Philip Iovino
Arts & Entertainment

Retired Teacher Creates A Podcast For Nostalgia Lovers

After decades of putting his goals on the back-burner, he's using his time at home during the pandemic to make his DJ dreams come true.

Philip Iovino is a renaissance man. Books, music, movies – you name it, he knows it. The "man cave" he built in his home in Tappahannock, VA is filled to the brim with stacks of vinyl records, VHS tapes and paperback books, all carefully organized by date, title and genre.

As a kid, Iovino dreamed of working for the music business. He grew up in Long Island, NY, where he started collecting records at a young age. He never missed "The Ed Sullivan Show," where rising artists often made their debuts. He used a reel-to-reel recorder to capture his favorite tunes, dreaming of the day he could become a sound engineer and work alongside his favorite musicians.

Philip Iovino poses with his then girlfriend (now wife) Christina in 1971.Philip Iovino

As the American story often goes, Iovino decided on a more practical career as a public school teacher so that he could provide for his family. In his 20's, he settled into married life with his lovely wife Christina and had three children. As he continued his career as a teacher and school superintendent, Iovino's music dreams started to fade. But he continued to collect records, eventually acquiring every top 100 song from 1950 to 2000.

Iovino's 'man cave' boasts an impressive collection of music, books, movies and sports paraphernalia. Philip Iovino

The recent lockdown seemed the perfect opportunity for the retired 72-year-old to bring his life-long DJ goals to fruition. For the past three months or so, Iovino has been recording video podcasts from his man cave and uploading them to YouTube to share with fellow music buffs.

He calls his podcast "Thematic Nostalgia," and each episode centers around a common thread that's present in a few songs pre-selected by Iovino. Listeners have to guess the theme, and as Iovino says in the intro to one of his shows: "Sometimes they're easy and sometimes they're hard. They're more hard than easy, I guarantee that."

Past themes have been break-up songs, songs by Academy Award winning artists and songs by artists that have birds in their names. It's up to the listener to "connect the dots."

While Iovino told Sparkt that he "doesn't have a voice for radio," he navigates the podcast format with ease, sharing personal stories and "dad jokes" between songs. You can tell Iovino really knows his stuff as he rattles off the biographies and career accomplishments of artists as if they're old friends.

Iovino creates his own titles and graphics for the podcast using text, stock photos and royalty-free video footage. Thematic Nostalgia

Iovino says he has a soft spot for music from the 1940's and 1950's, but his show covers titles from a variety of eras and genres. Some tracks are popular, while others are more obscure.

Thanks to the pandemic, Iovino says he's in the house "a heck of a lot now," so he has plenty of time to work on his shows, which can take hours (sometimes days) to produce due to the painstakingly slow internet connection in his rural town.

Here's Iovino with his family during a recent holiday celebration at their home in Virginia. Philip Iovino

With Thematic Nostalgia, Iovino isn't looking to get famous or turn podcasting into a lucrative second career. He just wants to share his passion for good music and spread some cheer to others during a dark time.

"I just do it because I enjoy it," he said. "If people start to find it, if it helps get a few more listeners, that will be good for me because it will encourage me to keep going."

We love hearing about folks, like Iovino, who are using their downtime during the lockdown to pursue their passions. It just goes to show, it's never too late to reach your goals. You just have to pick a place to start!

How can you start something good?

You can listen to episodes of Thematic Nostalgia by clicking here. To learn more about Philip Iovino, you can check out his personal website.

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