One Thousand and Counting


Nov. 14, 2001, was the day it all began, live from Shallot’s Kosher Restaurant in the former Sony Center on Madison Avenue at 11 p.m.

That was the inception of a new radio program named “The Stoler Report” profiling real estate trends in the tristate region. It was broadcast live after a group of three to four real estate leaders had dined and drank together in preparation for the broadcast.

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Fast forward to September 2003, when the show began to air once a month from the Studios of CUNY TV at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (an appropriate location since the studios are located in the former B. Altman Department store.)  September 2005 marked the beginning of the Stoler Report to air as a weekly half hour broadcast. This was followed up in March 2006 with the second show, “Building New York: NY Stories,” profiling lives of individuals from the tristate region.

Next stop is September 2012 for the inception of “The New York Business Report With Michael Stoler,” a very similar show that joins the ranks of broadcasts on WNET and PBS. After 11  broadcasts, PBS agrees to air the Stoler Report, which also airs on CUNY TV. Nevertheless, the Stoler Report does not continue in the ranks of Sesame Street and leaves PBS in June 2013.

Fast-forward to this year on Feb. 6, an important day in the life of Michael Stoler and his broadcasts with the taping of the three shows representing the 1,000th broadcasts. Imagine, more than 1,800 guests, 325 life stories and unique experiences on the set. (My most recent addition: a half-hour podcast called “In Conversation With Michael Stoler” which launched earlier this month.)

Individuals from all walks of life have appeared, traveling from around the world to participate in the panel discussion focusing of business trends in the region.

Needless to say, the shows have had hiccups like the time that a fistfight nearly erupted when David Lichtenstein challenged Michael Fascitelli and Norman Sturner on whether the market was reaching a peak.

Perhaps the discussion was not stimulating when Sam Giarruso and Yair Levy both closed their eyes on the set since they might have had a little too much alcohol prior to the taping.

There was the time I joined the star of the Yiddish Theater and Broadway (not to mention Boston Public and Picket Fences) Fyvush Finkel in a chorus of “If I was a rich man” from Fiddler on the Roof.

One of the requirements of individuals who participate on the broadcast is the signing of a general release, allowing CUNY TV to broadcast the show and utilize a photo or image of a guest. Only one individual—the real estate investor, publisher and television personality Mortimer Zuckerman—refused to sign the release. (He did agree to a modified version.)

Over the years, I have moderated at least 30 broadcasts on restaurants and hospitality. I have been fortunate to have been assisted by Drew Nieporent, one of America’s most respected and celebrated restauranteurs who made essential introductions.

The co-owners of the Meatball Shop, Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman, joined the panel dressed in their company baseball hats and men’s short shorts. On another occasion when Marcus Samuelsson was on the panel with chef David Pasternack of Esca; David arrived with fishing work shoes, shorts and a t-shirt with blood stains from a morning of fishing. Fortunately, he agreed to change his t-shirt and wear a Stoler Report shirt. Lenny Kern, one of the owners of Brooklyn based Spumoni Gardens, was more than an hour late for the taping, and apologized by providing at least six pizza pies for the guests and the staff.

Those kinds of goodies are not completely uncommon. When I profiled chef David Burke he was generous enough to supply his famous lollypops—in this case filled with (too much) alcohol. (In the best possible way.)

All in all, with the exception of some guests promoting their properties for sale or rent, a couple of angry comments and screw ups (which required slight editing), lots of great times have taken place during the first 1,000 shows, and I look forward to the next 1,000.