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Jul 29, 2015

The Tampa Bay area of Florida – where Mr. Media has been recorded twice a week since 2007 – has produced its share of national brands and personalities.

• Remember the “Morning Zoo” radio phenomenon of the 1980s? Cleveland Wheeler and Scott Shannon started that here at Q105.

• Hooters Restaurants began in a Clearwater shack; the chain also launched original Hooters Girl Lynne Austin to fame, fortune and Playmate of the Year.

TONY LITTLE podcast excerpt: "I must have called Roy Speer and Bud Paxson, who started Home Shopping Network, every day for a year at their offices and said, 'I've got this video...' I could never get through to them directly! Someone always said, 'We have no interest in fitness videos here. Fitness doesn't fit in with our categories of stuff for women.' But I don't take 'No' too easily. I think every 'No' is an opportunity to negotiate."

• Another restaurant chain, Outback Steakhouse, also emerged from here.

• The late as seen on TV commercial spokesman Billy Mays – best known for Oxy-Clean products – got his explosive start out of Palm Harbor.

• This is also the community where Roy Speer and Bud Paxson launched the Home Shopping Club – which morphed into the international powerhouse Home Shopping Network – HSN.

And that’s where today’s guest, first captured your attention and imagination 29 years ago.

TONY LITTLE podcast excerpt: "I read the authors we all read -- Norman Vincent Peale, Dennis Waitley, Tony Robbins -- all the motivational books and it really helped me set goals. If you don't have a goal, you're like a boat without a rudder."

Just look at him – tanned, taut and mischievous, Tony Little is the kind of health and fitness guru only a beach community in Florida or California could have produced. He exudes that wide-eyed confidence and eternal optimism that has merrily convinced a generation of followers in search of a better lifestyle to follow him. Like so many other unlikely retail stars created by the Home Shopping Network – they currently offer 73 different Tony Little products, plus recipes – Little has a compelling backstory of highs and lows that made him the man he is today. (And, of course,you can read all about it in his memoir, There’s Always A Way.)

Key interview moments:

10:30 Who inspired Tony Little?;

• 18:25 Adversity in Tony's life;

• 24:00 The real story of how Tony broke in at Home Shopping Network

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