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Entertainer Tesh Self-Syndicates Radio Show

John Tesh is often recognized for his lengthy stint as the co-host of “Entertainment Tonight,” or for his successful music career. However, under the radar he has carved out an impressive radio business, creating his own company Sherman Oaks-based Tesh Media Group, and successfully placing his own “John Tesh Radio Show,” in approximately 230 markets globally. Additionally, the radio show made its first local appearance last month when it premiered on Glendale-based 95.9 KFSH-FM, The Fish. The idea for the show arose out of Tesh’s realization that his wife, actress Connie Sellecca had a stack of magazines piled high by her bedside that she never had time to read. Aiming to distill the most pertinent information from those magazines into a radio program geared towards adult women, Tesh decided to start his own show with the theme, “intelligence for your life.” “We try to create stuff that’s of use to people,” Tesh said. “We try to give people tools to be inspired and present them with something that impacts them. We encourage people to find a brand new day and celebrate the love in their life. We want them to set goals and stay focused on those goals, as long as they’re worthy goals that enlarge other people’s lives.” It was this inspirational message that landed Tesh on The Fish, a Christian-focused station owned by Camarillo-based Salem Communications Company. The program will air weeknights from 7 p.m. until midnight. “We’ve seen that his show had substantial ratings growth throughout the country. He’s on 200 affiliates and when we saw the track record, we said ‘let’s do our best to make room for him,’ Terry Fahy, the vice president/general manager of the Salem Los Angeles cluster of stations, said. “We really think the show is strong and has grown. We expect it to be really big for us on two fronts. We believe that it’s going to attract a big audience off of the program’s merits, and because he’s local he can interact with our advertisers and our listeners.” One of the more interesting aspects about Tesh’s radio career is his decision to self-syndicate. All or nearly all of the radio personalities across the country that are syndicated are generally part of a syndicate network, yet from the get-go five years ago Tesh decided to go at it alone, forming a locally based company with only himself and one other employee. Since then, the company has grown to 20 employees. “It’s a very unusual decision to make and it’s been over two years since I took a paycheck. We’re still in the building process even though we’re on over 200 stations,” Tesh said. “We just had the idea to self-syndicate and we saw a void. The beauty of it is that we’re not in business with any of the big dogs of the industry. We’re on Clear Channel stations and Infinity Stations alike. We run it like a family business. We don’t take any ads that a nine year-old couldn’t listen to.” While at first Tesh found self-syndication to have been difficult and expensive, as it required a major cash outlay, he now maintains that it allows his show to get onto more stations as he can potentially target up to several different stations in each city in an effort to place the show. Currently, the business’ efforts are focused to break the radio show into more markets. In the last two weeks alone, the program debuted in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Colorado Springs. And in the future, Tesh hopes for the show to include a television component to it. “We aren’t planning on syndicating any other programs through our company, but there might be a television component to the business that we’ll eventually introduce,” Tesh said. “It might be online or on the air. We’ve had people come to us in the past. The big hurdle is time. Logically, we’ll start it online, like a video podcast.”

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