Wow!That's about the only word we can say about the last couple of weeks. When we finally decided to follow the suggestion from a couple of our Twitter friends, we had no idea it would take off this quickly and more importantly, allow us to bring the number and for some, the caliber of guests, to the show. The funny thing is, I was doing something just like this 16 years ago! That's right...16 years ago; before the word "podcast" was even a spark of a thought in someone's head!
Back in 2001, we were working hard to bring our reality-based TV show to air. Titled, "America's Heroes: The Men & Women of Fire/Rescue," it featured real video of fire-rescue services from around the country (long before everyone had a camera in their cellphones!) and interviews with some of the first responders involved in the incidents. Now you need to remember, this was at the the time when "Reality TV" had not sunk to the slimy sewer it dwells in now. You can see that video at:
Through a mutual friend, we were introduced to a firefighter/paramedic and PIO from Boca Raton, a great guy named, Frank Correggio. We had just returned from a trip to Israel during a very difficult time there.
So Frank gave me a call and told me he had a long-running radio/Internet show called, "Burning Issues." He had had a partner for a few years and now he was doing the show on his own. He broadcast from a small AM radio station in Boca Raton. That station was part of a network of stations around the southeast, owned by a company, and the show was multi-cast on them, as well. Moreover, he had a major apparatus manufacturer as his banner sponsor and they used a Real(R) server to broadcast on the Internet. So, Burning Issues was broadcast around the world. He asked me if I'd come on the following Sunday as a guest, and I did.
Well, we hit it off that evening. We had a great time with the interview and swapping "war stories." Now upon my return from Israel in July, I had been invited to return to Israel's Channel 10 in the Fall, to help them produce our type of show for that station. Additionally, through the same guy who had connected me with Frank, I was asked to write a skit for children that would be broadcast in October, about fire prevention week and appear on the Rosie O'Donnell show. The first night I was Frank's guest was September 2, 2001.
Monday morning, I went back to work at our offices. On Thursday, September 6th, I heard from the agent from the Rosie O'Donnell Show, that they liked the skit I wrote and she was having her staff meeting about in the following Tuesday morning. That Tuesday was 9|11 and everyone's plans and lives were turned upside down.
The following Saturday the 15th, I receive a phone call from Frank. He asked me if I was able to join him the following night on his show. He explained that coming from New York and knowing a lot of FDNY firefighters and many from the surrounding volunteer departments on Long Island, he did not want to do this broadcast alone.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. Frank had excellent contacts with the heads of Broward Sheriff's office, Broward County Fire, Boca Fire, Miami and Miami-Dade Fire, etc. Yet, he asked me to join him. I was humbled. I was sad. And I joined him.
It was a tough broadcast for both of us. We received a couple of phone calls, including one from a long-time listener in Australia, who called to express his sympathies. He too, was a firefighter and felt the pain that the rest of us did.
If my first appearance planted a seed between us, then the show on September 16th forged the bond of our friendship. I joined him almost every Sunday night from there on. We even flew out to FDIC 2002 in Indianapolis, which in itself, due to the tragedy of 9|11, was a moving and very emotional experience that I will never forget. We broadcast live from the exhibition hall, both audio and video and had many, many amazing interviews.
Frank and I worked together for almost five years, when work took him on another path. We remain good friends and I sincerely hope that I can invite him to be on our podcast to talk about "Burning Issues."
We hope you'll pause for a moment and leave us a brief comment here. Use the link at the top of the page to go to our Podcast Page and listen to the shows we already have in the can. And we hope you'll forward to more great guest and important information from some of the leaders of the American Fire Service today.
Stay Safe and let's make sure that Everyone Goes Home!