mom and dad met when they were toddlers and went to the same
country school. They got married right out of high school,
had me, and then four more kids. My dad’s father
made a living by selling fresh eggs and tomatoes door to
door in Cincinnati. My dad had an "egg route" too
and that's how he wound up paying his way through
college," Sams said.
parents: Barbara & Ron Sams
|David's father, Ron, felt a
call to ministry and embarked on a new career as a country
preacher while his mother Barbara went
into sales (her experience in that field
would later help her give David some vital business advice).
"When I was a young lad, we moved to Columbus,
Ohio where my dad would go on to be a very
successful pastor, building multiple churches,"
Sams recalled. "In the early 70s my parents
felt the need to start a private preschool called Children’s
Academy and at one point they operated multiple
schools. Today, they have one of the most dynamic
early learning schools in America. They also have
been buying up developing land for over three
decades. A few years back they built a family lodge
on 125 acres just outside of Columbus. To this day,
my dad pastors a church that he built in Grove
"My mom and dad are in their early 70s and
my dad is in such good shape that he looks more like
my brother than my father!," Sams exclaimed.
"All of my grandparents lived into their 90s
and my mom’s mother, Mary, is still alive
|well and nearly 100!
I am very blessed to come from a lineage of
hard-working entrepreneurs who had and continue to
have a strong work ethic and spiritual
foundation. Even during my “Hollywood Years”
I was fairly grounded and influenced by my Faith.
I’m very liberal in some respects, very
conservative in others. I don’t live under a rock,
but am a believer in a Solid Rock. If I only
had myself to believe in, it would be a very lonely
his parents instilled him with a belief that anything
was possible, David, in his early years, did not appear to
be a likely candidate for massive success in TV, a business
that tends to attract attractive extroverts. "I was an outsider
in high school—very shy and overweight," Sams
recalled. "I didn’t have a lot of friends and
wasn’t that interested in school. I went to a Catholic
high school where the nuns did not see much of a future for
me. One of them actually told me that I “would never
amount to anything.”
English teacher, Gary Lowell, was an inspiration
though. He saw something in me that others overlooked. He
helped me believe in myself. It’s amazing how just one
teacher can change who you become. This is one reason I
love mentoring young people today. He also was our
school’s drama coach, and cast me as the lead in Guys
and Dolls when I was a senior. That gave me more
confidence than you can ever imagine," Sams said.
I was 13, I discovered my love for photography—a
passion that I still have to this day. I actually
started out in the media world by taking pictures of
high school football games on Friday nights. I would
call the local paper and find out which games they
were interested in but not covering. I would then go
out to those games with a family friend who could
drive, stand on the goal line with my camera, and
then take a picture of the scoring play and sell it
to the paper. Presto! I was a member of the working
press! I still have my press card from those
early days!," Sams smiled.
I got to know the editors, they asked me if I would
be interested in writing a column in an attempt to
reach younger readers. Even back then, papers were
trying to be relevant with the younger demo. So, I
started writing a column called “Seeing Stars.”
I was like that kid in the movie Almost Famous.
I had press credentials, a column, and I was
reviewing movies, concerts, dinner theaters, and
even going on some press junkets. I would attempt to
look and sound older than I was by “dressing the
part” by wearing a plaid suit jacket, tie, and
lowering my voice. My column ended up being
syndicated in papers throughout Ohio," Sams
Sams at the microphone, wearing
the plaid jacket he relied on to look
"At the tender age of
15, I moved into radio and hosted a show on a
small station in Columbus. I ended up moving to a
larger station and became a “newscaster.” I got
the bug for broadcasting. It was also a way for a
shy kid in high school to break out of his shell. My
love for radio was short-lived, however, when I
discovered that it was much more fun to put pictures
I was 17, I decided to go for it and move from radio to TV.
I put my plaid jacket back on, borrowed one of my dad’s
ties and my mom’s briefcase. Cable TV was a young industry
and I saw an opportunity. Realizing how popular football was
in Ohio, I saved a few hundred dollars, went to a local
school board meeting, and presented my plan to produce the
“High School Game of the Week” in Lancaster,
Friday night, I would show up with a three camera production
team to shoot the game. My dad loaned me his small mobile
home trailer, which we would park behind the stands and
convert it into our control room. It was right then
that I realized the power of television. Hundreds of
people would stand outside of our trailer and watch the game
on a little 13 inch color screen, rather than sit in the
stands and watch the game live. By the way, guess who my
play-by-play man was? Gary Lowell - the one and only high
school teacher who believed in me. Ironically, he ended up
quitting his teaching job and moved into commercial
television," Sams said.
Sams in full-blown
young TV executive mode!
Sams honed his TV productions skills he still needed
to get better at bringing in the revenue he needed
to finance his business. "I knew nothing about
sales when I started that venture. I have my mom to
credit for teaching me how to walk into the local McDonalds,
as well as the local hardware store, and “ask
for the order.” She taught me how to
“package” sponsorships and come up with
innovative sales techniques. It got to the point
that I was actually selling every huddle.
That’s right, when a team would go into its huddle
to decide what play to run next, I would have Gary
announce, “The next play is sponsored by
McDonalds—home of the Big Mac!” Sams laughed.
realized early on that I would get a bigger audience
if I taped the games on Friday night and then play
them back on Monday—right before NFL Monday
Night Football. This way all of the players,
their families, boosters, and band members would see
themselves on TV. It worked. I ended up paying all
of my production bills and made a little money. I
said “a little money,” but for a 17 year old
kid, I was living the dream!"
a professional in his chosen field before his 18th
birthday, Sams decided to
|forego college and
continue a head first plunge into his new career.
"I had the TV bug! Going to college was
the last thing on my mind. I did, however, go for
about 10 minutes," Sams said. "I dropped
out for good reason. I had created a local TV show
and was hired by the local ABC affiliate to
produce it. They paid me a huge salary for the time
- $180 per week. I was in the “big time.”
I figured, why go to college to get an entry level
job in a TV station in four years when I’m already
working for the ABC station, earning a “good”
living, and producing my own show? While I sometimes
wonder what it would have been like to live those
college years as a student, I made the right
decision—as would be proven in the years to
would go on to win a number of awards and was one of Columbus
Monthly magazine’s “People To Watch”
before he was 20. He got hs first really big break when he
was hired by Columbus's powerhouse local CBS
|"It was, and is still is, one of
the best TV stations in America," Sams said.
(Editor's note: Like Sams, I also grew up in Central
Ohio watching WBNS (channel 10), so I can attest to
David's claim about the station. Channel 10 owned
the market and was a big influence on my own
decision to pursue a career in TV news). "The
general manager of the station, Gene DeAngelo,
was a huge influence in my early life," Sams
continued. "He was not only supportive, he gave
me the rope I needed to learn and spread my wings. I
created various local pilots and series. One of them
was the first tabloid TV magazine show in America, Front
Page. I figured that 60 Minutes
was successful, so why not have some fun with the
"That series put me
on the map nationally," Sams said.
"Everyone from around the country was calling
me. I also was instrumental in putting Jack Hanna,
who at that time was director of the Columbus Zoo,
into his first TV series, Hanna’s Ark.
Soon, DeAngelo, promoted me from Executive Producer
of Programming to head of marketing. In that role, I
blossomed into a seasoned station executive and
found ways of marketing our news operation to the
point that we were getting a 53 share at 6pm.
We soon became the #1 rated news operation
in the entire country. I was 25 years old and my
phone began ringing off the hook with job offers all
over the nation. One night, I picked up the phone,
received an offer, and was soon packing my bags for
Sams with his friend and
former KingWorld boss Michael King
The caller that night was Michael King, one
of the King Brothers from a small, family owned TV
syndication company called King World. Sams
remembers the call like it was yesterday. "He
said “David, I know you have other opportunities,
but if you come work with us, it will change your
life.” He asked me, right then, if I wanted
the job as director of marketing and
promotion." Still it wasn't an easy decision
for Sams to make. " Remember, King World was a
small company at the time," Sams said. "It
was known for syndicating The Little Rascals.
The brothers had also recently picked up the
syndication rights to a game show called Wheel Of
Fortune for $50,000, after it was
cancelled on NBC. However, at the time,
“Wheel” was only starting to roll out in a
handful of markets. Generally speaking, stations
were not that high on game shows, as most preferred
magazine shows like “PM Magazine.”
decision was further complicated by the salary his
new suitor was offering. "King offered me HALF,
that’s right HALF, of what I was getting
paid in Columbus! I couldn’t really let that get
in the way of my decision though, because I realized
how overpaid I was in my position at a local
said. "If I would have let money make my
decision, very few operations could have paid me
what I was making at WBNS—including NBC, CBS, or
Westinghouse. I’ve never let money make my
decisions for me. I believe that if you follow your
heart and live your purpose, the money will
mulling over the prospect of taking a cut in pay for
the promise of a better future, the kid from Columbus
was also contending with a guy who knew how to close
a sale. "Michael King is one of the world’s
two greatest salesmen of all time. His late brother,
Roger, is the other. Michael offered me the
job that night and wanted an answer. I told
him, “Let me think about it and get back to
you.” He yelled at me, “If you have to think
about it, you’re the wrong guy!” I took
the job. Six weeks later, I loaded up my car and
headed to the land of glam and movie stars,"
think I was King World employee #9 - it was that
small," Sams continued. "Michael and I
worked in a quaint office and shared one assistant.
Even though my last name was not “King” we
became brothers in many respects. He taught me sales
and programming techniques that I would never have
learned in any college. We turned Wheel of
Fortune into the highest-rated syndicated series
in America. Stations that had refused to clear a
game show were now paying ten times what they
would have paid for it if they would have picked it
up in the very beginning. We then launched Jeopardy!
It became the second-highest rated show.
Sams with Wheel of Fortune
hostess Vanna White
|I was promoted to head
global marketing, station relations, and creative
affairs. We went public, and became the darling
of Wall Street - well before the Internet. I was
one of the most powerful “wunderkinds” in
Hollywood, as the entertainment trade publications
would report. However, the fun was just beginning."
Sams with Oprah Winfrey at
her 1986 national show launch
|The "fun" Sams referred to
arrived in a big way in 1986 when KingWorld came
across a local talk show host in Chicago that
they thought they could turn into a national
celebrity. Sams was given the job of introducing Oprah
Winfrey to the rest of America. "Up until
that time, talk show hosts were either seasoned
white men like Phil Donahue or Johnny
Carson, or looked like Ken and Barbie,"
Sams said. "However, the combination of clout
with “Wheel” and “Jeopardy!,” combined with
great station relations, gave us the opportunity to
make way for a robust, incredibly talented,
African American woman who deserved an opportunity.
It may look like an easy path today, but a quarter
of a century ago, America was still in the dark ages
in some respects."
"When Oprah took to
the airwaves, America changed," Sams said.
"She was the real thing - transparent, loving,
hopeful, one of the first real “girlfriends.”
Her ratings skyrocketed, as did KingWorld’s stock. My decision to leave my cozy
job in Columbus for half the salary paid off.
By the way, along with my stock, I got a raise.
When I joined KingWorld, the company had a book
value of a few million dollars. When I left, it had
$800 million in the bank and no debt. Years
later, the company sold to what was to become CBS
Television Distribution for billions."
"The lessons I
learned would fill multiple lifetimes,"
Sams said. "I had launched some of the biggest shows
in TV history, helped to create the Oprah
brand that would become the #1 most-recognized
personality brand on the planet, hobnobbed
with icons like Merv Griffin and Dick
Clark, learned sales techniques from the best of
the best, and - most important - found that even
with a little engine, you can achieve great
"I would go on to
start my own production company and launch many
shows, some for syndication, others for CBS and NBC.
Sams and Oprah in Chicago at a private reception
before Oprah's final show in May 2011.
|even brought back
roller derby, a “sport” that I watched when
I was a kid. I called the show RollerGames,
complete with a figure eight track, “Wall of
Death,” and a sky jump. When the show came out,
the press coined it “Crash TV.” One
critic claimed that I was “responsible for the
demise of the Western Civilization.” Yikes!
But, along the way of my TV career, I would
collect 9 Emmys and many other awards," Sams
the 90s dawned, a new TV opportunity caught Sams'
eye. "I got into Infomercials and
direct-response (DRTV) Television," he said.
"I found that it was a lot easier to make one
show and make millions in product sales than to go
to a studio every day, produce a network or
syndicated series, and make a license fee. In 1994 I
produced the Infomercial of The Year called
“Making Love Work.” It went on to make
$65 million in sales."
other successful DRTV shows and campaigns would
follow for Sams. In 1995 he brought together 11
major music labels and some 65 recording artists
to release a 7-CD compilation titled Keep the
Faith. Marketed under his own label, TVFirst,
at a retail price of $124.95, the collection
was certified platinum by the RIAA,
with over 1 million albums sold.
2005, he won a Telly Award as well as a U.S.
International Film and Video Festival Award for
his Best of Hee Haw infomercial for Time-Life.
In just one year, more than 1 million Hee
Haw DVDs were sold. Most recently, Sams created
music compilations for Time Life and Sony,
featuring superstar artists Christina Aguilera,
American Idol's Ruben Studdard, Gloria
Estefan, Patti LaBelle, Wynonna
and Sarah McLachlan, just to name a few.
Overall, Sams is responsible for hundreds of
millions of dollars in DRTV sales and he has piled
up five commercial Addy Awards along the way.
when I discovered how fun it was to go to bed, have my
infomercials run on TV in late night, and wake up with more
money in the bank than when I put my head on the
pillow," Sams said. Veteran domainers will immediately
recognize the parallel between Sams' 24-hour TV infomercial
revenue stream and the way many domains are monetized. As
fate would have it - domain names would be dead ahead in
the mid 90’s, I was on the hunt for the next great product
that I could sell on TV," Sams recalled. "At the
time I had registered a few domains, but the process seemed
like a major hassle. One of the domains that I registered
was Veronica.org for my baby daughter, Veronica.
We lived in California, and her grandparents lived in Ohio.
I wanted to build a website for her grandparents to see her
baby pictures. Well, Archie Comics was not amused.
They sent me a cease and desist letter and tried to
shut me down. They claimed that they owned all trademarks to
the name “Veronica.”
first it was intimidating. Then the proud father in
me decided to take my “David vs. Goliath”
story to the press. Our story ended up on the
front page of the business section of the
Los Angeles Times. The Today Show
then called and booked us to fly to New York to
appear alongside the president of Archie Comics.
Journalists from all over the world picked up
our story. My daughter’s baby picture appeared
everywhere!" All of the sudden Archie Comics
looked liked villains and they promptly withdrew
their complaint but along the way Sams had learned a
lot about domain names and the marketing
opportunity they offer.
rather than register many of my own domains, I
decided to show Network Solutions how domains
should really be sold to the broad market - not just
techies," Sams said. "Up until that time,
registering a domain was a painful exercise.
I remember the process you had to go through and I
wanted to streamline it." Sams wound up getting
that opportunity through a new registry he had
"I had become aware of country codes through
my legal challenge. So, I teamed up with the company
that owned the marketing rights to .CC. Why .CCs?
Because, the company I was dealing with was in the
United States rather than another country and I also
thought .cc was cool-sounding and could be
this keynote speech at the
DNCruise 2 conference in Sept. 2011,
David Sams tells attendees about the
dispute with Archie Comics that piqued
his interest in domains.
|.com. At the time, nearly
all of the good .cc generic domains were available to
register, so I put my DRTV hat on. I marketed the
domain on late night TV with moderate success.
Then, one day, a buddy of mine called me and told me
that he was doing some work for Clear Channel,
the largest radio station operator in America.
That’s when the light bulb went off! Dot CC could be
Clear Channel’s domain!," Sams said.
late December 1999 I launched an incredibly intuitive, easy
to navigate domain registration site, with Clear
Channel as our marketing partner. In some three months, we
sold nearly $11 million in domain names via the
radio. I had no out-of-pocket marketing costs and paid Clear
Channel a commission on every sale. It was probably the best
deal I ever did."
Channel was on top of the world. I had convinced them that
they “could have their own domain” and “rule the
Internet.” They would book me on Clear Channel stations
several times a day, where I would proclaim “All of the
good dot-com names are gone, but now there’s dot-cc.
Don’t get left behind…don’t think twice…you may have
missed the dot-com goldmine, but now you have a second
chance!!” After each live interview, I’d run to my
computer and check out the sales meter. I’d pause a few
seconds and hit it again, and again, and again. The money
was literally rolling in," Sams said.
||Just as that was happening, Sams was
was offered another domain opportunity. "I got
a call from Lou Kerner and the guys that had
just launched the .TV domain. They wanted me
to help market .TV, considering my background in the
television business," Sams said. "I jumped
on board and got hundreds of TV stations around
America to use the .TV extension. Some even dropped
their dot com for dot TV. It was amazing. But then,
the Internet bubble burst."
Channel was under the microscope of the government because
it was about to buy another 800 stations. In addition, they
were buying an outdoor billboard company. The last thing
they needed was for me touting that they were going to
take over the Internet with their own domain! So, after
the Internet looked like “it was over” in the summer of
2000, Clear Channel ended our agreement. By then, some 500,000
.cc domains had been sold. When the Internet bubble
exploded, so did the future of .cc," Sams said.
"The 800-pound gorilla that controlled .com (Verisign)
had apparently had enough of my antics. They soon bought both
the .cc and .tv registries. The rest is history."
the course of his domain marketing adventures Sams
finally did get around to registering a lot of
domains for himself. He has thousands at one time
but has now pared his portfolio down to less than
1,000. "Most of the domains that I have held on
to are those that I believe are highly brandable,"
Sams said. "I also own certain categories that
I believe in. For example, I own a lot of
“Toddler” dot com domains like
ToddlerUniversity.com, which could be the next Baby
addition, I have many generic .cc, .tv,
.us and .md domains - as well as a few .co
and .tm domains. My time on this earth is
limited, so I no longer choose to spend my time
hoarding domains and spending hours and hours of my
time trying to find a buyer for a thousand dollars,
here and there. There’s nothing wrong with that,
but it’s not for me. That’s like trying to find
the 2007 Domain Roundtable auction in
David Sams (2nd from right) sold two domains for
$35,000 each to Donny Simonton (2nd from
ladies were models hired by Sams to drew attention
to the names he had in the auction. The strategy
|needle in a haystack.
Rather, I look for valuable joint ventures
where I can match a domain with the right company. I
also help others with valuable domains find
appropriate joint ventures. I also am open to helping
others broker entertainment-oriented domains to the
Hollywood community," Sams noted.
perfect example of one of my ventures is with a
domain that I registered in the mid-90s, KeepTheFaith.com.
Earlier this year I teamed up with two gentlemen,
both broadcasting veterans, who I have been friends
with and admired for many years. They have a vast
experience in the Christian radio space.
People are sick and tired of hearing bad news 24/7.
So, we teamed up and created a KeepTheFaith syndicated
radio show and launched an online
community in an effort to make
encouragement contagious,” Sams said.
just 8 months, we are on over 300 radio stations
and occupy over 900 hours of airtime. Our show is
highly rated and #1 in many markets. We recently
launched in L.A., and within a month we were #4 in
the market. That shows you the hunger there
is out there
|right now for some good
news. In 2012, we will be hosting many live
events on KeepTheFaith.com, including concerts
and seminars, with radio as our driving
bullhorn to get people to the site."
have other Christian domains to add to this venture, and
would love to see the day that Kevin
Ham (who owns thousands of generic Christian
domains) and others join in on our efforts. We have the
potential of building something the world has never seen
before. I believe that in the years ahead, America is going
to have a great spiritual awakening due to its
economic downfall, loss of faith in government, loss of
homes, loss of jobs, etc." Sams added.
of my other domains that I would love to do joint ventures
with include LoveStories.com, Cancer.MD, Heart.MD, Spot.TV,
Spa.cc and MyPoems.com, just to name a few."
Sams appreciates the opportunities presented by
domains and website development, he believes there
is room for improvement in the industry at
large. "The reputation of the domain industry
is not on par with that of the real estate business
or, say, the media business," Sams noted.
"That’s unfortunate. Domainers, by and large,
have shot themselves in the foot by playing
too many games, registering names that have violated
the rights of too many companies and individuals and
relied too much on get rich quick schemes that have
cheapened the value of a landing page."
Internet is quickly maturing, but the domain
industry is not. I still see domainers acting like
it is the Wild West, but it is not. There are
serious opportunities out there. Domainers
claim to be sitting on valuable oil fields with
their domains. I say, if you’re sitting on a
valuable oil field, DRILL, BABY, DRILL! Stop
talking and put development where your mouth is.
Too many domainers have been “parking their
dreams” for too many years,"
|Sams said. "I would
love to see this change, because I love the thought
of a sophisticated, mature domain industry. Some of
the changes that I would like to see to improve the
domain industry include:
The inclusion of more
women taking an active role, upfront and center. The
domain industry has too much of a reputation of being a
A true industry trade association and exhibition
that is recognized by the industry as a whole, as well as
the mainstream press. The trade association could come up
with a “code of ethics,” hire lobbyists that fight for
the rights of domainers, and find ways of uplifting and
rewarding those who are true pioneers.
Auctions that matter, and that appeal to the outside
world. For example, I could see a Donald Trump
hosting a Geo domain or real estate domain auction that is
covered by the Wall Street Journal or Gannett/USA
Today. I’m really tired of domainers selling to
domainers. It’s a big YAWN.
New TLDs need to be better governed as it relates to
trademarks. I do not think it is a good idea for new
registries to charge a premium, in some cases hundreds of
dollars per domain, to existing trademark holders to protect
their intellectual property rights. This gives the domain
industry a bad name - period. If anything, trademark owners
should be able to register domains at cost during the
sunrise period. This would help to avoid a landslide of
major legal complications in the years to come. What’s so
difficult to understand that we, as domainers, need to be in
concert with intellectual property owners - and not hold
a gun to their heads?
||The other thing that domainers had
better take seriously, real fast, is video,"
Sams declared. "I’m a big believer in rich
media, especially video. I have a plan to monetize
online video for domainers that has been
completely overlooked, if I can find the right joint
venture partner, I’m ready to make it happen. The
amount of video being consumed on the Internet today
is staggering. Domainers are throwing away a multi-billion
dollar opportunity. We’ve got to start looking
at domains as “channels to the world,”
not domains. Domains have no geographical
boundaries like traditional radio and TV
channels - get it? The time is now. I just
need for the right partner to call, and I’m ready
to put together a deal," Sams said.
all of the energy, optimism and excitement you see
oozing from his every pore, it is hard to imagine that just
a couple of years ago everything came "this close"
to being all over for David Sams. "Sometimes the
road we take leads us down the wrong path,"
he said in reflection. "God puts up a detour -
and it can be a lifesaver. My stroke was a
lifesaver for me. It was a big wake-up call. It was
the only way for God to get my attention and get me back on
the right track, so that I would focus on my life’s
purpose," Sams said.
David Sams in the hospital after suffering a stroke in
right: Three days later, David with an ICU nurse
following his dramatic recovery.
the time of my stroke, I had a deal with the company
that produces American Idol to bring
back a high octane version of roller derby. It would
have been a goldmine for me, and I would have made a
lot of money as Creator and Executive Producer. But
that was not God’s plan for me. For the
first three days in the hospital, I could barely
move my right leg, arm, and only had half of a
smile. I woke up that following Sunday morning and
was as good as new. God was good to me. He
used the stroke to get my attention - and to remind
me of the track I should be on - and it
wasn’t the roller derby track."
had also gone through a painful divorce, so I
had a lot of emotional healing to do. Again, looking
back on it, there was a purpose to it all.
You really can’t help others get through
their struggles if you haven’t struggled
yourself and know what it’s like to hit
bottom," Sams said.
decided it was time for a new battle plan. Part of that
involved putting himself in healthier surroundings. He and soul mate
Michele Bekeza headed east and settled just
outside Nashville in Brentwood, Tennessee.
"Following my stroke, Michelle and I decided to escape
from L.A. to God’s Country where we could breathe
again," Sams said. "I needed a place where I could
get refocused on my health and, most of all, get back
in alignment with my true purpose in life. There are
so many distractions in L.A., it’s so easy to get out of
alignment and focus on the wrong things."
David and Michelle at home in Tennessee
love middle Tennessee. The people are amazing. When we moved
here, we had a dozen people knock on our front door to bring
us a welcome dish of food! I mean, seriously, where does
that happen? In addition, the beauty here is
overwhelming, the State of Tennessee knows how to run its
books and balance its budget, the entertainment and social
life is rivals that of L.A., there are no state income
taxes, and the business climate far exceeds that of
much as I love Southern California, it is no longer
a friendly climate for a small business. I wanted to
change that nearly a decade ago when I decided to run
for governor, but Arnold Schwarzenegger
jumped into the race, so my candidacy was derailed
by the mega movie star," Sams said, adding that
problems have only gotten worse since then.
"Here we are in late 2011 and the unemployment
rate is over 12%, taxes are out of control, the
infrastructure is crumbling, the political climate
is unbalanced, the moral compass has been lost at
sea, the traffic is at a standstill, and - if I get
caught smoking a cigar on a public beach I face a
hardest part is that my two daughters are in
L.A.," Sams lamented. "I miss them dearly.
However, they come here several times a year, and I
go there to see them when I can. We also keep in
touch by phone, texting, and Facebook. It’s still
no substitution for being with them every day, but I
think I’m a better father by being healthy. When
we are together it is beyond amazing!
with his daughters Veronica & Elizabeth
|On the flip side of that,
Sams' move to Tennessee put him close to his mom
and dad in Ohio. "We hit the road and travel up
that way about four or five times a year," Sams
said. "I even have the opportunity to get in a
couple of Ohio State Buckeye games each year,
but that’s another story. Go Bucks!"
From a business standpoint, moving to the country
hasn't been a problem for Sams at all. "I can
do almost anything and everything I did in L.A. -
thanks to my cell phone, laptop, and Internet. I
kept my 818 phone number, so most of my L.A.
entertainment relationships think that I still live
in L.A.!," Sams laughed. "We live in such
a seamless world now. I would encourage anyone
living in the middle of “the rat race” to really
take a look at how much their life would improve if
they moved to a place where they could breathe
catching an Ohio State Buckeyes
football game in Columbus.
also quickly adjusted to her new surroundings even
though it means moving thousands of miles away from
some of her major projects. "I am very proud of
Michelle," Sams said. "I know that she
really moved to Tennessee for me. She has a very
successful and meaningful mission in L.A., where she
and her 35 therapists work with kids with autism.
They have changed the lives of thousands of
kids and families over the past 15 years. The impact
is clear - 84% of her kids have graduated
from special needs to the mainstream, in the schools
which she and her therapists serve."
is hoping to expand her incredible work to other
states. She has also recently launched Autism.co,
and will be building out that community over the
next few months. She is a true crusader- and my
much as he is excited by his current business
ventures and opportunities, David Sams 2.0 has
developed new priorities. "First and foremost,
I love mentoring smart, young people," Sams
said. "There’s nothing like planting seeds
|knowledge into others. I
also love readying and researching - and coming up
with ways of expanding my own knowledgebase. The
world is changing at the speed of light, you have
to be a chameleon, or you will turn into a dinosaur."
involvement with young people helps to inspire me - and keep
me relevant. Also, my brother in law, Todd Marrah,
who heads a school in Columbus, recently led a group that
bought the former AOL/Compuserve 255,000 square foot
Midwest campus just outside of the city. I am working with
him to take a portion of that facility and turn into a Digital
Media Arts school. The goal is to invite very special
teens from all over the globe to come and invent the next
generation of the Internet and media," Sams said.
||With a new lease on life, Sams finds
joy in many simple pleasures now, with an occasional
cigar near the top of that list. "Even after my
stroke, my doctor actually encouraged me to have a
cigar from time to time, if it helped to calm me and
relieve the stress. I never had smoked, but 20 years
ago the former COO of King World married the
daughter of the coach of the New York Mets
and invited me to his wedding. All of his ball
players attended the reception, where there was a
box of cigars on every table (boy, have times
changed!). When they lit up, so did I. That was it
for me - I have loved the stogies since."
Still something else tops
Sams' "hang time" list - being with
Michelle. "We love our evenings and travels
together. Her son, Mack, has also become the
son that I never had—so I am very
Sams said. "I am so fortunate to have
discovered something in my walk of life - I’m
not a self-made man - I’m a God-made man.
Wow, what a relief. That sure takes a lot of
pressure off me as a person!"
believe that God is my architect, and I’m just the
general contractor. If I follow the plan that
He has for me, I am in good shape. As I look back on
my life, I see many times I’ve attempted to build
a room or addition without following God’s
blueprint for me. While the short-term gain may have
looked fun, once the rain came, that portion of my
life would sink into the quicksand. We, as
individuals, put so much unnecessary pressure on
ourselves - we are only human, but we
I get overwhelmed, my dad tells me this simple
phrase, “God Will Take Care.” It really is true.
It’s not about our wealth, the size of our house,
the kind of car we drive—it’s about love, peace,
harmony, what we can do with the gifts that
God has given us," Sams concluded.