Mostly Money

88: Erica Ehm on personal and professional reinvention

January 16, 2021 Preet Banerjee
Mostly Money
88: Erica Ehm on personal and professional reinvention
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Mostly Money
88: Erica Ehm on personal and professional reinvention
Jan 16, 2021
Preet Banerjee

Erica Ehm was one of the first MuchMusic VJs, shaping and influencing an entire generation of Canadians. Her career has seen a series of reinventions. After defining the role of music television host, she became a successful songwriter winning multiple Canadian Country Music Awards, SOCAN awards, and Juno awards. But the reinvention didn't stop there. She has launched two companies, including the the first influencer agency that was born out of YummyMummyClub.ca, and Ehm & Co (EhmCo.com), a digital agency focused on connecting brands with Canadian mothers.

She recently launched the "Reinvention of the VJ" podcast which not only reminisces about that golden era of Canadian music television, but what happened to much of the on-air talent after the disruptive effect of on-demand music streaming services on the industry.

With so many people facing personal and professional reinvention (COVID-related or otherwise), Erica brings her experience as a reinvention expert to the podcast and shares what worked for her, and what can work for you.

Mentioned in the show:

THAT Kurt Cobain interview that helped defined Erica's career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CTsGievjMU

Erica Ehm's blog post about her thoughts on the behind the scenes of that interview: https://www.ericaehm.com/erica-ehm-insights/2019/2/5/kurt-cobain-erica-ehm

Reinvention of the Vj Podcast: https://www.ericaehm.com/podcast

YummyMummyClub.ca
EhmCo.com

Erica Ehm on Twitter: @EricaEhm, Instagram: @EricaEhm


Show Notes Transcript

Erica Ehm was one of the first MuchMusic VJs, shaping and influencing an entire generation of Canadians. Her career has seen a series of reinventions. After defining the role of music television host, she became a successful songwriter winning multiple Canadian Country Music Awards, SOCAN awards, and Juno awards. But the reinvention didn't stop there. She has launched two companies, including the the first influencer agency that was born out of YummyMummyClub.ca, and Ehm & Co (EhmCo.com), a digital agency focused on connecting brands with Canadian mothers.

She recently launched the "Reinvention of the VJ" podcast which not only reminisces about that golden era of Canadian music television, but what happened to much of the on-air talent after the disruptive effect of on-demand music streaming services on the industry.

With so many people facing personal and professional reinvention (COVID-related or otherwise), Erica brings her experience as a reinvention expert to the podcast and shares what worked for her, and what can work for you.

Mentioned in the show:

THAT Kurt Cobain interview that helped defined Erica's career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CTsGievjMU

Erica Ehm's blog post about her thoughts on the behind the scenes of that interview: https://www.ericaehm.com/erica-ehm-insights/2019/2/5/kurt-cobain-erica-ehm

Reinvention of the Vj Podcast: https://www.ericaehm.com/podcast

YummyMummyClub.ca
EhmCo.com

Erica Ehm on Twitter: @EricaEhm, Instagram: @EricaEhm


Erica Ehm:

I didn't like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Preet Banerjee:

Really? Why?

Erica Ehm:

Well, when I was interviewing them before the interview, we warned them you know this is live. So try to keep your swearing to a minimum.

Preet Banerjee:

Welcome to the mostly money podcast with your host, Preet Banerjee. This is mostly money and I'm your host Preet Banerjee. And on the show today I'll be speaking with Canadian royalty. Erica Ehm, was one of the first muchmusic VJs, who spent 10 years captivating and influencing young Canadians, young Canadians then who today are my age. And every time I mentioned that, Hey, I know Erica M. Without a single exception, every single one of them physically grabs my arm, and tells me how they were madly in love with her. 15 years ago, she founded Yummy Mummy club which connects brands with Canadian moms. In 2012, she became a pioneer yet again, in branded content and social engagement with the launch of m and Co. More recently, she launched a new podcast called reinvention of the vj, which includes interviews with much music DJs, like George Stroumboulopoulos, Rick the temp, Amanda Walsh, and many more. And I came to know her from crossing paths on the professional speaking world. And I'm so delighted to have Eric on the show today, and our theme will be re invention because she's absolutely an authority on it. And because it's something so many people are grappling with right now, both personally and professionally. So you're the perfect guest at the perfect time. Erica, welcome to the show.

Erica Ehm:

And you're the perfect host. So this is gonna be the perfect show.

Preet Banerjee:

You can't say something like that, because I do not have the background to justify that praise. But I'll take it. I'll take it.

Unknown:

I'm sure you will.

Preet Banerjee:

Now I want to I want to talk about your new podcast, obviously reinvention of the VJ because as I said, reinvention is such a strong theme and people's lives right now. But before we do that, let's talk a little bit about how the VJ was invented in the first place. How did you get that gig but as because it wasn't like something where, hey, we're looking for people with experience as VJs for music, television that didn't exist you you define that genre. So how did that happen? in the first place?

Erica Ehm:

Well, like most things, it takes a lot of effort behind the scenes, everyone thinks, Oh, you know, I think a lot of people think I slept with my boss, or one of the bosses, honestly, oh, there's, there's a full conspiracy theory about that. But the real story is when I was 16 years old, I had already decided I was going to work in the music business, and managed to get on the radio at ShowMe FM to be interviewed when I was 16. Or no, I think I was 17 at that point. And so I I spotted who the program director was at ShowMe FM. And when I went to see the cars concert at the Montreal forum, decked out in the latest and greatest New Wave outfit, I marched up to him Hi, Rob rate, can I have a job at shome. And he looked at me and he said, this is actually time for me to be watching a band. But if you would like to call my assistant, we can talk about it. So I frickin showed up at ShowMe FM when I was 17 years old, and asked him for a full time job at show with them. And guess what he said?

Preet Banerjee:

Of course, he would say yes to you. How could you say no to you?

Erica Ehm:

He said no. Oh. He said, Listen, you're still in school. You can't work here full time. But if you'd like, you can be my music librarian. What that means is you can have access to the radio station at any time. Your job would be to organize all the albums that weren't even CDs at the time, and keep all the records organized. And you get to be here and you get to experience what it is to work at a radio station. Of course, I said yes. And all the kids at CJ app where I was at school. Is it like how did you get the job? Because it was big news, right? It was it's the biggest rock radio station. And guess what I told them? I asked seriously, that's my theme. And you're gonna see this reinvention theme and I asked as sort of a partnership in approach to life really. So when I was already working at the at the radio station, I started working in clubs, DJing and punk bars. I was working at ama and Sam the record man, I was managing bands. I was immersed in the music business. And then I got a job. Sorry, I didn't get a job. Then I went to University of Ottawa and I did my degree in communications and right before I ended my time at university, I called up city TV and begged for a job at the new music. Moses nightmare happened to be coming to town for a CRTC hearing coming from Toronto to Ottawa. And he agreed to meet me. And I talked his ear off about my passion. I took him to my apartment, he saw my all my albums, and I was like, I really wouldn't shut up. And he agreed to give me a job answering the phones for the new music. So that's how I got my my first sort of entree into city TV. And then while I was working at City TV, answering the phones and being the entertainment coordinator and working my way up, I was JD and Jeannie Becker's assistant, I also worked part time at the local cable company. I had called them up and asked, I said, Hi, my name is Erica, can I have a job? hosting a show? an entertainment show? And the guy on the phone? His name is Willie john. He said, Sure. Honestly, not a word of a lie. So I went down to the local community programming channel, McLean Hunter, and I started hosting a show there. I did that for two years, you know, for free, have volunteered. And then I made a demo tape. And then I got the job.

Preet Banerjee:

So okay, so there's something I have to ask you about here with the stature of Moses Znaimer? How did you convince him to come?

Erica Ehm:

Well, first of all, I didn't know about the stature of Moses Znaimer to be honest. Listen, I was how old was I? I was 19 years old. And he his wife was friends with my mom. So I just knew him as this, you know, Moses, his husband, like I didn't understand he was Moses nightmare, right? So that ignorance was very useful. But at the same time, I think even still, today, I am absolutely fearless. When I want something, I know that I can't let fear get in my way. And also, I remember that everybody is a person. He's a guy, he's like a person with one would assume a heart and an interest in, you know, young talent. He runs a TV station, you know, one would assume that he'd be interested in finding new people who could fit with his vision. So I think in life, you have to be fearless. Because nobody is going to walk up to you and offer you anything except this particular podcast that you asked me to do. But any other opportunity, I had to call and ask about,

Preet Banerjee:

That takes quite a bit of courage to do something like that. But that, you know, let's talk about the transition from Alright, so now you're answering the phones? How do you go to being on air? Because that in itself is also transition, you expect that, you know, someone with experience in front of the camera would would get that opportunity? So how did you then take that next sort of fearless leap to say, I should be the one who's in front of a camera? Because especially at the time when there wasn't a lot of channels, there weren't a lot of big TV stars. That would take a lot of gumption to say, Oh, yeah, that should definitely be me.

Erica Ehm:

It had to be me. List n, I was, I was the music cura or in Montreal, because I was he DJ, in the punk and new w ve bars. That's all I wanted I never and still don't care ab ut fame. I want to be an influe ce on your passions, on your vis on in life, and not just in mu ic and culture. But I am over ly loud about being kind and r le modeling behavior that I th nk is important to make the wo ld better. So I, I take that on myself. Why? Or how I made t at transition was an interest ng one. Because a I was alre dy hosting a show on cable. I ad actually hosted a show in Montreal when I was DJi g. Someone said to me, do you w nt to host a show that we're do ng it was called music video. T at was probably in 1979. It's st ll you can search it, i 's somewhere on YouTube. And I j st was like, Oh my god, I l ve Siouxsie and the Banshees so much, you really have to uy that album. I mean, I as already doing it. But what as interesting about city TV nd much music was that they of en hired internally. And we'll t lk about that later, when we do he conversation about my reinvention of the vj Show. 'm discovering so many interest ng things about other people ho were doing have done simi ar jobs to me at muchmusic. nd there is a theme where there is a prediction predisposition f om Moses and his team to h re people who were already part of sort of our Ico who underst od What much music was about, nd we're passionate about music nd culture, but didn't h ve experience as a broadcaster. nd Moses, his incredible insi ht was that you can te ch broadcasting, but you ca 't teach passion. So if you look at the people who were on, not j st much music, but on city TV as well, the environmentalist, or example, were not broadcaste s. They were environmen al warriors, who were given he access to microphone and cam ra and learned to tell stories in front of people. Because, as ou know, you're not a broadcas er by trade. You're right, like ou your experience is differe t. But you've taught yoursel I mean, it doesn't take that m ch to be a great storyteller. It is hard to be a great listen r, which you are. But people re drawn to people who re authentically passionate nd knowledgeable about somethi g. And Moses knew firsthand tha I lived the life I walked he talk. And there weren't whe I went on the air, I was 23. Th re were not probably any girls or women in the country who had he background already that I h d, at that age, I went for it I was focus

Preet Banerjee:

And when you when you first went on air as a much music vj. Did you know right then in there that this format is going to explode. This is going to partly define an entire generation. Did you ever come to that realization? Was there a moment in time where you said, Wow, I'm a really big deal.

Erica Ehm:

I had no idea. The weird thing was much music was this shitty office with dirty desks scattered and old cameras, like the gear was shitty, and we really didn't have a lot of money. So internally, we were not treated. That would be the honor people were not really treated that much differently than the rest of the crew. Everybody had a function within the Office at my job was to be in front of the camera and tell the story. But I was really not much more important than the person doing audio because if the person who did audio didn't do their job, well, no one could hear me. Like we were a really tight group. And we were not allowed to have any errors or sense of self importance about us. In fact, I was warned repeatedly, stupidly, I think that I was easily replaced that that was probably the worst management style. And I said to myself, actually, when I worked there, I was like, why are they doing this to me when I am so passionately proud of working for this corporation and and basically working for them? 24 seven? Why would they tell me that. And in fact, it it encouraged me to pull back more and more, and start planting my own entrepreneurial seeds while working there. And I always said to myself, you know, if I ever ran my own business, I will treat my employees or the contractors or whoever they are 100% differently. I will tell them all the time, how valued they are, how irreplaceable they are, because you can never replace one person because one person is completely different than somebody else. One person has unique skill sets, right? So you can never actually replace them. And that's why people work for me. When I started my my agency and my company years ago. Some of the people still work for me. They simply want to go back to you. So it sounds like your life Sokolow. I'm so sorry. But

Preet Banerjee:

Are you kidding? Are you kidding? I know, all my friends and listeners are gonna say, Listen, this should be a two hour podcast. I'd love to hear Erica's voice. I think for a lot of people, it brings them back, you know, to to that time in our lives. And we were so formed by things around us. I remember watching much music, everyone watched that after school, coming home, it was just a huge part of everyone's lives. But I want to talk about this, this paradox. So you know, on one hand, you talked about how the culture was really important and what Moses's stamp was on, you find the passion, you can teach them, you know, the technical aspects of the job, but you need people first. And then this management, you know, style of saying to people you can be you can be replaced, that really seemed to go against it. So what triggered you to start thinking about leaving? Do you think that that messaging made you say, Well, I need to start thinking about the next step because they're basically telling me that I'm replaceable. This presents a bit of a risk, you know, from an employee's perspective, that is not a great thing to hear. And so you said you started to plant these He's about what was going to happen next. How did you plant those seeds which initiated the next reinvention of Erica?

Erica Ehm:

Well, I dabbled in entrepreneurism when I started a hat company. I don't know if you know this, but I used to wear hats all the time at much and it was really hard to find good hats. Because I was a trendsetter. So when you're trendsetter, it's hard to find the things that you're looking for. Right? So I did a few seasons of by, you know, designing, finding young designers designing the hats getting them. It was so cool, getting them made manufactured in Canada, in Toronto, we found hat manufacturers, and then getting them shipped to my basement, and then shipping them out to people and selling them like it was a fascinating experience. And I had some really great hats to wear for a long time. So that was one of the things I also started to do a lot of voiceovers. So I was starting to understand the world of advertising. Then I started a record label. Well, the problem was, I actually quit this is it. Can I tell you a good story?

Preet Banerjee:

Of course you can.

Erica Ehm:

Okay, so in about 1989, I'd been on air for four years, and I found out that I was making significantly less money than the men. So on one hand, it made sense in terms of seniority because I hadn't been a broadcaster for as long as then I was younger than everybody at the time. However, I was getting more fan mail than a lot of the people or at least as much and I was becoming synonymous with the nation's music station. And I worked really hard. So I went into my boss's office, and I was you know, I had all the statistics about how I was getting more male than people etc. And I offered a job. So I asked him for a raise. And my boss said to me, I heard you're really difficult to work with. Yeah, you could see you're rolling your eyes because I was like, What the fuck did you say to me? I, my head, you know, that emoji of exploding heads? That was me. Right? And I said to him, in a very professional way, fuck off. And I left. Oh, sorry. I said, fuck off. I quit. And I stormed out. Like that was that I am working my ass off proudly, without a moment of complaint for your company. And for me, because I love my job. And that's the that's the way you reply to me. So I quit. I turned off my phone. And I called up my friend Tim thorny first before I turned off my phone, crying Tim, I quit my job. He goes, What me? What are you doing? I said, I told him what happened? And he said Good for you. He said, Can you write a song songwriter, and he was a jingle producer. And I said, I don't know, as I wiped my tears. He said come over and we'll try and write a song. Well, we ended up actually being able to craft quite a good song. He's an amazing songwriter. And we ended up becoming songwriting partners for 10 years. And we started a record label and we won Juno Awards and Country Music Awards, and so can awards. Anyway, fast forward to four days later, returned my phone back on. And my boss called the other boss is like Erica, come on, come back. They're freaking out. Right? Because everyone's asking Where's Erica? And I said, I'm not coming until you give me the raise that I asked for he goes, we'll give you the raise come back. So I started a new career as a songwriter and got the raise that I deserved.

Preet Banerjee:

So you were able to start this new sort of revenue stream this new passion and you also went back to being on air at muchmusic with the rays that that you had initially asked for. So that was certainly like pulling teeth negotiating the hard way. And again, a lot of people may not have the the same level of

Erica Ehm:

tenacity,

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, tenac ty to negotiate for themselves. So So when it comes to your advi e for people when they ar in a situation where they fee , you know, I should be makin more What do you have ike a prescription as to how to ackle that conversation with ith a

Erica Ehm:

I actually went to a therapist to understand behavior. So the next time that I was in a situation like that, because I didn't like my reaction, I don't think that fuck off is actually a useful way of dealing with it, but it was how a 27 year old responded pure emotion. You need to be in control of your emotions and you need to learn How to not be defensive. So when someone comes at you with something like that, I'd say that's an interesting perspective. Can you tell me where you got that information from? You have to be calm. And you have to be able to respond, even though you think that person is the biggest jerk. And you let them talk. And you might even say, you know, what, if you can provide me some of that documentation, I'm going to go away and look at it, and I'll come back to you.

Preet Banerjee:

Because it sounds like bullshit what he said, like, that sounds like that sounds like something that he would never say to a man.

Erica Ehm:

Thank you. But I also think in life, you need to control your emotions, especially women, and not that women are more emotional, but they're judged right? on how they respond with or without their emotions. So I've learned to be a man. My I run my business, like I'm a man, someone brought me a mug recently. And it says on it, don't fuck with me. So if someone comes at me with something that is irrational, or something that irks me, I will respond in a non defensive way. I will say, I hear what you're saying, I need to think about that. And I'll get back to you. Now, interestingly enough, CBT therapy, explained to me that we experienced strong emotions for about 20 to 40 seconds, and then it goes away. So when you're in a position where you're feeling triggered, especially at work, but also in life, you just need to walk away, be calm, walk away. And I will guarantee you that you'll have a clear head in a few minutes. And it's at that point, you're going to respond. So if you get an email that is triggering you, you know, what the fuck are they taught, what the fuck, just go calm down. I'm not gonna say anything, I'm not responding. And then take the time, and respond in a non confrontational way. Always. If you're confrontational, it just goes up, and up and up. And suddenly you're in a war, you need to find a way to defuse and win. So not give in, defuse, and find a way to win and negotiate in a non defensive, open way, I hear what you're saying.

Preet Banerjee:

It's such great advice. I know, thinking of the times where I've let my emotions in the heat of a moment, get the better of my responses. And anytime I've seen that with people around me, you've basically boxed yourself into a corner, there are very few moves you can make once you've passed once you've crossed the Rubicon, right. But if you can pause and come back later, you can be a lot more strategic. It's like, you know, it's like anything hindsight is 2020. But you don't have to make a decision in the moment. And if you take the time to defuse, and then come back when you've had time to think about it, it is so much more effective. For people.

Erica Ehm:

We're obsessed with returning emails, or when the phone rings answering it. Don't answer the phone. You're in control. We are in control of our own lives. Your boss is not in control of you, your co workers are not in control of you. You control it. Be smart, as to how you speak to people. And how you communicate. Be smart. use technology wisely use social media wisely. It is it's in your it's in your hands to control.

Preet Banerjee:

As you mentioned, there was this period, I think was 94 is when you left much music and you really were a renaissance woman. You You wrote songs plays, you wrote books, children's books. As you mentioned, you won a bunch of awards, Canadian Country Music Awards. So Kansas junos. You were in Robocop? Yes, it was. So you acted for a while and you were in Robocop the TV series? Not not the movie, but that was pretty was that shot in Toronto, or did you have to go? I did

Erica Ehm:

it while I was working. I think it was working at much at the same time or is right around the same time.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah. Right. And so there's a bunch of different things that you're you had your hands in. But then I want to talk about your next sort of reinvention into being a sort of, you know, full fledged entrepreneur and sort of putting everything together and also defining I think next period of your life and that is Yummy Mummy. club.ca. So that was I think 15 years ago now 2006. Yep. So when when did you have the idea to start this business and why?

Erica Ehm:

Well, the difference between what I was doing in those earlier years after much was I was a contractor. I was an independent contractor that was sort of for hire. Some of it was entrepreneurial, some of it, I was being hired, but I really wasn't in control of my destiny. Then I had kids and my world exploded, and I had a really hard time adjusting to motherhood, because I'm typing. I like to make things happen and kids don't listen. You know, you say, buddy, go to bed. And they're like, no, buddy, I got to do work. They're like, no. So it was it was really hard for me to adjust. And, but I knew that what turns me on, is listening to my passion. And my family had become my passion, trying to understand parenting, because I had no fucking clue what I was doing. I didn't have a lot of friends who had kids, most of my friends were working women. And they hadn't gone down that road. Even though when I had my kids, I was old. I was 39 when I had my son. So I was like, out of my depth. So I started working at I looked for jobs. First of all, no one wanted to hire me because I was fat and old. 100% telling you, my career was over. So that's number one. I was dead. No one wanted to hear from me, no one wanted to talk to me. So I looked on, like the media job search. And I found the job of reporter or writer for what's up kids magazine. And they hired me. So my job was to write stories about issues relating to parenting. And I loved it. Because I was basically learning about what I was most interested in, much like music. And the reason why I left much music was because I got tired of it. I was now really immersed in this world. And I wanted to find ways to tell more stories. But nobody was talking about the reality of being a mother today. Which is, it's shitty, it's hard. Everybody says, Oh, I'm doing great. Like, well, why am I struggling? Why is this so hard? I started, I came up with this idea for a TV show called Yummy Mummy. And I was at an event. And a woman came up to me and gave me her business card. It was all scrunched up with someone else's name written on it. And she said, call me. And I was like, Yeah, you're 12. Anyway, I did call her because you always go after every opportunity. And sure enough, she was sourcing ideas for a production company. And I pitched them the idea of Yummy Mummy which would, you know, celebrate and commiserate the roller coaster of modern motherhood, and they bought it. So I suddenly had a TV series. It was broadcast on life network and syndicated on Discovery health around the world. I wrote the show, I hosted it, I co produced it. And the show was cool, because it was kind of shot against a green screen. So it was like peewee Herman's Playhouse combined with a, like a lifestyle show. And you can still buy episodes for 99 cents on amazon prime. How crazy is that? So that was 2003 to 2005. And when the show ended, I wasn't down I was like, Oh my god, I am building community here. And so I started this little tiny website called yummy mommy club.ca, which was sort of supposed to be a continuation of the TV show. But there was no business model for this. So I was doing it really, because I needed friends. I was trying to find a community of like minded women. So I built about 300 pages, and it started to pick up momentum. Remember, there were there were barely mommy blogs at the time. This was a head of mommy blogs. And PR people started to come to me and saying, you know, hey, if you write about us, we'll give you a mop. Right? And I'd like fuck off. And so I came up with this one line, which is what's your budget? They're like, What? What's your budget? I'm working here. If you'd like me to connect to your product with moms, what's your budget, and that was when the light went off. And I was like, I can work with brands to tell their stories in meaningful ways. And connect them to my audience, started hiring people, it started to grow. And we became the leaders in branded content. Back in 2007 was when my first big project with Fuji films launched where we sent out a we had created a integrated contest. We were on Twitter, we started spreading the information on Twitter. We had a newsletters. out, we had a whole bunch of articles about how to take photographs of your family brought to you by Fuji. That was through Apex PR, I'll never forget it, because when your first project is sold it, you know, you build it, and then they will come. And I was able to use a case study to show other brands, that mom's loved what we were doing, and that they were, they were passing it on, and it became semi viral, etc. And so my business was was born. And then we we launched M and CO, which is an agency because people thought that we were just a website. But no, we are, in fact, an agency that connects brands with moms. And then I had 500 families, each who had mom blogs or Twitter accounts, and they started to extend and amplify our programs. And they were way before there was such a thing as influencers. So I I basically started the first influencer agency back in 2008.

Preet Banerjee:

Wow. Yeah, I mean, it's it's strange, you know, 2008 doesn't sound like it was such a long time ago. But in, in the in the space of time that influencer marketing has grown, it seems like that's only been around for like five years. But you again, we're trailblazing You know, this, this whole industry. So I want to talk a little bit about some of the work that mn co has done because I was intrigued by a report that you put out called the current COVID state of mom. And, you know, for for any of the brands who are out there listening, you know, this, this survey, breaks down what Canadian moms are doing, how they're handling the pandemic. And I think it makes sense to continue our theme of reinvention, this time, we're focused on the brand perspective, this should not be news to them. But things have changed. consumer preferences have changed dramatically in the last year. Things like just look at Fitness peloton bikes Who would have thought a $3,000 stationary bike that you have to pay a monthly subscription for what would blow up the lobby, my condo is basically an Amazon warehouse, everyone has shifted to so much more online consumption. So, you know, brands that thrive are the ones that can figure out the shifts, and you have done research to see what what is the state of mind for for moms? And how should brands be thinking about what they're doing in light of this new information? So what if you could talk to us a little bit about the survey and sort of the big findings that you were surprised by?

Erica Ehm:

Well, I would have to say that I wasn't that surprised because my agency is run by moms for moms. Right? So we're all living it what it did, it just confirmed that I'm not alone, that what I'm going through other moms all over the country are going through 700 moms replied, and the results really spoke loudly. 85% of or sorry, 78% of moms said that they're worried about their families, mental and physical health. 42% of moms say they're not having sex at all. I think it's seven, I don't have the numbers written for him. But something like 73% of moms say that they have very little me time alone time. So

Preet Banerjee:

I imagine that was not I mean, they probably have very little Meantime, pre pandemic, but I imagine that the stress and the additional time management required to coordinate, you know, school closures, daycare closures, meal prep, all that stuff has been added to the plate with the extra challenge of time management, but extra burden as well, because we see that that women and moms take on more of the burden with what's happened with the pandemic. In fact, there was just the December jobs report out of the US 140,000 jobs lost. And it was the National Women's Law Center that said all of them belong to women.

Erica Ehm:

Yeah. Well, it's interesting that only 30% of women said that they're worried about paying their bills, or that it's their top concern. I think that number is going to rise in the coming weeks and months, as more and more businesses continue to stay closed. And also women are giving up their jobs now to stay home because their kids are not going to school, right? Someone has to be home. So it's a really challenging time for women. The consumption of junk food and wine is up 70% amongst women, so which means their weight is going to be going up, which is not a surprise the pandemic weight that I'm as you I can see you're looking at me now I'm, I look jolly. Now.

Preet Banerjee:

You look beautiful.

Erica Ehm:

Thank you. I am, you know also dealing with all the ramifications of being locked down with my family, women are saying that the stress of preparing meals every day is rising. I think it's 60% of moms say that they're more stressed at mealtime that they're more challenged to find what they're going to prepare for their families like these are huge daily stresses that moms are contending with. They're also eating out significantly less. So in terms of CPG companies. Hello, moms need you right now. Right. And they need recipes. They need ways to prepare meals that are exciting, fast and inexpensive. So those are the kinds of things that and also junk food. They're looking for junk food, and if you're in the wine or alcohol business, moms are looking for some fun. And I think that fun is, you know, okay, let me let me just sort of go back a little bit. One of the reasons why we prepared this survey is that a lot of brands are afraid to market right now. Because they don't want to misstep. They don't want to, you know, say something that will land the wrong way. Because moms are really in a good state of mind right now. So that hopefully, this survey, in fact, people can get it, they can, they can just email me or go to M and CO and e h m co.com. And they can just go there, and we'll send you the full report. Because I think it's really important, you know, on behalf of all women, that I don't want brands to alienate their audience, or their consumers by really not understanding the stress and anxiety that they're dealing with. And also not understanding the opportunities that are there for them to market to moms, they may not understand that women are looking for new ways of preparing meals, or we asked them if you could, if a genie could offer you and one wish, what would it be? And the majority of people said house cleaner, meal prep, and a tutor for their kids. So Boom, boom, boom. If you're working in those industries, there are opportunities, how to clean your house more easily, you know, all the meal companies. Hello, moms are looking for help right now. And if you are in the world of tutoring, or helping to educate kids in any way with any product or service strike now.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, it sounds like if you're looking for a campaign, and you want intelligence on what that campaign should be focused on, visit to Erica's company's website. So a lot of people may not know the spelling of your last name, right? It's just kind of like share, you know, it's just people know the name is Eric M. It's not m it's eh M. And so the website for the company, if they want to get that report is

Erica Ehm:

ehmco.com

Preet Banerjee:

I want to talk about a few other things. And I know that, you know, a lot of my friends will have questions about some of the highlights at muchmusic. There is one thing I want to ask you about. So I know a lot of people talk about that that famous Kurt Cobain interview. And it was conducted, I think it was nine months before his death. You You wrote a blog post that talked about kind of like the behind the scenes, which I thought was such an interesting read. And I recommend people go there and they can find that information on your personal blog, I think. Yeah. And you mentioned that at the time you wrote the blog piece at the video of that interview had gone viral with 5 million views. Do you know how many people have have viewed that now? Because it's significantly higher than that? How many? It's about to hit 10 million views. Wow. Yeah. And which

Erica Ehm:

I had no idea. At that time. That would be the interview that defined my career.

Preet Banerjee:

Right. Right. Well, I think what was so different about that interview is how disarming you were? Because you're your first question, the biggest rock star in the world. First question is about books. And immediately you see that that interview is going to take a different path than what was in his mind, I think.

Erica Ehm:

So I do a book showing much where talk to do what a bookshelf, talk to different people about favorite books that you've read and how has inspired you or what you learn from it or something like that. So do you have a book that that comes back to you amongst one?

Kurt Cobain:

Yeah, well, I've read perfume by Patrick Siskin About 10 times in my life, and I can't stop reading it, it's like something that's just stationary in my pocket all the time. It just doesn't leave me. And every time I'm bored, like I'm on a airplane or something, I read it over and over again. Because I'm a hypochondriac, and it just affects me makes me want to cut my nose off.

Erica Ehm:

What's the book about,

Unknown:

it's about this perfume apprentice in in France, at the turn of the century, and he, he is disgusted, basically, with all humans, and he just can't get away from humans. So he goes on this track, this walk of death, where he just, he goes into the rural areas where there's, you know, woods all over the place in the small villages. And he only travels by night. And he, he just every time he smells human, like a fire from afar off way, and he'll just get really disgusted and hide, and he just tries to stay away from people can relate to

Erica Ehm:

ever use what you read in any of your songs.

Kurt Cobain:

As a matter of fact, I use that very story in scentless apprentice.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah. And it was a compelling interview to watch if people haven't seen it. And I've seen it, you know, back in the day, and I saw when you posted your blog post, and I'm probably gonna watch it again, because it's so engaging. And I imagine was for him as well. And you, you talked about, you know, your thoughts during the interviews, like, Oh, you know, I thought it was gonna be this big ego, and he's a sweetheart. So what was your most memorable in a bad way? interview that you had with an artist or band?

Erica Ehm:

I talked a lot about this. I really didn't like my interview with or not, I didn't like my interview. I didn't like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Really? Why? Well, when I was interviewing them, before the interview, we warn them, you know, this is live. So try to keep your swearing to a minimum, you know, it's rock and roll and everything. But we have a license from the CRTC. And you're not really supposed to swear. And I remember, this was 30 odd years ago. So a lot has changed in the world of broadcast. And for those who are younger than me, you may not know that you weren't allowed to swear on television ever. Right? It was not okay. You could use lose your license. So when I was interviewing them, they started to swear in the middle of it. And when we went to break, because it was a long interview, when we went to break, I said to them, guys, we can lose our license, or something to that effect. Please don't swear. Sorry. They were so nice. Sorry. Sorry. We won't do that again. Like we get it. We get it. We go back on. And they went right back into. Yeah, I'm a rock star, right. And so I was like, Fuck you. I didn't say that. But in my mind, I was like, Fuck you. This interview is over. And you could see they're like, what? No. And the reason why I always cite this as one of my least favorite, because other people have been less forthcoming and they've been boring or whatever. But they were fake. Who is the real person? They were, I saw two different people. I saw a group of people who were in front of a camera. And then I saw a group of people who were very different when the camera wasn't on, I don't know, which was the real one. But I didn't like the fact that they were absolutely inauthentic and they were full of shit. And I can't abide people who are full of shit.

Preet Banerjee:

That's a that's that's an awful story to hear. I can only imagine what it would been like in the moment because I have limited experience with you know, broadcasting live. ie, was asked to do some fill in radio hosting on Newstalk 1010 for Jim Richards so I'll do like a week here or there when he's on vacation. And it's a nerve wracking thing. And you know, I benefit from the there's a seven second delay or whatever the the delay is, and a producer is in control of that. But when you have someone who you know, you've dedicated a block of time live in a schedule, and they've decided to completely be disrespectful. And then you've got to run out that clock, right? There's only so much tap dancing you can do that is awful. Like just I sympathize with that like that just makes my toes curl.

Erica Ehm:

I think first of all, people who are watching are rooting for the host Yeah, to be in control and to own it. People I think are very uncomfortable when the host feels powerless. That's probably why you know when we were watching the debates, With the presidents, the future presidents, and everybody was mortified at how Trump overrode the moderators. And everyone was yelling at the moderate moderators, you need to do more. That's our job, as the host is to literally control the conversation. Now, that doesn't mean control it in the sense of overtake it, or be overbearing. For example, when I interviewed Duran Duran, it was complete chaos. But I, me and the lead singer, Simon, the bomb, we would have these sort of, he would look at me while he was spraying me with water or about to throw cake at me or something, to make sure that I was okay. And I looked at him, and I sort of nodded and smiled. And so it was not out of control. I was fine.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, I trust.

Erica Ehm:

That's right. And I knew this is good TV. Yeah, yeah. Which is different than it being out of control, and that the guest is doing, what the host doesn't want, or what the station doesn't want. And so I'm very comfortable in any circumstances to say, that's it. You're I think being a parent, it probably helps now, you're done. Stop.

Preet Banerjee:

Alright, well, we'll leave it there. But as you know, every guest on this podcast gets the last minute or two, to provide a commercial or anything that they want to promote. Now, the challenge with you is you've got a lot of things, a lot of irons in the fire, but the floor is yours. Who do you want to send your message to your commercial to? And where do you want to direct them?

Erica Ehm:

Well, I think it's less of a commercial and a reminder about the reinvention of the vj podcast that I launched. Recently, during the lockdown, I was able to contact a whole bunch of people who used to work at muchmusic. And do a really personal reconnection with each of them. Now, some of them I'd never met before. But a lot of the people I sort of grew up with. So to go back to that time to discover how they landed their jobs that much what their feelings were and memories were that may have been different or the same as me, which validated a lot of my insecurities and issues that I had from back in the day like oh, you to be do and then to follow their lives after to see if much was actually helpful or a hindrance in moving forward in their careers to date. Because all of us I mean, have, it's almost 20 to 30 years for most people have had interesting lives after the fact. So finding that the reaction has been pretty amazing, a lot of emotion from people listening, because it triggers a lot of the stuff from their childhoods or their teen years. And you really get to learn people learn what makes people tick. And also, there was a secondary, which to me was almost more important piece of reinvention where we all get to learn what it takes to reinvent, because as you said at the top of our conversation, many of us are going through really tough times right now and being forced to reinvent in a variety of ways. And hopefully this show will give you some little insights. how other people have managed to pivot their careers.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, no, I think it is worthwhile listening. And again, the title is perfect reinvention of the vj because this this genre, you guys were the trailblazers, and then that format completely changed, right? It used to be you know, music videos on music, television stations. Now it's not right, you you it is transformed how we consume that music, different mediums and what have you. But everyone has had to face who's been a guest on that podcast, a reinvention of themselves. Some of it was forced, some of it was, you know, more endogenously decided to reinvent themselves, even though they didn't necessarily need to, but the lessons there are applicable to a wide variety of people, not just people in, you know, Music Entertainment.

Erica Ehm:

Well, what's interesting is if you consider why a lot of people eventually left is there was a shift in technology, right? Because as much music evolved, so did YouTube, and the value that much music brought diminished as people became intrigued by this new platform where they had videos on demand. But I think what happened is they got those videos on demand, but realized that what much music really brought was the curation Have those videos. And so I think people are struggling right now to find where do I get my ghost stories? Where do I get the background? That's I think, where a lot of people are missing those days of much music. It's the personality and the insights and the knowledge from the hosts that makes that make those videos even better.

Preet Banerjee:

It's so it's such a good point. You know, one of the things that I've noticed when I'm consuming news is you can get news on demand, anytime, Twitter, Facebook, whatever. So for the nightly broadcast, I don't find the value as much as what happened. But where I find the real value is, tell me why this is important when they do the panels that talk about, you know, politics or whatever. And they tell you Okay, so this happened. But here's the backstory, you don't know. And this is why it's so relevant. So that analysis, the curation, in this case of news to help distill What does this mean to you why is important, is changed the way I consume news based on before, which was, you know, again, you didn't have these competing sources of news. So you kind of come in knowing the headlines, but now you want to know, well, tell me about what happens beneath those headlines.

Erica Ehm:

What what's interesting, though, is that curation now, is also slanted. Yeah, more so than before? Yes, those large companies each seem to have an agenda or point of view. So we are now having to understand this panel is on which network which already has sort of stated their affinity to a certain point of view. And I think back in the day, it was far more non partisan. Right.

Preet Banerjee:

Yeah, that's a great point, because there are panels where it's not balanced. The value in having, you know, a balanced presentation of ideas is important. This could be a whole other podcast. But well, like I said, well, we'll leave it there. I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. To to join me on the podcast. It's been a real pleasure.

Erica Ehm:

Thank you so much for having me. I could talk forever