Ever wonder how a cool podcast works? In his own words, full-time adman and part-time podcaster Steven Shalowitz tells the story behind The One Way Ticket Show.

The upstart program has featured Nobel laureates, newscasters, leaders and, this week, an iconic talk show host.

So whether you are looking to create your own or just gain a little knowledge, read on…

I had the good fortune of interviewing numerous celebrities on my radio show in Singapore, and always seemed to be in preparation mode—whether an interview was scheduled or not.

And one day it hit me.

I wondered, where would all these famous people go if I gave them a one-way ticket (no coming back)?

I knew I was on to something and decided to hold on to the question, thinking that someday I’d move to New York and build a whole show around it.

That’s exactly what I did.

Since 2012, when I launched The One Way Ticket Show podcast, I’ve asked my guests, and we explore, where their one-way ticket adventures would take them. Their tickets may be in the past, present, future, real, imaginary or a state of mind. During my interviews we also talk travel and journeys (and being somewhat of a raconteur, I’ve also been known to take our conversations in numerous other directions). Episodes run between 30 and 45 min (though some go over depending on the guest).

I enjoy preparing for interviews as much as conducting them, and I learn so much about my remarkable guests and the worlds they touch.

Plus, I’m continuously intrigued by my guests’ one-way ticket answers. Here’s a sampling…

To be shot off into space at the end of one’s life
Paris of the 1920s
East Timor
An Audience
The Bronx in 2065
To live with Thomas Jefferson in Monticello and Paris
The Hamptons
San Diego
To be born in Washington, DC in 1840
Renaissance Florence
An around-the-world ticket and just keep traveling
To the time of creation
To be a Nabatean in the Negev Desert
A global feast where the cuisines change each week
The world of French embroidery
The kitchens of Italy
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s
New York of the 1890s
Alpha Centauri

It doesn’t surprise me that my nearly 90 guests have provided such varied answers, since they themselves come from distinct backgrounds and disciplines. Each is at the top of his/her game and have included world-renowned artists, photographers, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders. Plus, the likes of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Former President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta; Humorist, Journalist and Actor Mo Rocca; CNN Anchor Richard Quest; and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

one-way-ticket-guest-artworkSeveral guests have been talented artists, including (from left) Melanie Dunea, Klaus Enrique and Javier Gomez.

My latest guest is the legendary thinking man’s talk show host, Dick Cavett, who has been a much-admired fixture on TV since the 1960s. Cavett hosted The Dick Cavett Show on ABC and PBS, in addition to talk shows on the USA, HBO and CNBC cable networks. He appears frequently on stage, screen, and new media and was nominated for his most recent Emmy Award in 2012. Cavett is the author of Talk Show and the coauthor of Cavett and Eye on Cavett. He writes an online opinion column for The New York Times. His latest book is Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks.

It was thrilling for me to sit across the table from the man who has interviewed everyone from Mae West to John and Yoko, Mohammed Ali to Steve Jobs, Lucille Ball to Woody Allen, Elizabeth Taylor to Gore Vidal. He’s a repository of thought and popular culture from the last half century and beyond. Moreover, he’s the nicest and wittiest guy you’ll ever meet. The kind of guy that you’d be lucky enough to sit next to on a trans-Pacific flight that’s delayed for hours on the runway.

When I told people I was interviewing Cavett, eyes would open widely and I’d get a “How’d you manage that”?

It was really a case of following my own advice to neither wear headphones nor incessantly look down at my smartphone, and to just be aware of my surroundings—and who was in them.

It just so happened one Sunday morning that I was waiting to be helped at the information desk at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side (yes, I’m old fashioned there, too, and still read paper books). A man approached me and asked if I was next in line. I said “yes” while carefully studying the face below the L.L. Bean-esque hat.

“Excuse me, are you Dick Cavett?” I asked.

A conversation ensued, I invited him on my show, and two-and-a-half weeks later, through the expert arrangements of his assistant, he sat down with me for an exhilarating session. We covered everything from his fascination with Japan (he even speaks Japanese), Hollywood legends including Bette Davis, Groucho Marx, and Peter Ustinov, the role chutzpah plays in one’s success (and how it factored in his), TV today and. of course, Cavett’s one-way ticket destination.

After nearly an hour, there was still much more ground to cover. The best part is, he said he’d return for a second interview.

So, stay tuned for that, and for more brilliant guests.

After all, I have more one-way tickets to give away.


Subscribe to “The One Way Ticket Show” by visiting theonewayticketshow.com, or download it on iTunes. 

To stay current on the show, like it at facebook.com/theonewayticketshow and follow it on twitter @towtshow.

Steven Shalowitz in Palmyra, Syria 2

About Steven Shalowitz

Steven Shalowitz is the Host of “The One Way Ticket Show” podcast, where he asks his guests, and explores, where they’d go if given a one-way ticket (no coming back!).

Born and raised in Chicago, Steven has worked for a major international advertising agency in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore, where he also hosted a wildly popular radio show.

An exhibited photographer and intrepid traveler through rogue nations, Steven now lives in New York City and continues working in advertising.

Steven earned his B.A. in Chinese Language & Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and his M.A. in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.