On December 16th, I was a guest on the Ronn Owens show on KGO radio! It was definitely one of the highlights of my career as an author and Grammar Diva. In case you aren’t familiar with the show, KGO is probably the biggest station in San Francisco (810 AM), and Ronn Owens is one of their most popular hosts. He has been doing his show for 35 years — and I might add that I was the very first grammar person to be a guest on the show.
How did this happen? Although I have been meaning to contact media about appearing to talk about my books (for three years), I have never really gotten around to it. Aside from a very half-hearted attempt at KSRO in Santa Rosa, I have done nothing — nada.
I listen to talk radio while I drive sometimes — if I have gotten tired of listening to my CD mix. This particular day, a couple of months ago, I switched on KGO and started listening to Ronn’s show. He began talking about words and what they mean and how they are used. Then, he took some calls. I found it interesting, of course, and thought the discussion would be a good topic for a blog post. I wrote that post on November 15:
In the post, I mentioned that I was inspired by the Ronn Owens show, and I e-mailed Ronn a copy of the blog post. He e-mailed back thanking me and said he would read the post. I replied that if he ever wanted a grammar person on the show to let me know. I was joking (a little). A few weeks later, his producer called and asked if I would be on the show! Done!
Shlepping into San Francisco is not my favorite thing to do; I don’t know my way around at all, and I don’t know where to park. I asked them about parking, and they said not to worry. They gave me directions to the parking garage, and they told me to call them a few minutes before I would reach the garage and they would send someone down to get me in.
Then, I never heard from them….I thought that maybe this was a joke! What? No prep? I had been on Blog Talk radio (does anyone listen to that?) and on public radio recently, and there had been communication before the taping of each show. And this was going to be live!
I finally e-mailed to see if there was anything I was supposed to do to prepare. The producer said, “No, your expertise will be enough.”
OK. So the biggest problem was finding my way. I had no idea when I would be almost at the parking garage, so I decided it was safer to aim toward the radio station itself. I printed out the directions and found it — no problem. A little narrow street, South of Market. So, I arrived — an hour earlier — still thinking maybe there was some prep. They didn’t tell me what time to arrive. I pulled over illegally (of course) in front of the building, stressed by the San Francisco drivers, and called them. Turns out I was right at the parking garage. However, a truck came and said I had to move, so I inched forward onto the sidewalk and a tree. A passing woman asked if I needed help; I said I was OK (I always park wedged near a tree). Turned out OK. Someone from the station came down and led me into the parking space and up to the waiting area of the station.
I waited. I was supposed to be on the 11 a.m. half hour segment. No prep. Had never seen Ronn. Finally, at about 11:05 (near the end of the news), they took me into the freezer — I mean, the studio. Ronn came in, introduced myself, shook my hand, sat down, and said,”Don’t be nervous. My job is to make you feel good.” Then we were rolling on live radio. When I was led in, I was told Ronn probably wouldn’t take calls, but the headphones were there just in case. Well, of course, he took calls! Or, rather, I did! I was proud when I answered a “who and whom” question “more clearly than anyone ever had before.”
I must confess that Ronn asked me one question from my website to which I really had no answer. “Pro” that I am, I sides-swept a bit and answered something related. Did anyone notice? Politicians and beauty pageant contestants do it all the time!
And then my segment was over…..it was fun, and I walked out of there wanting my own radio show — or at least a permanent spot on Ronn’s show, maybe on grammar days. Ronn was very nice! And his show is always interesting, whether or not they are talking grammar!
So I got out of the garage and proceeded to take an unintended tour of much of San Francisco, as I tried to find my way to the Golden Gate Bridge.
In case you missed the show, here is the podcast….enjoy!
Arlene, The Grammar Diva
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