K57’s Andrea Pellacani on becoming a reluctant radio personality
In a reversal of roles, talk show host Andrea Pellacani finds herself in the hot seat as she answers questions about her job at Newstalk K57 and her life outside the radio booth. Pellacani, the voice behind K57’s midday broadcast, is known for her intrepid opinions on current events.
But once the microphones are turned off, she admits to shunning the crowd for quiet spaces A childhood friend once teased Pellacani, “I would be shocked if you took that job.” To which, she responded: “Challenge accepted!” It was that challenge that pushed her into the world of talk radio and later spawned The Andrea Pellacani Show.
Pellacani joined Newstalk K57 in 2016 to co-host the show “Let’s Be Blunt.” Soon, she started hosting the weekday afternoon show that would eventually become part of the K57 triumvirate of radio talk shows (Pellacani, Patti Arroyo and Phill Leon Guerrero) with a huge following. Pellacani said it took her several months before finally getting comfortable with the flow of the radio program. “I think for three months, my butt cheeks were clenched for four hours straight.
From Monday to Friday, I was deathly afraid of talking on the microphone and having that attention on me.” In the end, she said, it was such a good decision and a great learning experience for her. “It’s been three years,” she said. “I literally started in November 2016. So I just completed my full third year here at Sorensen. And seeing my name and picture somewhere still freaks me out. I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable in that role.”
Prior to joining K57, Pellacani worked in the marketing and advertising fields. She also played bass guitar in a band. But being in a band or working in a people-oriented industry did not prepare Pellacani for the radio job. “I’m shy and I’m quiet,” said the retired musician. “I used to tell people that I have stage fright. Every time I say it, people would laugh at me. I am terrified of the microphone.” As the band’s bass player, she didn’t need the mic. “Nobody cares what the bass player is doing until there is no bass,” Pellacani quipped. “Or until I make a mistake.”
She thought she had completely sworn off news, until she got the offer to join Newstalk K57. “Sometimes the news brings a lot of negative energy,” she said. “As much as we want to talk about the great things that people do in our community, what gets people engaged is the stuff that makes them feel, in a strong way, about their government or their life, or their trash and their village, or whatever it may be.” '
Another factor that drew Pellacani into talk radio was her interest in policy — but not politics. “It is sort of a dichotomy for me. I wish it could be simpler, like politics didn’t have to do with policy and government and how our government is run,” she said. “I think it would be a whole lot better if it didn’t involve politics. But it is always dynamic and interesting.”
Pellacani’s work day starts this way: “I literally roll out of bed, head straight to the bathroom, wash up a little bit and then pour my coffee then start consuming news which is how I start prepping my day,” she said. “It usually starts with reading the papers and listening to Patti in the morning.” While preparing for the show may take quite some time, some breaking news could drastically change plans.
“Usually everything that I had in plan goes out the window for the first hour,” Pellacani said. “That is the beauty of talk radio. Your day is ever evolving. I could be there thinking, ‘What a slow news day and then all of a sudden, the FBI raids someone.”
Dealing with different types of listeners can also be an adventure. “I got called ‘stupid’ on air. It was the day that I realized that sticks and stones may break my bones but words cannot hurt me,” she said. “I really wasn’t offended by it at all.
But it was surreal to have somebody yelling at me on the air because they had a different opinion from me.” One of the things she has learned is that the job requires thick skin. She thus has learned not to take things personally.
On providing a venue for airing the community’s concerns, Pellacani said, “Apathy and silence is a powerful tool for people who may not have the best intentions. So if we can provide a platform for people who feel strongly about an issue, to get engaged and speak up, then I think it is really an important part of community service.”
Besides her radio career, Pellacani also shared her five-year involvement in cannabis reform movement. “I am quite passionate about it because it is something that the people had and it was taken away from them not because of science but because of policy, whether poorly written or intentionally,” said Pellacani, who is also the president of Grassroots Guam.
“I’ve been dedicated to cannabis. We have adult use that the governor signed into law. I am looking forward to, hopefully, getting more engaged in the process,” she said. “I have been working full time and there is only so much that I can dedicate to advancing cannabis reform on Guam.” .