Before she turned 18-years-old, entertainment journalist Pavlina Osta received four Gracie Awards and achieved the Guinness World Record for successfully conducting 347 interviews: the most radio interviews conducted in a 24-hour-period.
Originally from Port Orange, Florida, Pavlina launched her radio show, ‘Pavlina’s Kidz Place,’ in August 2009; when she was only 11-years-old. Her passion for entertainment and excitement helped grow her audience. Pavlina has had the opportunity to interview a diverse group of luminaries such as Stephen Forbes, Katie Couric, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Gloria Steinem, Ed Sheeran, Dr. Oz, Carly Rae Jepsen and Shaquille O’Neal. After seven years, ‘Pavlina’s Kidz Place’ successfully transitioned into ‘The Pavlina Show.’ At first, three radio stations carried Pavlina’s show, now ‘The Pavlina Show’ is syndicated on nearly two dozen radio stations across the country.
In this edition of A Conversation, Pavlina revealed who were her favorite interviews, described her research process and explained the necessary transition from ‘Pavlina’s Kidz Place’ into ‘The Pavlina Show.’
Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in journalism? How did that passion evolve into the desire of working in the media industry?
Pavlina Osta: It all started when I focused on my then music career in Daytona Beach, Florida. I was an 11-year-old played steel drums in a Jazz ensemble. I was interviewed by a radio manager who was so impressed with my talent, that he suggested that I start my radio show. He told me that I was a natural in the studio, and I sounded good on air. At 11-years-old, I started my first show. It was a 15-minute show, and it was awful. As the show evolved, I became at ease and started doing celebrity interviews. Now, ‘The Pavlina Show’ is on 20 stations across the country on iHeartRadio and is played in the United Kingdom.
JE: You have built up quite a repertoire with your interviews. Could you describe your research process to you to my readers?
PO: I interview a diverse group of people ranging from politicians to athletes. Before I sit down with them, I looked at their past interviews and researched different news articles that they were featured in. For example, when I interviewed Shaquille O’Neal, I read his book, watched previous interviews and looked at his numerous websites to gain a better understanding of his career. When I go into an interview, I know everything about my subject.
JE: Who were your favorite interview subjects? What made them stand out?
PO: The boy bands are always fun to work with! My friends thought I was cool when I got to interview them. But personally, I love talking to legendary musicians. They have such storied careers and history with them. I remember asking the same question to Katie Couric and she replied that she loved interviewing the authors because they are so passionate about their work.
JE: What were some of the challenges that you faced throughout your career so far? How did you overcome them?
PO: I overcame a lot of challenges in my career. While I am 18-years-old, when I started out…a lot of media people (and some of them still are) were mean to me. They picked on me because of my age and some of them stated: “What is this little twerp doing here?” When I went to events, aggressive reporters pushed me around because to them; I was a thing in their way. In addition to harsh journalists, I also went to public school and had to deal with rude people, but when I mentioned I talked to Ed Sheeran, they became “nice.” All throughout middle school and high school, I did not even care what people thought of me, I just remained focused on what I wanted to do, and I worked towards that. Now, I live in New York City and work on ‘The Joe Piscopo Show!’
JE: Recently, ‘Pavlina’s Kidz Place’ transitioned into ‘The Pavlina Show.’ Could you describe the transition process to my readers? Was it a smooth transition?
PO: When I started my show at 11-years-old, I called my show: ‘Pavlina’s Kidz Place.’ The show was called that until this year when I turned 18. As I got older, the show started to transition itself when I first interviewed Colin Powell. I wanted to rebrand it because I wanted to be taken much more seriously as a reporter and that was the main reason behind the transition process.
JE: Who are some of your dream interviews?
PO: I would love to talk to Gloria Steinem again. I have always been in love with both Oprah and Barbara Walters because they have been my inspirations. Also, several people declared that I was “The Next Barbara Walters.” It would be amazing to talk to them, pick their brains and try to convince them to mentor me.
JE: How has social media helped you build your brand?
PO: Social media plays a very crucial part in helping grow my brand. People check out my social media feeds to see who I interview rather than listen to my show. By having a strong social media base, it gives your fans a better understanding of what I do as a journalist and as a businesswoman.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring journalists who want to work in the media industry, what advice would you share with them?
PO: I would advise them to be tenacious. Working in the media industry is tough to get into because of its competitiveness. I have been working in media for seven years now and it is still a hard industry, and people can still be pretty mean. You have to have thick rhino skin to make it in this business, know what you want and go after it.