I was first interviewed on radio in 1986, a few years prior to the Village Voice feature. WNYC Radio asked me to explain palmistry to their listeners for thirty minutes. I was nervous, but knowing I wouldn’t be seen alleviated my biggest fears. As an NPR affiliate, WNYC generated interest in Boston, Chicago, Albuquerque, Houston, and other cities.
I’ve had many radio interviews since WNYC. One challenge is that if you have nothing to sell, there’s no way to make $. Even if you have something of value, a lot of people must see it and recognize you. I was interviewed by Frankie Boyer numerous times. Frankie promoted my book during the show. It didn’t translate into book sales. I believed Frankie was the perfect venue for me: syndicated in thirty major cities, Frankie interviewed Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dwyer, John Gray, Dr. Oz, Suzanne Somers, and other thought leaders. Her listeners seemed perfect for palmistry and me. I was wrong. I mostly got inquiries from other media looking for stories. My publicist friend who introduced me to Frankie told me it can take as many as fifty radio interviews before listeners respond.
I prefer smaller venues. My all-time favorite tarot teacher and friend, Patti Canova, hosts a radio show she calls ‘Got a Lite’. How many people are actually listening is hard to know, but shows are recorded and archived online, so fans and friends can hear them anytime. I’ve been on Patti’s show several times. She’s got a loyal following. When Patti says, “Mark is great” or “You need to go see this man”, listeners listen. I got friend requests, likes, follows, links, shares, and a few readings from being on her show. Link to my first show.
I was interviewed for ninety minutes on a show called ‘Cosmic Tuesdays’ that airs on Monday nights. Anthony Picco, a knowledgeable astrologer with a personable interviewing style, blends the esoteric with the practical in the electronic ether for an earful. Link
TV intimidates me. Appearing on screens has its drawbacks. Viewers can see your awkwardness and self-consciousness. Mistakes are permanent and not easily forgotten (mostly by you). Watching yourself afterwards is sobering. “If only I had done or not done…” I spent my first hour on TV with Bliem Kern on ‘Satellite Psychic’. Bliem’s quirky humor and casual informative style made it easy for me to be myself. We joyfully shared our metaphysical ideas and experience on the air.
Back in 1994, I read Patti Davis on Lifetime TV, on the same day she came out on the cover of Playboy magazine. We sat apart in ‘the green room’, waiting to go on the show. A frustrated stylist was unsuccessfully trying to put makeup on me while Patti was ignoring me. When the producer walked in, she introduced us. “Patti, I want you to meet Mark. He’ll be reading your hands on the show.” Instantly, Patti was kneeling beside me with her hands in my face. “My family loves this stuff!” We talked about what it was like living with Ron and Nancy Reagan. The first thing the two chatty hosts asked me, “Well Mark, what’s in Patti’s hands that we haven’t already seen?” They made jokes about everything I said. By the middle of the show, I regretted doing it, though I was glad to have met and read Patti.
I’d never merged design with metaphysics before now. Combining them turned out better than expected. I was the “Guru of Garbage” on Fox ‘Good Day New York’ and a successful industrial eco-designer who creates new products from recycled materials on Japanese WOWOW TV. My esoteric and environmental worlds were beginning to morph into a new physical and metaphysical awareness.
Martha Stewart threw an exclusive millennium party at the ‘Four Seasons’ in NYC for celebrities, super stars, and other notables. The theme was metaphysics and Martha’s guests could have quickie counseling sessions with master astrologers, palmists, and tarot readers. I got to read the hands of some of my favorite personal heroes. The other palmist and several other readers had published many more books than me, but I had the longest line of celebrities waiting for their reflections.
Martha’s producer called me later to schedule a palmistry segment for CBS ‘Martha Stewart Living’ for April 2001. Martha’s TV studio had state of the art technology, great food, and a lot of hip well paid young professionals running around making sure all things are perfect at all times. I’d heard Martha was a cold task-master, but in person, she was charming and gracious. She has high expectations and truly wants to offer her viewers the most elegant and sensible solutions to whatever crafts, activities, and challenges she’s choosing to illuminate at the moment. In hindsight, I wished I’d done a better job explaining palmistry to her viewers. You can read more about my reading of Martha’s hands here and watch my favorite minute of my segment on her show here.
After appearing on Martha’s show, I was nervous that people would recognize me on the street. Fortunately, I don’t think many New Yorkers watch her show. The next call I got was from the producer of ABC ‘The View’. She was planning ‘The View from Beyond’ and was lining up a week’s worth of the best esoteric readers she could find. She wanted me to be the guest palmist and promised that I could present palmistry in whatever way I chose. My problem was that while Martha Stewart’s show was taped and edited, ‘The View’ was live. I could be put on the defensive or get stuck with an awkward question I couldn’t answer and be embarrassed. She assured me the show would go smoothly. It actually went really well until Star Jones inadvertently put me on the defensive. “Well Mark; tell me something the audience doesn’t know about me.” Click here to see the look in her eyes as I respond to her question.
I’d never watched ‘Martha Stewart Living’ or ‘The View’ before they called me. I had no idea how many people watched those shows, but assumed the largest audiences for daytime network TV were suburban housewives and unemployed people. Many more strangers recognized me from my appearance on ‘The View’ than from Martha’s show.
The next call I received was from a producer at AOL in collaboration with Huffington Post. They produced a popular video series called ‘You’ve Got’ which was promoted on AOL. A substantial crew of videographers, lighting experts, and stylists showed up at our little east village apartment with a ton of video equipment. A whole afternoon was spent shooting a 2 ½ minute segment entitled ‘You’ve Got Mark Seltman and Joanna Brotman’. The video was all about how I chose to marry Joanna because of her hands and how reading hands has affected our marriage. This short segment got well over a million views within hours of posting.
Since that time, I’ve been approached by a variety of Cable TV producers with reality TV show ideas. I haven’t said ‘yes’ to anything. I do believe the timing is right for the right metaphysical show. Everyone is searching for answers and many people are turning to metaphysics with questions. I’d love to participate in something meaningful, but everything I’ve seen so far has been more like a ‘circus’ or ‘dog and pony show’. I have no desire to become the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich of metaphysics.