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Ryan sits w/ 29-time Emmy winning news anchor and author Michael Cogdill

December 13, 2019

Ryan sits w/ 29-time Emmy winning news anchor and author Michael Cogdill
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In this episode of the Radical Company podcast, Ryan sits down with 29-time Emmy winning news anchor and author Michael Cogdill. Michael is an incredible storyteller and wonderful interview as he is transparent about his father's struggle with alcohol and what formed him as a journalist and storyteller.
Ryan and Michael also discuss the ever-changing media landscape, politics in the news, and how technology is changing the news business. Don't miss this episode!
Links from this Episode:
Michael's Book She-Rain - https://www.amazon.com/She-Rain-Story-Hope-Michael-Cogdill/dp/1600377025
Michael's Website - https://michaelcogdill.wordpress.com/
If you enjoy this episode please check out the rest of our episodes on our channel. Please share, review, and subscribe!
Radical Podcast is always looking forward to meeting both aspiring, and grounded professionals across the country! Slide Ryan or Radical a DM on Instagram and let's make it happen!

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In this episode of the Radical Company podcast, Ryan sits down with 29-time Emmy winning news anchor and author Michael Cogdill. Michael is an incredible storyteller and wonderful interview as he is transparent about his father's struggle with alcohol and what formed him as a journalist and storyteller.

Ryan and Michael also discuss the ever-changing media landscape, politics in the news, and how technology is changing the news business. Don't miss this episode!

Links from this Episode:

Michael's Book She-Rain - https://www.amazon.com/She-Rain-Story-Hope-Michael-Cogdill/dp/1600377025

Michael's Website - https://michaelcogdill.wordpress.com/

If you enjoy this episode please check out the rest of our episodes on our channel. Please share, review, and subscribe!

Radical Podcast is always looking forward to meeting both aspiring, and grounded professionals across the country! Slide Ryan or Radical a DM on Instagram and let's make it happen!





Speaker 1[00:00:00]Hey guys, super excited about today's episode of the radical company podcast, I sat down with twenty ninth time Emmy winning WITF, Anchor, Michael Cocktail. Michael is a writer, speaker, and a great storyteller. We really got transparent with Michael's background, his love for storytelling, stories about his father, his past, and a little bit in politics and news and the news cycle. And so the technology's changing news today. It was a really great episode. Michael is a wonderful storyteller, which you'll hear in his voice. And we really get into a lot of topics, especially around his new book coming out. You'll hear more about that on the podcast. Hope you enjoy it.

Speaker 1[00:00:48]Hey guys, it's Ryan Alford, host of the Radical Company podcast. It is the holiday season. We are in the thick of it. I'm late on present buying, but excited about my guests today. Thrilled. Growing up in Greenville, I've lived in New York and done different things, but there's been mainstays in this market for me. And it's just a real pleasure to have. I'm going to give you a lot of titles here, Michael, currently officially the anchor lead anchor of WIIFM, Michael Cocktail. 

Speaker 2[00:01:21]Michael, I appreciate it. 

Speaker 1[00:01:23]Man, 29th time Emmy winner, journalist, anchor. And what reading, knowing already knowing you, feeling I know you. I think everyone in this town feels like they know you, but they don't really know you. But, doing research for this podcast and kind of getting to know you more recently personally, which has been great through Bridget and other storytellers, I think when I read through everything that you do, both literally and figuratively, which will get to the books in a minute. But I think that's what I landed on. I think you're a storyteller. You do it on the news. You're writing books. And I think that's why you've resonated and you've had the longevity and the popularity and everything, because I think you're a great storyteller. And I think that but I do think that's where I landed. And I want to get into that a little bit. But, man, just excited to have you on and just want to get into it. 

Speaker 1[00:01:27]I am honored, man. Honored to be here.

Speaker 1[00:01:29]We have a lot of people that listen locally. Of course, being in a podcast, it's produced at Greenville. Of course, we have local we've got national people that I know will love getting to know you a little bit better. But I'd love to just start. We could talk all day. I know. But for those that may not like me watching the news every night, let's just start from the beginning a little bit. I'll say the Cliff Notes version because being a storyteller and once they start hearing you talk, I know they're going to be just dialed in. But let's start from the beginning. I mean, from Asheville, North Carolina which is a soft place in my heart, having family that grew up there and in Fayetteville and knowing that that area. Well, but let's start there. 

Speaker 2[00:03:18]Weaverville, North Carolina is where I was born in Nashville, raised in Weaverville, a tiny little bedroom community just north northwest of Asheville. Very much an idyllic town, but not an idyllic upbringing. My dad was an alcoholic. He was drunk. I talk about that all the time because I have to sort of submit the darkness in order to gain the light. My dad became sober when I was 17 years old and evolved right into the most beautiful man I will ever know in my life. I miss him to this day. My dad's transformation was nothing short of a miracle, and I'll never forget eulogizing him in that little town. I stood up there and looked at that audience and I said, Look at this church. There's a full church, First Baptist, we reveal. And I said, in that box was the town drunk who became such a leader in this town, such a leader in this church. He drove the church bus. He was an usher and a leader in my life. He came out of nowhere, ran out of Haywood County, North Carolina. One of seven children went hungry as a child in the Depression. He had to go to the YMCA there to take the dignity of a bath. And that marked my father forever. He became the most grateful man I will ever know and gifted that to my mom and gifted that to me. And to this day, I live in the not the shadow, but in the light of my father's gratitude. Now, that little town.

Speaker 1[00:04:46]That's amazing and so grew up there. So obviously rough, rough beginnings to a bright future, I would say, for where we've landed, talk a little bit about that. Journey and becoming a journalist and getting what was the hunger, I think there's this innate curiosity in everyone, but I have to believe that every great journalist I know, there's some amount of either natural storyteller, which I think you are right. But some kind of innate curiosity. But I'd love to hear what led you into this space. 

Speaker 2[00:05:23]There's a sort of a site that one catches as a child. I think if you want to do this job for a living of the world and I remember my dad had a fourth grade education, but he absorbed newspapers. He was one of the most well-read people I'll ever know. And he taught me to appreciate the news. I remember sitting with my father watching Vietnam Stream into our home. And of course, when you were a kid, you think I'm going to Vietnam. This is never going to end. And I was beyond curious about it and would watch those correspondents, talk about the Vietcong, talk about the Ho Chi Minh trail, things that were so foreign to so to so many in that little town, it would seem. But it really wasn't, because TV news brought it home, made it move, put it in motion, made the heart get into motion. And that's what set it off. Watching the likes of Harry Reasoner, Howard K. Smith and the first person I ever interviewed in TV news and I was an intern was Howard K. Smith, scared the living hell out of me. He's a wonderful guy who came into Asheville to give a speech. And he's the first here is the first face into which I ever stuck a microphone. You're very gracious to me. Somehow that's I don't know, synchronicity. I don't know. 

Speaker 1[00:06:39]So you went to see Ashfall to study media journalism. 

Speaker 2[00:06:44]I did. I started out at Wilkes College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. A little college up in the mountains went to Georgia. I was in Georgia with Herschel Walker. Loved that very, very well there. But he was too big for me. I just didn't. I didn't find a home in Athens. Yeah, I still love the university. It's a great place and I came home to talk to you and see Asheville. What did I tell you? 

Speaker 1[00:07:06]So where do your allegiances lie? Being here, so Georgia, Clemson, USC, do we have an allegiance in? 

Speaker 2[00:07:13]My allegiance is education. My dad was determined again. He had a fourth grade education and he said, you are going to have what I never had. My dad used to say, you are. You will get above your raising, you will get above it, but you will always know the way back to it.. Don't get above your raising. But to hell with that. No, you will get above your raising, you will know the way back. And he taught me that. 

Speaker 1[00:07:37]It sounds like you got you’re line with it with the way you speak of your father now, 

Speaker 2[00:07:44]Wonderful, beautiful man. 

Speaker 1[00:07:47]30 years in YFF. So let's talk a little bit about the YFF years. I mean there's a lot of them but I just. But it's amazing. It's funny. And I told Michael this in the pre talk before before the episode, I felt and Michael still looks very young for his age, I believe. And I but I because I thought you were pretty close in age and we're not that far apart. But I felt like I grew up watching you and with you and and in a way being from Greenville and seeing you on television and looking at you, a pillar in the community. But talk about what's been like, life. I mean, what's it's been just a great run. 

Speaker 2[00:08:36]It really has. I'm surrounded by greatness in there, Ryan. It is a wonderful family, not only of journalists, but of human hearts, human souls. They care about the audience. They care about one another. Carol is like a sister to me. Most of those Emmys were won with a single photographer, John Hinden, my fellow good ol boy from western North Carolina. I have twenty-nine Emmys. He has almost forty. We've traveled a lot together and most of those stories were won not on. The twenty seconds about a felon on the TV news is about someone doing something extraordinary. They're long forms. We either deal in twenty seconds at a time or occasionally we get three, four or five minutes. At first time he was one on a piece. It was six minutes long. It's an eternity on TV news and we had to fight for it. It was a piece on Grandfather Mountain, You're Mormon and and his dedication to Mother Earth and the stories that move the heart. That's what I'm interested in. That's what I'm interested in. That's what have won those Emmys. 

Speaker 1[00:09:41]What's it like being on the news locally in one town for 30 years, I mean, I've talked to other anchors and different things, it's like it you become a persona on the air and you can't walk around town like, without being recognized. I mean, what's it 

Speaker 2[00:10:02] Ican go anywhere in the 

Speaker 1[00:10:03]world, really. I know it's for you. 

Speaker 2[00:10:05]It's been recognized in Mexico. I mean, it's people from here go all over the most certainly. 

Speaker 1[00:10:11]But you have to walk and live here every day, right? Right. What's that like? I mean  like, I love just to know that perspective. I mean, does it get old? I mean, no, 

Speaker 2[00:10:21]it really doesn't. Ninety nine point nine percent of people who come walking up to you and recognize you're wonderful and you have an opportunity here I to come back to my dad, to minister, to someone who may be in a darkness that no one can see except that person. And they expect those of us who are on TV to be, I don't know, some sort of imperious, high and mighty. And no, that's not I mean, that may be out there, but it's not here. My dad would come climbing out of his grave if I ever did something like that. When you can bend down and lift someone up with a few words with kindness, taking a picture or something like that, then you get in somewhere. And it's a business. It's a ministry. It is a bona fide ministry. 

Speaker 1[00:11:06]What's the strangest thing that's ever happened? Oh, we got to get radical? How much time you got, 

Speaker 2[00:11:13]like in meeting somebody 

Speaker 1[00:11:14]or just, maybe someone running into you or anything? I remember being out. 

Speaker 2[00:11:18]I remember being in London, OK? And it was the day that parliament was opening, of course, Her Majesty. Queen Elizabeth speaks at the opening of parliament. Just happened to be down there near the Thames. And then all these horse guards start coming by there like a half a million people down there to see the queen go riding by. And her horse drawn carriage. I got to see her majesty, the Queen, Prince Philip and all that nice. And in this crowd. And there must have been half a million people down there toward parliament. I go I hear behind me Michael McConnell. I'm not lying. There was a woman from Salisbury, North Carolina, back here who was on the back of my head. 

Speaker 1[00:11:58]We got the queen of England rolling by and 

Speaker 2[00:12:02]I didn’t even recognize the back of my head, but she did. So it is one of those things you can't go anywhere without, like, yeah, watch your mouth. 

Speaker 1[00:12:12]Yeah, take care. It's funny you say that. I talked to Nigel Robinson, and I was kidding him about that. Like, you have to you're always on you even when you're not on.

Speaker 2[00:12:26]It says so in the contract.

Speaker 1[00:12:29]I mean, it's like and I think about that in my day life, I think I'm a good person. Like I'm not like, swearing all day or stealing things or doing anything above all. But like man having that microscope kind of on you is it's I'm sure I know you're used to it now and I know you're a stand up guy, but that would be exhausting a bit. 

Speaker 2[00:12:51]You got to be yourself. And it is exhausting on a level. Right, because it's like everywhere you go, you're going to make eye contact eventually with somebody who's going to know you from the news. And it's kind of like turning around a battleship once it stops but doesn't really stop. It's going to drift for a while. So, once I'm finished with this career, the same guy is going to be out there doing something else and he's going to be the same as he was. The day started ideally better day by day. But, yeah, it's it's there is no escape. No escape. Not that we want there to be. I really don't. 

Speaker 1[00:13:27]But at the same time, we're all human and sometimes you want to like, let your hair down a bit. 

Speaker 2[00:13:31]It's happened. I was giving a speech at a church one time and I let a word slip and the phone rang before I got back to the house like. Yeah but you I have not only a great respect for the people of this market and the people we cover, I have a great love for them. And I think those are Bob Dotson from NBC lives in this market now. And guys like that will teach you the love of the person, especially that person who is in his having the worst day of his life. And those are the people we deal with very often. The deal is you either having a really good time, won the presidency or you're having the worst day of your life. If I'm showing up at your door, 

Speaker 1[00:14:12]It is peaks and valleys. It's never in between. In between is not interesting. 

Speaker 2[00:14:16]That's true. And something about, I don't know, like teenage boys and some girls will say Michael Cogill, say my name on TV. I mean, look, those are the people I talk about. You can go into the hoosegow, the boneyard. It's not pretty if it's coming out of my mouth most of the time, it's like seek to avoid. Having your name come out of my mouth. 

Speaker 1[00:14:38]This is true unless you're one and the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Speaker 2[00:14:42]Exactly right. And a lot of those. These were one sort of the paradigm of gloom going down the road of people doing sort of so-called ordinary people, doing extraordinary things. But the vast majority of people, as I've said, are terrific. And, they make me a better man. 

Speaker 1[00:15:03]How things are changing so fast, with media, social media, television, radio and now everything on the smartphone. Talk to me a little bit about your perspective with where, media's gone. And it seems to me, being in advertising and marketing all that, we kind of have to be on the cusp of it, just like you do in the media. Seems like the pace is even picking up quicker towards moving in these directions, it's just and it's less about one channel being less or more important and more just the number of channels. But I'd love to know your perspective on the last 10 years or so of where the media's gone and how you feel about it. 

Speaker 2[00:15:51]This thing right here is a TV station, not just a camera. It is a station. This is a broadcast device. And I mean, Broadcast device, not just a just telecast. It broadcast. When I started, no one could see that Alvin Toffler didn't really see that coming. The futurists, they didn't see where we've come and how quickly we've gotten there. And now you got Billy Joe, Jim, Bob is like, hey, that's just the way it is. Yeah. And the best and the worst of people, the people in the best of times and the worst of times can reach us through this thing the way we can reach them. And it can begin to skew, editorial decisions. We don't let that happen and others do. I don't think people saw partisan media coming, which is a great divide in this country. I have a lot of opinions about that. I work in the middle. Yeah, we have no agenda. David Brinkley said something, the great David Brinkley. Look him up, kids. I grew up with him. Yeah. He said there is no objectivity and I completely agree with him. And there's somebody out there to say, I see, I told you. But no, there is no objectivity. David Brinkley said, if we are honest and we are fair in our subjectivity and our humanity, then we're doing this. Well, people say you're not objective. No, I'm not. You do not want me objectifying your son or daughter. If some great harm has come to him or her, that's not my job to objectify. My job is to be fair, to be honest, to be centrist, but mostly to be compassionate. We are caring journalists. That's what we are. That's what we seek to be. 

Speaker 1[00:17:37]You peeled one back for me now. I wasn't even going to go here, but you opened it. You open the door. I consider myself I stay out of politics for the most part. It's just not good for business. So do I. It's I probably the more independent I voted on both sides depending on what I believed in. And they get time. So there's that. That man. I watched three fourths of the news, and no matter how I personally feel about the president or certain side being an educated person and just trying to watch it objectively from my end, it sure feels one sided. A lot of times lately it feels like we're telling we've never quite gotten over who's president, if that's the way it feels, as someone who's very independent, who didn't actually vote for him but just trying to be objective. I don't know. And it just feels like a lot of subjectivity now, I feel is very partisan. 

Speaker 2[00:18:38]Some of that goes to this thing. We have governance by Twitter now. We didn't have that. Richard Nixon didn't have a Twitter account. George H.W. Bush didn't have a Twitter account. Bill Clinton. And when you have that the news cycle is so filled with the opinions of political leaders. We used to get them in soundbites, in news conferences. Now it just flows. It flows in the middle of the night, the middle of the day. It never stops. And that's where a lot of that comes from. We also have more channels, more access to content than there ever has been. But what we'd seek to do is we present the facts as they are. And we let people decide. There is no slant. There is no agenda. 

Speaker 1[00:19:28]I would even say I think that watching the local news with YFF, I've never felt there was a slant. I appreciate that. I'd never have ever. I'm a big boy now, but the national media, I do. Well it's on one side or the other. Well, you have 

Speaker 2[00:19:43]Fox, you have MSNBC, CNN, never the twain shall meet.  

Speaker 1[00:19:47]Is it behind closed doors like someone like me that's trying to be just the subject wants it? Are they on the national side? No, you don't have privy to every conversation. But like it is slanted, as it seems. Is it are they talking behind closed doors? Like is it it just feels like everyone's wearing the party on their sleeve now and it's supposed to be the news. 

Speaker 2[00:20:09]No, it's not at NBC. The Big Three, NBC, ABC, CBS. No, it's not. Yeah they don't have sort of these skullduggery sessions where everybody goes in a room and said, let's figure a way to pillory this candidate or pillory this leader. I know there's absolutely none of that, but one day when it turns ugly, when somebody, you know, commits an act that, calls us to expose it, yeah, we're going to do it. And there are people motivated reasoning causes people to follow some things over a cliff, some people over a cliff practically. And that's been the case for four centuries and humankind. Somebody's always going to object to the truth about someone else. That's just the way it is. And if I didn't do this for a living, Ryan, I still would not lead with identity politics. Yeah, life is about addition, not subtraction. It's about addition, not division. You will never see identity politics on any of my social media. And I urge people, stop doing it. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth. Don't talk about such a divisive culture we're in right now. And you got your identity politics on your sleeve all over the place. Take it down. Look for some way to unite and not divide. Look for some way to show some compassion, especially to somebody you disagree with instead of pounding tables for one side or the other. 

Speaker 1[00:21:32]Yeah, I've probably read ten or fifteen in the last couple of days. My favorite one was reading about Michelle Obama and George W. Bush and like the relationships that they forged and that was refreshing. Like people want to see that,

Speaker 2[00:21:48]I will give you another one who eulogized Strom Thurmond. You remember? 

Speaker 1[00:21:54]who flew in?

Speaker 2[00:21:54]What major political figure in America flew? 

Speaker 1[00:21:58]I know. I I want to say it's on the tip of my tongue because I remember who, but I don't sort of have a dead air hero. Yes. I'm like, well, 

Speaker 2[00:22:06]Did it. Yes. It's really not not a threat with me. So it was Joe Biden. OK, Joe Biden, one of the Democratic lions. Yeah. And you have the former Dixiecrat, the Republican lion, Strom Thurmond. Carol and I were up live watching that funeral, there wasn't a dry eye in the church. The two men loved each other. Bidens stood before that church in tears over his friend Strom Thurmond. That's the way it used to be up there. And it still is in many respects. And I believe that will return, that will come back. That sense of I may disagree with you, but I will not be disagreeable with you. We may go on the floor, we may debate. We may hash it out. By the end of the day, we're going to seek some way to do some good for the lowest of the low, the smallest of the small of this country or around the world. 

Speaker 1[00:23:06]America is not going to stand for it much longer. So, it's just it's at the tipping point. Let's turn to the page literally, figuratively. Author, man. I mean, children's books. This was a side of you that I had heard about but didn't really him. Yes. It's the same Michael. Stoic, anchor of YFF and I really. Where did you go? Very moving. I'm excited about that. So, having children and feeling like we don't talk about some of the darker sides, but yet the love and stuff that we'll get to Joe. But let's talk about Sherene. I mean, that was that the first I mean, I know you've written first. But talk about that side of your career and 

Speaker 2[00:23:53]My dad, my dad, my grandfather on my mother's side was an opium addict in the 40s. Opium killed him, people say, and have that back that he really did. Paregoric was everywhere and he was hopelessly addicted to it. He got him when he was about thirty six years old. So I never knew my granddad. I heard sort of that bifurcated set of stories. He's a beautiful man or he's the devil of hell. When he was sober, he was great when he was on that stuff or longing for Jones and for it. He was awful. And I wanted to dig him out of the ground and compel him to walk around with me. I was mad about him, still mad about he cheated me out of himself with that stuff. And so I started writing a story. I don't even know if it was a story at the time. It was just a, I don't know, kind of a carrying on about the man and the darkness and what led to that? What was missing in him that he was trying to fill with opium? And you don't have a story until you have a girl. And my mother told me the story of crossing a school yard to give half a sandwich to a little girl who was made fun of. In fact, so much so, she was so shamed that she would eat with her face in a bag. And it was the bottom of that bag was a soda biscuit kind of thing that most kids today wouldn't wouldn't feed to a dog. And she was so terribly afraid that somebody was going to see that she would eat with their face in that bag as far away from the other kids as she could get very, very poor. When I heard my mother talk about that, this is my mother's doing. My mother was Mother Teresa. And that moment as a little girl in the schoolyard in the middle of nowhere in western North Carolina. I had the girl, I had Mary-Elizabeth. And once I had Mary-Elizabeth, I had a novel. And it's like one - how do you write a novel, one stroke at a time, one four 30 in the morning session at a time, and suddenly there it is. Stephen King says if you invent the characters, they'll show you the story. And that's absolutely true. It's a story about a love triangle. People far ahead of their time and race in 1929. And it begs the question, what would have happened had one of the great fortunes in American life come to a brilliantly educated, very talented African-American girl who secreted away from the worst of the world, and then you set her loose on the world and when she's nineteen in nineteen twenty nine and there's a little old head boy from Marshall, North Carolina, who ends up intersected with her life. 

Speaker 1[00:26:36]Were does I've always been curious about this. I mean I think we all have stories in our minds and things like that. But where does that flow from? 

Speaker 2[00:26:45]You are like where it beats me. 

Speaker 1[00:26:47]The ability to put words to page and thoughts to paper. I've always been amazed at that ability. 

Speaker 2[00:26:53]We're all inspired by somebody. My inspiration as a novelist is the great Charles Frazier Cold Mountain. I've met a lot of people. I've interviewed a lot of people. There's the president of the United States. And I was awestruck. I mean, this is the presidency that that picture was taken in the cabinet room that we're looking at right now of me interviewing Barack Obama 

Speaker 1[00:27:15]Roughly ten years ago?

Speaker 2[00:27:17]. Well, 12. But when I met Dr. Fraser, who, of course, won the National Book Award with Cold Mountain right out of the gate, I couldn't speak to the book as it was so elegantly drawn. It's just such brilliant prose. And I would pick that thing up sometimes in the middle of the night and be working on shivering and just try to climb, try to rise to meet that every day, every day and sort of some of the other greats as well. That's where it comes from. 

Speaker 1[00:27:51]Children's books. Or where does that come from? 

Speaker 2[00:27:55]I started writing Ryan Crocker on a cardboard box in the garage, having seen a young man in a wheelchair on the beach on Hilton Head, I mean, almost in the water. And it's very, very easy, to get tired and get down and you get yourself in a certain darkness, even in a place of great light like that. And you look at that and you think of one in that one in the world, am I doing this? And you're feeling sorry for myself when he's out. There's this boy had never taken a step. Solitary step, never stood up on his own his entire life, you could tell. And so I started writing a little story on a cardboard box and one thing led to another. And my now ex-wife took it and ran with it. And that led to where did you go and where did you go? Is based on a true story of a lady who had to adopted a horse and her daughter fell in love with him and they thought he was old at the time. She said we thought he was ancient. And the next thing he's lived to the end. She was a little girl, was a very small child at the time, had children of her own. This horse is still alive. And the vet finally said, Miss Thompson, this time we're going to put him down. And they were so heartbroken over it and begged the question, those we love, where do they go? Yeah, where do they go? I'll tell you where they go. They go right within us and they stay there. We harbor them and we remember them when we love them after they're gone. If they're not physically here anymore, we still love them. Death is no match for love. That's the point of it. 

Speaker 1[00:29:29]I have to ask for Spielrein, did you read or do the audible version? Did you read it? 

Speaker 2[00:29:35]I've not.

Speaker 1[00:29:36]You need to have the perfect. I hate what I read. If you have read the whole thing are a few passages and I heard you, I hear you speak and you have great auditory abilities are your friend, but you do. But you're a great storyteller like where we started. But you need to read it. I'd love to hear you read it. 

Speaker 2[00:29:54]And we'll do that with the children's books, too. My hero among children's writers and everybody says Seuss and all that. And he was great. But my hero is Shel Silverstein. The Giving Tree. The guy who wrote for Playboy magazine lived in the mansion for a time. It was a big, shaved head beard, rough looking dude who writes a story that in its own way is about a great darkness, a great lonesomeness, the worst of human beings. It's about avarice, about greed, about wanting too much from someone. And someone gives and gives and gives and gives. It's a wonderful allegory of Christianity, of so many faiths. And there it is written for children. And I think the best children's books fall like gentle rain into the hearts of the child within every adult. When you can do that and you can make it do that, then you get in somewhere. 

Speaker 1[00:30:50]I love it. What's the plan for where you go? I know we're, moving down the path here. Anything we can talk about it?

Speaker 2[00:30:56]Around Valentine's Day is illustrated by a very young man I met. My God, how long has it been 13 years ago? His name is George Pickup's off when I met him. He was arguably the most famous modern artist in the world, selling paintings for a quarter of a million dollars. And he was nine years old. 

Speaker 1[00:31:17]I watched that piece you sent me and I could not believe that woman walks into the store saying, 

Speaker 2[00:31:22] This kid, nine year old kid burping into a microphone. 

Speaker 1[00:31:26]I felt like even had I know his problems like that you were from I forget where they were from Ukraine. But I felt like he had, like, almost an accent. Like I couldn't figure out 

Speaker 2[00:31:37]whether his mother really does. And so he's now a 26 year old Harvard grad. He has illustrated this book and it is masterful. And I asked him, he's got over 40 commissions in Cuba right now. You can imagine each one of them is probably 400 thousand dollars or so. So he's got all this sort of this young man has done nine million dollars in charity work. And he's 26 years old. And I asked him, I said, are you willing to send it to him? He fell in love with the story. And he said, sure. So he's done a masterful job with it, it's going to be beautiful. My business partner, Rachel Allgood is putting it together right now. We're very excited about it, 

Speaker 1[00:32:23]So launching in April?

Speaker 2[00:32:24]launching hopefully around Valentine's. 

Speaker 1[00:32:26]Day. Oh, Valentine's Day. So where will I be able to find anyone that's listening? 

Speaker 2[00:32:31]We're going to do as much direct to the consumer as possible. I am I am enemy to almost no one in this life. But I am an enemy to the book business as it's being done. I think it robs authors every day. Part of our company is designed to take great writers and compensate them for what they do and not secure and not steal from them. The publishing industry as we know it in New York City is a mess. The old saying goes is dead and just settling down. And we're trying to lift up something new. And that's the whole point of this endeavor. Great publicist involved. George will tour it. I will tour it. And we hope to set off something with that children's book that will lead to the relaunch of sharing and sharing his motion picture and we think will be the first ever to own the book in the film. Under the same rubric. Under the same brand.

Speaker 1[00:33:30]Yeah, that's rare, if ever, that I don't think I ever had. I'm trying to think on top of my head. I know it's always separate. 

Speaker 2[00:33:37]Yeah, I got the rights back. You can't buy shit right now. Stay tuned. OK, we'll relaunch it. And, there are reviews out there. You got a good read. You go to Amazon. I'm very gratified, very grateful for those reviews and I think every one of them was five stars on here. 

Speaker 2[00:33:54]And they're very people are very sweet. And I'm just seeking to say I'm after you, Dr Fraiser. I'm never going to catch up, but coming on. 

Speaker 1[00:34:05]So a couple things as we wind down favorite. Reporting story or interview ever. 

Speaker 2[00:34:16]Oh, man. One of my favorites was a lady who lived not very far from where we're sitting right now, Mildred Glass. I was dispatched to interview her in apartment nine one one guy's got a real sense of humor while she lived in Scott Towers, federally subsidized housing, he's not there anymore on the road rage against a road filled with the elderly, the poor, the infirm. And that lady was making out of a kitchen about the size of this desk, literally 150 meals a week. She's cooking for 150 people. And that is upstairs. Downstairs. And I asked her I got there, we were giving her the Jefferson Award for public service, we should have given her ten of them. I said, Mildred, why? And she said, you don't get it, do you? Boy, there are people in this building in these United States who are doing without they're going hungry. Some of them are veterans. If I know that and I don't do something about it, I feel responsible for it and I don't want to feel responsible for something like that. She had two shopping carts liberated from the Bilo store. I don't know if they would forgive and she would push one and pull the other with that cane. She was 69 years old when I met her, broken back, knocking on doors to get up, time to time to eat. And, Samaritan's Purse, they did the Operation Christmas child little boxes and they would send them to Bosnia-Herzegovina during that conflict all over West Africa and West Greensville to children who will do without at Christmas time. Last year, Mildred was alive and she did 300 of them. Wow. And each one of them had a homemade doll, a handmade doll. She used to say they're ugly as hell. Every one of them looked like Lyndon Baines Johnson. But they were beautiful. They were beautiful and she was beautiful. She is one of my absolute favorites of all time. 

Speaker 1[00:36:17]I love that it makes me feel inadequate, but I love it. I don't, too. 

Speaker 2[00:36:22]And the day I walked through the door, Mildred's apartment, I felt inadequate. 

Speaker 1[00:36:26]Yeah. What's the future? I mean, storytelling, man 

Speaker 2[00:36:33]what you do is the deeply human story that resonates. You think about films that you walk around with Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge, Smokey and the Bandit. On some level, this reaches human beings, either reaches the depths that make them better or the depths that make them have a moment off the mat, a moment of humor, a moment of just forgetting about what they brought into that theater, what they brought to the book. And it's funny to put those movies together, but I think they're relevant because they give us an escape. And sometimes it's not just escapism in the traditional sense. Sometimes they allow us to escape the worst of ourselves and escape into gratitude, escape into I can be a better human being because I've witnessed this human being. Be this, that's what the future ideally holds for me, yeah, I will always work, I'll always be, busy at something like that. I mean, I love a lot of things in life. I love to do. I love the Caribbean. I love to sail. I love to work out. But that's going to be my vocation forever long as I'm around. 

Speaker 1[00:37:54]I love it is working, obviously, whether it's YFF streaming the if you're not in the market, you can check your YFF right online. They can find your telecast and other things. But where can people keep up with Michael Cocktail? Where do they find you? 

Speaker 2[00:38:11]My blog, which is just like I was, is called throwing a bash for the written word. If you just Google WordPress. My name is WordPress. 

Speaker 1[00:38:20]Michael Cogdill on Instagram, Facebook, 

Speaker 2[00:38:24]Instagram, Facebook, the usual the usual places, usual places. And these are places, Ryan, where we talked about identity politics and that sort of thing. These are places where I want people to find my faith without religiosity. My faith in God, my faith in the divine within us all. I want it to be expressed there. That's what I seek to do without the division of religiosity. And I go to Westminster Presbyterian Church. I'm an active member there, but I don't let the divisions of religion get in the way of faith, ideally. And that's one of the things you'll find there. And you'll find it in the writing, too. 

Speaker 1[00:39:06]I love it. Powerful. Michael, I really appreciate you coming on my podcast and sharing your story. You know, I'm honored to say, you know, anchor, storyteller, friend. 

Speaker 2[00:39:18]Bless you. I got you. Back at you. 

Speaker 1[00:39:21]This is Ryan offered. It's been a real pleasure to have Michael Cocktail on the podcast today. You can find us online. You can also find us on Apple, iTunes, Google Play, any of the the whereabouts that you normally find your podcast. Go check out Michael. Look for the relaunch of She Rain. And where did she go? Where did yoga come from? Excuse me? Where did she go? Where did she go? Where did I go? Yes, but where did yoga really moving and really excited about this episode. Thanks so much. We'll see you soon.