No one expected over 100 million of them to be sold in only four months when Spud Melin first released the modern Hula Hoop to the United States in 1958.

It was that same year that I was born into a southern Illinois family with a vision of their own for America’s other new obsession…the television.

That’s right, I was actually born into the television business to a father who owned Video TV Sales & Service in a small southern Illinois town right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.

The same year that Wham-O was cashing in with their 40 inches of molded plastic filled with a handful of beads, my dad was aiding in the explosive growth of the equally ubiquitous television, which then had been purchased by slightly more than 83% of the population.


My senior year in high school I was asked to be a part of the marketing committee for our annual end-of-the-year Senior Carnival. Every year previously, students would come onto the intercom daily during morning announcements and imitate famous voices from movie, television and radio in an effort to promote ticket sales and develop class participation.

Not this year!

Borrowing a cassette deck from our English Department, I set out with two other seniors and traveled to every radio station in St. Louis. My vision was to actually have the stars of KSHE, KADI, KXOK and KMOX voice our daily promotional announcements. It worked on multiple fronts, although for years afterwards many of my friends thought that it was me impersonating the real DJs.

Not only were our marketing efforts a success, but it set me on my career path. I wanted to be a voice, a personality, a pitch man...I wanted to talk for a living.

It's funny, really.

During my six years as an adjunct instructor at Northern Kentucky University teaching broadcast theory, sales, marketing and promotion, I started each new semester asking the same question of my class.

"Who in the room has sold something, anything, either personally or professionally?"

Maybe three hands out of 25 were typically raised and it always led me to my first teaching lesson.

EVERYONE was a salesperson and I had known that from a very early age.

Whether selling mom for an extra cookie, or dad to stay out late, your first crush to like you or go out on a date, your boss for a raise or even the job in the first place we all sell and we do it every day!

That's what I wanted to do and it's the path that I have followed since achieving my degree in TV/Radio and Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University. Unfortunately, explaining my double minor in Anthropology and English will have to wait for another day.