The Aron Bender Podcast

Everyone has a story. I get them to tell it.

About the show

The Aron Bender Podcast features conversations with media personalities about their personal and professional lives and journeys. We talk about successes and struggles, failures and firings, loss, grief, forgiveness, parenthood, recovery, mental health, self care, perseverance and love.

Episodes

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    Leyna Nguyen: Consenting Adults NSFW

    May 28th, 2021  |  52 mins 42 secs
    2020, 2021, aron bender, bias, burnout, cbs, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, frustration, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, kids, los angeles, love, mental health, motherhood, news, night shift, pandemic, podcast, positivity, radio, recovery, religion, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, vietnam, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender connects with Leyna Nguyen -- the host of the Consenting Adults podcast. WARNING: we get into some grown up NSFW topics in this episode so put the kids to bed. We also chat about what her husband thinks about this new adventure in audio, discuss her 26 years in TV news, live react to the Derek Chauvin trial verdict for the George Floyd murder, and tackle her transition from anchoring every night to being home with the kids.

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    Chef Andrew Gruel: Slapfish and Nut Cheese

    May 27th, 2021  |  50 mins 20 secs
    2020, 2021, andrew gruel, aron bender, bias, big parm, chicken, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, faith, fatherhood, food truck, forgiveness, frustration, gavin newsom, god, grief, hard work, huntington beach, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, kitchen, los angeles, love, mental health, news, oc, orange county, outdoor dining, pandemic, podcast, positivity, radio, recovery, religion, restaurant, seafood, self care, self love, slapfish, struggle, success, sustainability, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, two birds, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender finally does a podcast with Chef Andrew Gruel -- a Southern California culinary icon, with seafood restaurant Slapfish, chicken joint Two Birds and pineapple-free pizza place Big Parm under his umbrella. He’s had the Food Network spotlight on him for a while but he was thrust onto a different stage during the pandemic going after Governor Newsom. Chef and I discuss his spontaneous partnership with Barstool’s Dave Portnoy, his country crisscrossing career that started in New Jersey, how social media helped launch his business AND his family, living with anxiety, and the major changes he’s seen in society and the kitchen.

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    Liberté Chan: Life, Love and Loss

    May 26th, 2021  |  1 hr 2 mins
    2020, 2021, aron bender, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, engaged, faith, fatherhood, fiance, finance, forgiveness, frustration, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, ktla, liberte chan, los angeles, loss, love, mental health, namaste, news, pancreatic cancer, pandemic, podcast, positivity, racism, radio, recovery, religion, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, wedding, widower, wife, yoga, youtube

    Aron Bender is joined by Liberté Chan -- who's been with KTLA for years. For nearly a decade she was the meterologist on the KTLA Weekend Morning News but is now part of KTLA's LA Unscripted. We first talked two years ago for my previous podcast but a lot has changed since then. Before Liberté's mom passed away from pancreatic cancer she got to meet the man to whom Liberté is now engaged: Luis Strohmeier. We talk about how yoga helped Liberté get through her mom's passing and the pandemic, and how Luis's experience also helped guide her through the darkness.

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    Nick Hamilton: Owner of Nitecast Media

    May 25th, 2021  |  1 hr 10 mins
    2020, 2021, albert pujols, angels, aron bender, autism, bias, carson, chargers, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, crenshaw, depression, dodgers, el camino college, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, frustration, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, lakers, loss, love, mental health, mike trout, mlb, news, nfl, nhl, pandemic, podcast, positivity, racism, radio, rams, recovery, religion, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, westchester, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender has a conversation with Nick Hamilton, owner of Nitecast Media, a new and proudly black-owned company covering all things sports and pop culture and more. Shoutout Big Brother Jake doing big things with Nitecast. Nick grew up in LA at a time when he says he wasn’t sure he’d make it to see 21, and for a time didn’t care whether he lived or died. Nick says even one day gave someone the power to make that choice for him. We discuss fatherhood and how it’s been for him raising an 8-year-old son with autism during the pandemic, maintaining mental health, his take on the Angels dumping Albert Pujols and the pickup by the Dodgers, we rate the two Chronic albums, even talk about Summer Jam, and whether he thinks I could’ve rocked a Cross Colours jacket back in the day.

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    Andy Riesmeyer: KTLA 5 Live Co-Host, Producer, Musician

    May 24th, 2021  |  1 hr 18 mins
    2020, 2021, andy riesmeyer, aron bender, bias, chicago, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, frustration, god, grief, hard work, identity, indiana, instagram, journalism, joy, ktla, ktla 5 live, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, podcast, positivity, racism, radio, recovery, religion, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender chats with Andy Riesmeyer -- one of the hosts on the wildly successful KTLA 5 Live weekdays 4 to 6pm at KTLA.com and on the KTLA+ app with Samantha Cortese, Bobby Gonzalez and Robert Puente. We’ve been talking about doing a podcast for a couple years now and here it is. Finally! Andy moved out to LA to be a musician and ended up doing news on TV with the likes of Larry King, David Begnaud and Frank Buckley. But he’s still recording and posting music videos on Instagram. We cover the winding road that led him to Hollywood from Indiana. And that’s where he was when we talked in March. Andy was visiting family as his father was fighting pancreatic cancer. And sadly, since we recorded this conversation, Jeffrey Riesmeyer passed away. Andy and I discuss his time at KFI anchoring during (and our love for) The Tim Conway Jr Show and somehow we ended up talking about Mark Mester's jawline.

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    Sarah Talbi: Armless Artist

    May 21st, 2021  |  40 mins 58 secs
    2020, 2021, armless, aron bender, art, belgium, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, disability, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, frustration, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, loss, love, mental health, mom, motherhood, news, no arms, painter, painting, pandemic, podcast, positivity, racism, recovery, religion, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender talks with Sarah Talbi -- who was born without arms. But a lot has changed the last few years for the 30-something living in Belgium. Sarah has become a mother, taken up painting, and built up quite a following on social media. We talk about lots of things she CAN do like take care of her daughter, cook, and everyday tasks like put on a bra. But it seems people put more limitations on her than she puts on herself. We discuss how instrumental her family was in normalizing her disability, what her almost 3-year-old says and asks about mommy's arms, her ONE frustration in life, and also one of the few things she's been unable to do by herself: travel. Sarah and I also talk about what it was like for her parents when they discovered they were having a baby with no arms, and for her when she learned she was pregnant.

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    Freddy Rivera: FM DJ, Podcast Host, Pilot

    May 21st, 2021  |  1 hr 1 min
    2020, 2021, aron bender, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, dallas, depression, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, fort worth, frustration, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, pilot, podcast, positivity, racism, radio, radio flyer, recovery, religion, self care, self love, struggle, success, texas, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender flies with Freddy Rivera -- an FM radio DJ at KOLA 99.9 in Riverside, California, host of the “Radio Flyer” podcast, and a pilot! He’s a SoCal guy I knew from my iHeartRadio days. We'd run into each other as I worked for KFI and he was producing for JoJo on the Radio on 102.7 KIIS FM, and then he rocked overnights on the legendary station. He moved to Dallas to host afternoons on 102.9 Now KDMX but as we talk about in this episode it just wasn't the right fit. Freddy and I also discuss mental health, gratitude, accepting and acknowledging failure is a part of success, and rolling with the punches.

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    Jim Lanahan: Iced Coffee, Laughs and Broadway

    May 20th, 2021  |  1 hr 15 mins
    2020, 2021, aron bender, bias, broadway, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, diabetes, dunkin donuts, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, gay, god, grief, hard work, iced coffee, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, ktla, lgbtq, life coach, loss, love, mental health, new york, news, palm springs, pandemic, perspective, podcast, positivity, racism, recovery, religion, retirement, self care, self love, starbucks, stroke, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tim hortons, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender is joined by Jim Linahan who is ... hilarious! Lanafans know what I'm talking about! I found Jim by way of the KTLA Weekend Morning News. I don't watch KTLA on Saturday and Sunday mornings, I watch Jim watch KTLA Saturday and Sunday mornings by way of his Instagram stories https://www.instagram.com/jimlanahan/. Jim's a podcast host (Jim Lanahan & Friends, linked below), a certified life coach, a producer and manager. He's also the caregiver for his mom who had a stroke in 2017. We talk about his relationship with his mom growing up, since he came out, and since her stroke, his abusive father, his diabetes, Jim's favorite Broadway and movie musicals, he ranks his top 3 iced coffees, and what he thinks should happen to anyone who orders a vanilla Frosty at Wendy's instead of the classic chocolate Frosty. Such a fun, insightful convo! Thanks, Jim!

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    Matthias: Husband, Father, YouTube Mogul

    May 18th, 2021  |  56 mins 46 secs
    2020, 2021, aron bender, bias, born again christian, business, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, dope or nope, entrepreneur, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, god, grief, hard work, hi5studios, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, perspective, podcast, positivity, racism, recovery, religion, retirement, saved, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender is joined by Matthias, who is not just a YouTube creator/mogul whose Hi5 Studios has channels with millions of subscribers (like DOPE or NOPE) but he and his wife have a young daughter and son, and just a few years ago Matthias was saved, a born-again Christian. We get into dad life, growing up with a Disney dad (he was an Imagineer!), the pressures of running a business that needs to scale back as it’s changing its mission, unplugging, being more present and focused on and in the moment.

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    Silva Harapetian: Journalist, Storyteller, Entrepreneur

    May 18th, 2021  |  1 hr 37 mins
    #blacklivesmatter, #stopaapihate, #stopasianhate, 2020, 2021, armenian genocide, aron bender, austin, bias, blm, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, detroit, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, fresno, germany, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, iran, journalism, joy, loss, love, mental health, miami, news, oklahoma, pandemic, podcast, police, positivity, race, racial identity, racism, recovery, religion, retirement, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender talks with journalist and entrepreneur Silva Harapetian. She was born in Iran. Her family fled that country for Germany when she was 12, and a few years later moved to the United States. I’ve known Silva for 20 years now, since we worked together at KMPH NewsRadio in Fresno. She’s since worked in several markets, including Austin, Detroit and Miami. In this episode we talk about the importance of mental health and self care — especially as a journalist, a woman, a person of color. We also discuss life in war-torn Iran, adjusting to a relatively brief stay in Germany, navigating life in the US as the oldest child in an immigrant family — and how she adjusted not just during the pandemic but when her life was forced to change in 2018.

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    Somy Ali: Survivor, Activist, Former Bollywood Actress

    May 15th, 2021  |  1 hr 6 mins
    abuse, aron bender, bias, bon jovi, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, domestic violence, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, god, grief, hard work, human trafficking, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, podcast, positivity, race, racial identity, racism, rape, recovery, religion, retirement, self care, self love, sexual violence, somy ali, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, trigger warnings, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    TW:
    Sexual violence.
    Rape.
    Domestic violence.
    Child abuse.
    Harmful language and discrimination.
    I understand if you may not be ready to listen right now but I'm here and this episode is here when you are.
    •••
    Aron Bender talks with Somy Ali -- a sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape survivor, an activist, a former Bollywood actress, and the founder of No More Tears https://nomoretearsusa.org/donate.html — an all-volunteer non-profit in South Florida that helps victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. We talk about how her abusive childhood was the catalyst behind No More Tears, the dream that led her to India and Bollywood, growing up in Pakistan and then North Miami, being bullied and discriminated against, and her obsession with Bon Jovi.

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    Julie Chang: TV Journalist, Activist, 940 Life Founder

    May 7th, 2021  |  27 mins 39 secs
    #stopaapihate, #stopasianhate, 2020, 2021, 940 life, aron bender, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, depression, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, journalism, joy, loss, love, mental health, motherhood, news, pandemic, podcast, police, positivity, race, racial identity, racism, recovery, religion, retirement, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, wife, youtube

    Aron Bender hangs out with Julie Chang, a TV journalist most recently with Fox 11 here in Los Angeles but she also spent a lot of time working in New York. She’s a wife, a mother of two adorable little ones, an activist, an actress, and a brain tumor survivor. She’s also the founder of 940 Life, which she explains in this quick conversation that we had to squeeze into an afternoon a few weeks ago is about the 940 weekends we have with our children from the time they're born to when they turn 18. Julie and I talked about the crimes targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, how she talks with (and learns from) her kids about racism, sliding into her now-husband's DMs, and how my late wife nudged her to say yes to coming on the podcast to begin with. Thank you for your time, Julie. Means the world!

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    Emily D. Baker: The Badass Lawyer

    April 26th, 2021  |  1 hr 1 min
    2020, 2021, aron bender, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, daunte wright, depression, derek chauvin, district attorney, emily d. baker, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, george floyd, george gascon, god, grief, hard work, identity, instagram, james charles, journalism, joy, law, law nerds, lawyer, legal commentary, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, podcast, police, positivity, race, racial identity, racism, recovery, religion, retirement, self care, self love, struggle, success, tati westbrook, tennessee, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, youtube

    Aron Bender talks with "The Badass Lawyer" Emily D. Baker. She traded the courtroom for the creator studio, and now has one of the more popular legal commentary channels on YouTube. We talk about moving from Southern California to Tennessee in the middle of the pandemic, grappling with identity when your career is taken away and how her family has grown from it, how she picks the cases she covers and how her channel gained 55,000 subscribers in a month, and we get her thoughts on Los Angeles County's new District Attorney George Gascón.

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    LZ Granderson: Chauvin Verdicts Reaction, Justice vs. Accountability, Racial and Sexual Identity

    April 21st, 2021  |  57 mins 33 secs
    2020, 2021, abc, abc news, aron bender, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, daunte wright, depression, derek chauvin, espn, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, gay, george floyd, god, grief, hard work, instagram, journalism, joy, la times, los angeles times, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, podcast, police, positivity, race, racial identity, racism, recovery, religion, self care, self love, sexual identity, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, widower, youtube

    Aron Bender talks with LZ Granderson of Sedano, LZ & Kap weekday afternoons 4-7 on ESPN LA 710, the LA Times Sports & Culture Columnist, and can be seen on ABC News and other platforms. We talk about the guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the differences between justice and accountability, growing up in Detroit, how he manages trauma, struggling with his racial and sexual identity, impostor syndrome, the role God has played in his life even if LZ wasn’t listening, and an unexpected deep dive into the tennis world. I'm so grateful for this conversation. Thank you, LZ!

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    Elex Michaelson: Recognizing Bias

    April 19th, 2021  |  41 mins 6 secs
    2020, 2021, abc7, aron bender, bias, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, daunte wright, depression, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, fox 11, george floyd, grief, hard work, instagram, journalism, joy, kttv, loss, love, mental health, news, pandemic, podcast, police, positivity, race, racism, recovery, religion, san diego, self care, self love, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, trump, tv news, twitter, widower, xetv, youtube

    Aron Bender talks with Elex Michaelson -- a Southern California native who went to USC double majoring in broadcast journalism and political science — graduating at the top of his class. He started his career at XETV San Diego 6 but quickly made it back to LA as a reporter for ABC7. He made the move to Fox 11 in 2017 and in addition to anchoring multiple newscasts a night he’s the host of the political talk show “The Issue Is …” and co-host of a nightly special on COVID-19. In this episode we talk about recognizing bias in reporting, the difficulty of covering politics at a time when that arena’s full of hate, the future of news and how it’s delivered, and his love for storytelling.

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    Star Harvey: Weather Star

    April 16th, 2021  |  1 hr 5 mins
    2020, abc7, aron bender, bias, colorado, coronavirus, covid, covid-19, cw39, daunte wright, denver, depression, faith, fatherhood, forgiveness, george floyd, god, grand junction, grief, hard work, houston, instagram, journalism, joy, krex, loss, love, mental health, motherhood, news, pandemic, podcast, police, positivity, race, racism, recovery, religion, self care, self love, single mom, struggle, success, therapy, tiktok, tv news, twitter, weather, widower, youtube

    Aron Bender talks with Star Harvey -- a meteorologist at CW39 in Houston. Before getting to Texas she was a reporter and did the weather at KREX5 in Grand Junction, Colorado. But even before that she was one of my students at California State University, Northridge. And Star lived up to her name. Still does. She went from an on-again-off-again college student to single mom to standout university graduate to making one of the biggest TV market jumps ever … from 187 to 8. It’s a testament to her drive, ambition, and faith. Not only in God but ultimately herself. I talk with Star about why she thought she couldn't be on TV, conversations with her son about playing with guns and interactions with police, being black in Colorado, Houston humidity, and her message to her mom who raised 7 kids on her own.