Dustin Plantholt’s “Life’s Tough—You Can Be Tougher” podcast this week features John Tesh, internationally celebrated recording artist, composer, concert pianist and national radio/television personality. His Intelligence for Your Life radio show currently airs on 350 stations and reaches 14 million people each week.
John was born on July 9, 1952 in Garden City, New York, on Long Island. Proficient on the piano and trumpet from the age of six, he was named to the New York State Symphonic Orchestra in high school. He also enjoyed playing the organ in several rock bands during his adolescent years. As a communications and music major at North Carolina State University, John got suspended for forging a professor’s signature (while trying to change majors) and soon after found himself living in a tent in a North Carolina public park (after being kicked out of his family home). Utilizing his savvy communications skills, he talked his way into a part-time job at a local radio station and parlayed it into a meteoric career in journalism: from serving as an award-winning CBS News correspondent in Nashville and New York City, to hosting network coverage of international sporting events (1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, Tour de France, Wimbledon), and eventually becoming co-host of Entertainment Tonight that lasted a decade.
An aspiring musician, John’s self-produced first album sold a mere one thousand copies. Determined with unwavering tenacity, he and his wife, Connie Sellecca, took an outrageous gamble and huge financial risk and created a television special, John Tesh: Live at Red Rocks—that resulted in one of the most successful Public Television concert specials in history. From the extraordinary success of the special, John left his seven-figure TV job and launched into a full-time music career that earned him six Emmy Awards, 4 Gold albums, 8 million records sold, and continuous sold out concert tours.
With endless drive and their passion to give back, John and Connie then created a self-syndicated radio show, Intelligence for Your Life, a lifestyle program—airing on over three hundred radio stations and heard by tens of millions of people each week—that offers advice and expert opinions on topics such as health, finance, relationships, careers, and family.
In 2015, John overcame a terminal cancer diagnosis by relying on the steadfast determination and grit that have been the hallmarks of his life and career. In his upcoming memoir, Relentless: Unleashing a Life of Purpose, Grit, and Faith (releasing February 25, 2020), John reveals his secret to overcoming the many pivotal challenges he’s faced, in the hope that readers will find inspiration and guidance they can apply to overcome their own struggles. Combining inspirational stories with a lifetime of wisdom, John’s memoir encourages readers with the powerful message that their challenges and failures can become learning opportunities and the fuel for persevering to personal greatness. Most importantly, readers learn of John’s strong faith in the healing power of Scripture and how that has shaped his life—especially the moment when he and Connie discovered divine healing and how that ultimately contributed to his victory over cancer.
John and Connie live in Los Angeles, California. John’s accolades include induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame; winner of the Syndicated Personality/Show of the Year award by Radio & Records magazine for his radio show; a Keyboard Magazine Award; and owning the unique distinction of composing what critics have hailed as “the greatest sports theme in television history” for NBC Sports basketball. In sticking to his philanthropic character, John’s live television concerts, including the inspiring “Live at Red Rocks,” have raised millions for Public Television.
Join Dustin and John for a genuine and profound conversation on the pivotal moments in life that defines us and our purpose. “Having people see my collection of inexplicable successes and failures” John says, “hopefully will help them find inspiration and practical guidance in my personal road map—as unplanned and haphazardly drawn as it was at times.”