By Oscar Wolfe
I love Falen. You love Falen. We all love Falen. In case you don’t know, Falen Bonsett Lambert is the co-host of The Dave Ryan Show on KDWB. The day I launched this blog, I was looking at who was following @thatisgreat_ on Instagram and Falen was one of them! So, after all that had happened that day, all I could say was, “Falen is following us! Falen is following us!” When I was able to get this interview with her, it meant a lot. I met her at KDWB, which is part of iHeartRadio. The lobby was huge and fancy, but the studios where they broadcast were actually kind of small. Falen was very funny and really easy to talk to. Here’s the interview!
When you were a kid, I know you wanted to be an actor, but could you have imagined doing radio?
No. I don’t think I even thought about it. Yes, I did want to do acting which is kind of weird because my school didn’t even have a drama program, so I don’t know why I thought I would be an actor, but radio did not even cross my mind.
So what is the appeal of radio for you?
I grew up with my mom saying her goal every day was just to make someone laugh. Maybe that stuck with me. I was the class clown in high school. I think I enjoy getting to make people laugh. I like telling stories. It’s a fun job—you get to be yourself. I have very little filter ,which is good for someone like me because I’m very honest and blunt.
I think you’re great, and all of my friends do too. What do you think listeners like about you? I think they like that I am maybe more like them. I think a lot of times when people are in entertainment they look a certain way, act a certain way, and I’m not like that. I’m actually someone who will talk about things that maybe a lady shouldn’t talk about, so they appreciate that I’m honest. Like, okay, she isn’t a size 2, where is she getting her clothes— I could shop where she does! Just, relatable.
So, like you said, a lot of people get an appeal because of their looks. Would you say looks have helped your career? I would say no, but my age helps. I definitely know I did not get this job because of how I looked. To be 100% honest, there were a lot of girls who applied for this job who were much prettier, much more physically fit. So thankfully, Dave is someone who does not hire based on looks. But my age—I have to be relatable to people who listen to Top 40 and maybe wouldn’t listen to someone older.
What’s your daily schedule?
I get up around 4:30 a.m. I live very close to station, and I’m always last minute, squealing tires into the parking lot. The show is on from 6 to 10 a.m. and then we do planning for an hour. Then I record commercials, go to meetings with the sales team, and then I have a break. I go home and eat lunch. Sometimes I have an appearance. At night, we get back online—Dave, Steve, myself, and our assistant producer, and we go over the layout for tomorrow. We’re online off and on from 6 to 9 p.m.—commenting, adding ideas. Then I watch a little TV and go to bed.
Is that the worst part of your job—getting up early?
Getting up early is never fun. Dave’s been doing it for 23 years and he says your body never gets used to it. Getting up at 4:30 a.m. is not natural ever. But, I also get off earlier than most people so that’s nice. People think you’re just sitting around chit chatting, but so much preparation goes into show, it’s insane. Sometimes it’s like, I can’t think of another unique game or musical bit. It’s hard to always be creative.
What’s the best part?
When I get emails saying, “I’ve had a really terrible week and your stupid little line made me laugh and it was the first time I’ve laughed all week.” That is the best part of my job. I haven’t thought twice about that line, but it gave that person a little bit of relief.
Is it hard to be heard over Dave because he’s such a big personality?
Dave’s very smart, so when it comes to history or politics, I might kind of pipe down because I have no idea! When it comes to other things, I find it very easy. I’ve worked in my past with guys who were not willing to share spotlight, I know some even turn their co-host’s mic down. Those people exist! But I’m lucky—Dave’s not like that. He wants to make his co-host a star.
What are you doing on air that we can’t see?
I’m definitely on my laptop—responding to emails, texts, social media. Sometimes, I have to refocus and remind myself, oh yeah, you’re on a radio show that’s your primary job! I usually eat breakfast at some point during show. And when Pokemon Go first came out, I was catching them in the studio. But we talk so much, because we’re not a music driven show, there’s not that much downtime.
If you could be on any radio show, what show would it be?
I think people automatically think of shows in New York and Los Angeles. But there’s this guy in Detroit named Mojo. I don’t know why, but just like you find an actor or musician that you like a lot, he’s someone I really like, and look up to. Being part of his show would be really cool. They asked me on air one day who was my idol and I said Mojo. Dave was like, “real nice.” I like to give him a hard time.
Do you have role models other than Mojo?
Probably a variety of women. I do like Melissa McCarthy. Or maybe Dolly Parton, which sounds ridiculous, but those women came from humble beginnings, and made something of themselves. They’re funny, and they’re kind, and I think that’s important. Kindness goes a very long way—you learn that more and more as you get older. You’ll never find any interview with Dolly where she has said something mean about someone, and I just appreciate that. I hope that I can be kind.
That’s a very good answer! So what’s your favorite part of your career so far?
Getting this job! I grew up in a very small town in Indiana and when I decided to do radio, I was in a small market. When you’re in radio, you want to go to bigger markets — there’s more notoriety, the pay is better. I think when I got this job, it finally felt like I was good enough. And that’s the question you always have in your mind: Am I good enough to be in a big market? It was validation that I am good enough to achieve my dream. But also, on a side note, getting to go to lots of concerts and meet lots of performers, it’s a pretty cool benefit of the job.
So getting to meet celebrities is pretty great?
No, actually! A lot of times it’s a let down. Like, you’ve imagined you and Taylor Swift are going to knit together and play with kittens and eat sandwiches, and no artist has time to do that because they have a busy schedule.
Who is the nicest celebrity you’ve ever met?
Ed Sheeran. He’s down to earth, nice, very chatty.
Who was the biggest let down?
That’s a really good question. I would say, and this was not his fault—sometimes the people who work for the artist are the most drill sergeant types. So I would say, Bruno Mars. And not because of him—when I actually met him, he was nice, but his people were awful. I was like, why are they yelling at everyone? They were like: Get in! Get out! Don’t talk to him! But I did talk to him, because he’s right here, I’m going to tell him he’s awesome.
If I were to offer you a TV job and you had to give up radio, would you?
No. TV would be fun to do in addition, but if I had to choose one, radio.
It’s time for the lightening round.
Ok! I hope I’m ready!
Favorite junk food. French fries
Favorite prank. We put a drum set in Steve’s living room and woke him by playing it. Oh, and we ding dong ditched Dave multiple times and caught him on video knocking a plant down at his front door!
Celebrity you’d like to meet. Beyonce
Favorite horror movie. The Ring
Favorite emoji. The eye roll
Favorite person to follow on social media. I’ll say, locally, my friend Kate Arends of Wit & Delight (@witanddelight_)
Favorite social media. Instagram. I’d go Instagram first, then Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook Favorite color. Pink. Gold. I changed it! Gold!
Favorite song. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Favorite fast food. Chick fil A.
Favorite sports team. Ummmm…Vikings? I don’t know. I should probably pay more attention to sports.
Favorite animal. Dogs.
I know you are in Pause 4 Paws, what do you do?
I joined their board a year go. There are lots of small groups so busy helping animals, they don’t have time to raise money. We raise money and give it to those groups to help them. I just help any way I can. I promote their events, run their Instagram.
What advice would you give to kids who want to do what you’re doing?
To be on radio: get an internship. If you want to be on air, come in each day with ideas and personal stories. Be willing to share them on air. Come up with ideas for the show. Sometimes they will use them AND put you on-air! We’re always looking for great stories and bit ideas. It shows those hosts you are driven, creative, passionate, hard working. When there is an opening, they will think of you!
To be kind: I work on this daily. Compliment others. Give credit to others. In my job, I get credit for stuff I do, like a cool video, but the idea for the video might have come from Dave, and Mike our web guy shot the video and edited it. When you’re getting praise for that video in a meeting or something, make sure to point out the others that contributed.
Back to your youth – would you say that your dreams of acting are satisfied?
Yeah. In a weird way that I never imagined, yes. Maybe more like a reality show vibe. I get to have that creative outlet. And it’s not like I’m sitting at a desk. I’m terrible at detail work. I think I’d be terrible at pretty much any other job.
No way, Falen! You’re great!