We are back with another "Women Who Rock" segment!
You hear her on the radio
SiriusXm Indie 102 & on Howard101!
Her name? Cristina Palumbo.
We sat down with Cristina and got the scoop on everything from what it is like being a woman in her industry to the craziest things she's encountered while working in radio.
So sit back, relax and enjoy, as we give you this weeks
"Woman Who Rocks!"
1. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in radio.
I was an event planner for pharmaceuticals and in the middle of a meeting I was holding court about Britney Spears' bare feet and very visual vagina that was splashed all over the tabloids. My good friend/coworker pulled me aside and jokingly told me I didn't belong in a corporate setting. I agreed and told her I always wanted to work in radio but have no experience. She happened to have a childhood friend that worked for SiriusXm & took my resume without making any promises. He reached out, invited me up to the studio for a live show and that's where my love for radio was confirmed. He was kind enough to show me the ropes. I quit my job, shadowed him unpaid for 6 months and was eventually offered a part time position which led to full time. Basically I pinch myself everyday and I'm in debt to two very wonderful people.. So thanks Rita & Steve!
I was always into radio, as a kid I'd use a double tape deck and record my own shows where I'd be the host and the guest. I knew I'd do well with it because I'm not good at much else. Talking and writing are my favorite things, everything else gives me horrendous agita (especially math). I'm most comfortable right smack in the middle of a conversation and if you throw a mic in front of my face it's like a vacation! It didn't seem attainable though, it sounded like "I want to be an actress" which sounded like "I'm gonna be a waitress" so it took me a while to realize I can actually follow my dream.
I have a bunch of professional role models/mentors and I'm lucky enough to work alongside them.. Alex Bennett, Howard Stern & Jay Thomas paved the way as far as I'm concerned..
(Jay Thomas and Cristina after the annual football toss on Letterman.)
Pete Dominick has offered me several words of wisdom
and Chris Tsakis lets me stretch my sea legs on his show which is the best experience!
I got to work with Lynn Samuels (may she rest in peace). I really loved her because she wasn't afraid to be her true self no matter what the suits said. When people ask me what I want to be when I grow up I say Robin Quivers, but my role model, and this is so cliche.. it's definitely my dad.
He's a go getter and when the going gets tougher than you can ever imagine he dusts himself off and reinvents himself into something even better. He was the reason I was able to go after this goal and succeed at it in the first place. He gave me the financial freedom and emotional support I needed to leave my career, work for free and learn my craft. In fact he insisted on it. That fire in my belly and under my ass is hereditary for sure.
4. What is it like being in what seems to be a more male dominated field and what obstacles have you had to face with that?
How did you overcome them?
I have had this conversation with Jay Thomas several times. He believes that being in this business takes away from my femininity but my response to that is I've been this way my whole life. I've only been in radio 6 years so how do you explain the other 28?? I've always been able to hold my own and "hang with the boys". I have a quick whit and a perverted sense of humor which comes in handy. I'm not easily offended, in fact I'm usually the offender. It's a comfortable place for me to be in. If you put me in a room with 5 male comics it's home for me.. If you put me under a tent during fashion week you'd find me tunneling my way out with a shoe I could never pronounce or afford.. I'm not saying it's easy to work in a male dominated industry but for me it's more comfortable and I never felt like I had to overcome any obstacles in that sense.. The obstacles come with the job. It's not easy being in this industry with less than 10k Twitter followers or less than a decade of experience under your belt... Is it harder to get the attention you want versus the attention you get, sure.. But that can hold true for any industry.
|(A very drunk "tan mom" before 11am)|
5. Who is your favorite person that you have met through your career and/or interview that you have conducted?
I got to sit next to Howard Stern for 16 minutes once and it was one of the greatest days of my life... But to be honest I was more excited to meet members of his wackpack because they aren't millionaires.
|(Mother of Howard stern wackpack Mariann from Brooklyn.)|
I love when reality stars come through, especially the ones on cable and even more so when they are in their first or second season.. The reason is because my expectations aren't as high as they would be for an accomplished actor.. Sure it's an honor to meet someone great but when a guest is new to the business they are excited to meet you which means their interview is filled with energy! I met Linda Blair once and was so sad because she wasn't as playful as I hoped.. She's a legend from a movie that gave me nightmares for most of my tweenaged years.. But she's so over it now that she doesn't seem to appreciate the attention as much as a hungry reality star. It's hard to meet your heroes because it may ruin your impression. I met Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms and she screamed at us like we were her students. That was a great day at work. Other big name celebrities sometimes really impress you. Nick Cannon let me wear his gold chains.. That was the most ice I'd ever seen in my life! Another great day on the job.
The show I work on now has all types of guests from celebrities & athletes to "regular" people that had something extraordinary happen to them and I thoroughly enjoy those "regular" people the most.
6. Whats the craziest thing/situation that you have encountered while working in radio?
The day Howard Stern came on was amazing but not as crazy as the day Andrew Dice Clay came through the halls and asked me to go for a Jamba Juice & a cheeseburger. (It's on YouTube).
|(Andrew Dice Clay)|
Another crazy day was when Alex Bennett surprised me and scheduled mob wives Drita & Carla and I got to interview them (which was my first interview ever).
|(Mob Wives Drita and Carla)|
The surprise was because it was a left leaning political talk show so you can imagine the subject of mob wives hardly came up. One other crazy day was when my coworker and I walked into the ladies room only to find a couple of strippers sitting on the floor shoving hundreds of dollars into duffle bags because Chris Brown just made it rain in a studio. I was like damn, did I pick the wrong career.. :)
I would say wonderful! If you need any advice please ask because I know first hand how tough it could be.. Be prepared to work crazy hours, not make a lot of bank (sometimes you have to do it for free) and know that you have to pay your dues.. I'm doing this 6 years and I'm still paying mine.. Don't expect to walk through the door and be a star. Keep your mind open to all opportunities because there are a ton.. Network, help as many people as you can. Also when you've made it on the air don't hold back and be honest (unless you've got a character or a schtick going) but nothing beats honesty on the airwaves.
8. Where can fans follow you and see what you are up to next?
I'm on Twitter & Instagram - @cristinapalumbo & on Facebook.com/dumbopalumbo. I think I'm on periscope now too.. Just another thing that eats up all my phone storage. Also listen M-Th 3-6 PM ET on SiriusXm Indie 102 & Friday's from 2-5 PM ET on Howard101
9. Any last words for your fans and Cupcakes & Crossbones followers?
Yes! First I'd like to say thank you! There's a whole bunch of people that have been listening to me since day one and I couldn't be more appreciative of their honesty, hilarity and support.. Next, you don't have to make an actual vision board but you should think of one. Everything happening to me right now is straight off my imaginary vision board... If you feel it in your gut and you notice people are telling you that you should be doing a certain thing.. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and actually do it! Don't be afraid to take the risk because you will deprive yourself and others of whatever gift you have whether it's a dream job or a hobby.. Surround yourself with supportive people.. They are your built in fan base. If you pay it forward the universe should reward you handsomely (I'm not saying it will but it should). One last thing if you want something open up your mouth and say it. I didn't know my friend Rita had a childhood friend that worked in radio.. And if I wasn't vocal about my dreams that would have never come up.. So speak up! There is no room for shy and timid in this business!
Isn't she awesome?!
Thanks Cristina for sitting down and talking with us and thank you for being an awesome "Woman Who Rocks!"