If there’s one thing that becomes clear after talking to Pete Dominick on the phone for thirty minutes, it’s that this guy is crazy about his family. I’ve never met Pete or his family personally, but I can tell you that last Saturday morning most likely looked something like this: he, his wife Valerie and their two daughters did yoga, went for a morning hike, ate breakfast as a family, did some gardening, and then took the family dog, a pure bred Havanese, for a walk. If it were winter, they would have gone skiing.
In addition to his most important job as husband and dad, Pete Dominick is a successful stand-up comedian, and host of “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick,” which airs weekdays from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, and then again from 9:00 to noon Pacific time for west coast folks on SiriusXM Indie, channel 104.
According to Dominick, the primary focus of the show is on issues in the public interest. Things that affect me, you, our families, our communities, our planet. He considers himself to be extremely curious and aims to make sure the show is consistently thought-provoking. He explains, “The show is a classroom, where I’m just one of the students.”
The guests on “Stand Up!” are experts in all sorts of fields, and one of Dominick’s goals for the year ahead is continually building relationships with experts, and have more recurring guests. Oftentimes listeners are guests also; if he needs an expert in owning a small business, there are likely highly qualified small-business owners who regularly listen to his show. Dominick definitely doesn’t try to be anyone he’s not – listeners know about his life, his family, his personality – and being on the radio enables him to know the same about his listeners. Dominick says one of the greatest things about radio is the ability to let the audience into the conversation. It’s important to him to communicate personally with listeners daily through social media and email, saying, “I’ve never thought of myself in any way as a celebrity.”
The executive producer of “Stand Up!” is Alfred Schulz. He says when the show first got started they had the ability to play with what works and what doesn’t, to really find their own identity in the morning. According to Schulz and Dominick, a neat aspect of the show is their theme weeks. Recent examples include Russia week, drugs week, religion week, and philosophy week including at least one segment on the topic every day for a week. Not all of the themes are tied into the current news cycle, but Dominick says they’re on “topics which are always relevant.”
Schulz, who has been working with Dominick for three years, says Pete’s ability to think on his feet is a “huge asset” to him as a producer and something he never takes for granted. If something doesn’t go as planned during the show, or a guest can’t make it on at the last minute, Pete’s background in comedy and improvisation enables him to easily keep the show moving.
Dominick says his comedic background helps him take topics that might otherwise be considered “boring” and make those issues interesting, by employing humor, wit and asking engaging questions. He’s not afraid to make fun of himself, the moment, or even poke a little fun at his guests.
Dominick keeps his comedic skill set strong by performing at least one stand-up show a week. He calls it “an amazing form of expression” which provides him with a great challenge. Even if he’s on the road at a show, the radio goes with him. Dominick often broadcasts “Stand Up!” from his home studio, but when he’s on the road he takes everything he needs with him because he doesn’t want to miss a broadcast. “The radio program gives me a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction and challenges me every day.”
Broadcasting from his home office works out wonderfully for Pete. He lives an hour away from the Sirius/XM studios in New York City, so that’s an extra hour of prep time for him each morning to catch up on what’s going on in the world. Dominick wakes up three hours before going live on the air to make sure he’s prepared on all of the topics and guests. He and his three producers video chat with each other during the entire show, so they can always see each other and communicate.
Dominick says the real beauty of broadcasting from home becomes evident when he can look out the window of his office and see his wife and daughters outside. As for being outnumbered by four girls (their dog is a girl also – named Indie, ironically enough…who, believe it or not, came before the radio show on the Indie channel), it’s entirely clear he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Want to learn more about interesting personalities like Pete? Stay tuned…