ITPS I’M4FUN Podcast Participants, First Year
On September 7, 2020, my company, ITPS, began a venture into the world of podcasts. When I initially had the idea to start a podcast, it was the summer of 2020 and we were in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and had been for 8 months. Parks were closed. Expos were cancelled. Everyone was more out of touch than I can ever recall. I wanted to find a way to bring the industry together, to create solidarity, and to generate a level of camaraderie that I felt was much needed.
I decided a podcast designed to bring in industry leaders and veterans would be a good approach to take and would allow industry members all over the world to listen in or watch. It was my hope that each podcast would allow guests to share honest and candid conversations about what was happening, how they were coping, and to convey changes or modifications helpful to them that might be helpful to others.
Because I felt we needed to bring ourselves out of the doldrums as best as we could under the challenges we were facing, I called our podcast “I’M4FUN”. After all, fun is what our industry is all about (plus, this has been my car’s license plate for as long as I can remember!). And so, we began with our first podcast on September 7, 2020. We welcomed Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides, as our first guest. Jim and I had a conversation that day (a live conversation, I might add, because we record our podcasts live) about how Covid had impacted manufacturers and suppliers around the world in both the short and long term.
Following the success of that first podcast, we kept going and did a live broadcast every other Wednesday. People tuned in not only from the US, but from multiple countries around the world. We have received numerous comments about how our candor, honesty, and openness have been a welcomed addition to an otherwise gloomy and unforeseen world. We just finished our 25th podcast last week. I would like to point out that at ITPS, we were not set up to broadcast podcasts. We transformed our conference room into a studio, and our staff learned quickly the technicalities involved in promoting and producing live podcasts. It has been a learning experience to say the least, but it has been fun and we have had a fantastic line-up of guests in this past year.
In fact, in our 25 episodes, we have welcomed 31 individual industry guests. Of those, 13 were based in the USA and 18 were based outside the USA. We have welcomed 9 outgoing or incoming chairs of IAAPA. We have had representatives from the manufacturer/supply side, operating side, food and beverage segment, zoo and aquarium segment, family entertainment center segment, waterpark segment, human resources sector, resort operations, and more. And our attendees on our live broadcasts have joined us from 44 unique countries.
Flash forward one year from that first podcast last September, and we are still in that same pandemic. Much has changed. Parks have closed and open, closed again, and re-opened. Parks have changed operational techniques because of sanitation measures, capacity restrictions, and mask mandates. Vaccines are now available, something that was not possible at the beginning of our podcasts. Variants of Covid-19 continue to creep in and wreak havoc. While the 2020 season was a major loss for park operators and suppliers, 2021 has been a slight ray of sunshine as our guests have come to our parks to release pent-up demand. We are not back to 2019 levels, but it seems we are on our way.
As we continue to welcome industry leaders and veterans to our podcast, we hope to talk less about Covid and more about strategies for success and to learn more about behind-the-scenes stories that make each person or company unique. My aim is to always have honest conversations and to engage with our guests in a fun, entertaining, and motivating way.
I want to thank everyone that has joined me as a guest, everyone that has joined us live, and everyone that has watched a recorded broadcast. See below for a list of our first 25 podcasts, and remember, you can watch or listen to all of these by visiting the podcast page on our website or visiting our YouTube channel. Our website also provides the most updated information on past and upcoming podcast guests. Click here to visit.
Remember, we’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!
Founder & CEO, ITPS
International Theme Park Services, Inc.
2195 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
United States of America