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Sonoma County radio host found voice, self through empowering women

March is Women’s History Month and the theme for 2023 is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” Since I have been encouraging women to tell their story for decades, it is truly an honor to have been requested to write about my journey in life. It is my hope that in sharing part of my story it will inspire others to both stand up and speak out as well as share their journey.

I was born in 1940 in East Los Angeles (Boyle Heights) CA. My father Solomon, “Solly” Holtz was born in Poland and immigrated to the USA when he was 5-years-old and was a Union man. My mother Bertha (Betty) Dorfman family immigrated from Russia and was the first of her family to graduate high school. At the time of my birth, it was the beginning of WWII, and the United States was debating involvement at the same time providing support for England.

I believe the first 30 years of my life was about making mistakes and learning that all things have consequences. After graduating high school in 1958 I moved to New York. I was the first one in my family to travel by air. In 1961, I got married to a New Yorker, came back to Los Angeles in 1963 and in 1964 gave birth to my daughter Susan.

After 10 years of marriage my world fell apart and I found myself at the age of 29, lost divorced, with no direction and the responsibility of a child. It was a miracle when a dear friend offered me space in his house for me and my daughter. He suggested that I go back to school. For me, grammar, junior high and high school were hell, and the thought of returning to school was terrifying to me. My life was going nowhere and I thought going back to school would give me some direction. With that thought in mind I went back to school at the age of 30 to Los Angeles City College (LACC).

The first hurdle was I had to take an English test which I failed and I had to take English 1 (Dumbbell English). It was in the English class that I was encouraged to major in journalism. This was the beginning of finding my voice and to see I had a level of intelligence that I did not know I possessed. I felt like I had come a long way from my school kindergarten report card where the teacher wrote, “Elaine should understand that children should be seen and not heard.” I enjoyed being a reporter and during my last year was Editorial Page Manager.

I graduated from LACC with an AA Degree in Journalism and Public Relations plus a journalism award. The next part of the journey was when I was accepted to Sonoma State University’s Sociology Department at the time of the Women’s Studies movement. I taught a class, Survival as a Mother and was selected as one of the first woman student to be a main speaker at my graduation, class of 1975 where I received a BA In Sociology.

After graduating Sonoma State I went on to earn my Masters Degree in Education from San Francisco State and began working in a new program in Santa Rosa, Athena House, a program for women in lieu of incarceration. While at Athena House a man named Joe came to our staff meeting and was looking for a woman to do a English speaking Women’s Show on a recently launched bilingual community radio on KBBF 89.1FM. When I told him I had a degree in journalism and public relations and did interviews, he said I was perfect for the show. From 1977 to 1982 Women’s Spaces was on the air and was one of the first Women’s shows in Sonoma County.

After retiring as a Corporate Sales Manager in 2005 I revived Women’s Spaces and produced over 300 television show for the Community Media Center. It was at that time I introduced The Women’s Space Pledge to my audience. The pledge was created for my Grandson Ryan when he came out crying from day care after his teacher called him a “Bad Boy.” That created an awareness in me how teachers and other adults can damage our self-esteem. I told him, “No Ryan, you are a good boy, repeat after me, and I created the Pledge. Several years into the program I needed a marketing tool and put the pledge on back of my Women’s Spaces card. To date I have passed out over 7,000 of those business cards with the intent to support us all in having the courage to stand up and express ourselves. Unfortunately the Media Center was closed but all shows are archived on

In November of 2012 I was invited back to KBBF and in November 2022 celebrated 10 years back on the radio. The show is dedicated to ordinary women doing extraordinary things. To date I have produced over 500 shows on KBBF. Interviews included many prominent women, Gloria Allred, Erin Brockovich, Eve Ensler, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, Marianne Williamson, Rosita Holsey, the niece of Dr. Paulie Murray, Molly Murphy McGregor, candidates for office, authors, political candidates and many local and national ordinary women doing extraordinary things.

To raise one’s self esteem and getting to know your community I suggest volunteering for a community organization. The friendship and knowledge you gain is priceless. To date I have served as President of the SOCO Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Measure O Committee, SoCo Human Rights Commission, Community Advisory Board and was extremely active in the Andy Lopez Coalition. I was a columnist for four years writing Santa Rosa Snippets in the Gazette and published in many miscellaneous publications.

To kick off Women’s History Month on Monday, Mar. 6 to Women’s Spaces on KBBF 89.1FM streaming on, I will be interviewing Molly Murphy McGregor one of the co-founders of the National Women’s History Alliance who helped make March the month we celebrate women’s history. One of my proudest claims to fame is that Molly and I attended Sonoma State together and continue to enjoy listening and promoting all those wonderful stories. Please visit my website where all shows are archived.

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