Brush with Greatness


Mark's Friggin On Super Fan Round Table on SIRIUS Satellite Radio - Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A few weeks before this write up I was asked to do the first ever Howard Stern Super Fan Round Table on Howard 100 at SIRIUS Satellite Radio. At the time I didn't know what the show was going to be like and I was afraid that I'd get stage fright and not get my thoughts out on the air the way they wanted... So I turned it down. A couple of weeks later I got some encouraging words from Mutt from and Sal the Stockbroker who thought that I'd do fine on the show... Not long after that I got a call from Jason Kaplan from the Stern Show. Jason asked me if I wanted to give it a try. I was still kind of hesitant but I knew that I'd be kicking myself in the ass if I didn't.

I got the call the day before the Super Fan Round Table show was to air so I had 24 hours to think about bailing out. It crossed my mind a few times because I'm no broadcaster and I was still afraid that I'd come off like an idiot on the show. Then I tried to convince myself that it really didn't matter either way and then I started to look forward to it.

I had to drive into New York City from my New Jersey home which is about 55 miles away. I figured it would only take like an hour to an hour and a half to get there. That was a mistake! It took me and my wife 2 friggin hours to get into the city so I was almost late for the show. That wasn't the most pleasant experience but we did make it there in time.

Once we went through security and got up to the SIRIUS studios we were brought right into the first studio you see as you walk in. Jason was there so he introduced me to the other panelists who were there. Irish John, a frequent caller to the Stern show was there. The lovely Christine, who was the second place winner in the Hottest Chick - Biggest Fan contest earlier this year, was the other panelist for the evening. Jon Hein from is the host of the show and Ralph Cirella, Howard's stylist, was supposed to be there but was running late because he had other things going on.

Since Ralph was running late we weren't sure if he was going to be there in time for the show. A few minutes before show time Jon and Jason caught a glimpse of NY Giants player Tiki Barber walking in the lobby. Jason ran out to ask him if he would sit in for Ralph if he didn't show up. Barber had other things going on so he declined to do it but did come in for a quick photo session with the guys in the studio.

After Tiki's visit some of the Howard 100 News team, including Liz Aiello, George Flowers, Ralph Howard and the adorable Michelle Jerson, all came in to say hello... To me!? It was very strange to have the team telling me that they use my site regularly to look stuff up and to get history for their reports. Wow! I guess the past 10 years haven't been a total waste of time after all.

Ralph did show up in time to do the show. He was out of breath and had run up there to make it on time. By this time I had calmed down to the point that I was pretty comfortable and ready to do the show. I was much more relaxed than I expected. Maybe it was because there were only a few other people in the studio and there were no cameras on me.

The Super Fan Round Table has it's own theme song that we all had to sing as the show started. I'm no singer so I tried to back off the microphone a little bit so no one could hear me. Jon Hein started off the show introducing each of the round table and said that I was a bit of a dignitary in his eyes because everyone wanted to meet me. Wow again! I don't get that kind of introduction from anyone. I don't deserve it.

My worst nightmare came true when Jon Hein asked me a question that I didn't really have an answer for. I choked and basically said I had nothing to say to that question. Luckily Ralph broke the ice and said ''Good thing you're here'' and got the focus off of me. A lot of people say they don't like Ralph but he is good at keeping that show rolling and filling in when others, like me, don't have a good response to a question.

The hour long show actually moved along very fast. I didn't have a lot to add to the conversations so I wouldn't be surprised if I was never asked to come back, but others told me I did fine. Either way, I'm glad I did it.

Howard's New Studio

After the show Jon Hein brought us back to check out Howard's new studio which is still under construction. Holy crap! What a set up they're going to have! You walk in and pass Fred's work station on the right. It's so impressive that many of us thought it was Howard's board! No, no, no... THIS is Howard's console over here... A few feet from Fred's board is this magnificent control board with multiple monitors sitting up in front of it. In between Fred's area and Howard's giant console is a desk where Artie and Benjy are supposed to sit.

Directly across from Howard's desk is Robin's fish bowl-like booth. That's right, they're still sticking Robin in a separate booth. She must like being separated from everyone. Safely away from the Wack Packers and other nuts who come on the show.

As you walk past Howard and Robin's areas, you see a two story high ceiling in the rest of the giant studio. All I could say was ''Holy crap!'' as I saw more and more of this impressive space. It's not exactly finished yet either. There are wires hanging and cardboard covering some of the walls to protect them from damage. It's going to be really amazing when they're done.

Not only did we get to see the new studio, we were brought back to their office areas to see where everyone else will be working. Way back in the corner of the space was Howard's office. It's not what you'd expect either. It's probably like 11' by 13' and has a few pieces of the Pottery Barn furniture that Beth picked out. There was no desk or chair, just a couple of small seating areas for Howard to take a rest at, a wooden chess table and a mirror on the wall. More of a game room than an office.

I thought we were done after that. We were getting ready to leave when comedian, and now Howard 100 Newsman, Shuli came by and offered to take us on a tour of the rest of the SIRIUS offices and studios. He walked us through the many offices and cubicles where the SIRIUS staff works. It's quite an operation they have going on over there. Over 120 channels running out of there... and Howard's studio is the biggest of them all.

Damn! What a friggin night that was! First the horrendous traffic, then the Round Table, a tour of Howard's studio and office, the tour of the rest of SIRIUS... and then the long drive home.

I have to thank everyone over at SIRIUS for inviting me over there for the Round Table and showing us around. Jason, Jon, Shuli and the rest of the crew were great. Ralph, yes Ralph, Irish John and Christine were great to work with too. I was also very happy that the Howard 100 News team appreciate the work I do and took time out of their busy schedule to stop by and say hello. They're doing a great job reporting on everything Howard Stern.


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