Have you always been into real estate?
My husband and I have bought and sold over 20 properties, so it’s been something that we were doing on the side, and it was a lot of fun. I had several real estate agents that I worked with over the years, and I kept thinking for the last 10 years that I needed to get my own license. My daughter asked me, “What makes you think you can go into real estate, Mom?” I said, for the last 15 years I’ve had this wealth of experience closing on all these deals, working these deals, buying and selling places, flipping. So I said, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Plus, you’re Becky Oliver! You can do anything. Did you always want to be a reporter?
I grew up in Los Angeles, where everybody wanted to be an actress, and I grew up with very little direction. I laugh and say I took dance and ceramics my senior year. I decided I wanted to go to UCLA. Well, UCLA didn’t exactly want someone who had taken dance and ceramics their senior year. Four years later, I was at Northwestern getting my master’s degree, so I was very motivated once I got into college.
There aren’t many female TV reporters who do hard-hitting investigations. Do more do it now than when you started?
Ed Bark did a story when I first got here, 25 years ago, about how Fox 4 hired a female investigative reporter. That was the whole article. I read it and thought, what planet is this guy from? He made such a big deal about the fact that I was a woman and that they were taking this huge risk to have a woman do investigative reporting. But as the years have gone by now, I see female investigative reporters all the time. I kind of feel like I was a little bit of a trailblazer there, that I could get out there and confront people.
Were you nervous the first time you confronted someone?
We called them “unscheduled interviews.” The lawyers told us to never call them “confrontations.”
So were you nervous?
Yes, of course! I look back at some of those early confrontations, and I was mean. I don’t know that I was really mean, but your heart is racing so fast and especially if you’re sitting on someone and waiting for someone to come out. Three hours! You’ve got the mic in your hand, and all of a sudden the guy walks out the door, and you go, “There he is!” And you’re both just like opening the door, trying to get out, and the camera guy has to be behind you, so you have to get him in the right position. Sometimes, early on, I might sound really hostile, but I think a lot of that is the adrenaline.
Do people run from you? Do you ever have to chase them?
We don’t chase. We’ve had some people who ran away from us, just took off running. There was one lady—I said I never chase anyone—but there was one lady. We were doing a story on handicap parking. She started dodging and trying to get away from me, and I do kind of look like I’m running after her. I was kind of embarrassed when I saw that clip. I did actually chase after her a little in my heels.
Why retire now?
I thought I would feel really stupid at 55 doing those confrontations. Can you imagine me at 65 doing those? Fifty-five seems like I kind of pushed the envelope.
So high school was the end of the ceramics?
Yes. Dance and ceramics.