WoMYnZone - Click to return to home page for our Women's Zone section

JUST DOWN THE DIAL: Radio host Jeanne White ‘promotes businesses and causes’ on WATD in Marshfield
Host of the radio show, "Connect" Jeanne White in the studio at WATD in Marshfield. Patriot Ledger Staff Photo by Debee Tlumacki

When Jeanne White retired from John Hancock as a systems analyst, she knew she didn't want to stay retired. Last year, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a radio talk show host.

“I think this is one of my purposes,” said White, host of “Connect with Jeanne White” on WATD (95.9 FM) in Marshfield.

With a history in wellness networking, gerontology and law, White is as diversified as they come, and this is reflected in her half-hour show, which airs at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.

Guests have included authors, musicians, a life coach, a wedding consultant, an inventor, a virtual-reality business broker and even an angel-card reader.

White described her show as “kind of like an infomercial to promote businesses and causes.” Guests pay to be on the show, which helps defer some of White’s airtime costs.

During a recent show, her guests included Denise Harrington, a personal trainer and fitness instructor, and two of Harrington’s clients, Sheila Wilson and Cheryl Ludwig. The three enthused about bellydance as a fitness activity and an empowering art for women, and Harrington encouraged listeners not to be inhibited.

“I love that little story about the closet,” White prompted her.

Harrington laughed.

“I say, see that closet over there? I have them put their inhibitions in the closet and then we (belly) dance,” Harrington said. “We shimmy and we shake and we sweat and it’s all good.”

“And you feel good afterwards,” White said.

“Yes, because not only is it fun ... but she (Denise) motivates you ... we’re laughing,” Wilson said. “We’re having a great time.”

“See what happens with camaraderie with women at all different stages of your life?” White said.

There’s a lot of laughter during one of White’s shows, and that’s on purpose.

“(I say to my guests) ‘just think, it’s you and me and Larry Nelson (the technician). We’re sitting here and having a cup of coffee,’” White said.

Preferring to keep the conversation light, White said she won’t talk politics or religion. But there is a serious side.

She recently hosted a U.S. Marine Corps Gold Star Mother who is reaching out nationally to other women whose children have been killed in action. Another guest was the president of the national association of paralyzed veterans.

“I’m trying to provide another avenue for people to explore,” White said.

But that avenue does have its costs. White has to buy her airtime, and what she charges her guests doesn’t make up the difference. In her words, “I’m losing (money) but that’s OK because at some point I’ll get a sponsor (and) make some money.”

She said that right now, “the fulfillment of doing the show is payment.”

But if listener response is any gauge, “Connect” is a hit.

“We have three listener (phone) lines and the third line rings in my office, so I can keep an eye on when people are calling in,” radio station owner Ed Perry said. “More than expected, that third line will ring when Jeanne is on. People are interested in it.”

Hanover resident Barbara Carroll, 66, is a regular listener.

“I hate it when I miss it,” she said. “It’s inspirational to hear what people are doing, and Jeanne gives people this opportunity to be heard ... and give people that exposure and encouragement.”

Airing between two shows hosted by a financial services professional and a lawyer, respectively, “Connect” provides a breath of fresh air, Perry said.

“I think it is a perfect transition,” Perry said. “You never know what she’s going to be talking about. With a show like Jeanne’s where the variety of guests is very broad, it’s different than a fixed-subject show, and I think that’s probably why it works."

Laura Sheridan, host of “Ra! Ra! with Laura” on local access cable television, is also a fan of White’s show.

“She’s the real deal, genuinely caring,” Sheridan said. “A lot of talk radio is ego-driven, and it’s not like that with Jeanne. She’s a really good listener, and she helps people shine. She just brings out the good stuff."

White said her goal is to go around the country and interview people.

“Everyone has a wonderful story to tell, not just the stars and the politicians. I want to be able to have a chance to learn about them, and they can learn about me. That’s what I think I like most, is learning new things,” White said.

“Connect with Jeanne White” airs at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays on WATD, 95.9 FM. Listen on the Web at www.959watd.com.

By Julie Fay, The Patriot Ledger