Regardless of the genre, be it action, comedy or even science fiction, romance is at the beating heart of almost every story. Think of your favorite TV series, book or feature film and then think about who fell in love or who tried but failed at that same love-gaining endeavor. The thing that so often causes our investment in entertainment is the same thing that informs so many of our own life altering choices: Love.
It’s why we pine for that big screen heartthrob or root for the gorgeous damsel. The prospect of romance charges almost every element of our shifting and changing society. So as the hero of our own story, where can we gain a little insight into that happily ever after we’re all chasing? Any place you can find Simon Marcel.
Advice columnist, radio and television host, the French-born heart-whisperer lends a little credence to the stereotype of his country’s expertise in all matters romance, and he stopped by to give us a little behind-the-scenes of his latest and ongoing shows where he discusses matters of the heart. Here’s our chat with the insightful Simon Marcel!
onFiction: You are part of a very interesting segment in the entertainment industry where real life blends with performance – I don’t mean “reality TV.” What was it like, your evolution to becoming both a performer and a therapist?
Simon Marcel: Bonjour! To clarify, I am not a therapist. I am just a talk show host and a romance expert because I love hearing about romance in relationships. Romance is the creation of enchanting feelings, and I find that wonderful and so needed for all of us.
oF: What attracted you the romance aspect of advice versus other disciplines?
SM: Romance was for me a natural extension of my French education. My parents taught me everything I know about love, relationships and romance .
oF: You tackle issues in several mediums: Tv talk show, written articles and radio Q & A, to name a few, what are the different challenges each platform presents when applying your work?
SM: I love all of them, but I was “born” as a talk show host back in 2007, on an iHeart radio talk station in Cleveland, Ohio. I immediately fell in love with the talk radio medium because you get to talk to people one on one. On TV, I have In Bed with Simon on FYI. That show is the natural extension of radio, as you get to see the person you are listening to and talking to. The written articles (like this one, or the ones I write for OK Magazine) are very interesting too, as it gives me more time to think of my answers.
oF: Do any of those formats lend themselves to certain issues more than others? Do you prefer to take on specific types of advice-giving depending on the platform?
SM: No , all questions are interesting to me. All mediums and formats are complementary to each other .
oF: During your tenure, so much about the romantic landscape has changed. Sexuality itself is in a state of constant flux, how has that impacted you in your work? (I could do a whole interview just on this, It’s so fascinating)
SM: It is a very interesting aspect indeed. Unfortunately teens and younger people in general have total access to pornography and visuals that we did not have in my time. This exposes the intimate sexual world of adults to the younger generation. This has opened up many behaviors that are more sexual and do not include romance. The good news is that we are still all humans, and when we fall in love, we all become romantic and caring, and that hasn’t changed at all. Everyone still looks forward to hearing “I love you”.
oF: What work/research that you’ve done has been the biggest help as you keep up with changing times?
SM: Since I am not a therapist, but simply an entertainer and a talk show host/romance expert, my job with my co-host Angi Taylor on the iHeart Radio show The Rendez Vous is to make sure we give our listeners a fun, light and insightful show. We are two friends, coming from two totally different backgrounds. We listen and talk to our callers and chat about love, romance and our own relationships and life. If we have had a good show, you should be going to sleep in a good mood!
oF: Being a native of France with a worldwide audience, are there specific issues you see more in certain countries?
SM: Not really. I mean, each country has its own rules when it comes to dating, but overall, once we have had the talk and the relationship is exclusive, the expectations are the same. People are people .
oF: One of the main places people can find you is hosting FYI’s In Bed With Simon, how did that show come about and what is your goal when taking on a new show or format?
SM: My mini series, In Bed with Simon, on FYI, is the miracle result of my iHeart and FYI teams of executives wanting to give me a chance to create a talk show I could host on TV. I can ask real relationship questions to real people “in a mall” and be on a bed to create a sense of intimacy. I must admit, I did not know what to expect at first when I walked in this mall in downtown Chicago where we shot the first episodes, but the couples I met were so genuine and cool to talk to. It became easy, natural and totally fun to host. I always look forward to being back on my FYI bed for new episodes! My goal is to continue and grow this new format with FYI, and I have a few exciting ideas for next year, so stay tuned …
oF: You mentioned The Rendez Vous on iHeart Radio, bypassing the overt Frasier reference, is connecting and working with an audience easier or more difficult when not face-to-face?
SM: Radio is my first passion! I owe everything in my career as a talk show host to my iHeart Radio team who believed in me. It started with Kevin Metheny in Cleveland who gave me my first job on his station as talk show host on the weekend. That was back in 2007. On the radio, you talk one-on-one as a talk show host. The Rendez Vous show is four years old, but I started co-hosting with the extraordinary talent Angi Taylor. She also co hosts the morning show in Chicago on KIIS FM. She makes my job as co-host very easy every night, and we have so much fun with our listeners. It is a privilege to have so much fun at work. I am very grateful!
oF: What do you see being the next step in your craft? You’ve already done so much, what would you like the future landscape of media-based advise columns to look like?
SM: I have goals and dreams. I would like to have our radio show on 100 stations every night and to continue to promote the importance of romance in relationships. I would like to be the first French man to have a Marconi Award one day. I would also like to publish my first book and then to have a daily TV show before it may be time to change career again!
oF: In your work, you ask lots of questions, but what have you never been asked that you’ve wanted to talk about?
SM: Why did you leave your advertising career at age 43 to become a full time radio talk show host? …the answer will be in my book …stay tuned!
Huge thanks to Simon for taking time out to chat with us! Now click on over to Facebook and tell us who you’d take advice from in entertainment media.
** Photos of Simon by Stewart Cohen **