Todd and Tony ‘road show’ leaps from blog to televisionWritten by Bill Stewart | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo media has featured some cool two-person teams over the years: Martz and Shaw, Kelly and Staples, Mitch and Mary Beth and Shores and Steele, just to name a few.
A relatively new pair known as Todd and Tony is causing some positive talk about their blog (tonyandtoddsroadsideattractions.blogspot.com), which features their unique and entertaining video work.
Tony Geftos and Todd Gaertner’s success in the year they’ve been together has been such that the Toledo team has earned their very own half-hour TV special to be aired by their employer 13abc, WTVG, at 1:30 p.m. May 3.
It will feature some of the best of Tony and Todd’s Roadside Attractions, one-minute video vignettes that offer interesting, entertaining and humorous peeks at out-of-the- way area attractions.
The talented tandem describes themselves as “Purveyors of the unique. Champions of the extraordinary. Fanatics of the bizarre.”
“It started off as a lot of ideas we always wanted to do. Things that we’ve seen at the station that we always wanted to do that we never covered,” said Geftos, a news reporter, who said he and his partner, a photojournalist, have worked together at 13abc WTVG for about eight years covering primarily serious news.
Geftos said their new endeavor “more or less breaks up the tedium of the jobs. It gives us a little levity.”
Gaertner credits Geftos with his foray into talent.
“It was actually Tony’s idea. We did maybe two [of the features] and obviously it was just he and I. And I shot everything,” he said. “And then it was his idea and he said we should try to get you into it somehow. I was reluctant at first. I’m not the best person to be in front of a camera. I like to stay behind.”
Geftos, 31, grew up in the downriver area of Detroit, graduated from Riverview Community High School, and later magna cum laude from Western Michigan University. He and his wife Colleen boast a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Bianca.
Gaertner, a 29-year-old bachelor, is a St. John’s Jesuit and University of Toledo graduate with a BA in Communications.
Examples of their work that might show up on their TV special include: a visit to Cabela’s in Dundee, Mich., with an up-close and personal look at the bears out front; a stop at the windmill farm in Wood County; Mystery Hill; and the setting for their TV special, The Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky.
The original setting for the May 3 special was COSI, but after that closed, the two had to come up with a new venue. They chose Sandusky’s Merry-Go-Round Museum.
“We thought we’d give a little plug to something that people not necessarily associate with Sandusky. Most of the times it’s Cedar Point. Hey, we’re going with the Merry-Go-Round Museum to shed some light on the place,” Geftos said.
Brian Trauring, news director at 13abc, said, “This is a great way to show the good, the unusual and even the odd things that make our area a fascinating place to live. Tony and Todd have put together a creative and fun show that people will enjoy.”
What does the future hold for Toledo’s newest team?
“We just kind of take it one day at a time and do what we’re doing and keep trying to get the word out. That’s the big thing, just get the word out. The more people see it, the more people like it, so we’re just trying to find ways to tell people,” Gaertner said.
Geftos added, “If people watch this special then there might be a second one. I guess that’s our main goal right now.”
Mitch Jacob, news director of WTOL, reports that the station is the only Toledo television station to be honored as 2008 Regional Edward R. Murrow Winners.
Jacob said WTOL was recognized in three categories:
Overall Excellence, WTOL-TV
Best Newscast, WTOL-TV for News 11 at 5 pm.
Best News Series, WTOL-TV “Teen Prostitution”
Jacob said The Edward R. Murrow News Award is one of the television industry’s most coveted awards for journalistic excellence.
Pat Livingston, news director of NBC24, tells me that reporter Arielle Berlin and photographer Bill Price were in Washington, D.C., last week covering the Pope’s visit. Livingston said Berlin focused on a local delegation from the Toledo area that made the trip and sent back reports Wednesday and Thursday, in addition to writing a blog on NBC24.com. Berlin covered the Pope’s meeting with the bishops and the Mass at Nationals Park. Livingston said NBC24 was the only Toledo TV station that went to Washington to cover the Pope’s visit.
In our “Where are they now” department: I received an e-mail from Steve Jablonski, who used the name Mike Jablonski on the air for many years in the news department at WSPD. Mike was the newsperson on my afternoon show on WSPD back in the 1980s.
I’ve really enjoyed reading your columns, especially the ones about the good old days in Toledo radio. Sure brings back fond memories of our days at WSPD,” he wrote.
Jablonski said he’s now living in Columbus and has been with Columbia Gas for 15 years where he’s the state Communications Director.
Britanny Barhite, Promotions Director for Cumulus Toledo, reports that tickets are going fast for Star 105.5 and Tower 98.3’s Time Warp Prom at the Clarion Hotel-Westgate May 3 from 8 p.m. to midnight. The night is a 21 and over trip back to the 1980s and features live music, a best retro-dressed contest, prizes and the crowing of a king and queen.
Brian Trauring, 13abc’s news director, said there’s been a lot of inquiries about Bill Spencer and when he starts as a meteorologist at 13abc. Trauring said Spencer’s debut is this weekend on the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.