"The Lady of the Aether", it seems, has found her way onto the internet. It also seems that she prefers the company of pinball enthusiasts. Not one but two credible radio shows focusing on pinball have started in the past month.
But just who are these people? And should you listen to either show, or both? Pinball News went to find out! Pinball News sent each participant a set of standardized questions, and here are the answers from the two shows.
Shaggy: I'm insanely cute and chicks love me. Ok well that's an outright lie, but I like it.
Jesse: I have lived in Green Bay , Wisconsin for my entire life. I am married with two daughters. My hobbies/interests include pinball, fishing & camping, website design, and motorcycles. I am also a musician.
Korn: Oh, what's to tell? I'm in my thirties, married, and have not only an understanding wife but also one who really enjoys playing! Oh and in case any Pinball News readers are wondering, yes I'm the SAME guy who keeps harassing Stern's test machines!LTG: I love pinball. I've spent a lifetime in the coin operated industry, from working for my Father, to working for one of the largest ops in the Midwest . I was a test operator for about 18 years. I've owned SS Billiards for over 34 years. And I'm a people person; quick to care and help.
Shaggy: I stole it! Hey I know a GREAT idea when I see one! Really though I heard another radio program* and thought, "Gee, we can do this, but better!"
Both Norm and I know pinballs well from 1947 to present. Our collection of games stretches from WW2 to the present, so EM and solid-state questions are equally welcome. We try and solve the caller's problems on-air, give advice on restoration, or even give our opinions; it's whatever the caller asks for.
Korn: I didn't; Shaggy approached me with the idea and wanted to know what it would take to get the ball rolling. The rest, as they say, was downhill from there.
LTG: Right after that Keith Stelter has posted he was leaving RGP because of all the noise. I posted asking him to stick around. Now I had just got off the phone with Jesse, and when I went in I start with the newest posts, anyone needing help probably hadn't gotten a response yet. Then I ran into a couple separate different long threads and I emailed Keith and told him I was sorry and didn't blame him, and hoped he'd at least hang around until we got the radio station going. Well in my haste I didn't email it, but posted it on the newsgroup.
People offered financial support, initially Jesse and I weren't inclined for that. But in talking, we remembered the year Expo didn't have many games there, and people decided it's their Expo too, and what can we do to help? And Expo is bigger and better. We talked about that, people wanted to be part of something very special. and this opportunity is bigger than Jesse or I, and we agreed that we wanted people to be involved. Besides financial help, there are offers of web work, art work, recordings, help, pieces and parts, people really came together to make this happen. Jesse has some equipment, and a lot in place already. And the help will make things even better. This isn't set up to be making money, but with the help and sponsors for shows, we can keep out of pocket expenses small or none, so the show can continue for a long time.
Shaggy: None! This venture is new for both Norm and myself. Again, we have made eight full length (2 hr) DVDs on pinball repair and restoration, and that experience certainly helps.
Jesse: My background in radio starts back when I was about 16. This is when I received my Amateur Radio license and started a weekly get together called the “Green Bay Area Youth Net”. This show was geared towards teenagers and young adults to promote and discuss Amateur Radio as a hobby. We would take “check-ins” and talk to people in the area. Around the same time, I started a rock-n-roll band with a couple of local teens. I played drums and was also the “tech guy”. I ended up buying and operating PA equipment for the band. At the ripe old age of 21, we were playing in bars and even scored a few wedding gigs. I setup and ran the sound equipment for almost every show we played.
Korn: Nothing, other than knowing a lot about audio/video formats and also a lot about computer networking.
LTG: In high school I wanted to be a DJ.
Shaggy: We don't have any particular background tie in. We've been involved with pinball since about 1994 as a hobby, and also have been interested in the repair/restore side of pinball.
Jesse: I already mentioned Amateur Radio. I used to repair old, tube radios and amplifiers as well as build electronic kits. I have also been a welder, kitchen cabinet builder, telecommunications equipment technician, and IT System Administrator.
Korn: My background doesn't tie in at all. Pinball is a diversion for me from my real job. I collect games because at my core I'm a problem solving type of guy. But you can't always solve the same type of problem or you get lazy, bored, or both. So (IMHO) I needed a problem-solving type hobby that had completely new problems. So, I fix pinball machines!...and occasionally I'll get bored doing that and gut a room in my house to the joists and rebuild it from the outside in. :)LTG: It gives me the chance to spread the word of Harry Williams. Yeah though I walk through the valley of the silver ball, I shall fear no drained balls, thy flippers and pop bumpers do comfort me.
Shaggy: I presented my ideas to Vince (TheKorn). He wanted to help, and was instrumental in making the show happen. Basically we got the whole thing up and running in two weeks! Jim Schelberg also helps as our on-site engineering during the show. Norm and myself on the mics. Jim runs the intro songs, commercials, and the comical "drops" during the show. Jim also screens the call-ins to make sure we don't get any 'insane' callers on the air!
Korn: Setting up a radio station is pretty far removed from rocket science, but depending on your provider it can either be trivially easy (live365) or more complex. Typically, the easier to set up option (live365) is also the costliest.
LTG: I ran this by my webhost Greg Kemnitz , because anything that needed to be hooked up here, he'd most likely be doing. Greg had a bunch of ideas, and said Jesse and I should be co-hosts. Jesse loves pinball, is very involved in the chat room and products, and I have a long relationship with the industry. Two completely yet similar passions, for Jesse it's a hobby, for me it's my livelihood. Greg thought if a guest didn't make it, or the show went flat, that Jesse and I could carry it.
Jesse: I contacted Lloyd about being a guest on the show. I admire his true willingness to help people and keep pinball alive. He asked if we could take it one step further and be a co-host. I said “sure”!
Korn: I didn't. Clay chose me!
LTG: Jesse of Pinball Magic .com called me and asked if I'd be interested in helping with a radio show he wanted to put together. Jesse has been doing his chat room for 4 or 5 years, so I knew anything he'd be doing wouldn't be a flash in the pan, but would be around for some time. I said yes, what can I do to help ?
Shaggy: Would love to do a weekly video version of the show, and the web cam is a step towards that. But doing the video is more work, bandwidth, and time/money. More importantly, first you have to walk before you can run. Right now we're getting the hang of walking. We need to implement a few more things on the web site as well. There is definitely an evolution to this, and we're learning quickly.
Jesse: Lloyd and I have a couple things planned. We are trying to organize a live show from Pinball Circus, next month. There are also some other ideas we are tossing around. I'd also like to say that I truly appreciate all of the people involved in getting this show off the ground and helping it succeed.
Korn: We're going to be adding more structure to TOPcast as the weeks roll on. For example, I'm going to have a weekly spot on TOPcast, and so are a few other gents whose names I'm not at liberty to divulge yet.
LTG: And that is where we are, a week or two from a test broad cast, website is well under way. With a forum so people can comment on the show and all kinds of neat things like Lloyd's corner. We need to have on the site to where people can down load shows, and we also need to find somebody to type them up, so the hearing impaired can join in the fun.
Shaggy: You can see this if you listen to the show at time of broadcast. http://marvin3m.com/topcast the web cam does all that work!
Jesse: I don't have the broadcast studio finished yet. I don't have any pictures at this time.LTG: Yes, you can sit here and listen.
Shaggy: We do not take ANY donations from anyone for this project. I paid for everything myself. It was not that expensive,but I was frugal and shopped around for all the products and Vince shopped around for the services we needed. That saved a ton of money.
I have heard that other show spent $1500 up front and roughly $250/month for ongoing costs. That's crazy! We did the same thing for about a third of that. But TheKorn (my technical advisor) and I excel at spending money in an intelligent fashion.
Though i have a good tech background, TheKorn really helped a lot. He's located in Chicago, while Norm, Schelberg, and myself are in Detroit . So he acts as our 'remote engineer'.
To help with the ongoing costs we have taken on some paying advertisers. Right now we have Pinball Life and Marco Specialties as paying advertisers. I hope to expand that a bit, though. Not too much more, but it would be nice to have a few more paying advertisers. Similar to the TOP videos, all of the team is fairly disinterested in turning TOPcast into a money making venture. As long as the expenses are covered, that's good enough!
LTG: Jesse put up everything, after the ball was rolling, many people came forward and wanted to be part of it. That help, and the show's sponsors will keep things going for some time. If money is needed, Jesse and I will provide it to ensure its continued success.
*Gary Cubeta started a pinball broadcast from Arizona at the beginning of the year but it has since ended.
© Pinball News 2007