This week, we celebrate the 200th episode of Coaster Radio. As part of the festivities, I did a lot of thinking about how the show began.
Longtime listeners may not know this, but Coaster Radio only exists because another show failed... and I was that show's Senior Producer.
|Mario and Flava join other cast members on the set of our show.|
"It is good to have a failure while you are young because it teaches you so much."
When I was in my 20's, I would have laughed this quote off as something that "old" people say.
But as I look back on that time and on one of the biggest disappointments of my professional life... I totally agree with Uncle Walt.
When I was 26 years old, I was hired by a Washington, DC television station to create an interactive show for teenagers that "educated as it entertained."
I was young and energetic and believed I could do anything. I guess that's why the station managment gave me a shot. But looking back now with the benefit of more experience and more wisdom, I realize I had no business leading a show like this. I wasn't ready and I was in way over my head.
|A young EB shows one of the interns how to run a camera.|
Mario and Mike (who you know as Flava) were the backbone of that show and made it run each day. They were also on-camera hosts.
I also met a guy named EB... a producer and director who had a knack for building monstrous soundstage sets out of junk.
|The amazing cast of our show... with Mario and Flava in the center.|
We worked long and hard to make the show a success. And despite the odds of having a limited budget, a green crew and no promotion, the show ran for over a year. But one day, we ran out of steam... management called us to their offices to tell us they were pulling the plug.
The good news was that none of us were fired. But the bad news was that management wanted us to sit tight until they could dream up a new project for us to work on... one that ultimately would never come.
I had worked on this show day and night for more than two years! When it was gone, I felt numb. It felt like there was a big empty hole in my life. The worst part was, there was no new project to fill it.
I didn't know what to do. I couldn't sleep. I needed to be creative. I needed to produce something.
|Behind the Scenes of the show that preceded CoasterRadio.com|
I was always a big fan of theme parks and thrill rides. And, I always had a secret desire to be on the radio. As crazy as it sounded, I thought it would be fun to merge those two loves.
As I read the podcasting article, I started to realize that this new technology could actually make the theme park show a reality.
I also happened to know the perfect group of people to help me pull it off.
So, it was because one project failed that another one began and eventually succeeded. It was the perfect hobby and one that took my mind off of "real-life" troubles until I could right the ship again.
|That's me today... older and wiser!|
Many of the kids who were cast members of the show have gone on to have big success in their careers as well. In fact, you can see some of them on Broadway stages, network television and on the pages of some of your favorite magazines.
And, without that show, I would have never met Mario, Flava and EB. Those guys all have gone on to do great things and continue to thrive. They are geniuses in each of their fields.
So, here's a series of clips from the old TV show featuring Mario and Flava. This comes from the music video portion of the show, but you might be able to catch glimpses of what would eventually become CoasterRadio.com. (Come on! We're shooting at a water park!)
So watch, enjoy and remember... it's totally OK to fail. But don't stay down.