TITLE: Radio Host and How-To
MARKET: The World. OK, it’s
technically just the North American continent
COMPANY: The Money Pit Home
Improvement Radio Show
RAISED: New Jersey
ATTITUDE: New Jersey. You gotta a
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS: I started in radio in the mid 90’s
and became syndicated in 1999. Besides radio, I work with CNN and many network
affiliates as a home improvement expert. I also am the remodeling
columnist for House Beautiful and freelance for bunch of other major
titles. In my free time I work as a spokesperson for some great companies
that need a how-to media pro to talk shop to other media pros about their
products and services.
1. You're a former home inspector who's become a multimedia expert
in the field- how did you add radio to that mix? What got you into radio?
Actually I didn’t add radio to the mix, I started in radio. In the late
90’s, I had a small home inspection company in NJ. To promote it, I
decided to start writing home improvement columns and press releases to
promote my business. While not many releases got picked up by the papers,
I got lots of requests from guest-starved radio and TV
Eventually I decided I wanted to do a radio show of my own
and a friend of mine who had tons of radio experience had just gotten laid
off from her job. So we teamed up and went around to all the stations in
our area to try and convince them to put us on. We told them they’d make
money if they did. Not a single one believed us. So, we said “How much?”
They gave us a price to buy an hour. We said we’d only do it if we
could re-sell our spots. They refused. We said forget it. They
capitulated, figuring we’d never be able to do it anyway. They were wrong.
We sold all the spots, made twice the money back and got our own
2. What are you passionate about?
My kids. I don’t spend enough time with them. It’s always a struggle
between show deadlines and Boy Scout trips, bake sales and basketball
3. What home improvement project is most likely to enhance the value
of a home? Are there simple, easy-to-do-by-yourself repairs and projects
homeowners would be well-advised to do?
Kitchen and bath upgrades give you the highest return on investment
when it comes time to sell the home. Decks are also a big one. One of the
cheapest and easiest things you can do is to landscape your home before
selling it. A few hundred dollars in landscaping can add a few thousand
dollars to the perceived value of the home.
4. Where do homebuilders most commonly cut corners? When you inspect
homes built in recent decades, what seems to be the most common area of
the house where builders cheap out?
Workmanship isn’t what it used to be. Years ago when labor was cheap
and materials were expensive, you had beautifully constructed homes with
extraordinary workmanship and detail. Today, labor is expensive and the
faster the job gets done, the better off the builder is. So, workmanship
has suffered. In my active home inspection years, I’d typically find 25 or
more defects in a “new” home, even after the city inspector had passed the
house. While homes are more energy efficient today, the workmanship isn’t
what it used to be. It’s a trade off.
The best thing you can do is
to always insist that a home inspection be done before you close on the
house. While a builder can pull a fast one on the Average Joe and Jane
Homebuyer, a professional home inspector is not likely to be so
5. Say someone's not all that handy around the house but wants to be
prepared for emergencies or small repairs- what tools should that person
have around? What are the essential tools and supplies a home repair klutz
should keep in the garage or basement just in case?
Caulk, WD-40 and duct
tape. If you can’t fix it with one of these, you should probably just give
up before you hurt yourself.
6. What's the most common question you get on the radio show (and
We have a 24/7 call center for our listeners and we track every single
call and email to the program and know that the number one topic area is
floors. We’re asked how to fix them, clean them, install them or replace
So you want one tip? OK…Here’s how to fix a squeaky floor
that is under a carpet.
Squeaks are caused by loose sub-floors. To
fix a squeak, get a stud finder and locate the floor joist under the
carpet in the area of the squeak. Then take a 10d or bigger galvanized
finish nail and nail right through the carpet into the floor joist below
in two or three places. Then grab the carpet by the pile and pull it up
through the head of the nail. This tightens the loose sub-floor that
caused the squeak without requiring you to remove the
Hint: if you do this, don’t let your spouse watch.
They’ll probably freak out and say you are ruining the carpet. Better to
try this one when you’re alone. When they get home and you show them that
the squeak is gone, they’ll be very impressed. Just don’t mention the part
about the nails.
7. Of what are you most proud?
Team Money Pit. I’m privileged to work with a great group of friends
that has helped me build the show from its inception. I started with an
idea and was too dumb to quit. Fortunately, I found a few equally
resilient folks along the way. Now we’re on 123 stations and two satellite
radio networks, and are helping radio stations around the nation make
piles of money with the best home improvement program available today.
With my new co-host Leslie Segrete from the TV show "While You Were Out",
we're the only show that gives both a male and female perspective to home
8. What do you do for fun?
Build stuff. I’m working on a garage shop/studio now to film some of my
TV projects. I find home improvement to be very therapeutic, especially
useful since as all radio people know by now psychoanalysis is not covered
by medical insurance.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without
...my Blackberry. I suffer extreme-yuppie-stress if I don’t
know what’s going on at Money Pit Headquarters in our quest for total
world domination of home improvement radio.
10. What's the best advice you ever got? The worst?
The best advice came from my college advisor, Dr. John Hutchinson. I
was in college and getting ready to graduate but not quite ready to decide
what I wanted to do for a career. Hutch told me that you never have to
decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. You only have to
decide what you want to do next. He was right and I have been deciding
what I wanted to do next ever since.
The worst advice was from my
high school guidance counselor, an older woman who apparently was promoted
to the position of guidance counselor to keep her from teaching
impressionable children. She told me that since I was handy, I should to
skip college and go to a trade school to learn how to become a model
maker. Now I do a national radio show, appear on major market television
programs and write for some great publications. The only models I make are
with my kids. Say – have you seen those new motorized "Zoids" models? Damn,
they are cool!