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20 Years Ago, I Was Riding Roller Coasters For A Living – On Live TV!

While I first appeared on NBC’s Today Show in 1999, I became a Contributing Correspondent with the show in early 2000 and my main focus was in line with my syndicated newspaper column and to produce Gadget Guru segments relating to consumer products. My beat was covering consumer electronics, housewares, hardware, sporting goods, toys and general new products. This meant I spent a lot of time walking countless miles of aisles of various trade shows!

In my second year of my contract I was approached about doing a live shot from a new roller coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. I’m sure I’ll add that video to this site at some point as it’s historic in that it was the first time a TV show had attempted to go live from the seat of a moving roller coaster. Yes, this was before the days of GoPros and smartphones and it was quite an accomplishment. While many stations had gone live with a roller coaster in the background, none had attempted the technological challenge and absorbed the expense to outfit a roller coaster seating area with microwave transmitters and broadcast cameras.

Because these segments were fun to watch and tied in well with various holiday seasons, each year, I was given the duty of producing a segment from various theme parks around the country. Over the years I established quite a reputation for trying new things and having fun with my segments on the air.

From 1995, here’s a segment that included taped footage captured at various theme parks in the Central Florida area and a live shot from, what was then, the tallest and fastest waterslide in the USA. This segment was part of the Today Show’s Summer Vacation series where the entire show was broadcast remotely.

In this segment, I visit the Back to the Future ride at Universal Theme Park, participate in a Baywatch stunt at Sea World, ride a roller coaster at Busch Gardens and do a live spot while going down the Summit Plummet water ride at Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

Yeah, I get dizzy just thinking of it!

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