E. Greenwich Pendulum

Talk show host who accentuates the Positive has moved to East Greenwich
By Abby Fox

To Patricia Raskin, a newly-arrived East Greenwich resident with her own radio show, “Patricia Raskin Positive Living,” a Johnny Mercer song from the 1940s such as “Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative” isn’t just an old slogan; it’s her raison d’être, the very force behind her interviews with celebrities.

The Radio LadyFrom the kitchen of her townhouse off Post Road, Raskin interviews several celebrities and authors a week, on topics such as self-improvement, health, nutrition and spirituality. She “latches on to the affirmative,” to quote Mercer, on several radio stations: 630 WPRO, the same station other East Greenwich residents such as Robin Kall and John DePetro talk on, and she’s also on the Internet: voiceamerica.com, BlogTalkRadio.com and talkzone.com. She’s worked at Voice America for eight years and WPRO for nearly two.

Monday, Raskin had an “exciting” line-up, as she put it: an interview with Mariel Hemingway about her new book, “Mariel’s Kitchen”; Nicholas Sparks, famous author of “The Notebook” and “Message in a Bottle,” about his new book, “The Last Song”; and Paul Balelo, vice president for Faith & Family Entertainment.

Raskin, who talks and walks with a frenetic energy, said her favorite interview subjects are “people who have overcome great obstacles, people who talk about happiness.” Her angle, she said, is “How to turn obstacles into opportunities, problems into solutions, and find the light at the end of the tunnel. I get sad, I get scared, but I try to see the something I’m working toward,” and to that end, she seeks out “people who make their lives work.” Her favorite interviewee has been the actress Jane Seymour. “She’s a Renaissance woman, she’s overcome a lot of odds, and always stayed positive,” she said.
I asked Raskin, formerly a school guidance counselor in Massachusetts, where she’s from, if it was difficult learning how to get used to radio and interviewing people. I asked her how she went about finding interview guests who fit her “Positive Living” brand. To both, she said no problem – must be that positive thinking.
“I get 15 to 20 emails a day,” she said. “They come to me. I could be on the air 24/7.” Her career as an independent broadcaster specializing in “positivity” is something she’s been doing since 1982, she said, and in various forms besides radio: she’s done documentaries and shows on TV, too, when she lived in North Carolina and Massachusetts. “I’m a natural,” she said. “I come from a musically talented family. Music and performance was part of my background; I didn’t know anything else. As a child, I thought I’d be a singer.”
Check out Raskin’s web site, patriciaraskin.com, and you’ll see her title: “The Powerhouse and Pollinator of Positive Living Radio,” with honey bees everywhere. There’s a bee in some decorative form in virtually every room of her home. So: why the bees?
“I pollinate the air waves,” she said. “I draw nectar from guests and I spread it; I get the word out. And I work like a bee.” The symbol of a bee came to her during a “visualization” exercise during a professional workshop, she said, and she’s stuck with them ever since.
Positive thinking may sound light and breezy, but to Raskin, it’s serious business. Her interviews aren’t silly or jokey; she stays on point and doesn’t get sidetracked with humorous asides or random stories or the day’s news: it’s just her and her guest, with frequent questions from Raskin, until it’s time to sign off, with a “’Bye for now.” On Monday, for example, she ended every interview asking the person what his or her “message” was. And invariably, to close the show, her tag line is: “Stay healthy, stay happy, get the support you need, and know you can make your dreams come true.”
Raskin moved from Morehead City, North Carolina to Rhode Island at the end of 2007 to be closer to her brother, Russell, and his eight children, in Providence, and also to her father, who’s 93 and living in assisted living in Warwick. She moved to East Greenwich from Newport a couple of weeks ago, she said, because she found it too isolating and far from family. “East Greenwich is more central for me,” she said. Her other main family member, daughter Laura Shmishkiss, lives in New York.
As Raskin is new to East Greenwich and the area, she said, she’s eager to meet people. “I really love the work and want to keep doing it,” she said. “The challenge is finding the sponsors.” Raskin said she also works in training, consulting and event planning, but her first love is “pollinating” the air by being positive. “This is my passion,” she said. “I’m looking for partners and alliances on a bigger scale, because the masses need to hear this.” Raskin can be reached at patricia@patriciaraskin.com

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