It’s May!!! Can you believe it? April 2020 was just one big Groundhog Day for me. I’m guessing that’s the way it was for many of you as well—same thing, different day. I did get in some disc golf practice with my brother. And I’ve started climbing stairs in my building and doing some exercises on the landing outside of my condo since the gym is closed. So I’m trying to stay active despite all the restrictions. How are all of you doing? Staying healthy? Staying sane? I hope so.
As I’ve been saying for about a month now, I think the restrictions and other things are going to be over sooner than we think. I realize many people don’t want to that to happen and their concerns are not imagined. However, my perception is a vast majority of the population—whether these people believe they are susceptible to COVID 19 or not—have decided they’re willing to take their chances against the virus. They’ve made these calculations by looking at their finances, their jobs, their children’s education, and the overall enjoyment they’re having in their lives. And no law in a free society is going to stop that thinking, especially when that position is held by so many.
We’ll just have to see what happens.
Let’s start where we always do . . .
May 8th: Falon Cooksey
Also in the works: Gregory Howells, Danielle Sleeper, Rodney Kiser, Kristina Branum and Chris Mittendorf, Caleb Powell, Abigail Andrews.
If you’ve been listening to the recent episodes, you’ve heard that my interview with Dr. Grace Telesco from Nova Southeastern University is back on. She contacted me not long after the last newsletter came out and said she and her tech people figured out a way to use ZOOM to stream over Facebook. Of course, I immediately said, “Sure, let’s do it,” although I have to admit I would’ve enjoyed meeting Grace in person. Maybe next time.
Here are the particulars:
Where the interview will be streaming live: https://www.facebook.com/FischlerEdu
Time: 6pm ET
Date: May 7th (next Thursday)
Grace has said she plans for the interview to last about an hour. So, don’t be late—this won’t be like the YouTube Live Shows I do where they’ve been running 90 minutes or longer!!!! hahahahaha During the show, viewers will be able to comment and ask questions just like on other live programs I’m sure you’ve watched on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Grace’s people will be responsible for the production and moderation of the program—meaning, my assistant, Cheree, gets the night off (she keeps an eye on all live shows Unfound does).
What will we be talking about? I’m glad you asked. There will be 3 main topics:
–missing person cases in general.
–the disappearance of Dori Ann Myers.
–helping families with their trauma.
You should know, Dr. Telesco is not just an academic. She was a member of the NYPD for several years and was on duty at the time of 9/11. So she’s seen a lot. I’m sure some of her experiences will come up during our talk—especially in the family trauma section.
Maybe another question you have: Why will be discussing Dori Ann Myers?
You know I never answer questions like: “What’s the most troubling disappearance you’ve covered?” “What are your top ten favorite disappearances Unfound has covered?” “What case would you work on more if you had the time?”
I don’t like those questions, mainly because I don’t put superlatives on any of the disappearances Unfound has featured. They are all equal. They all deserve to be solved. I’m frustrated by all of them, period.
Yet, Grace asked if we could talk about one of Unfound’s disappearances. There was no way I could say, “No,” to that. And here’s why I picked Dori’s:
–her sister, Donajean, died last year so now there is seemingly no “point person” for Dori’s case.
–Dori disappeared from FL. Nova Southeastern University is in FL.
–Dori lived along the Atlantic Coast of FL. That’s also where the university is.
What I hope happens is something like what has happened in New York with a group of college students who have started to work on Suzanne Lyall’s disappearance. It would be wonderful if a collection of students at Grace’s school could start work on Dori’s case. It’s in their area. They could go to all the locations connected to the disappearance. They could follow up on many leads that I don’t think have been adequately checked. And they could do all of it without having to travel very far.
That’s my hope. We’ll just have to see what happens.
In conclusion, I’m looking forward to the interview and I hope you’ll all tune in.
LINKS FOR BOOKS
Here are the links for all 6 for Season 1:
Volume 6 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1077115520
INVITED TO ‘TRUE CRIME GAME TIME’ BY JOHN LORDAN FROM LORDANARTS
Yes, really. I’ve already posted about it in the Discussion Group and Page on Facebook. And I talked about it last night during the Live Show on YouTube. But I’m going to write about it here as well because I know many of you don’t have Facebook accounts—totally fine. And you may not be signed up for YouTube either—totally fine as well.
A couple days ago, John Lordan from Brain Scratch emailed me. If you don’t know him, he has been hosting a true crime program on YouTube for about . . . 5 years? . . . something like that. Technically, he isn’t a podcaster because he does a video show, not an audio one.
But he emailed me. John and I have had a few interactions over the last couple years. We’ve covered a couple of the same disappearances, although off the top of my head I can’t tell you which ones those are. He asked if I would be interested appearing on a game show he hosts on his channel. I didn’t even know John hosted this show but it seems he’s been doing this for about a month.
Frankly, I asked my assistants, “Should I go on it?” They said yes . . . absolutely. Why did I ask them? Well, because I’m really not one for appearing on a show for appearance’s sake. I’ll do the interview with Dr. Telesco because it furthers the cause of solving missing persons cases. I want to speak at universities because I believe in educating future law enforcement officers. I do the YouTube Live Shows because I think it’s important to interact with all of you in a venue where we can talk and discuss true crime topics.
Whereas, in 3 ½ years I’ve never done something where I was involved just because I host a podcast, as if I’m type of celebrity or something. However, I think my assistants were right, in that the game show is for charity and I certainly support that cause in these times where many people have lost their jobs. I also believe that is the very reason John starting doing this game show—to benefit less fortunate people. Because frankly, my perception of John is that he thinks like me: He’s all about the solving of cases and not about the celebrity part of the job.
So, I’ll be appearing and I’m excited about it. I hope the show raises more money than any of the others so far.
Where it will be playing live: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeekenDorx
Time: 8:30pm ET
Date: May 9th (that’s next Saturday)
My understanding is there will be 3 other podcast hosts competing besides myself. At this time I have no idea who those others will be. The show is not really a “trivia” show. From what I’ve seen, it has elements of Family Feud, Card Sharks, and a few others in its presentation. So it doesn’t pay to be technically “book smart”.
Even though it’s for charity, you can guarantee I’ll be playing to win because that’s who I am . . . ahem. I just hope I can keep my language PG-rated if I start to get my butt kicked. I guess, in a way, you’ll get to see what I’m like when my trivia team gets together at Fat Cat Tavern here in Largo, FL on Thursday nights. Well . . . it used to, before COVID 19. I make no excuses: I’m a vicious competitor. I’m like that in disc golf too. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
I hope you’ll all tune in. I hope you’ll take part in the chat that goes along with the game. I hope you’ll monetarily contribute to the cause John is featuring: Feeding America.
My assistants are working on something. I’m not sure exactly what it is. And what form it will take. But this is how it got started . . .
About a month ago, my assistant, Eric—you know him as Dr. Eric Grabowsky, came to me with the idea that Unfound should maybe think about some additional programming due to many people being stuck at home during these Times Of COVID. This triggered something in me because I had been noticing in the weeks before our conversation that some of the YouTube shows I follow—NOT true crime ones—had already started providing more content due to the circumstances. More interaction with the viewers. More live streaming. Etc. So, once again, Eric’s comment spoke to me because I had already noticed things going on elsewhere.
The problem? Really . . . I’m already maxed out with my time. I do the Wednesday night Live Show. I, of course, do everything for the Friday episodes. I host the Think Tank on Sunday evenings. And that doesn’t include the phone calls I have, the notes I must take after phone conversations, the reading I must do, etc. for the episodes to come to fruition. And somewhere in there, I’d like to workout and play some disc golf and . . . sleep.
So, what to do? What to do?
So, what I told Eric was, “Sounds like a great idea. You’re in charge of it. Let me know what you and the others come up with.” We had a meeting on a Saturday like two week ago where I told the other assistants about Eric’s general idea and that I would simply oversee it—I would not be in charge of creating it. So essentially, I’d have the ultimate thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever new programming idea was created.
They’ve already had one meeting without me. There’s already a kind of “general format” and they’ve already come up with a name for it. My belief it’s going to be something that’s interactive and “live” although I’m not sure about the details at this point. But the main point is I couldn’t be more ecstatic that they are working on something in which they can be the focal point. Because I don’t need to get all the attention, even though I started Unfound. I’m perfectly willing to let my assistants run with their ideas, as long as the ideas are in the spirit of what Unfound stands for.
That’s all I can tell you at this time. When they are ready to go public with it, they’ll let you know. But be looking for it within the next month.
Are you a Patreon yet? If not, please consider it.
THE UPDATE EPISODE
Numero five is in the books. It came in at over two hours. However, that was shorter than the last one in December. Why? I don’t know. Not sure. I’m not sure it means anything.
Athough people enjoy hearing the updates and they like to hear progress is being made on some cases, what seems to hit people the most emotionally is when I read off all the names at the end. I can’t say that surprises me. But in the original concept of the Update Episode, the list of all the names wasn’t included.
Here’s how it happened . . .
Some time during the early summer of 2018, one of my assistants—I’m not sure who it was—suggested I do an update episode. I immediately loved the idea because at that point there were many updates on disappearances Unfound had covered but I hadn’t yet talked about the developments. Within a few days, I put together the recording that became Update Episode Vol. 1
But there was an issue. After recording the updates, I realized how many disappearances didn’t get mentioned—a fact that continues to this day. I felt bad. Really bad. Because I never want any of these people to be forgotten. That’s when I decided to read off all the names like they do at 9/11 anniversaries—all the people who died in the Twin Towers, for example.
That’s how reading the list came to be. And it’s now become the most emotional part of the Update Episodes.
The next Update Episode will be the last Friday of August. We do them every 4 months if you haven’t noticed.
This just happened recently. And before I get into it, I am not going to tell who the guest is. So, don’t ask.
Within the past ten days, a former guest on the program contacted me asking if I could delete the episode in which she appeared. The message surprised me because this particular guest was one of the gung ho people to ever appear on the program. In other words, there was a very short time between me talking to her for the first time and her appearing on Unfound. I think it was only a matter of a few weeks—very rare.
In response, I called her up. After talking to her for about twenty minutes, I determined that the reason she was making the request was NOT because of what she thought of the episode. In fact, she thought it came out great. Instead, other people were giving her a hard time about it.
I told her that she isn’t the first guest to be given crap about what was said on an episode. My guests get it. I’ve gotten it. There have been posts in the Discussion Group. Posts elsewhere. I’ve gotten emails. And even a few threats. So I know all about complaints.
To be specific, she was not angry with me or anything said in the episode. She stands by everything she said. But I think she had reached a kind of tipping point with others—who I will not name.
What did I tell her? I told her that she did the right thing by coming on Unfound. These people who are complaining are only doing so because of how the episode made them look and NOT because she said anything wrong in the interview. What have I said, “I can’t help it if facts make certain people look guilty.” In addition, “I can’t help it if the interview makes it appear as if certain people aren’t doing their jobs.” Sorry, not sorry.
I also told her that if these people are going to criticize and “hit” her, then she needs to hit back harder, especially since she did nothing wrong and said nothing wrong in the interview. I believe she got the message I tried to convey to her. But I have to be honest: Even if she had kept requesting the episode be taken down, I wouldn’t have complied.
Well, first and foremost, if I were to delete every episode that people complain about, there would be no Unfound. It wouldn’t exist. Almost every episode gets some type of complaint from someone who is close to the disappearance. For me it’s just kind of expected now. Furthermore, I am certainly not going to delete anything that I believe is the truth and factual. I mean, if I do that, we might as well just fold up the tent and go home.
The other part of this is a little more sensitive. I don’t like saying, “No,” to the guests. They choose to be on the program. They put their trust in me to make the interview is presented in the right away. They trust that I won’t do anything that could jeopardize what they’re trying to do. This is a touchy topic because really . . . as much as I talk to them on the phone . . . we are strangers. Yes, they may listen to the program before choosing to do an interview but I don’t have a long-established relationship with any of these people.
Once again then, I don’t like saying no. I don’t like putting myself in a position where I ever have to say no to them. Thus, it wasn’t easy for me to tell this guest, “I’m not going to delete the episode.” But I had to do it because the integrity of the program must be maintained. If episodes just start disappearing, whether requested by a guest or by someone else, the program quickly will lose its credibility. And I tried to make sure this guest understood that.
For the program to be taken seriously, I must stay solid behind the interviews I do. However, this is also the reason we don’t do “cold” interviews on Unfound. Every interview follows an outline that the guest gets beforehand. The guest has an opportunity to add or delete anything to that outline—THEY are in charge of the information, not myself. All I do is ask the questions and guide the conversation.
However, the outline has another purpose—it keeps a guest from coming back later to complain and say, “I didn’t know we were going to talk about that . . .” Somebody might try to do that and shift blame to me if things go wrong. Well, because it’s my program, I am ALWAYS ultimately responsible. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is somebody saying I tricked or suckered them into something. I would NEVER do that to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Ever.
To be clear, though, this is not what this particular guest was saying. Her problem was with others giving her a hard time about the interview. She personally had no problem with it.
This was the first occurrence of something like that and that’s why I wanted to tell all of you about it. I managed to iron everything out with her and I assured her that she has my full support in “hitting back” against these people who were giving her a hard time. And I told her to tell them that the interview will stay as it is . . . forever.
THE Q&A EPISODE
I enjoyed doing it. I like getting your questions, especially ones that that focus on parts of Unfound that I kind of just take for granted. But, if you heard the episode, I will also take the opportunity to answer some personal questions as long as they are PG-rated and not TOO personal.
The Q & A episode is also important to me because I don’t know how many other hosts reveal how everything happens behind the scenes. Of course, if they are asked, their answers would depend on what kind of program they do. For example, if there is one host or two. Is it an interview program? Is it the kind of true crime podcast that does all different types of crime or just one particular kind?
There could be a wide variety of answers and transparency depending on some of those preceding questions.
But for me, I enjoy giving all of you a look behind the scenes because I worked in show biz at one time and mostly worked behind the scenes, although I spent a lot of type in front of the curtain as well. I can remember when once in a while we’d have new people backstage during the magic show I used to manage. Although these people weren’t allowed to see the props up close because that would give the tricks away, just them getting to see the kind of “dance” that goes on as props slide around, magicians’ assistants change from one costume to the next, the magicians themselves timing everything, etc. – it gave these people a further appreciation of how much work goes into it.
So, when I get questions about Unfound and how it works, I hope all of you feel the same way.
That was the second Q & A Episode I’ve done. The first came about a year ago, although it wasn’t planned. I had not one but TWO guests back out of interviews and the idea of doing an “Ask Me Anything” episode became a thing. Now, I should say, if you also watch the Live Show on Wednesday nights on YouTube, you heard me answer some of those questions before. However, since a lot fewer people watch the Live Show than listen to the episodes, I thought it was an opportunity for the much larger audience to hear answers to some very good questions about myself and the program.
One more point and if I may, they were all great questions for the episode but I hope you paid very close attention to the last one I answered: Where do I see Unfound going? I meant every word I said. I want Unfound to be a “thought leader”.
What does that mean?
I would compare it to the film, Moneyball. If you haven’t seen it, you should. The film is a true story about how the General Manager of the Oakland A’s figured out that he couldn’t compete with other teams monetarily and how he, along with the help with a couple experts in statistics, devised an entirely new way of assessing a baseball player’s worth. The thinking was to find those good players who were “under the radar” by using other types of stats besides ERA, hits, RBI’s, etc. All the other teams and the team’s own fans thought the organization was crazy.
But, in the end, baseball teams are now run the way the A’s starting doing it almost 20 years ago.
That’s what I mean by “thought leader”. We want to transform the way people think about disappearances. I personally want to put myself in a position where I’m the one who’s called by major media organizations when they need someone to speak intelligently about recent nationally-known disappearances. Because currently, the talking heads who get invited to speak have no idea what they’re talking about. Yes, they have law enforcement experience. Yes, some of them had nice careers. But they know nothing about missing persons cases at all.
And as long those people continue to get presented as experts, the public’s perception will never change. Ever. Disappearances will continue to be seen as occurrences that only happen to drug addicts and prostitutes and criminals and people who the public has dismissed probably got what they were asking for anyway. In fact, it’s for that reason that “clean cut”, law-abiding people get so much attention from national news when they disappear—because the perception is it rarely happens.
Whereas, I think what we’ve shown on Unfound that any type of person can disappear at any time. Sure, drugs can play a factor. Breaking the law can be a factor. Sex trafficking can be a factor. But really, relationships are the #1 driver of disappearances and virtually everyone is in some type of one. For example, does the public understand that by dating and/or marrying someone actually INCREASES a person’s chance of disappearing, not decreases it?
So, that’s where Unfound is headed. We’ll get there by continuing to do what we do. Doing great episodes. Working with families. Me doing these interviews like the one coming up with Dr. Grace Telesco. Me visiting schools to talk to law enforcement majors. Etc. That’s where we’re going. I hope you’ll join us.
You can expect the Q & A episodes to happen once a year. So . . . next April . . . 2021 . . . I’m sure it will get here quickly. If that’s too long to wait, please check out the Live Show on Wednesday nights at 9pm on YouTube and get your question in.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND UNFOUND
–Unfound supports accounts on Podomatic, iTunes, Stitcher, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify,
Deezer and Facebook.
–on Wednesday nights at 9pm ET, please join us on the Unfound Podcast Channel on YouTube for the Unfound Live Show. All of you can talk with me and I can answer your questions.
The new website: www.theunfoundpodcast.com
Please have a great May 2020!