In my career I've been fortunate to have done a lot of broadcast ‘firsts.' First and only gardening show to ever get a 9.5 rating in the Los Angeles market (most shows are lucky if they can get a 1.5 in this market). First and only 90-minute live TV show special in the country (that’s as long as a feature film!). First longest consecutive aired specialty gardening program to run in L.A. radio history (and still standing). And the list continues to this day (book forthcoming – be on the watch for it). First ever simulcast of an internet station with an over-the-air broadcast station in Johannesburg , South Africa.
I came across this picture with John Domenici from Southland Sod Farms getting interviewed and landscape contractor extraordinaire, Edward Wallace helping us out by communicating with our station. We started The Green Industry Talk Show, a weekly call-in/interview style talk program. This was the first ever online radio show for landscapers, irrigation specialists, gardeners, landscape architects, etc. This broadcast was done from the Southern California Turfgrass Council Trade Show at the Fairplex in Pomona. Unlike today where you can broadcast from any wireless device we had to order a special telephone line called an ISDN. We’d lug our equipment to the venue then send the broadcast over that special line to our state-of-the-art studio in Whittier. That’s where the engineer would get the show, mix in the music then broadcast it over the internet. We also had a call screener standing by so we can talk to the caller while out and about. It was quite a production. Back in those days computers didn’t have speakers built-in. They were an accessory. It took upwards of 30-minutes to explain to someone you could listen to radio shows through your computers. In fact, we were so trendy we started off with video, too. However, 14k modems were the norm and the video with audio never matched up so we abandoned the idea to focus on the quality of the audio.
I’m reminded of the time we secured a huge footprint at the Orange County Fair. We setup 30 computers to listen to our broadcast from the other side of the grounds which was held in another huge footprint (a whole building). We booked talk shows and bands during all show hours. To our surprise we won a Blue Ribbon for our efforts accounting for another first. We are the first ever legitimate Blue Ribbon Internet Station. You might be asking why the show doesn’t exist and that would be fair. My career in consumer garden communications blew up – in a good way. Our syndicated weekly long form radio show, Nick Federoff on Gardening, and our daily vignette, Things Green Garden Minute took off like wildfire. Keeping up with station relations, personal appearances, writing books and blogs, filming for news and specialty TV shows (like Donny & Marie and others) is time consuming. We blinked our eyes and were hosting 25 specialty shows from credit repair, wedding planning, outdoor adventures, travel and a whole lot more.
I have a Cracker Jack staff fostering and working all those other shows, which were hosted by experts in their fields, there’s only one of me so in order to keep my sanity we had to retire The Green Industry Talk Show. Since I’ve got my bragging hat on we are also the first to ever broadcast a live online programming from the Los Angeles Convention Center, Orange County Fairgrounds, McCormick Center Cow Palace (Bay Area), Pasadena Convention Center, Ontario Convention Center, Orange County Convention Center (Florida), French Riviera, Las Vegas Convention Center and many other public venues, plus the aforementioned Fairplex. The humble part of all of our first is we are in our 35th year in garden communications. Oh, it’s been a wild ride but we’re not done. Stand by for more firsts from Team Things Green!