The Great American Collectibles Show (GACS), which just celebrated its five-year anniversary, has new digs. The longstanding radio show/podcast that covers the hobby every week and is broadcast on Facebook and YouTube, recently made a move into a new, larger studio in Salem, New Hampshire. Sponsored by PSA since its inception, the show has delivered 262 episodes to date and shows no signs of slowing down. Show host and native New Englander Tom Zappala is excited not only about the studio’s relocation but the fact that the show’s platform has expanded recently which should help increase its reach and establish a bigger audience.
Starting in December, GACS will be featured on iHeartRadio, Spotify, Podbean, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast (iTunes), Amazon Music (Alexa), Pandora, Castbox, Deezer, Stitcher, Player FM, Listen Notes, TuneIn Radio, and Pocket Casts.
“It’s great to have the new studio,” said Zappala. “Now our broadcasts can be a real destination point for show guests. Obviously, COVID-19 restrictions prohibited in-studio visits but going forward we look forward to hosting folks in Salem.”
On November 2, 2016, GACS aired its very first episode from a small, 200-square-foot studio in Methuen, Mass. Teaming with former Boston Red Sox infielder Rico Petrocelli from the start, Zappala has worked hard to attract guests every week to participate on the show. He’s recruited a “Who’s Who” list of industry professionals from seemingly every sector of the hobby: trading card manufacturers including Topps, Panini America and Upper Deck; auction house experts from the likes of Heritage, Goldin, Mile High Card Company and Wheatland Auction Services; hobby supply manufacturers such as Cardboard Gold; and timely visits from company personnel representing PSA as well as the National Sports Collectors Convention, which doubles as one of the show’s corporate sponsors.
Starting with episode No. 260, which premiered on Wed., Oct. 27, Petrocelli, Zappala and Boston media personality John Molori (a third in-house host since 2019) have been broadcasting from the larger, 800-square-foot “Studio 21 Podcast Cafe” which is located 10 minutes due north of the old location, across state lines, just up Interstate 93. Complete with its vaulted ceilings, light-ignited, colorful backgrounds and two in-house producers (mainstay David Martinez and newcomer Chrissy Cunningham), the new studio’s overall footprint has recharged the entire GACS crew.
The first Salem-based show featured Derek Grady from Heritage Auctions, who was piped in remotely. GACS then spotlighted renowned sports artist James Fiorentino on Nov. 3, 2021, who also visited with the team virtually. But on Nov. 10, the first official in-house studio guest host was show favorite and Mile High Card Company (MHCC) President Brian Drent, who was already in town to attend the Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club Sports Card & Memorabilia Show in nearby Wilmington, Mass. Zappala pointed out that the new studio has seating capacity for an audience of upwards of 40 people so he hopes to get local sports collectibles enthusiasts to attend future episodes.
Time to reminisce
Asked to recount about some of the show’s best moments over the past five years, Zappala didn’t hesitate. “One of the funniest was when Rico ate a piece of bubblegum right out of a 1952 Topps baseball pack and immediately ran out of the studio and spit into a waste basket,” he said. “Another was when Rico refused to handle the 1955 Bowman [#202] Mickey Mantle card we opened from a pack, live on the [Mike] Berkus Stage at the 2018 National in Chicago. He was petrified he was going to bend it.”
When asked about the best episodes GACS has ever hosted, Zappala again recalled some treasures in no time flat. “Probably our best episode ever was when we broadcast live from the 2019 National [also in Chicago] and had a great roundtable discussion going on between Derek Grady, Joe Tomasulo, [the late] Josh Evans, Brian Drent, Brian Dwyer and Ken Goldin. It was a forum-style setup and it was wild. We covered so much.
“Another memorable episode was when we interviewed Carl Erskine [Dodgers great, 1948 to ’59],” he said. “He talked all about the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson.”
The Great American Collectibles Show airs every Wednesday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). Make sure to watch it on PSA’s Facebook page @PSAcard.