By: Tim Donaldson
“In His Own Words” - Up Close & Personal with
Brian Fisher of Fisher’s ATV World
Brian at High Lifter - Bone Filming
Many of us watch our favorite television
shows, enjoying the entertainment that it
provides, but few of us really understand what
is typically involved in making that ½ hour show
a reality. ATVSource.com recently had the
opportunity to talk with Brian Fisher of
Fisher’s ATV World to discuss what is involved
in making his show happen and about how he
started in the television business.
ATVSource: When did you start the show?
Brian: Fisher’s ATV World (The Television
Show) started in 2000. The first network
that we aired on was Outdoor Channel in July
ATVSource: How did you get into “ShowBiz”?
Really, how did you come up with this idea to
start an ATV television show? How did it all
Brian: This all had a kind of really crazy
beginning. I’ve always been a self-motivated,
driven person that knew from way back in high
school that I needed to do something different
with my life! Just out of high school, I met my
best friend, Melissa, who five years later
became my wife. We were just two kids that
didn’t have a clue of what life was all about
but ready to take on the world. We bought our
first house together and struggled to make ends
meet. Melissa was a paralegal (five years), and
I worked for a large printing company (twelve
years). When our first child, Tyler, was
born, we decided to have Melissa stay at home to
raise our children which meant we ate a lot of
peanut butter and jelly! Our daughter, Briana,
arrived one year later!
I’ve always been into the outdoors–hunting,
fishing, camping and riding ATVs, just a
down-home country boy that liked the simple
things in life. Melissa came from the woods,
too. She loved the outdoors and even had her own
dirt bike growing up! One of my favorite
television programs has always been Realtree
Outdoors. I dreamed of someday having my own
television show just like Bill Jordan.
During the course of the next several years,
Melissa and I tried many different business
ideas, but none of them seemed to be what we
were supposed to do. One day, I came home
from my job at the printing company and told
Melissa that I was going to call the local
finance company and get a loan for $5,000 to
start buying and selling used ATVs. She thought
I was crazy, because the interest rate was so
high on this type of loan, and she wasn’t quite
sure how this would all pan out. In 1997, our
first two ATVs were bought and sold in one
week’s time. We made enough profit to pay back
the high interest loan and still keep $5,000 to
Over the next two years, we continued to buy and
sell used ATVs from our front yard, turning a
pretty big profit. On weekends, it was nothing
to have four customers’ vehicles sitting along
our street, checking out the ATVs we had for
sale. In October, 1998, we leased a
property one mile down the road from our house
in Dover, PA and finally opened the doors for
business at Fisher’s ATV World. We began with
very little on our shelves in the store, but
built it into a fairly large business in just a
few short years. As a matter of fact, our doors
opened in October, 1998; and after our first
full year of business in 1999, we did over ONE
MILLION DOLLARS in sales! Not too shabby for a
used ATV Dealership in the small town of Dover,
PA. We knew that customer service is the key to
making any business work. Our philosophy–make
one person happy, they tell five other
people–make one person upset or mad, they tell
twenty-five other people. We had customers
coming in from all of the surrounding states of
Brian ended the day on camera!
During the year 2000, I was watching television
and came across an ATV Show on Outdoor Channel.
After watching it, I thought about the dreams I
once had to have my own show like Bill Jordan. I
just knew that I could have my own show, too. I
talked it over with Melissa and, again, she
thought I was crazy! We were completely swamped
with our ATV Store, and she couldn’t imagine
doing anything more. I told our head ATV
mechanic, Bone, that I was going to start my own
ATV show, and he just kind of shrugged and
walked off, not taking me seriously. Two weeks
later, I walk into the ATV Store with two large
used video cameras in hand and ready to go!
Melissa told me to take the cameras back because
they cost too much money, but I assured her that
we were going to have an ATV Show. She wasn’t
too keen on my ideas but agreed to help me any
way she could.
I started getting all of the information
together for networks and sponsorships.
After paying a local production company $20,000
to put together a pilot show to shop around at
different networks, we were finally accepted on
Outdoor Channel. Now it was just a matter
of pulling together all of the sponsorships.
This was the real challenge! Over the next nine
months, I literally got my a__ kicked by the
potential sponsors and ad agencies. I had no
clue what I was doing but eventually caught on.
I was hung up on, cussed out, and called about
every name in the book, but I wasn’t giving up.
The first company to sign on with us was Yamaha!
Eventually we pulled enough through sponsorships
and money borrowed from our ATV Store to put our
show on air in July 2001 on the Outdoor Channel!
Now we just needed some press/media to let the
world know about our show! We
attended the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, IN and
met up with the senior editors of a few
magazines and told them that we were going to
have an ATV show, some were very helpful and some
laughed in our face. The first senior editor we
talked to from a nationally known magazine
laughed in my face and told me we’ll never make
it. He said I had no TV experience and had no
idea of what I was getting myself into. Little
did I know that this exact same magazine was in
midst of putting together their own television
show, and this guy was the host! Now remember
Melissa was there with me and still not
completely “into” this whole television show
idea, yet. After having this guy laugh in my
face, we didn’t get but five steps away and
Melissa looked at me and said “We’re gonna have
a television show!” From that point on, it was
ON! We MADE it happen together!
Do you or Melissa have any
formal training, schooling, etc.?
Brian: No, Just a BIG Dream and a “DO WHATEVER
IT TAKES” attitude! We both finished high school
but have no formal schooling/training in
broadcast television. We do, however, have very
talented production staffs that have multi-media
training/schooling combined with years of
experience. I’ve always been really comfortable
in front of the camera, because this was my
DREAM, so I guess you could say hosting the show
just kind of comes of natural for me. I always
tell everyone (and its true) that Melissa is the
brains behind this whole operation. She can
pretty much do ANYTHING she sets her mind to.
Not only my wife and best friend, she’s an
AMAZING BUSINESS PARTNER!
ATVSource: What are the biggest challenges of
having a TV show?
Brian: I think one of the biggest challenges we
face is being out on the road away from our
families. That can sometimes be hard when we
have trips that are back to back. It’s nice in
the summer, because they get to travel more with
us. Some of our other challenges would be
having tight production deadlines, getting
sponsorships, and staying on top of all of the
industry’s latest news.
ATVSource: How many hours of preparation does it
take to make a single episode?
Brian: Planning/Travel by production crew–one to
two weeks; Logging & Digitizing Tapes–one to two
weeks; Writing Tip & Product Profile–two days;
Filming Tip & Product Profile–two days;
Editing/Finalizing Show–one to two weeks; four
to six weeks for each single episode!
Brian with some wheelie action.
ATVSource: What is a typical work week like?
Brian: Travel with Production Crew for
50–75% of the year. When Not Traveling:
Mondays–Phone Calls/Office Work/Misc. Filming
Tuesdays–Staff/Production Meetings/Misc. Filming
Wednesdays–Phone Calls/Office Work/Misc. Filming
Thursdays–Phone Calls/Office Work/Misc. Filming
Fridays–Phone Calls/Office Work/Misc. Filming
Sat. & Sun.–Family Time
How long is your planning
horizon? In other words, are you thinking about
next year’s show already?
Brian: We actually already have trips booked for
2009. Our travel is crazy busy for 2008 with
having 46 new shows that need to be produced for
the two networks (Outdoor Channel and Versus).
We do already have our shows planned and our
Show Schedule for the rest of 2008.
ATVSource: After taping an event, how long
before viewers typically see it on television?
Brian: That really depends on where it falls on
our Show Schedule. Realistically though, you’re
looking at least eight to ten weeks or more!