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Janeane Bernstein | Get the Funk Out!

7 June 2019 Host Spotlight

You started at KUCI with Momz Rock the House from 2007 to 2010, and then started Get the Funk Out! in 2011. Tell our listeners about the evolution from the first show to the current show.
I started at KUCI as a DJ, hosting a three-hour music show called Momz Rock the House. At the end of 2010, I lost a childhood friend of mine and took a year off to deal with my grief and figure out what I would do next at KUCI. I knew I wanted to shift to a talk show, and I thought a lot about the fact that so many people go through ups and downs in life. How we deal with the tough times is key to our mental, physical, and emotional health. I came up with the name of my new show and it was a little startling at first when people heard it…and then there was laughter. I knew my new show, “Get the Funk Out,” would be relevant to people who had gone through a personal or professional funk, and others seeking advice on how to stay funk-free. I invited guests who had interesting backstories and inspired listeners.

How did you settle on the format of your current show?
When I shifted from a music host to public affairs, I felt I had started something that was not only healing for me, but for my listeners. In the beginning, I featured one or two guests per show, but as I made more contacts and became more interested in making the show more dynamic, I designed the hour into four segments. Every 13-14 minutes I feature a different guest, such as authors, filmmakers, actors, health and wellness experts, journalists, and more. I love how organic and conversational the show has become. I never know what surprises will come up in a conversation. My favorite part of the show is getting to know the backstory of my guests, and who they are as a person.

Do you try to adhere the entire hour to one theme?
Each guest shares a specific passion and story, but there are common themes that tend to emerge. I usually try and ask each guest to share one personal or professional funk they went through, how they changed, and what advice they would give listeners. A creative life can be a challenging life, but well worth the pursuit. I like hearing what people do to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally because self-care is a big part of my life and key in helping us deal with funks and stay resilient.

What has been the most life-changing show/guest?
That is a very hard question because I have had so many guests, but I would have to say the people who overcame physical and emotional trauma (e.g. losing limbs, losing a child, rising above physical/verbal abuse, surviving cancer, etc.) and remained strong and resilient, helping others, seeing the value of having gone through such incredibly challenging times. They see that the tough times led them to a greater purpose, more fulfillment and gave them strength they never imagined. I am so humbled by the stories shared, and how candid people are in revealing themselves.

The most surprising?
I love when someone shares that they were in a dark place and something miraculous happened or they returned to something that they once loved doing and their whole life turned around, doors opened and now they are a New York Times best-selling author or film maker, etc. They used their pain, grief and whatever else they were going through to fuel the next chapter in their life, and they are fulfilled and living the most meaningful life because they went directly through a storm.

What’s your favorite way of getting the funk out, or the way that works best for you?
Walking and listening to music has helped me deal with a lot of funks over the years. Music is very meditative, and I dial in to what I am feeling, anything I need to resolve and come up with creative ideas (I love screenwriting, so I visualize comedic storylines). I also love to play guitar. Guitar playing has always been a way for me to relax and connect with however I am feeling. When I find that zone in my playing, I get the same feeling as if I am in a yoga class.

You have a book coming out! Tell me about that.
I had the idea for the book in 2012, but I didn’t really know how to make it a reality. I travel with a notebook, so I filled pages and pages that became the outline. The concept because very clear early on and some questions came to me.

What if the worst thing that ever happened to you turned out to be the best thing that ever happened? How do some people get out of funk easier than others and move on to better times, while others cannot get themselves out of the quicksand? What can we do to take care of ourselves, so we are more resilient?
When I lost my father in 2015 to stage four colon cancer, I was able to submerse myself in wonderful books and films my show guests shared with me at a time when I needed a diversion, and their advice seemed so fitting with what I was going through. These meaningful conversations became the foundation for my book “Get the Funk Out!   %^&* Happens, What to Do Next!” (June 25, 2019 – Published by Post Hill Press – Distributed by Simon & Schuster)

What’s on your nightstand?
Zen Guitar: Philip Toshio Sudo
A French dictionary (someday I hope to relearn all those years of French I took eons ago!)
A meditation book
Guitar picks

The last two books you read that dazzled you.
Why We Write About Ourselves – Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature – Meredith Maran
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

What do you hope listeners take away after listening to your show?
I hope listeners feel inspired and gain insight on how to take care of themselves creatively, emotionally, physically, and mentally. There are so many factors that influence us negatively and we need to be resilient and knowledgeable as to how to take care of ourselves when faced with one of life’s numerous curveballs.

— June 7, 2019


Barbara DeMarco-Barrett is host of Writers on Writing, Wednesdays at 9 a.m., and a contributor to USA Noir: Best of the Akashic Noir Series (Akashic, 2013). Watch the book trailer at BarbaraDeMarcoBarrett.com.