked if I would be willing to be a commentator.

Several weeks later, I found myself in the HPR studio, reading two essays.  My mouth was very dry so I drank a lot of water, filling up my bottle twice.  My tongue clicked against the roof of my mouth — quite audible on replay — and I could hear the paper rustling in my hands.  The microphone picked up everything.  After two hours of speaking, I walked out of the studio with a full bladder and a tension headache.

Recording my stories was harder than I expected.  I thought of giving up.  When I told people I was going to quit, the response was staggering.

“You hang in there, and I know doors will open for you,” said Joanne.

“Chances like this don’t come often; you’ll regret it if you give up!” said Donna.

“Don’t give up.  Go with the flow.  If they postpone it, hang in there.  It gets easier all the time,” said Bobbie.

“Have a shot of whiskey with water and maple syrup before accessing the microphone.  It may not help the dryness, but it will make you feel better,” said Helge.

Well, I listened to my friends and went on to speak on the radio for 15 months, after which the station decided to give other community voices a chance to express themselves.  It was a wonderful experience, and I’ll never forget it.

17 Responses to “How I became a radio commentator”

  1. granny annie Says:

    Do you have tapes of the sessions to share with your grandchildren? The day will come when they will be so proud of all you have accomplished.

  2. Linda Starr Says:

    would love to hear the sessions. when I had my lavender farm I was interviewed in a podcast by a local online newspaper. I thought I would use a lot of uhs but nary a one was uttered and I surprised myself.

  3. Olga Says:

    Good for you to hang in there. Good for your friends to encourage you!

  4. Jan Says:

    That’s great, Gigi. I’m sure you did it very well. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Christine Says:

    wow, you are impressive!

  6. SchmidleysScribbling Says:

    Public Speaking is a frightening experience. I did it for years on radio, TV and at conferences and professional meetings all over the US and Europe and never “got used to it.”

    In 1984, I testified before Congress on behalf of NARAL if you can believe that, (hostile men and I had a bad cold) and I almost froze. Awful experience.

    I did freeze when Al Jezeera interviewed me. The moderator asked me about Bush’s policies on immigration. Yeah right, like I’m going to criticize the President of the U.S. on a foreign TV network. I don’t think so.
    Did the syrup help? Just wondered.

  7. Joanne Noragon Says:

    I think the lesson of perseverance is foremost here. You do seem to be quite the persevering woman, however.

  8. Linda Reeder Says:

    That’s cool, gigi. Good for you. I love hearing stories like this about my blog friends.

  9. L....w Says:

    Gigi, you’ve accomplished a lot outside the well worn path that most local people travel, including writing this blog. Your grandchildren have much to admire.

  10. Flo Miyahira Says:

    I enjoy listening to commentaries on HPR; wish I had heard yours back then. I still, however, get broad perspectives on your many views whenever we meet. I’m lucky!

  11. Tom Sightings Says:

    Didn’t know you were famous! Do we have access to those essays anywhere?

  12. Beatrice P. Boyd Says:

    You are without a doubt a multi-faceted woman, Gigi.

  13. Bella Rose Says:

    I love all the encouragement you received from friends. You are a very supportive friend as well. I admire all that you’ve done!

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