This article appears in the February issue of 400 Life.
Some shows focus on making their audience laugh. Some want to give advice. Others are a chance for hosts to give their thoughts, and then, some shows combine a little bit of it all.
Last fall, Amy Lyle and Gina Ryals hosted their first episode of “In the Burbs,” a live-streamed show available every other Wednesday where the pair and their guests — who can range from comedians to musicians to professional organizers and more — can talk and be honest about issues that impact women in their middle ages.
“We’re really open and our guests are open, so it’s really fun,” Lyle said.
“We want everyone to feel like they’re part of our tribe and no shame in forgetting to pick your kid up from carpool. There’s no shame in that, we’ve all done it. We just talk about it. We talk about motherhood, marriage, divorce, menopause, just anything that has to do with women in their 30s, 40s, 50s,” Ryals said.
Now with a growing audience, the hosts met when Ryals moved into Lyle’s neighborhood — where they would joke about doing a morning show — and more importantly, on the tennis court.
“We won when we played with each other, but when we played with other people, we weren’t very successful,” Ryals said. “So, we kind of had an instant bond, and we knew we had something special, so we’re glad we get to share it now with the community.”
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Lyle, a comedian who has written “The Book of Failures” and “We’re All a Mess, It’s OK,” has become a familiar face — and voice — on other local shows in the Atlanta area, including Atlanta & Company and programs on the UI Media Network, an app and streaming site that produces original content.
After a number of successful appearances, Lyle said she was approached by UI, where she had been a guest and filled in for other hosts, about hosting her own show. Lyle said working on an emerging media platform meant the support structure to get the show out was already in place and let the hosts focus on writing the show and finding guests.
“The reach is really good, so it’s like we get total control of the content, but we have a platform with a larger area than what we would have,” Lyle said.
Originally, the show was planned with only Lyle and a rotating cast of co-hosts but it didn’t take long for Ryals to become a permanent addition.
“I asked Gina to be my first co-host, and I was just going to have different cohosts every time,” Lyle said. “Well then, we saw how difficult it was to do a show and come up with an hour of content. Gina and I were tennis partners, and we just got along so well and even though we are friends, we have very different points of view and we grew up very differently, so it’s nice because we’re not the same person.”
After the first episode, Lyle asked Ryals to stay on as co-host. Ryals said while she didn’t have the on-camera experience of Lyle, she was still used to talking to large groups.
“I do not really have a background in the network and radio hosting,” she said. “However, I have a background in education and I’ve taught fitness classes for over 25 years, so I’ve always been in front of people, in front of large groups of women encouraging and motivating, that’s kind of been my thing, and I have a little bit of an obsession with the media, with celebrities, with the world out there.”
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With two co-hosts who are constantly riffing off each other, and one of them being a comedian, it’s no surprise that comedy is a big part of the show, but it’s far from the only focus.
“It’s like, yes, we want the show to be light and funny, but we also want people to walk away like, ‘Oh, now I know why I can’t lose the five pounds,’ or to see something different,” Lyle said. “So, we try to balance funny with tips …”
“… and inspiration,” Ryals added. “We try to inspire and motivate people, too. That’s what we’re all about.”
Ryals said for her, the show was a second act that gave her a chance to try something new after her kids moved out of the house.
“We’re these two moms … that get an opportunity to express ourselves and celebrate this time of our lives,” Ryals said. “I think that’s who mainly watches our show, women of a certain age that think, ‘I’ve experienced that too.’”
Like they were given a chance to do something new, the co-hosts said they hope the show inspires others, particularly women around their age, to get out and try something.
“I guess the best thing out of all of this is that we can be encouraging to women over 40, over 50, that you don’t just have to shrivel up and die. There are opportunities,” she said. “With the world we live in, social media, all the platforms out there, there’s so many things that you can do.”