Gina Grad: The Queen of L.A. Podcasting
A Donnybrook Exclusive!
Voiceover acting, standup, writing, hosting, producing, announcing; even if you don’t live in the greater Los Angeles area, there is a very good chance you have had the voice of Gina Grad in your ears at some point.
Grad became a fixture of L.A. broadcasting in the late 2000s at the FM talk radio station 97.1 KLSX. At KLSX, Grad not only produced and occasionally co-hosted the “Tim Conway Jr. Show,” she was often featured on many of the network’s other programs, endearing her to a wide spectrum of fans.
Since the format change at the station nearly four years ago, Grad has hosted “The Pretty Good Podcast” with fellow KLSX alum Randy Wang. Both veterans of terrestrial radio, the program does have the feel of a traditional morning radio show. It is, however, the charmingly crude and indecorous dynamic between the hosts and their supporting players that make the “PGP” something special.
I was fortunate to have an opportunity to chat with the lovely Gina Grad not long ago. Be mindful of Breaking Bad spoilers that were – fittingly – preceded by discussing old school Disney cartoons.
DS: So you and Randy were in a unique position of essentially moving directly from terrestrial radio into digital broadcasting. Did you find the transition relatively seamless in terms of an audience already being in place?
GG: Well, first we did a podcast with radio celebs Tim Conway Jr. and Brian Whitman, but that didn’t last long and 3 months later Randy and I decided to do our own thing.
And we had absolutely no idea if anyone would listen. We were lucky that people who recognized our voices from KLSX and from the podcast with Brian and Tim gave us a chance, and since we started three years ago, our audience has grown six times its size. We feel very lucky because it’s definitely something we didn’t expect.
Having experienced the transition of a terrestrial radio station first hand, what would you say the future of the medium is?
The future of terrestrial radio? It’s hard to say. Whatever medium ends up making the most money will be the one that ends up winning. But radio is definitely safe while people are still scrambling to find the best way to monetize podcasting.
So obviously a lot of shows get donations from listeners for operating costs, but the concept of Peepton is perhaps the most innovative method of doing so that I’ve come across. How did the idea evolve?
Randy and I are always looking for creative ways to monetize our show. We’ve tried out a lot of ideas and some have worked better than others.
But Randy and I tend to do our best thinking when we’re in the car driving to events. We just started thinking about ways to make our community even more interactive than it is now. And since the bloom is off the Facebook rose for a lot of our listeners, we thought about creating our own little online world where people could interact and form groups and get achievements.
And since our listeners call themselves “The PGPeeps” and I’ve been really into Downton Abbey lately, I came up with the name Peepton and the next weekend Randy built it.
I wish the story was more exciting, but…there ya go.
What would you say the biggest misconceptions of voiceover acting are?
That anyone who can speak can do it.
I’ve known many people who wanted to try it because they “know how to talk”. And once they get into the booth and are expected to know how to do things like interpret the script in several different ways on the spot, use their breath control properly, avoid being “clicky” or “poppy” and do it all in a short, very short, amount of time they tend to have a lot more respect for the craft.
Recently you totally blew my mind with a Mr. Walker/Mr. Wheeler reference.
What is your all-time favorite old school Disney cartoon and why?
I’m so glad somebody knew who I was talking about! My dad and I still make Walker / Wheeler references.
I’d have to say that my all-time favorite cartoon has to be the Donald Duck Halloween special called “Trick or Treat” with Huey, Dewey and Louie where they meet the Halloween witch.
My brother and I would race to the TV and sit directly in front of it whenever it came on in October.
Since we here at Donnybrook are just as obsessed with Breaking Bad as you all are at PGP, I would love to get Gina Grad’s official prediction of how this story ends.
You mean just because we’re doing the Pretty Good Badcast for the final season? [laughs] Ugh…I have no idea. I try not to guess for 2 reasons: 1) I’m almost always wrong and 2) I’m afraid to be right because it’ll take something away from the surprise factor.
That being said, I’m going with a coworker’s theory that Hank discovers Walt is Heisenberg (which we now know happened) and makes a deal with Walt (because Sky ended up getting the cancer she wished on Walt) that if he gets out of town and never shows his face again, Hank and Marie will look after the kids. Walt complies, but then can’t take being away from them and goes back to get them – hence the guns and unmarked car.
And before anyone jumps down my throat to tell me how stupid this theory is…I already agree with you.
Who are three people that make you laugh uncontrollably?
Just three? Don’t I even get honorable mentions??
Seth McFarlane as both Stewie and Roger the Alien, my friends Ashley Mendel and Timothy Jones (who I’m combining because they’re joined at their sick senses of humor) and my podcast partner Randy Wang.
Honorable mentions: Tim Conway Jr. and Adam Carolla who only didn’t crack the top three because they make everybody laugh uncontrollably and I didn’t want to “hang a light on it” as Conway would say…You can subscribe to the Pretty Good Podcast on iTunes, visit the official site for news and updates and follow Gina Grad on Twitter! All Photos Courtesy of Gina Grad.