Spotlight feature

Friday, January 30, 2015

Award-winning TV writer/producer and singer/songwriter Tracy Newman joins me Monday at 9:00am pst!

Tracy Newman is a TV writer/producer. She started as a staff writer on Cheers. In 1997, she won an Emmy and a Peabody Award for co-writing the ground-breaking “coming out” episode of Ellen. In 2001 she co-created the ABC comedy, According to Jim. Tracy has been playing guitar since she was 14 and is now a fulltime singer/songwriter. Her band is Tracy Newman and the Reinforcements. CDs: “A Place in the Sun,” “I Just See You,” and a CD/Coloring Book combo for children called, “I Can Swing Forever.”


Tracy Newman grew up in Los Angeles. She started playing guitar at 14, usually sitting on the diving board of her family’s pool, strumming for hours each day. Back then she was mostly influenced by the Kingston Trio, because she could actually play some of their songs, especially “Tom Dooley” which had, and still has, only two chords. After high school, Tracy wanted to be a folksinger, but her parents insisted she go to college. She went to the U of A in Tucson and quickly discovered the “folk” community. She stopped attending college and began playing on street corners for money, otherwise known as “busking.” Understandably, this freaked out her mother who flew to Tucson and dragged Tracy back to LA for “help.” The therapist, an elderly man in a suit and tie, kept nodding off during the sessions. Apparently, he couldn’t relate to an upper middle class teenage girl who just wanted to be a folksinger. It’s taken Tracy a while to get back to her dream.

In the early 70s, she joined an improv class taught by Gary Austin, which soon became The Groundlings. Tracy is a founding member, and besides performing, she taught and directed. Her sister, Laraine Newman was the first Groundling to be discovered there by Lorne Michaels for Saturday Night Live. Some other Groundling alumni include: Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens and Kathy Griffin. It was at the Groundlings that Tracy met her future TV writing partner, Jonathan Stark. Their first staff job was on “Cheers,” followed by “Bob”(Bob Newhart), “The Nanny,” “Ellen” and “The Drew Carey Show.” In 1997, Newman and Stark won an Emmy and Peabody Award for writing the groundbreaking “coming out” episode of “Ellen.” In 2001, they created the ABC comedy, "According to Jim," which ran for eight seasons.

Tracy had been writing songs all along, many of which were featured in TV shows. Now she’s once again performing her music full-time. Her CD, “A Place in the Sun,” is still a favorite with young and old alike, for long car rides across the nation. The title track on her latest CD, “I Just See You,” highlighting the beauty of a long-term relationship, is now a music video on YouTube. Her newest project, a children’s CD/coloring book (a collaboration with her daughter, writer/artist Charlotte Dean,) will be released in January 2015.

Giving away tickets to the Gluten-Free/Allergy Friendly Expo coming up February 7th!

 Send an e-mail during my LIVE show February 2nd for a chance to win tickets to the GF &AF Expo in San Diego February 7th!

AND if you don't score a ticket to the event, you can still receive a 15% discount. Details below:

The expo is offering 15% off their ticket price with code ADVANCE at checkout. If you buy your tickets online through their ticket page with code ADVANCE through 2-6, you can also get a free one year subscription to Delight Gluten Free Magazine with purchase

Jen Cafferty, Founder and CEO, The Gluten Free Marketing Group, Host, Consultant and President of Gluten Free Classics joins me Monday at 9:30am!

Jen Cafferty
Founder and CEO, The Gluten Free Marketing Group
President, Gluten Free Classes, LLC
Corporate and Restaurant Consultant
Host, Living Free TV

Jen Cafferty is Founder and CEO of The Gluten Free Marketing Group, currently helping manufacturers reach over 2 million consumers per year.  Under Cafferty’s leadership, her enterprises both help the consumer live a gluten-free lifestyle, as well as meet the marketing needs of special diet manufacturers.

Cafferty and her team currently run The Gluten & Allergen Free Expos, Find Me Gluten Free and a new e-magazine that will be launched in 2014.

The Gluten & Allergen-Free Expos are the largest and fastest growing special diet consumer events in the United States with seven cities and 35,000 attendees per year.  The Expos represent over 500 companies and allow those companies to showcase their products and services to consumers.
In 2013, Cafferty acquired the Find Me Gluten Free, the category leader for locating gluten-free friendly businesses locally and when traveling.  The app was rated a Top-Ten Restaurant Finder App by Yahoo!  With over 450,000+ searches per month and over 600 new downloads per day, Cafferty’s Find Me Gluten Free is a preeminent resource within the gluten-free community.
In 2014, Cafferty will be launching the special diet industry’s first comprehensive e-magazine that is free to the public.  The publication will feature topics ranging from health and education, travel, dining out, recipes, products, and more.  This highly anticipated magazine will be available for download in early 2014.
Jen Cafferty, Certified Health Coach and Chef, considers it her personal mission to help others who follow a “free from” diet learn delicious, nutritious, and convenient ways to live happy and healthy lives.  Cafferty, her husband, and two children follow a specialized diet due to a variety of health matters.

To schedule an interview with Jen Cafferty, contact Laura Gruninger, Director of Communications at The Gluten Free Marketing Group via 847-284-9997 or

The GFAF Expos are the largest and fastest growing special diet consumer events in the US. Started in 2007, the events are professionally managed and have expanded from one to seven cities throughout the United States. In addition to meeting the needs of the Celiac community, the Expo welcomes those with gluten sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases and autism.
What do you get with your Expo Ticket?

  • Entry into the 100+ booth vendor fair
  • Valuable coupons at the vendor booths
  • Samples from the vendors
  • Discounted products available for purchase
  • Informative classes related to the gluten and allergen-free lifestyle
  • Free reusable bag to carry your goodies
  • Meet your favorite vendors, authors and bloggers

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Get ready to be inspired by the story of two sisters, June and Jean Millington, who paved the way for women guitarists in rock and roll history! Excited and honored to have special guest June Millington joining me Monday January 26th at 9:00am pst!

June Millington and her sister Jean have been playing music since they were children strumming ukuleles in the Philippines. When they moved to the US in the ’60’s they turned in their acoustic guitars for electric and formed a succession of all-girl bands that eventually became Fanny, one of the first all- female rock bands to be signed to a major label. Fanny soon began recording and touring worldwide with bands like Chicago and Dr. John. It was while recording in major studios with engineers like Apple’s Geoff Emerick that Millington began to study the art of sound recording and producing.

After Fanny, June became involved in the women’s music movement when she was asked to play on and tour behind Cris Williamson’s The Changer and the Changed, which would become the defining album of that genre. “Women’s music” quickly evolved into an independent feminist music network that included (often collectively run) production companies,venues, festivals, record labels, and distribution networks. It was in that genre that Millington began to produce albums for, among others, Williamson, singer-songwriter Holly Near and jazz pianist and composer MaryWatkins.

June and Jean continued to record and perform throughout the 80’s and 90’s – with Jean taking time off to raise her two children and June, together with her partner Ann Hackler, founding the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA). The Institute is a teaching, performing and recording facility dedicated to supporting women and girls in music and music–related business. Millington is the Artistic Director of IMA, which, as part of its mission, runs summer rock PROGRAMS for girls and young women. June and Jean’s latest CD, Play Like a Girl is for the girls.

If you miss June on Monday's show, you can listen to our conversation here.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Laura Whitmore, founder of Mad Sun Marketing and The Women’s International Music Network, joined me Monday at 9:00am!

Special thanks to Laura B. Whitmore for calling in to today's show. If you missed Laura, catch our conversation here!

 Laura B. Whitmore is a graduate of Hofstra University with a B.S. in Music Merchandising and an M.B.A. in Marketing. As the marketing manager for Korg USA for 20 years, she was instrumental in marketing, PR and artist relations for the Korg, Marshall, and VOX brands. She was also editor of Korg’s ProView Magazine. Prior to that, she worked in the Direct Marketing department of CBS Records.
In 2008 Whitmore left Korg USA and founded Mad Sun Marketing, a boutique agency that specializes in marketing, PR, artist relations, event production, graphic design, and more for music and audio companies. Past and current clients of Mad Sun include 65amps, Academic Superstore, Acoustic Amplification, Agile Partners, Colby Amplifiers, Dean Markley USA, Korg, KVRaudio, Muse Research, NewBay Media, Notion Music, SIR Entertainment Services, SIR Stage37, SoundTree, Sterling Audio, and more.
A singer-songwriter herself, Whitmore is the editor of Guitar World’s and the creator of the featured blog series, Guitar Girl’d. Whitmore has hosted and moderated several workshops and panels at events such as NAMM and SXSW on the topics of marketing, PR, apps and music making, songwriting, and more. She was the co-host of a new open mic series as part of the West Coast Songwriters Association in her town of Lafayette, CA, but recently moved to Needham, MA.
Whitmore organized the first annual Women’s Music Summit in 2012, which took place in Upstate New York. This was followed by the 2013 Women’s Music Summit, which took place at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. She has plans to organize the next summit in Summer of 2015.

January 23, 2015 | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
at The NAMM Show
Anaheim Hilton Hotel Pacific Ballroom – Anaheim, CA
Eventbrite - The 2015 She Rocks Awards
Gearing up for its third consecutive year, the She Rocks Awards pays tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show. Previous award recipients include female industry leaders Sheila E, Orianthi, Dinah Gretsch, Janie L. Hendrix, Mary Peavey and more. Click here to view all previous She Rocks Award winners.
With featured performances, hors d’oeuvres and beverages, giveaways, a silent auction, networking opportunities and more, the She Rocks Awards brings together industry professionals, music icons, artists, fans and media to celebrate women in music. This year, the event will be co-hosted by platinum-selling guitar phenomenon Orianthi. And yes, men are welcome too!
Check out this recap of last year’s event:
Click here to view press coverage and here to find out more about last year’s event.
Eventbrite - The 2015 She Rocks Awards
A portion of proceeds will benefit the Girls Rock Camp Alliance,
empowering girls through music education.

Amanda Catherine joined me Monday at 9:30am pst to talk about funks, depression, psychology and more!

Thanks to special guest Amanda Catherine for calling in to today's show at 9:30am pst!

If you missed Amanda on today's show, listen to our conversation here!

Amanda Catherine received her BA in Psychology from The University of San Francisco in 2008. After working as a research assistant at The University of California - San Francisco (UCSF) Hospital, Amanda took a break from the field to pursue other interests, working in Product Development at Macy's Merchandising Group and later as a Senior Account Executive at Groupon.
The allure of Southern California's weather eventually brought Amanda back to Los Angeles, where she is currently enrolled in Antioch University's Masters in Clinical Psychology program for Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) licensure. Motivated by both personal and professional experience, Amanda is specializing in Child Studies with a concentration on preventative mental health care for elementary-school aged children and adolescents. 

Here's a very meaningful post Amanda wrote on facebook in Decemeber that inspired many folks to comment on (including myself). NOTE: the data cited is from the 5th edition of the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The full text of their document about the holiday season suicide myth is available at this link should anyone inquire:

Did you know it's actually a myth that most people commit suicide around the holidays? According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, suicide rates are lowest at the beginning of winter and highest in early spring. However I have a theory about this relationship, which I've based on the suicide risk associated with antidepressants. For those who aren't aware, antidepressants actually temporarily increase the risk of suicide because they are most effective at treating the physiological symptoms of depression, but do not address the underlying causes. As such, they can inadvertently provide clinically depressed people with the energy they otherwise lacked to kill themselves. My theory is that April and May are the seasonal equivalent of antidepressants, granting enough symptom relief for potentially lethal action. As such, one would expect early spring to indeed have the highest rates of suicide.

If my idea has any merit, this also means something very important and worth sharing on Facebook: the conversation needs to begin now. The people with the highest risk of suicide in Spring don't spontaneously experience clinical depression when the clouds roll out. They are likely already depressed, sinking deeper, unknowingly protected by physiological symptoms of depression including fatigue, inability to concentrate, psychomotor retardation, hypersomnia, and anhedonia.

The prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder in the US is 7%, with rates much higher amongst 18-29 year olds. Risks for completed suicide include previous attempts, living alone, being male, and having prominent feelings of hopelessness. It is important to remember that most completed suicides are not preceded by unsuccessful attempts. It's also important to know that although most depressed people do not commit suicide, depression should always be taken seriously. It is a medical condition, not a sign of weakness. It does not involve the will to be happy and is very different than feeling depressed. It is lonely, immersive, hugely impairing, all too prevalent, and yet so regularly misunderstood. Disregarding variances by age, if you have 100 friends on Facebook, it's likely that at least 7 meet the qualifications for Major Depressive Disorder. And that's only one form of depression, one diagnosis, in a laundry list of mental health conditions that increase a person's risk of suicide.

So my point is this: as we post on Facebook about gratitude, births, engagements, weddings, promotions, family reunions, and New Years resolutions, it is the silent who most desperately need to be heard. We live in a new age where many friendships don't receive the attention or time they deserve; we still love the people who live far away, who we can't seem to fit into our busy schedules, and who we haven't called in awhile but most certainly haven't forgotten. And in this age of status updates and blogs and tweets and group texts as the easiest forms of communication, there's not a lot of room to ask for help or discuss serious problems. It doesn't foster an environment where "bad" news feels safe to share, even though struggle is as much a part of life as those things we so readily broadcast on social media.

Facebook used to have a feature that prompted you to write on the walls of your Facebook friends who hadn't been active in awhile. For a number of months in the Spring of 2010, Facebook reminded me that I hadn't communicated with my friend, Jessica Liever, in a long time. Maybe I should write on her wall, it casually suggested. I saw it every time I signed in. After staring at that icon on the corner of my homepage for what felt like a bitter eternity, I filed a notice with Facebook, attaching a link to her obituary, to let them know she had passed away. In truth, I hadn't spoken with Jessica long before she committed suicide. But I think about her all the time now she's gone.

It's important to celebrate the best parts of life. I feel real, honest joy at the accomplishments of my friends and the blossoming of their most beautiful lives. I'm immensely thankful that inventions like Facebook spared me the burden of having to choose only a handful of people to keep up with, letting most slip into obscurity. I'm in one of the last generations that remembers what it's like to lose people when their immediate relevance in our lives faded away. I still recognize this as a most precious gift. But like all gifts, it's easy to take for granted. It's easy to forget that many of the people who need me the most right now may not show up on my newsfeed. I don't want any of us to wish we could have helped them once it's too late.

Here's wishing all my friends a most warmly fulfilling holiday season, especially those who will never see this post. Facebook has decided that maybe you don't matter as much to me, but that is so far from the truth. You matter. Your life is worth honoring. I haven't forgotten you. And if a few people who see this are even slightly impacted by my post, perhaps together we can reach everyone who deserves -or (even better) needs- to be reminded at this time of year just how much you are loved. No matter how hard it seems, it is always okay to ask for help. We want to help; that's what friends are for.