Meet Prime Time for Women host Bernadette Wagner!

View More: Wagner hosts a local program called Prime Time for Women, and after she graciously invited my Red Hat chapter to a viewing, I asked if she’d like to participate in an interview for my blog. Get to know this local celebrity in the interview below!
Tell me about Prime Time for Women.  How did this program originate?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I have always been a bit of a “health nut”, at least that’s what my five children used to call me.  It’s amazing, now as adults, they are all interested in how lifestyle choices affect health and wellbeing.  It was natural for me as I approached my mid 50’s to begin exploring aspects of healthy aging.  There’s abundant research on both the benefits of positive social interactions and the risks of isolation and on how perception of aging impacts the aging process.  Prime Time for Women, through its monthly live-audience TV show, expert-led workshops, robust website and informal meet ups seeks to offer programs that are participatory, reciprocal, informative and build social cohesion, which are the four components that make an interaction health protective.

I chose Prime Time for Women as the name for my social enterprise because it captured the essence of our first outreach effort, a live-audience TV show with camera facing the audience.  It was important to me to have audience participation and facilitate interaction with our guests because, according to research, women who feel they are seen and heard have higher life satisfaction scores, better health, feel more valued and have a greater sense of social cohesion or sense of belonging to a group. “Prime time TV” is a term associated with the most favorable time slots on network TV and I wanted to convey that the second half of life has the potential to be the best time in life for women to fully discover and fulfill their potential. 
What are the program’s goals?
Prime Time for Women’s mission is “To celebrate, connect and empower women from diverse backgrounds as they explore new possibilities in the second half of life.”  Prime Time for Women seeks to improve the health of women in the second half of life by increasing opportunities for health protective social interactions and by combatting ageism wherever it exists. Numerous studies have proven that positive social connections decrease the risk of diabetes, dementia, depression and certain kinds of cancer.  Women with strong social networks are four times more likely to beat breast cancer than women with out supportive connections.  Those living in isolation or perceived loneliness suffer health risks equivalent to those who smoke 15 cigarettes a day. YIKES!  
Trying new things at any age is good but during your prime it is especially beneficial.  Meeting people from diverse backgrounds, such as people from other races, socio-economic groups, education levels, ethnicities, religious traditions or political affiliations, is health protective for the brain.  Considering new or contrasting view point doesn’t have to be scary and shouldn’t be avoided!  According to social scientists, psychologists and neurologists, stepping out of your comfort zone and considering new view points result in “cognitive dissonance”, an uncomfortable feeling due to conflicting thoughts.  To make sense of new experiences and view points, the brain generates new neuronal connections that help reduce the conflict and restore balance. Creating new neuronal connections in the brain is like creating more muscles through weight lifting…a little uncomfortable but very beneficial! In short, another of Prime Time for Women’s goals is to enrich the lives of women by celebrating our diversity!
Prime Time for Women also seeks to challenge ageism, defined by the World Health Organization as, “the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age. Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially “normalized” of any prejudice, and is not widely countered – like racism or sexism. These attitudes lead to the marginalization of older people within our communities and have negative impacts on their health and well-being.”  Dr. Christiana Northrup says, “Our thoughts are not separate from our biology.”  What we believe about aging will come to pass, therefore,  Prime Time for Women seeks to combat ageist stereotypes, reconnect participants with youthful activities and rewrite the script on aging. According to the Ohio Longitudinal Study on Aging and Retirement, those who have a positive perception of aging live on average 7 1/2 years longer than those with a negative perception.  
How widespread is your viewership?
Prime Time for Women airs on Antietam Broadband’s Channels 6 and 806 every Thursday and Friday evening at 6 p.m. and every Saturday and Sunday morning at 8 a.m.  Every episode airs for a month or 16 times.  The program can also be watched on the FREE WCL-TV app at any time or on the Prime Time for Women YouTube Channel.  It’s easier to get to the YouTube channel from our website.  
We also have a large Facebook Following, 454 people have like Prime Time for Women and receive our posts.
How can one contact Prime Time for Women?
I love to receive feedback on our shows and am also interested in receiving suggestions for future TV guests, blog topics, books for our book club and workshop ideas.  Please encourage people to contact me at  At our website, visitors can find out about upcoming shows, purchase tickets to upcoming shows, watch past episodes and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.  
What topics can we expect to be featured in upcoming episodes?
The show on September 14, the first to be held at Kepler Performing Arts Center at Hagerstown Community College, will feature the Prime-A-Donna Dancers, a hip hop dancing troupe for women in their prime (over 50), Kara Oskam of Trades of Hope and Sandra Oblitas who started the Kasandra Cultural Arts Center, at which she teaches traditional dances from around the world.  We will also feature two poets: Prime Time for Women Poet Laureate, Tekesha Martinez and Angel Hart.
PTFW’s October 12th TV show will feature Lesley Whalley and Jennie Avila, a visual artist and singer song writer respectively.  They will talk about their artistic journeys, engage the audience in their crafts and answer questions from attendees. Elyse Fisler, a mother of an autistic child will share her unique parenting story and talk about her efforts to support other mothers who have children with autism.  Our Poet Laureate, Tekesha Martinez will share an original poem finding yourself through creative expression.
November 2 will be Prime Time for Women’s TV finale for the fall season. I’m excited that two of the women who were featured in the Washington Post’s special feature “Changing Channels: Stories of women reinventing themselves after 50” have agreed to be featured guests on Prime Time for Women’s last TV show of the season.  Here’s a link to the article: women-over-50.  Patty Forehand, a retired school teacher with 32 years of teaching experience, is now a stand up comedian and Ginny Donohue who left the corporate world founded On Point for College, a nonprofit that helps youths living below the poverty level get into college.  Laura Wallace, founder of Worx Graphics and host of the Gutsy Podcast which features local entrepreneurs, will speak on “Living Your Life Like It’s Your Business…and by the way it is and no one else’s!” And of course, Tekesha will be there to share her poetic inspirations.

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