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Michael Carbone- COO Extraordinaire!

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
The Truth Network Radio
January 8, 2022 12:30 am

Michael Carbone- COO Extraordinaire!

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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January 8, 2022 12:30 am

Nikita sits down with Truth Network COO Michael Carbone to discuss God's impact in not only his family life but business life as well.

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Hey, this is Mike Zwick from If Not For God Podcast. Our show, Stories of Hopelessness, Turned into Hope. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Welcome back, and guess what? It's another episode with Nikita Kolov, formerly the Russian Nightmare, now the Devil's Nightmare is storming the gates of hell, the Man Up show. And in studio with me is a special guest. Well, you know, I think I say that every week, but then again, every guest is special in my eyes anyway. But I got the Man of the Hour, the Tower of Power.

No, I'm not talking about my former superpower. I'm talking about Michael Carbone, COO of Truth Radio Network. Michael, welcome to the Man Up show. I appreciate being here.

Sounds like you've never lost the art of cutting a promo. I don't know when the last time I was the Tower of Power. Well, you're the Tower of Power, because you hold, in my view, you hold all of Truth Radio, you hold it together, you're the glue that holds this place together. That's the way I... The Tower of Broadcast Organization. Well, there you go. That works for me as well. But no, on a serious note, great to have you on the show, like for real, seriously.

Thank you, appreciate it. Yeah, and so what I want to do is just, I mean, let's just have a conversation. And as I've gotten to know you over the course of the last, I guess, year, year and a half, or just thereabouts anyway, for our listeners, let's tell them who Michael Carbone is. Like, where'd you grow up? I know you're a wrestling fan.

We'd get into that a little bit, but... It's all coming together. Yeah. Yeah, of Youngstown, Ohio, born and raised, to spend a few years in Cleveland before I moved here to North Carolina, which is where our studio is here.

And steel town, tough guy town, bare knuckles, you meet every problem fist first, that kind of thing. So my family background, I grew up with a mafia family. I have cousins that are... Carbone.

Carbone. Yeah, I could see that. Well, if you ever saw the movie, The Irishman, apparently The Irishman also featured... It was about the Danny Green car bomb murder in Cleveland in the late 70s. The guy who ordered the hit was my cousin.

And he spent 26 years in the Mansfield Reformatory for said act of aggression. That's a... Okay, that's a polite way of putting it, I guess. So yeah, it was interesting. And my father wouldn't participate in it.

He would do odd jobs for them now and again. But when they finally told him, it's time for you to decide whether you wanna go deeper or kind of stay out, and he decided... Yeah, in or out. Are you in or are you out?

Yeah, and he decided to stay out. So we were kind of on the periphery of it. But obviously, weddings, funerals, and everything is... We were all of it.

The gold chains, the how you doings, you know, all of it. No kidding. Wow, just picture that in my mind's eye. I'm like, so was that kind of through...

So Youngstown and then up to Cleveland, was that kind of through all your youth, teenage years? Right, yeah. I went to Youngstown State University, go Penguins. Now, there's a mascot that'll scare the opposition. That'll scare the...

Right, it'll force them off the field. Pete the Penguin. Pete the Penguin.

Well, there's something to that, right? Because the Pittsburgh Penguins, right? The hockey team. So what's up with the Penguins in Pennsylvania and Ohio?

Must be a local gimmick. Okay, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Penguins. Okay, very intimidating.

Right. So it was a steel town. My father was a steel worker.

When I graduated from college, I went to work for a steel company up in Cleveland, spent several years in Cleveland, and then moved south here to buy into a fabricating company that my uncle owned at the time and spent quite a while there and then moved over to broadcasting or back to broadcasting. I actually started in broadcasting at a high school radio station. I was 14 years old.

Wow. And by the time I was 15, I was the junior manager of the station. Don't be fooled by the title. It was a trick just to get somebody to come in at six o'clock on Saturday morning and turn the radio on. Why?

Because the title was what? I was the junior manager. Junior manager. That sounds impressive. Impressive enough to get you in at 6 a.m. That's right. And to sit through the Slovenian hour, the Irish hour, the Polish hour, the Ukrainian hour. It was all ethnic music because it was an educational radio station.

So my introduction to radio was board-opping and having people call in to request songs in several languages that I didn't speak. Wow. That's pretty fascinating. Let me just a little bit more on the backstory. So your family involved in that other world. So as a teenager, as a youngster, did you, I mean, obviously you know some of the stories now. Did you realize back in those days or not really?

Or they kind of kept it from you? You know, I think other people knew it more than I did. And we kind of had a, I mean, we knew that our family was involved.

And my cousin had an inordinate number of Jordache jeans in the back of his van that he sold out of the back of his van at the high school. Okay. And, you know, and the student admitted the administration didn't do anything about it. So, I mean, looking back, I can see what was going on. But at the time, it just seemed like your family. Yeah. It's just what you knew, right? So, okay, random question. So does the name Michael Francine mean anything? No. Not at all?

No. If those folks were, the folks that we knew that we were dealing with were the Pittsburgh faction and the Cleveland faction. So you had Joey Naples, and you had Jimmy Prado. So those were the guys. And the sheriff, Jim Travachan, who later became a U.S. Congressman, he was, how shall we say, he was allegedly holding money for both sides to allow certain activities... He was the arbitrator. To allow certain activities to go on, because Youngstown's halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

And you didn't want war all the time. So they kind of split Youngstown a bit. Interesting. So do you know the name Michael Francine or no? I don't. Not at all.

Not at all. He was part... I'm not sure which crime family he was associated with. I did some prison ministry with him in the islands, down in the Caribbean islands a couple of different times over the years, and heard some of his story. And like at the time, he was the youngest crime mob boss in the history of the crime family.

And pretty... For real, from a standpoint, pretty impressive from a standpoint of what he did, although it was all illegal. Yeah. Well, honestly, if you think of crime families as local promotions, if you're a wrestling fan, think of them as local promotions. And you would have a certain territory and your guy didn't go over into the next territory unless you had an agreement with the promoter in the next territory who's gonna drop a belt, who's gonna keep something. So it was very territorial. So there were a lot of crime families. People, they watch The Godfather and they think one family controlled the entire controlled 15... An area with millions... No, there was a lot of local control and a lot of local families. So Michael could have been in any large city back in the 70s.

Gotcha. I really get that, because my era of wrestling, when I broke in in 1984, that's how it was. There was, I think, 30-something territories, exactly to your point, with promoters at each other. And what Vince McMahon did was break... What do you call it?

Break taboo or whatever. Yes, he was the Michael Corleone. He consolidated all the five families. Yeah. And crossed over those lines with, if you wanna say, without permission, and eventually ran all of those other promoters out of business, essentially, and at one point controlled it all for himself.

And so, interesting parallel there, actually. So you start in broadcasting at age 14. You go to Youngstown, you graduate from college, you go into the steel mill. How many years you worked there? Well, my father worked in the steel mill. I worked as a sales representative for a stainless steel company. So that was out of college.

Okay, gotcha. But I spent a little bit of time in the plants, which were incredible places at the time, with the technology of the day, the rolling mills and the things like that. But no, I worked in sales. I was an office guy.

Office guy. So at what point... Two parts to the question. At what point did you get married and begin to raise your family? And of course, that family had nothing to do with the other families.

Right. Right out of college. I got married to my smoking hot Italian wife, the former Miss Tursini, right out of college. She was 19 and I was 23 and fresh out of college, moved up to Cleveland, took the first job. Okay. And had children.

And we went about 10 years trying to have kids and not being able to, and eventually adopted one child and... I think I've met him. You have met him? I think he's a wrestling fan too. He's an incredible wrestling fan. He knows wrestling front and back, side to side. Inside and out.

In ways that I will never know. He knows matches. I say two wrestlers' names and he'll say, oh, that was it.

Whatever it was, WrestleMania 17. Right. Right. Oh my gosh. He's a plethora of information is how I would phrase that.

He is that. Well, and on that note, adoption is so important. I wish more would consider that if they're not wanting to have a child, that they would consider putting that child up for adoption. Because there's lots of families out there who aren't able to have children for whatever reason, but have a real desire to want to have a child. I've got one friend right now, actually they have adopted five, they're a multiracial family, adopted five different children. In this case, out of foster care.

Did you adopt out of foster care or just outside? No, we were actually set for an international adoption. We were going to Guatemala, but things just weren't falling in place, weren't falling in place. We didn't know at the time it was God working something different.

At the time it was very, very disappointing. But eventually the county, knowing that we were going overseas and were willing to adopt different ethnicity, had an abandoned baby at the hospital from a migrant couple and they asked us if we would come down and take a look. So, you know, he had all the strikes against him. There were some birth defects, there were a lot of problems, genetic problems, he had a lot of medical issues. His parents were migrants, they abandoned him.

He had everything against him. All feet agree, Clements carpet is where you need to be. With carpet, vinyl, tile, and hardwood from the top brands, Clements carpet does it right from beginning to install. Voted number one by you in the Reader's Choice Awards. Doug, Chad, Benny, Pee Wee, and the team at Clements carpet look forward to seeing and serving you soon. This is Nikita Koloff, and I want to thank Clements carpet for supporting my new show, Man Up, Saturday afternoon at 1230 on the Truth Network. If you would like to support Koloff for Christ Ministries, for a gift of $25, Nikita will send you his two CDs, Adoration and Declaration. For a gift of $50, Nikita will include his book, Wrestling with Success. And for a gift of $100 or more, Nikita will include a signed copy of his newly updated life story, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption. Go to and donate today.

But God had a different plan for it. Amen. He's a wonderful young man. I've enjoyed talking with him and getting to know him a little bit as well. And he's here at the station now working, right? He is.

He works right down the hall. Good. That's awesome. And let's talk about that for a minute. God had a different plan. I'm going to go out on a limb here and I could be way off target, but I'm thinking there might have been some Catholicism in the family there.

You think? Well, you know, you never know. I mean, I tell you, a Roman Catholic. When you're in Youngstown and your name's Carbone. You're going to be a Roman Catholic. You're going to be a Roman Catholic. And we were for my formative years. Okay.

It was in 19... Altar Boy, the whole deal. All of it. Altar Boy. My mother was in the Altar and Rosary Society. My father played guitar because they were starting to allow guitar into the Catholic Church.

Right. This was the old days when they were, you know, they'd let the nuns play Blown in the Wind or something like that. So my dad... And they actually... My family got saved at a Morris Cerullo Crusade in 1976, July 26th. In Youngstown. It was actually in Cleveland.

Okay. Morris Cerullo. Yeah, Morris Cerullo.

And I'd never seen anything like it in my life. I was sitting out there. The whole family.

Yeah. And we went with another part of our family, my mother's sister and her family. And we went with them.

And this guy was yelling and shouting and talking about Jesus. And I was comfortable with that because I was an Altar Boy, you know? We were good Catholics. We did our... We did our Mass. We did our Mass. We were all of that.

But he said things that we really hadn't heard before. And when he gave the invitation, our whole family went to get saved. And my father, who was an angry, angry man, angry young man, just kind of had just a real rebel streak and an angry streak in him, changed overnight.

Transformation from a hard man to a soft man. He was just... We never looked back from it. So I was 12 years old for that. And so he was playing folk music before that. Instantly converted that to church music. Started playing choruses.

And this is the 70s and 80s. So it's just all those old scripture choruses that you remember. And that led him into music ministry. And so my father played for... I mean, he's still doing ministry. He's 82 years old. And every once in a while, if he can get somewhere where... Have guitar, we'll minister. Wow.

So he was really kind of a pioneer. It reminds me, I saw recently... I don't know if you're familiar with it, the Jesus music movie. I have not seen it yet, but I need to because it's just... It's telling a story that I am familiar with. Especially with that background, what you just described to me, and how through the Jesus movement of the late 60s, early 70s, and musicians and guitars being allowed in church and all the... Man, talk about... And you're typically not very popular when you're in high school and your friends are listening to ACDC and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and you're listening to Glad and Servant and Petra. I know.

I learned some things from that movie. I mean, Striper and... Striper. I mean, they're still playing, I just found out. They still tour.

Striper still tours. And man, I was watching the movie, I'm like, wow, those are like a Christian version of The Kissed Sister. The Twisted Sister or Kiss, or yeah. But it was a pretty fascinating movie. Just plug out there for the Jesus music movie, go see it.

I think you'll appreciate it. And so certainly you will with your dad's background on music and his heart for... And just how it evolved, from that hippie movement in the West Coast Christian music moved across. It was just fascinating, the evolution of it.

I got a picture of my first communion. My father's hair was down on his shoulders. I mean, he was just... He was the picture of the hippie movement. And then the Jesus movement.

Yes. No, I get it. Especially after watching the movie, I get it. Because they're like, wait, where's their shoes?

They're walking in bare feet with beards and long... Like, sit, hair down on their shoulders. But did not care. Nikita did not care. Did not care what denomination you were from, what your background was, what your race was, any of that. It was about the Jesus movement. And we were gonna preach the Word and we were gonna be together. And I can't tell you how many folks came through my house and how many people my parents went to minister to them, and it didn't matter. It was about the ministry, about the message, it was about Jesus.

And Michael, what I love is that the... What you said, for him, the immediate transformation. He was an angry man, go to this Cirillo... Crusade. Crusade.

Yeah, I had a lot of words there. And the whole family goes down and he gets immediately transformed overnight. Yeah. By the way, that'll happen when you see people standing up out of wheelchairs.

When you see people who are on crutches with casts who are throwing their crutches down. That time in the mid-70s, late 70s, was a genuine time of miracles and just things that we haven't seen in America for quite a while on that kind of a widespread scale. Yeah, I mean, just a sovereign move of the Lord.

Just a sovereign move of the Lord. So at what point then... Okay, so your family has had this... Your whole family has had this transformation. At what point did you get back into radio broadcasting or... Yeah, I just... It was 911. I was working for a company that... Part of my territory was Washington DC. And here I am, a young father with a three-year-old and he might have been four at the time. And I'm spending long chunks of time away from home.

Drive up Sunday evening, stay there till Thursday afternoon, kind of calling on all these government agencies doing all this. And I was in DC on 911. And when the planes were coming down, I was nearby and it just... It was difficult for my family to process being out of communication with me, not knowing what happened, because all the cell phones went out. I mean, nobody could give phone calls through, so it was hours before I was able to communicate with my family. But you were okay.

Yeah. And after that, I told my wife, next job I have, I'm gonna make it no travel. And so the next job...

There is nothing that is less travel than a local radio station, because you can only travel as far as the signal goes, because all your customers are gonna be inside the signal. So I said, you know what, maybe I'll go back to radio. And I got a job at a radio station here in Winston-Salem, and that was 2002-ish.

2002. So at what point did you meet the man himself, Stu Epperson Jr., and connect with Truth Radio? You've been here about 10 years. I've been here about 10 years.

I've been here about 10 years. I knew Stu a few years before that. Stu used to come to me all the time and say, when are you gonna leave Pharaoh's Court over there at the secular radio station? And I'd say, Stu, these people need Jesus too, it's okay.

Which is a true statement. And he eventually wore me out. He wore you down like, fine, uncle, I'll tap out.

Yeah, I'm tapping out. So he did, he wore me down. I was a bivocational pastor at the time for about eight years. We had a small local independent congregation here. And it fit real well to be able to come here. So I actually came here to work part-time. I was supposed to work part-time. And then I almost immediately was full-time. And then within a couple of months, Stu figured out that he had a guy who understood radio. And he elevated me after just a few months here. And we've been working on growth and expansion and preaching the gospel ever since. Yeah. And you have done, from what I can see and what I have learned, a phenomenal job in doing that and growing the message, the signal, the towers, the cities, and the message. Well, the Holy Ghost does the work. And we try to fill in the background if we can.

And real quick, because I want to, in our last couple of minutes here, just talk about your wrestling background. But let's just say, so you're expanding the station too. So you're expanding it more studios and... Right.

More locations, more studios. We just picked up a few more in Ohio and we just keep growing. Awesome. Back in the old stomping grounds area.

Okay. So let's just totally shift gears here to wrestling. How long had you been a wrestling fan? I was going to wrestling shows when I was 14, 15, 16 years old. My local high school had one of the largest little field houses in the area.

It sat about 2,600, 2,700. So when the WWF or anyone else would come to town, they would rent that facility. So I saw Big John Studd and... Bruno Sammartino. Bruno...

I never saw Bruno. Greg the Hammer Valentine and Brutus Beefcake were tagging Barry... Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham. And so those were the kind of guys that would show up in these programs. Bret Hart and Jim Ne anvil. Okay, yeah, the Hitman and Neithardt.

They were together. Jim Neithardt. And I mentioned Sammartino because he was the Pittsburgh guy, right? Yeah, right. Anyone from Pittsburgh knows the name Bruno Sammartino, right? I was a little bit after that because...

Okay. Well, do you have one short... And if you don't, it's okay, like favorite Nikita Koloff story? Well, actually, my favorite Nikita Koloff story is my son was about five, six, seven years old. I can't remember exactly how... Because this is maybe 2005 and our church in Louisville had Nikita Koloff come and do a little preaching, do a little ministry and preaching. And so my son, he had some medical difficulties and so he was a bit undersized and he's not really gonna be sports athletic.

He'll never be big enough to play or in any of the field sports. So he really took to wrestling as a sport. So it was very cool to have Nikita Koloff and to do preaching and to be able to connect the gospel with the wrestling and he just took to it. And I mean, he took to the wrestling. So he is... So that was a catalyst for him to do?

Yeah, that was a catalyst at the beginning. That was at the very beginning when we had bought him a few little wrestling toys and little figures and whatever and he just... Don't call it a doll, Michael, please. So it's not a doll. Action figure. Thank you.

Thank you. I said toy. You did.

You did. People go, hey, I had your doll. I go, no, you didn't have my doll. No, you didn't.

I'm sorry. You did not have my doll. Anyway, so he got him some...

Probably the ring, the little ring. Got all that stuff. So we have... And he's got a collection now. He's probably got... His room is just stuffed. He's probably got 60 or 70 autographed photos on the wall. He's got a hundred or two action figures and all that.

Collectibles. He's got a... He has a signed turnbuckle from WWE from about three years ago.

AJ Styles signed and probably about 30 guys signed the turnbuckle. So he's got some real neat stuff. That's pretty cool.

That's pretty cool. Well, and speaking of AJ Styles, back in the early days of TNA, when they were just launching out in Nashville, Tennessee, when he was with them, I was actually living there for a couple of years and doing Bible studies before their live pay-per-view every Wednesday night. And AJ Styles was one of the ones who faithfully came to the Bible study every single time.

Stuff you never knew. He has a genuine relationship with the Lord. And we're all at different points and walks of our journey, but I do know that he has a genuine...

He had made a genuine decision and... There are a lot more people in the wrestling business that are Christians than you would imagine. Yeah, some are more outspoken about it than others. But well, we're almost out of time, and believe it or not, you're probably shocked by that. I am. But man, thank you though, for real, for sharing some of the... For real. What a fascinating story. Thank you for sharing some of the story. I know our listeners will be certainly entertained by it and... Well, we are enjoying... We are really enjoying our partnership with you and the ministry with you.

And of course, I'm enjoying it exceptionally because I love the wrestling side of it also. So we're gonna preach the gospel and get people in the kingdom. Amen. Well, and it's just a privilege to be a part of Truth Radio Network. I just wanna say that publicly and just look forward to... Each time I'm in studio and all the interviews that I get to do with yourself and many other... I mean, there's many other just fascinating... I love people's stories. I love to hear their stories.

There's no end to the kingdom. Well, we wanna thank you for tuning in, dialing in to the Man Up show today. Michael Carbone. Yo, you know what I mean? How you doing? How you doing?

Michael Carbone, how you doing? Was that okay? Good enough. Good enough. Great to have you. COO of Truth Radio Network.

Hey, if you're not familiar with the radio stations, go look them up and maybe you'll listen to one in your local community. God bless you. We'll see you next time while I say that. We'll talk to you next time on the Man Up show.

God bless. PSA, public service announcement coming soon. It's coming.

It's coming. Hey, if you have enjoyed the Man Up radio show and or the Man Up podcast, tune to to catch the new Man Up show on TV. That's right, Be sure to tune in. is all you need to know. Their whole inventory is right there with the right price. Everybody drives a Crescent. You should too. See the number because you are number one. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-30 21:16:40 / 2023-06-30 21:28:24 / 12

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