'ChickChat Radio' Offers Insights for Today's Woman


(Tuesday, January 9, 2007 11:39 AM EST)

If radio talk shows about the latest baseball game or the current political climate aren't appealing, and a show about shoes, make-up and everything girly is more your speed, Middleburg-based ChickChat Radio might be worth a listen.

“I like to describe it as anything but sports and politics,” Heidi Hanzel, one of the show's two hosts said in a recent interview. “Our show is all about fun.”

Hanzel, who lives just south of Middleburg, and her co-host Lara Dyan, who lives in Boston, met at a telecommunications company in Northern Virginia in the late 1990s. Although they enjoyed the fast-paced nature of their jobs, they felt they couldn't shine, and weren't appreciated.

During her years at the corporation, Hanzel's husband, who had his own radio show at the time, kept telling her that the radio industry needed more women's programming. She finally took the plunge with Dyan, trading in the corporate life for a radio career.

Although running their own show is not easy, “killing yourself for your own business is different,” Hanzel said, and she's finding the overall experience satisfying.

“I like to have fun and concentrate on the fun in life,” she said. “Plus I get to talk to my friend every day!”

Now in their fifth year on the air, Hanzel and Dyan have interviewed the likes of Paige Davis, host of “Trading Spaces”; Kwame Jackson, a runner up in the first season of “The Apprentice” and Kate White, editor-and-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine.

The hosts use newspapers, the Internet, blogs, TV and their own life experiences as material for their show. The on-air conversations are what women would talk about at a happy hour, Hanzel said.

“It's like you're at a bar with friends, with people who are leaning in to hear,” she said. “We're talking about things other people want to talk about.”

As to whether or not she thinks of herself as a girly-girl or a feminist, Hanzel believes her friends would says she's both.

“[The show] is about saying that being a girly-girl is a powerful thing. Why is talking about make-up not smart?” she said. “You have to connect with people through popular culture.”

Although the ChickChat studio, (also called the Cheetah Lounge) is based in Middleburg, the show airs in parts of California, Boston and Greenwich, Conn. Hanzel and Dyan are working to get the show on XM Satellite Radio and other stations, but until then, people can tune in on the Web site at www.chickchatradio.com.

Heidi Hanzel, who lives just south of Middleburg, is one of the driving forces behind "ChickChat Radio," which is now in its fifth year on the air. The program also can be found on the Web site at www.chickchatradio.com.

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