My Working Week: Nettie Feldman

Job title: Host of ‘Afternoon Schmooze’ on Rusty Mike Radio, age: 57 marital status: married to Larry, four children.

March 5, 2011 14:10
4 minute read.
Early radio station.

58_early radio (black and white). (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Job description: I host a fun and lively radio chat show every Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m., rebroadcast on Wednesdays. In the first hour, we play 1960s-1980s music, the only music worth listening to. We have a “Making It” corner, offering advice to both new and more seasoned immigrant on how to live better in Israel. In the second hour, we interview an expert on some selected topic, anything that presses my buttons. It’s usually a spirited discussion because I’m not one of those “Uh-huh” hosts who agrees with everything. I ask tough questions. Listeners call in, chat in or e-mail comments. It’s always a good hour.

Aliya: From New York City, 27 years ago. We came with two kids and went to an absorption center in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood.

Education: The usual yeshiva, which left me scarred forever. After that I went to university and met my husband who was one of the few who was willing to make aliya with me.

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How did you get into this? I was working as a copywriter and editor when I lucked into a marketing position. I loved that, but still something was missing. I wanted something more creative, something where I could use my schmooze skills. Together with a friend, we started recording things and doing a podcast. Then my husband saw something on Janglo [website] about a new radio station. I sent in my podcasts and they gave me two hours a week. That was two years ago.

First job: Babysitting, and I hated every minute of it. I didn’t mind taking care of my siblings for free, but I hated taking care of strangers, even though they paid me.

Worst job? The job market was really bad, but I was hired by a non-profit in Jerusalem ruled by a manager who was both very smart and extremely nasty. One day I said what I thought and then quit. Sometimes you have to open your mouth, you know? I complain about all kinds of things that need complaining about – I even have a separate e-mail address for complaints.

High moment? I love doing the programs where we help people find jobs – that makes me feel good. But I always have a good time myself. I may be offering entertainment, but people learn things from my show, too. The show we did on autism brought in a lot of e-mails, people thanking me for giving them hope. That felt good.

Low moment? A show on cars, focusing on a new law that supposedly makes it easier to import a car. My expert was terrible. He ignored my questions entirely and never offered any real information. Finally I said, “I’m sorry. I’m running out of time.”

Hottest topics? A program dealing with banks and mortgages earned a ton of comments, as did one on ADD/ADHD. We put a positive spin on it – you have all this energy! Do something with it!

Who listens? Average age is 35 and up, more or less evenly divided between new and longer-term olim. We have a US following, too. The show plays from 7 to 9 a.m. in New York.

Controversial? The program on gender desegregation on buses was controversial. I don’t do politics as such, but I saw that as a social issue. It’s also controversial that during the Nine Days [before Tisha Be’av], I still play music. I’m observant, but the station is secular, and I have to earn a living. I don’t think God gets too upset about it.

Perks? I get to do anything I want to do, put anything on the show I want. That’s a biggie.

If you weren’t doing this with your life, what would you be doing? This is it for me. This was what I wanted to do for a long time, and I finally got to do it.

What did you want to be as a kid? A writer.

What do you see yourself doing in five years? I have very modest aspirations. I’ll probably rule the world.

Biggest accomplishment? I’m an undiagnosed ADD/ADHD, so in school, I did very well in some subjects and not so well in others. The principal hated me and the feeling was mutual. He used to say, “But what’s going to become of you?” Well? Here I am. I live in Israel. I have a wonderful husband, four great kids who love Israel. I’m doing exactly what I want to do. That’s what became of me!

Dream? That someone will give me an apartment in Jerusalem.

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