It’s going to get pretty bumpy for Sara Rotman next year. She’ll be hitting the road as an off-road race driver.

Rotman recently established a racing team called Dark Horse and hired a company specializing in creating off-road vehicles to build her a truck, which will be ready for its debut early next year. She plans to compete at the Baja 500 off-road race in June.

This might seem out of character for a woman who describes herself as middle-aged and is chief executive of ad agency MODCo, with offices in Santa Monica and New York. But she explained that off-road driving was a childhood dream; in fact, she used to practice with her first car – a 1981 Toyota Starlet, not exactly an all-terrain vehicle.

“I called it the Baja Starlet and I would take that thing off road – it was a clown car,” she said.

With time, naturally, she slipped away from the pursuit.

“Life happened and you become a grown-up and finally one day I said: ‘You know what? I’m going to do this now.’”

Dialed In

Just as Diane Sutter, trustee of KFWB Asset Trust, was preparing to switch KFWB-AM (980) from news talk to an all-sports format earlier this year, she made some big moves of her own.

In the months and weeks leading up to the format change in August, Sutter, 63, bought a house in Encino, and also sold and moved out of her previous house in Sherman Oaks.

The timing could have been better.

That’s because the station needed Sutter’s homes – with their varying levels of furnishings – for interviews with on-air talent and internal meetings. (Meetings were held away from the station’s Miracle Mile office out of consideration for the station’s news-talk employees who would be let go.)

It was all a bit hectic. For example, Sutter’s new house was used for strategic planning get-togethers even as it was still sparsely furnished. And on-air talents including Fred Roggin were interviewed at Sutter’s old house as she was preparing to move out.

Still, Sutter said the experience is good for a laugh now that things have gone back to normal.

“To buy a house, sell a house and move in the middle of planning to change the format of a radio station may not have been the smartest idea I ever had,” she said. “But we look back at it and laugh.”

Staff reporters Subrina Hudson and Jonathan Polakoff contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at

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