(Photo by Barry Gray.)
“I consider myself to be the O.G. of Stittsville. We were here when Country Time donuts were still here and Hazeldean had two lanes.”
Sitting relaxed in a coffee shop with a macchiato (Starbucks style not Italian style) Sandra Plagakis comes across as confident, quick-witted and spunky. With perfect lip-gloss and mascara.
There’s no hint that the Stittsville wife and mom of two teens is something of local celebrity, a seasoned broadcaster, someone accustomed to rubbing elbows with some pretty serious star power.
Sandra is one half of the Sandra and Chris morning show on KiSS 105.3 radio. And she loves it.
“This is almost too much fun to be a job,” says Plagakis. “I’m just laughing my ass off… one day, I might have to get a real job.”
While the job may be a lot of fun, most people wouldn’t consider getting up at 3:00 a.m. on weekdays a perk. “But it’s 2:55 a.m. if I’m doing my hair,” she says. “It’s hard to describe how exhausted you always feel.”
It’s a schedule she’s been keeping since 1997.
The early hours and hard work have paid off now that she is established in her career. “I like being an experienced broadcaster,” she says. “I like the confidence that comes with it.”
Fortunately, things have come a long way for women in radio. Sipping her macchiato, she explains that there were a few trailblazers that made here current job possible.
“There weren’t leading positions for a woman, certainly not on a morning show. Along the way, we got our voice,” says Plagakis. “Now, strong women in radio [are] the norm, not the exception.”
Like every job, there are things she loves and things she doesn’t.
“I hate the rules. I hate that we live in a time right now that any time a crack a mic I have to be concerned I offend someone,” she says. “It’s live radio – you sometimes tell jokes that don’t land. It should never be dissected though.”
One of the perks to the job are the access Plagakis has had to singers, celebrities and newsmakers.
The best? Ed Sheeran. (“He was legitimately the coolest person I’ve ever met. It was the most chill Q&A in the basement of the CTC.”)
Who left her the most startstruck? John Cusack.
The most enamoring? Ben Affleck. (“It was in the 90’s, before Good Will Hunting, before Ben Affleck was Ben Affleck”)
It can be nerve wracking to meet all those celebs. “All the star power coming in and me trying to act cool,” she says. “And not be cool.”
Many of the celebrity encounters happened while she was working in Toronto. While Toronto may have offered more opportunity to meet the stars, Ottawa offered family.
“My husband’s from Ottawa. I moved here [from Montreal] to go to school at Algonquin and I met him in my final semester,” says Plagakis. “I told him he could move with me or not. He did.”
After college, the first stop was Brockville for about a year and a half. Then her big break came to work at the Edge in Toronto. They were in Toronto for eight years, had one child and had another on the way. It was hard having no family and life was expensive.
“He slowly convinced me that life would be better in Ottawa,” she says. “The quality of life here is so much better than in Toronto. Here you could be downtown and 20 minutes later on Fallowfield seeing a cow. It is big little city”
They had four weeks to move from Toronto to Ottawa when she got her first job here at Hot 89.9. Timing on the house they wanted in Stittsville worked and geographically it was just where they wanted to be.
“I consider myself to be the O.G. of Stittsville. I feel like we were some of the first to learn the secret of Stittsville. We were here when Country Time donuts were still here and Hazeldean had two lanes.”
Things may have changed in Stittsville, but Plagakis’ love of radio stays strong.
Check out the Sandra and Chris Show on Kiss 105.3 Monday to Friday mornings from 5:30 – 9:00 a.m.
- Food – Pizza “No such thing as bad pizza!”
- Drink – Red Wine
- Guilty Pleasure – Big Brother “I’ve never missed an episode!”
- Celebrity – the Church of Oprah
- Thing about Stittsville – “Now having three Tim Horton’s! Really, everything. I hope I never move.”