Tom Blake

By Fun, Mental Health, Music, Personal Growth No Comments

Imagine leaving everything behind and taking a chance on a new adventure with no guarantees. That’s exactly what Tom Blake did when he packed his bags and headed to California with just an MBA and a desire for something new. Little did he know, a phone call from a friend would change his life forever. Without any experience, Tom took on the challenge of managing the first Victoria Station restaurant, leading him down a path of unexpected twists and turns, unforgettable experiences, and cherished friendships. Discover how Tom’s leap of faith into the restaurant industry led to a life full of adventures in this inspiring story of taking risks and pursuing your passion.

This episode is sponsored by:

Habana Cuba (Be sure to use code “Gary20” to save 20% off your order!)

In this episode:

  • Embracing the new dating possibilities for seniors over 50 and the keys to making meaningful connections
  • His journey through the impactful life, career, and legacy of the one and only Johnny Cash
  • The rich history of the beloved Victoria Station restaurant and its lasting impression on diners
  • Expert marketing tips to skyrocket your restaurant chain’s success and expand its loyal customer base
  • The significance of socializing for seniors and its role in enhancing their quality of life

Timestamp of topics:

00:02:01 – From Airlines to Restaurants,
Tom shares how he transitioned from working in the airline industry to managing the Oakland Victoria Station restaurant. He also talks about the company’s growth and its decision to go public.

00:05:15 – Meeting John Denver and Johnny Cash,
Tom shares his encounter with John Denver and how he was mistaken for him by concertgoers. He also talks about his relationship with Johnny Cash and how he became the company spokesperson for Victoria Station.

00:08:29 – Why Did Victoria Station Work?
Tom explains why Victoria Station was successful, citing the need for quality prime rib and steaks. He also talks about the challenges the company faced during its expansion phase and the importance of paying attention to successful units.

00:11:22 – The Wiseman Trophy,
Tom shares the story behind the creation of the Wiseman Trophy, an award given to college football players by Victoria Station. He also talks about some of the notable winners of the award.

00:16:21 – The End of Victoria Station,
Victoria Station no longer exists as a standalone restaurant chain. There might be a spin-off chain in Japan, and a new restaurant being built in Virginia has artifacts from the original Victoria Station. Lifetime credit cards were given to notable figures, and the Wiseman awards were only given to eight people.

00:22:06 – Meeting Johnny Cash,
Tom Blake describes Johnny Cash as a kind and gentle individual. He tells a story of Johnny singing Puff the Magic Dragon to an 80-year-old woman on her birthday. Tom also talks about his experiences with June Carter Cash and how she was a pistol.

00:25:04 – The Highway Men,
Gary Scott Thomas and Tom Blake discuss The Highway Men and how they protected Johnny Cash from having to talk and laugh too much. They also touch on the relationship between Roseanne Cash and June Carter Cash.

00:28:51 – Johnny’s Gratitude,
Tom Blake shares a touching story of Johnny Cash inviting him and Bob Freeman to a concert at San Quentin Prison. Johnny expressed gratitude to Tom and always seemed to look out for those around him. Tom also shares a story about the inspiration behind Johnny’s song “One Piece at a Time.”

00:31:43 – June Carter Cash,
Tom Blake talks about the complexity of June Carter Cash’s relationships and how he had to be diplomatic about it. He found her to be a fascinating and remarkable woman.

00:34:02 – Roseanne and June,
Tom Blake talks about Roseanne Barr’s opinions on politics and how he cannot speak for her. He also mentions that the original mother cannot be replaced, but history has fondly looked back on Vivian, Johnny Cash’s first wife.

00:36:17 – Dating After 50,
Tom Blake talks about his column on dating after 50 and how the stories take on a whole new message as people age. He discusses the availability issue and how many seniors are looking for part-time relationships.

00:39:42 – Widowhood and Dating,
Tom Blake talks about the pain of widowhood and how it is a different thing altogether. He explains how dating at 75 and 80 is becoming more common for seniors, and many are looking for a lap (living apart together) relationship.

00:41:05 – The Bull Crap Barometer and Persnickety Daters,
Tom Blake talks about how the whole bull crap barometer goes way down as people get older and how dating at different ages has different challenges. He also mentions that seniors can get persnickety and peculiar with what they want.

00:45:38 – Finding Love After 50,
Tom Blake talks about his website,, and his newsletter on dating after 50. He explains that it is free to sign up, and there is no advertising except for him talking about being on the podcast with Gary.


Tom Blake is one of the most knowledgeable people in America on the topic of finding love after 50. Since July 4, 1994, when his first Finding Love After 50 newspaper column was published, he has written more than 3,800 columns and newsletters. Mature singles in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 90s are Tom’s audience.

For 16 years, Tom was a columnist for The Orange County Register in Southern California. In 2011, Tom began writing his On Life and Love After 50 column for Picket Fence Media, an Orange County, California, syndicate. His articles appear bi-weekly in the Dana Point Times, San Clemente Times, and The Capistrano Dispatch (San Juan Capistrano) newspapers.

In February 2016, Tom’s “On Life and Love after 50” article was added to a syndicate of six (Chester, York, Dauphin, Lebanon, Cumberland, Lancaster) newspapers in Pennsylvania called “50 plus Life ( His articles run bi-monthly in those publications.

He is the author of four printed books and several Ebooks. See his bookstore on this website. Tom was interviewed by Jack Ford and Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show as an expert on finding love after 50. He has written on every romance-after-50 topic imaginable, always with new information and a fresh perspective from the man’s point of view. To see Tom’s Today Show videos, click here.

Tom’s first book is titled, “Middle Aged and Dating Again.” His friend, country music singing legend Johnny Cash, endorsed the book by stating: “In the 20 years I have known Tom Blake, he has become an authority on dating and relationships.”

Tom’s second book is titled, “Finding Love After 50: How To Begin. Where To Go. What To Do.” John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” stated, “A unique relationship book that addresses an important and growing niche of singles—those aged 50 and above. Easy to read and informative. Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50.”

Tom also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, live in the NYC studio, interviewed by Diane Sawyer. The topic was finding love after 50, with a focus on Internet dating for singles 50, 60, 70, and beyond. Tom has been a speaker and panelist at multiple national AARP conventions. To see Tom’s Good Morning America interview, click here.

He is a native of Jackson, Michigan, and has a BA degree from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, and an MBA degree from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

You can find Tom at:

Russell Dickerson

By Music, Personal Growth No Comments

The journey of Russell Dickerson is one that’s full of unexpected twists and turns. From facing challenges in the industry to learning the intricacies of songwriting, Russell’s determination and passion have helped him overcome every hurdle. But just when he thought he had it all figured out, an unexpected twist came his way, forcing him to rethink his approach. What was this twist? How did he navigate it? Join us as we dive deeper into Russell’s life and uncover the secrets to his success.

This episode is sponsored by:

Winchester Western Wear is offering 20% off for the GST community! Be sure to tell them Gary sent you.

In this episode you’ll be able to:

  • Unravel the complex world of composing music and the many hurdles encountered by artists.
  • Comprehend the necessity of forming alliances and upholding one’s creative principles in cooperative endeavors.
  • Decrypt the challenging journey of establishing a bond with the audience via art.
  • Recognize the importance of audience engagement in the overall reception and appreciation of a song.
  • Delve into the captivating story of Dickerson’s musical evolution and the enchanting role of instruments in live concerts.

00:00:00 – Introduction,
Gary Scott Thomas introduces the guest, Russell Dickerson, and expresses his admiration for his music.

00:01:17 – Underrated Artists,
Russell Dickerson and Gary Scott Thomas discuss underrated artists and mention Bozzi, Bill Withers, BJ Thomas, and Mavis Staples.

00:06:21 – 40-Year Plan,
Russell Dickerson shares his plan to keep crushing it and be ingrained in country music for the next 40 years.

00:09:07 – Fan Connection,
Russell Dickerson talks about the importance of making a meaningful connection with fans through honest songwriting and putting on the best performance possible.

00:13:37 – Industry Giants,
Gary Scott Thomas asks Russell Dickerson who is more intimidating to work with, Ashley Goreley, Lori McKenna, or Dan Huff.

00:16:05 – The Creative Process,
Russell talks about the creative process of songwriting and how it can be messy. He explains how his opinion as the singer is essential in deciding what makes a good song and what excites him to perform.

00:18:02 – Gauging Audience Reaction,
Russell discusses the importance of gauging audience reactions during live performances. He explains how a song he loved fell flat with the crowd and how he uses fans’ reactions to determine which songs to play during tours.

00:19:46 – Marching Band Memories,
Russell reminisces about his time in the marching band and discusses how it helped shape him as a musician. He talks about the discipline and hard work required to be a drummer in a marching band and how it prepared him for the music industry.

00:21:09 – The Alpha Predator of the Band,
Russell and Gary discuss the sex appeal of different instruments in a band. They agree that drummers are the alpha predators when it comes to sexy in a band. Russell shares how he incorporates marching snare in his live performances.

00:25:22 – Wrapping up,
Gary and Russell wrap up the conversation, expressing their gratitude for each other’s time. They express their willingness to do it again and encourage listeners to check out Russell’s music on YouTube.


A Tennessee native from a musical family, there’s no question that Russell Dickerson has made a name for himself in recent years. After graduating from college, Dickerson felt called to take his music on the road, cutting his teeth while playing shows across the US, frequently for small audiences and an even smaller paycheck. That same drive has made Dickerson the first artist to release four consecutive career-starting singles that reached No. One on the Billboard Country Airplay chart since Luke Combs. He also joins Combs as the second solo artist and fourth act overall to have four or more singles reach No. One on the Country Airplay chart since its inception decades ago. Those back-to-back chart-topping singles include “Yours” (3X Platinum), “Blue Tacoma” (2X Platinum), “Every Little Thing” (Platinum), “Love You Like I Used To” (Platinum), and most recently, Dickerson’s current single “She Likes It” ft. Jake Scott has already been certified Gold with 170 million streams to date. This Fall, he will embark on a sold-out tour in the UK and headline a tour throughout the US starting in November. 

Dennis Scott

By Music, Personal Growth No Comments

Former child actor turned Grammy-winning producer Dennis Scott, recounts his journey from auditioning for commercials with dyed black hair to producing hit albums for Sesame Street and learning to let the musicians do their thing.

With a start on Broadway at just seven years old, Dennis quickly learned what it takes to make it in the business. After his time as a child actor, he joined the New Christie Minstrels, a popular folk group, and began writing songs. Dennis eventually became a powerhouse producer and songwriter in the music industry, working with some of the biggest names out there. With his vast experience and knowledge, Dennis is sure to offer invaluable advice for aspiring musicians.

This episode is sponsored by:

In this episode:

  • The Impact of Mr. Rogers
  • The Role of a Producer
  • Staying Grounded in the Midst of Fame
  • Humble Beginnings


“The first thing I tell these kids, you better develop a strong sense of protection and put some armor around you cuz it’s a world of rejection, and just it never ends no matter how many Grammys you win.” Dennis Scott

“So it was a baptism by fire. I just, you know, took what I knew, and then I relied upon bringing talented people to surround me, and it won a Grammy. So, I thought, okay, here I am.” Dennis Scott

“The producer is the guy who bakes the cake.” Dennis Scott

“And it does have that, a little bit of that we of the world, but it really was a love letter to Mr. Rogers.” Dennis Scott

“Fred Rogers was a good musician. He was a consummate musician.” Dennis Scott


Two-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer/writer DENNIS SCOTT has left no corner of the children’s music industry unexplored.

His songs have been performed by such diverse artists as Faith Hill, Ray Charles, Sugarland, Alison Krauss, The Muppets, Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Trisha Yearwood, Elmo, Charlie Daniels Band, Shari Lewis, Crystal Gayle, Roberta Flack, Ricky Skaggs, and many others.

Dennis is also the recipient of two Emmys, a Parent’s Choice Award, and a Telly. You can hear his work on television, radio, audiobooks, home videos, and stage productions such as “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “Sesame Street Live,” and “The Magic School Bus.”

Dennis began his entertainment career at the age of 7 as an actor on Broadway. As an adult, he toured with the New Christy Minstrels (playing upright bass and singing). His novelty tune “Captain Kirk’s Disco Trek” led to his first serious foray into children’s music and a Grammy for “Sesame Country.” He has had nonstop assignments since then.

Dennis has served a music director for several children’s TV shows, including the PBS series “Noddy” and, most recently, “BJ’s Teddy Bear Club” which airs on TBN and just earned him his second Emmy award. His album, “Songs From the Neighborhood – the Music of Mister Rogers” won last year’s Grammy award as Best Musical Recording for Children.

Recently Dennis fulfilled his own childhood dream by spearheading a Beatles tribute band called The WannaBeatles. The band has grown in popularity and was even nominated for a Grammy in the spoken word category for an audiobook collection of interviews with Beatles fans called, “Fab Fan Memories – The Beatles Bond.”

When your childhood heroes are people like Danny Kaye, Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis, you can’t help but have a silly side to you. Creating and producing music, particularly children’s music, allows me to be as silly and creative as I want to be. And playing in a Beatles band makes me feel like a rock star. “Now that’s my kind of job description!”

Comedian Sandy Stec: Surviving the Lonely Fight for Mental Health

By Comedian, Mental Health, Music, Personal Growth No Comments

This episode is sponsored by:

If you’re feeling trapped in a cycle of self-doubt and frustration, pouring your heart into your creative passions but never quite achieving the mental wellness you crave, then you are not alone! This week’s guest is comedy Sandy Stec. A funny girl… who happens to be on the radio. She’s a comedian and morning iHeartRadio personality for KOST 103.5 in Los Angeles. 

For over 20 years, Sandy has been sharing her humor and heartfelt stories on the air, and she’s now ready to delve into the topic of mental wellness, self-love, and self-care. Having experienced her own struggles with loneliness and depression, Sandy is a relatable and compassionate voice in the conversation about mental health. With her engaging personality and genuine desire to help others, Sandy is the perfect guest to explore the importance of taking care of ourselves mentally and emotionally as we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Tackling and overcoming common difficulties encountered in the radio field without losing your genuine originality
  • Grasping the significance of self-appreciation, personal health, and mental well-being for continued success
  • Recognizing and becoming aware of distinct cultural disparities in language, food, and prejudicial attitudes
  • Chasing your inventive dreams, remaining focused and committed to accomplishing your objectives
  • Forming meaningful connections, attaining essential guidance, and benefiting from the wisdom of trusted mentors

Dr. Yuriy Dobry’s story:

Chances are, you’ve heard her voice. 

​Sandy Stec is an iHeartRadio personality for KOST 103.5 in Los Angeles; on-air Monday-Friday, 3pm-7pm. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she was 1/2 of “Marcus and Sandy”- a top-rated morning show on Star 101.3 in San Francisco for 10 years. 

Aside from her 20+ years radio experience, she’s also fantastic event/on-camera host and stand-up comedian! She’s worked with Benefit Cosmetics, HP, Cisco, Norwegian Cruise lines, etc; and opened for Chelsea Handler, Kevin Hart, Arsenio Hall, Richard Lewis and many, many more. 

When she’s not on–air or on-stage, Sandy is probably hiking, watching Bravo or TLC, or hoping to hit a progressive jackpot on a slot machine! 


“I have never felt the depression that I have felt in the last few months of my life to the point where I am absolutely looking into medication.” ~Sandy Stec

“Yes, I’m doing a lot of great stuff. Yes, it looks great online. But I still go home alone.” ~Sandy Stec

“We all can learn from each other’s story.” ~Gary Scott Thomas

“It has definitely changed since I have come here. But this was what I traded for. I was ready for a change. I was ready for a new chapter. And so here I am.” ~Sandy Stec

“If you’re struggling mentally, social media can make it so much worse.” ~Sandy Stec

The Dark Side of Comedy
Despite being a creative outlet that brings laughter and lightheartedness, comedy can have a dark side in terms of the personal experiences and emotions behind it. Comedians often use their craft to cope with their struggles and pain, turning them into relatable and entertaining material. Recognizing and understanding this darker aspect can lead to a deeper appreciation for the art of comedy. During the interview, Sandy Stec shares her experiences in the world of comedy, both the positive moments and the darker times. She discusses her past struggles with mental health, her interactions with other comedians and their personalities, and how she continues to create content while prioritizing her mental well-being.

Contact Sandy: