Saturday, January 14, 2012

The FDH Lounge 5-Year Anniversary

By Rick Morris

NOTE: Our very special fifth-anniversary FDH Lounge Mini-Episodes are presented collectively below this preface about the crew that made this journey possible.

The FDH Lounge celebrated some fine milestones in the five years since we first created a show that defies all boundaries and characterizations on January 14, 2007. We celebrated 100 and 150-show milestones on our way to 152 full-length episodes with our previous distributors, The Sports Talk Network (I summed up the “Road to 100” right here). Additionally, we celebrated our 500th hour of programming last fall and we have observed this anniversary every year since we started.

I don’t like to be repetitive, so I won’t delve too deeply into the history of the show as it was laid out in the above-referenced column through April 2010. Between the programming, the blog and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube elements, it would take all day to talk about our evolution. But it is my duty as FDH Managing Partner to recognize our priceless ensemble, our FDH Lounge Dignitaries, who now number more than two dozen members.

I’ve spoken previously of my fellow partners who help keep this show running on track. Jason and Samantha Jones supply the creative energy through our visual and audio imaging. Steve Cirvello has taken this entire enterprise to new heights by applying his peerless networking and guest booking to this “little engine that could.” Through him, we’ve booked everyone from Bob Barker (four times!) to Steve Perry to Tommy Lasorda. Our Dignitary roundtables are amazing, thanks to the roster that we have. But I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that quality alone is going to get you anywhere in this world. You’ve got to have the “Wow” factor that our guest roster undeniably furnishes and that all comes from Steve.

As I said, the partners are part of the greatest creative team imaginable. The Dignitaries are the ultimate pieces on the chess board, allowing Steve and myself to mix and match them to tackle the widest array of subjects of any show in the world. If I start naming names of people I’d like to thank again as show contributors, I’m afraid I’d slight somebody and I certainly don’t want to do that. However, I should at least name the Original Dignitaries aside from Jason and myself and salute them for their contributions: Nate Noy, Tim Foust and Chris Galloway (Burrell Jackson, no longer with the program, contributed also in ways that we appreciated during the course of his 2 ½ years).

But there is one more name I need to bring up and he just happens to be the first Dignitary to be added to the roster after the original ones came on board. I met Russ Cohen of Sportsology at a Columbus Clippers baseball game in June of ’07. Steve and I were hoping to get credentialed for the NHL Entry Draft through the aforementioned STN and that fell through, but while there, Steve made sure that his friend Russ and I got to know one another.

I’ve spoken previously that as Steve was hyping to the moon the benefits of mutual collaboration, as he is wont to do, Russ indicated politely that he would like to take the measure of FDH and proceed from there. I shrugged and said that would be fine, which is my general approach on these matters. I do believe that anything that is meant to proceed will proceed. Let’s face it, the Internet is the Wild, Wild West and I’m sure Russ, who had been chugging along with Sportsology since 2000, had seen his fair share of characters come and go.

Russ came on the show shortly thereafter and had a fine appearance. I invited him back in the pro forma manner that I generally employ and he sincerely replied that he would come back anytime and would look forward to working with us to grow together. And thus the professional relationship – and the first seeds of The 21st Century Media Alliance were born.

This past July, when we took our program distribution in-house pending our exploration of greater horizons, we needed some technical help with some aspects of our production. Into the breach stepped Russ and Sportsology to take on the role as our absolute closest professional co-workers.

It’s worth mentioning here that it’s been a real revelation working with Russ, because I had no concept of “respect by association” until we got to know one another. When we come into contact with somebody who knows Russ, Sportsology or any of his associated ventures, there’s a real and tangible respect in the voice of the person who is talking about Russ. The term “pro’s pro” gets thrown around an awful lot, but I can think of nobody who embodies it better. People judge you by who you are associated with and it’s amazing to have that work so strongly for us.

In these five years, the best creative ones of my life by a wide margin, we’ve done so very much. But truly, the best is yet to come. We’ve worked very hard to make 2012 the ultimate breakthrough year for The FDH Lounge and with a team like this working to make it happen, the faith that everyone has shown in me and this enterprise will be justified in a huge way.

Now, here’s the four Mini-Episodes that make up our fifth anniversary celebration: our conversation with singer/songwriter Christopher Cross and our three Dignitary roundtables with Chris Galloway and Ken Detwiler about the MLB Hot Stove League, presidential politics after the New Hampshire primary and proposed BCS reforms.

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