Radio show Host Sheila Gale Talks her way to the Top
by Susan Cantrell
absolutely have to ask. All they can say is no or yes.” – Sheila
spiral down a labyrinth of roads in Skyline Forest, Monterey,
and finally park at Sheila Gale’s gently aging white home, the
home she grew up in and reclaimed six years ago.
I am jazzed about meeting this radio celebrity who has hosted
shows and announced on KWAV, KOCN, and KTOM, to name a few local
stations. I’m interested in knowing about her new weekly
program, “The Sheila Gale Reality Show,” on KRXA, AM 540.
It’s been a couple months since my “Quotable Notables” column
ended at The Herald, and I am itching to dive the depths of an
interviewee’s mind, to reconnect with my innate curiosity, to be
humbled by some new lesson learned from their story.
Gale leads me into her jewelry designing room, bathed in buttery
sunshine. A couple of cats swish by as I examine her table that
is laden with polished semi-precious stones, wires and clippers.
She is modeling an enticing jade bracelet, rings and necklace
that complement her mustard silk shirt and upswept reddish hair.
But what really grab my attention are the walls lined with black
and white photos of homeless people, in various poses that
illustrate the grittiness of their lives.
“I’ve had five exhibits in the last two years,” she says,
Radio personality, actress, jewelry maker and photographer -
clearly, she is one of those people who grabs life by the horns
and wrestles out all of her talents and dreams.
But it wasn’t always so. Middle age has changed her. Time’s a
wasting. She is seizing the day.
We settle at the dining room table that reminds her of all the
joys and pains that she and her physician father, mother and
“I was born at the old Carmel Hospital,” she says. “I used to go
on house calls with my father. I couldn’t wait to get out at 18,
and after 30 years, I couldn’t wait to move back.”
Why will we want to listen to “The Sheila Gale Reality Show”?
A: You will never hear anything like this show. Our first show
(in April ‘06) was “Dating after Divorce.” We talked to an
internet dater and a speed dater. One woman was like a stalker
and we discussed that. We talk about things most people don’t
want to talk about. Our second show was with a homosexual man,
and my first question was, “Why do gay people talk like that?”
The station owner, Hal Ginsberg, likes controversy. Another show
was with a former gang member. I played three of the top rap
songs, and I got the words to them and broke down what they
said, and it was horrible. I let the parents know what their
children are really listening to. Then I played, “I Wanna Hold
your Hand,” and that was about the butterflies and holding
hands. MTV shows humping and bumping. Another show, with author
Joe Klaas (Polly Klaas’s grandfather), was on sex offenders and
the difference between child molesters and pedophiles. Shelley
Jones is my manager and she believes in me so much.
Q: Reality shows:
b) cater to idiots
c) just a passing fad
d) reflect our societal values
A: Everything is a reality show now, but in this show, it’s just
a really real show.
I don’t want to be a polished speaker. I forget what I’m going
to say. I’m not going to talk about politics much. We’re gonna
do some crazy stuff. A lot of people want their 15 minutes of
fame and we’re going to give them 5 minutes. I may cut them off
if they’re too boring. I’m at a point in life where I’m OK with
the way I am, and it’s fine if people don’t like me or what I
do. That never used to be OK. I used to hide in a corner and
pull the covers over me if people didn’t like me . . .
Q: You have a font of creative ideas for the show.
A: What I’m very passionate about is empathic parenting -
putting yourself in your child’s shoes, especially the first
three years. Hopefully, we’ll have people calling and “asking
Sheila.” I want people to think outside the box.
Q: Sounds like you’re using up every inch of your life.
A: I am, now.
Q: Tell me of your life crises.
A: My father died when I was 18. I was devastated. I felt like I
was on a sail boat with no compass. I quit college. I always had
a dream to become an actress. I saw Haley Mills in “Pollyanna”
38 times. So I moved to LA, where I did everything from waitress
to bartender to a magician’s assistant. I did shows at the Roxy.
I was the first female bartender at any Playboy Club in Century
City . . . I was a radio announcer on major market radio
stations in LA.
Q: With no formal training, how did you bust in?
A: I just asked. You absolutely have to ask. All they can say is
no or yes. In most cases it’s yes. I babysat the producer’s kids
and then asked to be in the movies.
Q: In what notable movies did you appear?
A: “Death Wish Four” - mostly small parts in Charles Bronson
films. I used to play poker with him at all breaks.
Q: What kind of guy was he?
A: Just a simple coal miner who never once saw his movies. He
didn’t know what all the hoo-ha was about . . . I was being
groomed to be a talk show host when there were only Phil Donahue
and Oprah. Agents were very interested in me. Then I met my
husband on a blind date. I was almost 40, and I had to choose a
road, and I chose family (she gave birth to two children, now
ages nine and 12). That’s where my career ended in
Q: Have you seen the bumper sticker, “A woman’s place is in
the house, the senate and the oval office”? Where is YOUR place?
A: I have such strong feeling about parenting that I don’t
understand women who think they can do it all. I was very
fortunate to be a stay at home mom . . . I started becoming very
unhappy and I was meditating and teaching Sunday school. My
marriage was falling apart and I became very depressed. I never
thought I’d have a second chance in anything creative in life.
I’d done that in my 30’s and 40’s. I finally separated four
years ago. It was the most difficult period in my life. Not
having had children half of my life, I’d made them my life.
Recently, something happened. It was a God thing. As I was
wandering my house, pining for my children (who live part time
with their father), alone, I just started to pray and said,
“What do you want me to do? Show me what to do, God. I’m getting
in my car now. I’m either going to go buy silver and make a
bracelet or try to find that radio station in Sand City that my
friend told me about.” It was brand new; it had been a Spanish
station. So, I stumbled into the station with ink on my face, in
a T-shirt, with spots on my leggings. The owner came out and
asked, “How may I help you?” I walked in and something happened,
and I started getting really excited about something for the
first time in seven years. I told him “I want a radio show.” He
said, “Who are you? What can you do?” Then he Googled me and saw
all this information and the movies I’d been in. I was
impressed, as he was. “I want a day to day reality radio show
with Sheila Gale, and there’s nothing we won’t talk about.”
Q: And he went for it.
Q: Speaking of your bio, with no formal education in radio, how
did you teach at Columbia School of Broadcasting?
A: I had enough experience that it was a piece of cake.
Q: I was told to ask you about Kim Novak.
A: It was at the Special Olympics games. I introduced myself to
her, and she stuck out her hand, and said, “Sheila Gale, I’ve
been wanting to meet you for the longest time. I’m one of your
biggest fans.” I was with K-TOM then.
What is the magic of radio, versus other mediums?
A: I never knew I had a good speaking voice until I started in
radio. Something happens when I turn that microphone on. I can’t
explain it, but it’s a passion so strong I really feel it’s my
calling. In 10 years of radio, I’ve introduced songs, announced
the weather, etc. There’s not a lot of creativity with cue
cards. So, to have this new radio show, to talk the whole hour,
is the most exciting adventure. I really didn’t think I’d have a
second chance. I feel I’m reinventing myself. Shelley and I are.
There’s no doubt in my mind, it’s gonna be a hit show. I feel
like a lotus flower budding out of the mud.