Life on the other side of the microphone

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By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

For those who don’t know, for a period of about 10 years I was on radio and TV almost daily. The radio gig started on a small suburban station and ended on Bloomberg Radio in Boston where I hosted a prime time radio show live, Monday through Friday from 3–5 PM. The TV gig wasn’t every day, but it did force me to be live on the air every Tuesday night and whenever raging financial news broke. On the TV side, I did the 10 O’clock news on channel 56 with Karen Marinella and Primo weatherman Mike Wankum.

It was fun, but it was also a pretty significant responsibility. Not only did I have to battle rush hour traffic, I had to come up with topics that would educate and entertain every day. Not as easy as you think.

The publicity was nice, especially as we were building US Wealth. But it was also weird. Weird in that when we hosted a seminar, the house was packed, sometimes upwards of 800 people per event where the police had to set up special detail outside the Newton Marriott. Believe it or not, there are actually radio groupies who would attend every time the registration people didn’t catch the fact that they were multi visit attendees. Needless to say that all in attendance didn’t have complicated enough financial lives to benefit front the high level of wealth management service that we deliver.

To this day, I meet people that tell me that they listen to me every day. Really? I haven’t been live on the air since the late 1990’s! In fact, the decision to stop was a conscious decision. After the business station was sold to a religious broadcaster, I decided that public prayer wouldn’t work for me. I interviewed with a very popular all-news radio station in Boston where I was offered a weekly show.

The stunner was when the GM started talking money. He said, “What did you have in mind”? I told him what business radio paid me, and he rapidly quipped…“They were paying you”? We wanted you to pay us to be on our highly rated station. That’s when I finally said no mas. Today, most financial shows on radio are paid, undisclosed infomercials and I wanted nothing to do with that.

For me, it was surely an ego boost that I didn’t need, but it was also a lot of fun. I had guests such as my children, Steve Forbes, Marshall Loeb, famous money managers and presidents of major corporations. However, I’m glad it is over. I’m having much more fun working with a select group of families than having to please everyone so the ratings were good.

All in all, my trade for broadcasting to all was well rewarded by ‘narrow-casting’ to those who really needed and wanted my help.