They are funny and fresh and they are exactly what the “women’s movement” needs. Molly Dedham and Christine Eads are “The Broads” from XM Radio’s Broadminded. If they are the future, the Generation X’s Gloria Steinems, then our continued struggle for equality will not only be successful, but also lined with a few good laughs.
Broadminded, which debuted on XM Radio in October 2005, is sandwiched between two airings of Dr. Laura. The show airs live weekdays from XM’s DC based studios from 12:00PM – 3:00PM ET. After six hours of Dr. Laura (one live, one taped), Broadminded is rebroadcast from 9:00PM – 12:00AM ET, which is drive time on the west coast. Though by all explanations “The Broads”, as they affectionately refer to themselves, (“Tootsie is negative, Broads is not,” says Eads) and the Dr. Laura listeners are polar opposites, magnetic rejects of each other. Eads says the Broads’ audience seems to draw heavily from Dr. Laura’s. Go figure.
While Broadminded is coming up on its three-year anniversary, Dedham and Eads have been friends for nearly two decades, meeting as 22-year-old seniors at George Mason University. In the 16 years since then, they’ve lived lives that give them lots to talk about. “We’ve done everything,” says Eads. “The jobs that we’ve had…it’s terrible.” Dedham continues, “The anti-depressants, the weight gain, we’ve seen it all in each other.” The camaraderie is infectious, their connection palpable. And that’s a lot of what their listeners want, especially the female listeners. “They listen because they feel like they know us,” says Eads. “A lot of women say they miss their girlfriends…I also think that they can relate to issues we face. Molly and I are not the only people going through stuff. [Also] we are not constantly trying to educate them [with] another self-help tool. Sometimes you just need to check out of life and just…sit back and enjoy.”
The Broads have had a lot of success with male listeners as well. “I think they feel like they are hearing things they shouldn't,” continues Eads. “They are getting the inside scoop on what women really think and feel without any fluff. Men also have never heard anything like our show before.”
While both Dedham and Eads are thrilled with the show because they love the concept, Eads also likes what the show represents. “You always see the shows where you have a male lead and a female sidekick. Well that is fine some of the time, but not always. I think it is important for women to see and hear women in media positions and I also think it is important for men to see and hear this as well. We all know what men think on just about everything, and if we don't we can easily find out, but I don't think that is the case with women and that needs to change.”
The Broads are trying to make that happen with a show that is a mishmash of sugar and spice, but NOT (God help me) everything nice. “We get in a lot of trouble,” says…admits…actually let’s go with, BRAGS, Dedham. They have a lot to brag about. These women are not Martha Stewart wannabes nor are they Oprah Winfrey. “It’s Arrested Development,” says Dedham. “I’m 38 and I get paid to act like I’m 15.” During one three-hour block they may talk about “Spanx, farts and sex,” says Dedham. “You have to be who you are and not apologize for who you are,” she adds admitting that her imagination, not her focus, got her through her childhood and fabulously led her to where she is today, a talk show host and a hit. “But it’s not all fun and games and gasps,” says Eads. The Broads tackle tough subjects, including politics and medicine, boobs to boobs, Palin to prostates. The show shows off their intellect and also Eads’ and Dedham’s capacity for silliness. Name it they’ll talk about it. “Best thing we do is social realism. Open the phones up when we want to talk about something. It’s the best part of the show. It’s real. It’s what we do.”
© Cari Shane Parven 2009