Roxanne Wilder is just as fun, bubbly and kind-hearted as she appears on TV and sounds over the radio. We chatted on the phone the other day so I could ask her some questions about her career in broadcasting. And while we certainly did talk about that, we also just talked about everything as if we were catching up over coffee – that’s how comfortable Roxanne makes people feel, and a testament to why the spokespeople we work with love to be interviewed by her.
Roxanne hosts the local Tampa TV show “Studio 10,” an upbeat show which has guests such as authors, actors and chefs. “It’s almost like an antidote for the tough headlines we have to see,” Roxanne explains. After that live broadcast ends, Roxanne heads over to her radio job at Beasley Media Group. At the cluster of stations, formerly owned by CBS, Roxanne is the PSA director and on-air talent. She hosts a weekly public affairs program called The Current. As for working at Beasley, Roxanne says, “There are great people that work there. They know radio.”
The key to being successful in both mediums: good storytelling, and good conversation. Working in both has helped her grow stronger in each. “I found that radio helps me immensely with television,” she says. “When it comes to hosting an hour long TV show, I think a lot of what makes it good is the improv.”
“TV makes your radio sound a little more polished, and radio makes your TV sound a little more conversational,” Roxanne says. While radio is evolving, Roxanne believes the core of what makes radio great is here to stay. “Look at social media, people love its immediacy – radio still falls into that category,” she says. “With radio, you can deal in the present; people can hear exactly what is going on.”
I was surprised by her response when I asked her how soon into an interview she can tell whether or not it’s going to be good. I was expecting an enthusiastic, “Immediately!” But that’s not what I got. And her answer really makes sense. She says it’s true, sometimes you call tell at “Hello” how an interview is going to go. However, Roxanne says as a reporter you have to be careful not to judge a book by its cover. An interview might not sound as if it’s going to be good immediately after starting to talk to someone, “but then you realize they have a lot to say.” Her method to making interviewees feel comfortable? “I try to ask a personal question early in the interview.”
Speaking of books & covers…did I mention Roxanne’s also an author? Under the pen name Sabrina Simon, she wrote the book, “In the Stars,” which she describes as a “Sex & the City” type of book, something for girls to get lost in – a far cry from the primarily male dominated audience she got her start in broadcast targeting as a sports reporter.
From the Tampa Bay area originally, Roxanne’s first job was as an accountant – that’s what her degree is in. She followed her dreams into broadcast journalism as a sports reporter about 15 years ago. Except for the humidity, Roxanne loves Tampa. From the place she always tells people to go when they’re visiting – the haunted, Victorian style, historic Tampa Theater – to Clearwater Beach, she clearly appreciates her town.
As for one of the most fun interviews she’s done? Billy Crystal. “He even sang ‘Roxanne’ to me.” She says that since the majority of the interviews she currently does are surrounding topics of popular culture and entertainment, she would thoroughly enjoy the challenge of a big political interview. “I would love to interview a political leader. It would be very different.”
If you ever find yourself in Tampa and Roxanne’s not there, she’ll likely be in Hawaii working towards fulfilling her goal of visiting all fifty states. She has just seven left.