From the Coast Guard to the Green Room

Guest post by Andrew Hartung

After being found ‘not seaworthy’ to work in search and rescue with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), I returned to school and found a new career that I felt I could be just as passionate about, public relations, which I would choose as my
next and hopefully final career.

At 40-years old, I was extremely excited to graduate from Seton Hall University in May 2008 but was discouraged to discover that it was very difficult to find employment. I had just spent the last 36 months in school but had absolutely no experience in the field. School taught me to network heavily, both in person and online via LinkedIn, and my work paid off with an internship at iMedia
Public Relations
. I now found myself with Tom Cosentino, my new boss, who doesn’t wear stripes on his sleeves or act as if he were made of salt water like my previous supervisors in the USCG.

My task since first arriving a month ago has been to raise awareness for “The Caesars Tribute II: A Salute to the
Ladies of the Ice,” with different media outlets. I have found that pitching an ice skating event in October, when it’s not even cold outside, is like trying to sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. Some editors entertained the prospect of interviewing a world famous skater but many nicely declined.

Building a rapport with the media was useful in receiving my first bite. One planning editor/producer at FOX
Television
in Philadelphia, Berlinda Garnett, grabbed onto my story. I quickly built a connection with Berlinda and was able
to initiate a friendly and comical dialogue. After a few conversations, she took to the story of interviewing a skater but soon after I sold her on the story that ‘ice cube’ melted. However, the skater, who we planned to bring to town as part of the media tour, was unable to make the scheduled date.

A week ago, Tom informed me that he had scheduled Sarah Hughes for an appearance on “Good Day NY,” a Fox5 morning show,
and invited me to come with him to the interview. Sarah is a gold medal Olympian and as a participant in the Caesar’s Tribute, was booked to promote the event.  Tom’s job was to ensure everything went smoothly at the morning show.

The night before the show, I was very anxious knowing I had to be up at 4:30 a.m. to meet Tom for the drive into Manhattan.  I had met some important people throughout my life but meeting an Olympic Gold Medalist, who worked their entire life to gain such recognition, still put me in awe. I tried explaining to my daughter, Abigail, who is five-years old, what I was about to do. I showed Abigail a You Tube video of Sarah’s ice skating performance and she thought Sarah was a princess.

When we finally arrived in NYC the next morning and met Sarah with her mother, I was astonished to see how down to earth she actually was. She came across like any other young girl, if not friendlier than most. We were immediately escorted to hair and make-up which was even more exciting. Never in a million years would I have ever entertained the idea that I’d be in this kind of situation a year or two ago. I was dying to take pictures or videos the entire time so I wouldn’t forget a minute, but knew I had to restrain myself. The halls of Good Day NY were filled with past celebrities autographs who had visited over the years. It was
amazing.

After make-up, Sarah went to get her hair done. Tom, her mother, and I went to the Green Room (which was actually brown). As I stepped through the doorway, I saw someone who looked very familiar, Theresa Caputo, a psychic medium. Her ability to talk to the dead is the focus of a new show on TLC called “Long Island Medium.” Literally two days prior, I watched about 15
minutes of this show for the first time. She made everyone’s hair stand up as she explained to a pregnant assistant producer that someone was ‘visiting’ her.

This assistant was in tears and barely able to stand. Soon she turned her attention towards Tom and claimed his father and cousin were there. It was very strange.

Soon we were called into the actual studio. Sarah was already sitting next to Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly preparing to go
on air. The count down started; three, two, one and in minutes it was over. Since it was my first time to witness such a production, I had no idea how it went but it all looked good to me. Tom said she did well, he is the expert.

I look forward to my new career and many more similar experiences like I had my first time in a Green Room.

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