While the title of the radio program I Want What SHE Has might suggest that it’s about envy, that was not the intention of co-hosts Theresa Lyn Widmann and Shana Falana. According to the longtime friends, the program is about women deciding what they want in life and deriving inspiration from other women’s stories.
The title was prompted in part by Falana’s own experience in 12-step programs, where a person chooses a sponsor by finding someone whose achievements they admire and using them as a model. Besides performing with Shana Falana, an experimental dream-pop band, Falana also paints houses and volunteers in the recovery field, taking 12-step programs into rehabs and jails.
“That’s part of where it came from because I am inundated in 12-step,” said Falana, “But it also came from another side of me that did experience envy of other people’s careers. I wanted to turn that around and make it something that I would be motivated and inspired by.”
Widmann hopes the program’s interviews with interesting women will encourage listeners to look at their achievements, not with envy, but as a resource and source of inspiration. The founder of Kingston’s Anahata Yoga and Healing Arts, Widmann started her work life as a practicing attorney. Her frustration with the legal community led to work in technology, which she described as profitable, but “soul sucking,” and eventually a mid-life crisis move to the Hudson Valley in 2013, where she now teaches yoga and serves on the board for Kingston’s O Positive festival.
“I was miserable in my job for probably five years, maybe longer,” said Widmann. “I think I was maybe miserable, without realizing it, for many years before that. I looked to other people for ways to change. I wanted to see stories of other people who had done that, who had given it all up and followed their dreams, because it’s a scary thing to do. Modeling off other people or at least being encouraged by their stories has been useful to me and I think it might be for others.”
Widmann and Falana were planning to do a podcast before a friend suggested WKNY, now known as Radio Kingston.
WKNY first went on the air in 1939, broadcast from Kingston High School’s auditorium, and had a dozen different owners before Radio Kingston Corporation bought the station in October of 2017. It became Radio Kingston WKNY 1490 AM on Nov. 1, 2017. The commercial station became a non-commercial station centered on community. The first task for executive director Jimmy Buff, former director of WDST Woodstock, was scheduling new programming that reflected as much.
“Two thirds of the programming was provided by satellite when I started,” said Buff. “It wasn’t live, it wasn’t local. When we went from being a commercial radio station to a non-commercial station, I started finding voices in the community. Shana and Theresa are two of those voices.”
Since January 1, the station has added 20 shows, reflecting a range of community interests.
“What makes radio really relevant in a market like Kingston is when we are hyper-local as we’ve become,” said Buff.
Since I Want What SHE Has began broadcasting in January, guests have included speakers on domestic violence; feminist filmmaker Kat Hunt; David Bowie band member Gail Ann Dorsey; musicians Marisha Chinsky and Ruth Ungar; musician, zine publisher and yoga teacher Taleen Kali; and Ashley Knox, director of Go Beyond Greatness, an educational program that supports young people working to reach their goals.
One subject that continues to fascinate Falana is the often unexpected path that some people take to reach their goals.
“That’s what the show is all about,” said Falana, who moved upstate from Brooklyn in 2008. “How do you persevere? This was your goal, but now you’re over here. Did you mean for that to happen? How did that happen? What did you do when this wasn’t happening? Did you panic or did you just go with the flow?”
While Widmann says it’s a coincidence that the timing of their program, highlighting women’s voices, dovetails so neatly with the ascendance of the #MeToo movement, both women were encouraged by the Women’s March on Washington, which happened a year before the show’s debut.
“The Women’s March was the biggest movement I’ve seen with women coming together,” said Widmann. “I came from a corporate world, legal and technical, which are very, very unfriendly to women, historically. There were groups of women trying to gather in all those professions. But we’ve been doing those things in our own little industries, separately, and the Women’s March brought all those groups together and reminded us of this bigger sisterhood, not only in our small town, in our jobs, in our industry, but in the whole world. That just shifted something for me. I knew we were really going to be able to do this now. I have no doubt that things are going to change. We are not going to go backward.”
Falana enjoys listening to podcasts while painting the interiors and exteriors of houses. She longed for a program where women shared experiences and could better understand each other, so she co-created one.
“We all have the opportunity to make the world a better place,” said Widmann. “If women take away anything from this program I hope it’s the realization they all have the power to do it. We make hundreds of decisions every day, from how we look at and judge ourselves to how we look at and judge one another. If we let go of judgement and celebrate one another, everything will be better.”
I Want What SHE Has airs from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays. The upcoming guest list includes women health and wellness experts, artists, writers and more musicians.
Previous shows are archived on the Radio Kingston site.