Months ago I had the pleasure of having a long chat with the famous (in Disney circles anyway) Lou Mongello. It was great fun to talk with him. I think I laughed the entire time. While we were chatting I was recording… or so I thought. When the interview was done the recording was almost lost. And when it was finally recovered it was in 245 pieces! Needless to say I was embarrassed and Lou had been so kind as to do this interview with me that I didn’t have the heart to ask for a do-over.
This post is my attempt to talk about that interview and Lou. First off let me say that Lou has a place on my heroes list. He is someone who followed his dreams and is now living the life he wants. That’s something we should all strive to do. Lou is also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He’s generous and kind hearted and no I am not just saying that because a lot of people in the Disney community like him. I’m saying this because I’ve met Lou a few times and he was always very nice and generous to me. Lou’s charity work and social events are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the good he does. He is also the reason I have as many Disney friends as I do because I met most of him on the WDW Radio cruise back in February.
I wouldn’t have the audacity to say Lou and I are personal friends. But I will say that Lou makes everyone feel like they are his best friend and like you’ve known him your entire life.
Below is the first part of the interview I did with him. What little I was able to salvage. DragynAlly is underlined. Lou is in regular print.:
Tell me about yourself.
Well Dana I was born in a small town… no you probably don’t want to go that far back do you.
Tell me about myself well gosh I am a lifelong Disney world fan who went at the tender age of 3 I was fortunate that my parents took me every year and I was fascinated by with it so much I was a lawyer in my past life the idea for writing a book came to me and the only thing that came to me was the only thing I knew about was Disney and I wrote the book that I wanted to read which was a Walt Disney trivial book from there My passion became my obsession I guess you could say I started a two page web site and from there grew a community I saw podcasting coming down the pike in two thousand five and since then as a result of this
I no longer practice law and I have met some amazing friends along the way.
What sparked your love of Disney was there a moment in history when you said I love Disney or has it always been part of your life
It something that’s always been part of my life but really I think it’s because of the memories I have of going with my family I don’t know how to describe it because of the place but it’s because of the place and how that made us feel and the memories we shared together and the ones I make with my family now so it was always something very special
So you started out with the trivia book and then it expanded into the wdw radio? What is the history of wdw Radio?
When I launched setting out to do the book it was kind of a personal challenge for myself
It was I had always been in the service business so I had the idea if a made something once and had try and resell it and that’s where the book concept came to me it really was a challenge it was a can I write and b can i get it published I wanted somebody to be like yes this is worth publishing so I went out and I started by learning all about the publishing world and trying to find and agent and a publisher and went down stairs and started writing and I really haven’t let the basement since. My first website was Disney world trivia .com it was sort of a two page three page web site about the book and as I discovered there was a community of Disney fans out there and I started the discussion forums and that grew very quickly when the site grew beyond what I ever thought it would become then podcasting was introduce then I realized that the spoken word is much more powerful than anything you can convey in an article or post whatever it might be. I had to convince myself or trick myself into believing that someone would want to hear me talk. You know a certain amount of time it seemed to grow each week and I was amazed that anybody even listened past episode one but it was a great way for me to completely share my passion
How many years have you been doing this
I started pod casing in early 2005 I had a show by a different name at that point it was called mouse tunes that I had a partner with and we did it from 2005 to Feb 4 2007 and a week later Feb 11th is when I started wdw radio. I did not want to miss one week because I never wanted to miss one week in between and since 2005 I have only missed one week of pod casting I have only missed one episode and that is when my father died and I was close. I was close I almost got it out but life got in the way.
Is it difficult to keep wdw fresh and relevant every week?
That was the question people asked me from day one how are you going to have content talk about every week. People who are not Disney fans say what the hell do you people have to talk about every week in Disney world there’s not a lot going on.
There really is because it does change so often there is so much you can look at either in the present or in the past there are so many ways you can look at the parks whether it is vacation planning or the touring or the history or the trivia whatever it might be so there’s always content to be found or content to be created. And many times too the audience helps drive the content but based on what they enjoy what they would like to hear about and certainly the things that come out in the news everyday I mean there is so much it’s in a constant state of change that there is always something to talk about.
Do you ever find yourself stuck but you sort of answered that. Have found yourself like one week even though there is a lot of Disney stuff out there being like oh crud what about this week?
I have sometimes found myself on like Saturday night and the show comes out on Sunday going oh my god what am I going to talk about tomorrow and who like can I find to can come on and get a segment done that would be really quick.
How does it feel to be an on line Disney online celebrity? Do you buy your own hype?
Are you sure you are talking to the right person you must be talking to somebody else.
I am not by any stretch of the imagination you know to be used in the same sentence as that word
I am the same as you and every other person who is a Disney fan in the fact that I’m blessed to be able to talk about something that I enjoy with people who enjoy it as much as I do. I am grateful for the fact that I have been doing it for six years and I am able to keep doing and that people haven’t completely been either bored or tired of the sound of my voice. Yes do I try to keep it fresh and keep doing different things to make it fun and engaging for them. But no that word celebrity that’s not me I’m a geek I’m a dork like the rest like all of us.
What advice can you give to the newcomers? The up and coming bloggers and podcasters. What can you do to help them out or what advice can you give them?
You know if you’re just starting out the most important thing first and for most is not how your website looks not Your Podcast logo. If you are not passionate about what you are doing and what you’re talking about it’s very hard to continue. Forget about growing an audience and building a loyal audience and continuing to move on but if you’re not passionate about it just find the content to write about and talk about look if you are going to Podcast and you are not passionate. You can’t fake that you cannot pretend because people will hear it. They’ll hear it in your voice If you are not being true to yourself or make and effort or saying things that you don’t really believe so on one hand it’s powerful in the sense that you can convey something that you’re passionate about but it’s a catch 22 because if you’re not your audience will hear that and they will see right through that very very quickly so you need to be passionate.
DragynAlly is a Screenwriting MFA student and writer in progress. You can also check her out on her own blogThe Dragyn’s Lair.