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Category: Entertainment

Prepping for Edinburgh this summer

Fringe_web

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

A Kearny bonnie lass is looking forward to a very special working vacation this summer in – you guessed it – Scotland.

Rachel Spillane, 16, is one of 23 students from Hudson County High Tech High School’s Musical Theatre program (and the lone West Hudson representative) who will be troupers in this year’s marathon Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Last year, during a 3-week period in August, the festival held 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues, “making it the largest ever arts festival in the world,” its website proclaims.

The High Tech contingent’s entry to the annual event is being made possible through the American High School Theatre Festival which showcases the top talent in U.S. secondary schools, allowing them to struff their stuff in Edinburgh.

Alex Perez, the group’s director and one of two adult chaperones accompanying the students, (the other is English teacher Kerri Ann Murphy), said that the North Bergenbased high school was one of 20 schools chosen by the AHSTF from among 1,000 or so applicants to go to Scotland.

For Rachel, a 16-year-old High Tech 10th-grader, the trip will mark her first journey outside the U.S., as it will for about a quarter of the group. “I’m super excited,” she said. “It’s such a great opportunity.” She’ll be one of five sophomores from the musical theater program going abroad.

At the festival, which runs Aug. 7 to 31, the High Tech ensemble will be doing a production of the Broadway musical, “A Chorus Line,” which the students may preview for the school in May, Perez said.

But the trip won’t be just about performing, Perez explained.

After an anticipated arrival in the U.K. July 30, “we’ll spend a couple of days in London studying with a master class on Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, see a couple of West End shows, then head over to Scotland,” he said.

Another plus is that the seniors in the group can apply for college-level academic credit for participating in the enterprise, Perez said.

At the festival, itself, when the teens aren’t on stage, there will be plenty of cultural and fun events to explore. “There are over 3,000 things to see,” Perez noted, ranging from all types of plays to comedy, dance, cabaret, children’s shows, opera and exhibitions.

For Perez, the festival is familiar ground: He accompanied another High Tech student group to Edinburgh in 2006 for a production of the modern version of “Oz.” He took another group to an arts festival in Germany in 2001.

This trip won’t come cheap. “The total bill, including air fare, rooms, meals and everything, will come to $150,000,” Perez said, “or about $6,000 per student. We started fundraising in the summer and we’ve got about 25% raised so far.”

Earlier this month, Broadway performers Kerry Butler, Christine Pedi, James Carpinello, Telly Leung, Anastacia McCleskey, Kate Loprest and Clarke Thorell donated their services, participating in a concert at High Tech’s black box theater, with the proceeds going to the fundraising effort. That event added $5,000 to the pot, Perez said.

Donations to the fund can be made to the school or by visiting www.GoFundMe.com/ elcave.

Meanwhile, preparatory work continues apace for “A Chorus Line.”

 

 

Photos courtesy Alex Perez Rachel Spillane and Perez.

Photos courtesy Alex Perez
Rachel Spillane and Perez.

Juniors and seniors fill out the cast and sophomores are handling crew and production work, but, as this show was designed, Rachel and her fellow sophomores will get a shot at some on-stage exposure, by acting as some of the auditioners in the musical, Perez said.

Even from her usual perspective from behind the scenes, musical theater for Rachel “is like a magical experience.”

The Franklin School graduate said that as a youngster, she “always loved to sing” and sang in some of the grammar school’s talent shows but never thought of making anything more of it until a friend who happened to be a High Tech alum suggested that she try out for the school’s musical theater program.

So she did and was accepted to the program.

During her freshman year, Rachel was a crew member for the spring show, doing “a lot of microphone work, making sure [sound] levels were even.” She’s learned how to set and operate “lekos” – (that’s ellipsoid reflector spotlights, in case you wondered) – and lighting boards, costumes, props, giving actors “call” times. In other words, the works. She was also part of the ensemble in a one-act excerpt from a school production of “Guys and Dolls.”

In class, she’s also mastering the acting side of theater: “song and monologue development, improvisation, dancing and acting technique and we also learn how to assemble ‘audition books’ to help market ourselves.”

Outside the confines of High Tech, Rachel is building her acting resume, having ventured on stage with the local theater company, W.H.A.T., in “Our Broadway” in winter 2012, a cabaret show and “Young Frankenstein” in summer 2013 and “The Addams Family” in summer 2014.

And in January 2015, she was an ensemble member in a N.J. School of Dramatic Arts production of “Rent,” directed by Perez, which had a sold-out run at the Westminster Arts Center theater in Bloomfield.

Rachel’s role model is Megan Hilty, who starred as Glinda in the Broadway show “Wicked the Musical,” because “I like how she’s a super powerful (soprano) singer.”

She also appreciates how her parents, Dara and Joseph Spillane, “are supportive in whatever I want to pursue. They come to all my shows. It’s awesome to have that support.” Her dad is a mail carrier in Harrison and her mom is a programs revision manager for a Teterboro company.

Kearny’s Tom Schnauz back on small screen
with ‘Better Call Saul’

Schnauz's name in the opening credits of episode 1 of 'Better Call Saul.'

AMC Screenshot — Schnauz’s name in the opening credits of episode 1 of ‘Better Call Saul.’


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent

Had an email exchange the other day with Kearny native Tom Schnauz, a co-executive producer and writer for the new TV show “Better Call Saul.”

He was also the same for the wildly popular “Breaking Bad.”

Schnauz reports that he wrote the episode that will air Feb. 16 — and he directed the episode that will air seven weeks from today, March 30.

Schnauz (r) on the set of 'Breaking Bad' with actor Aaron Paul [Jesse Pinkman] (l).

Schnauz (r) on the set of ‘Breaking Bad’ with actor Aaron Paul [Jesse Pinkman] (l).

“Better Call Saul” is a spin-off of “Breaking Bad,” and, like its original, was created by Vince Gilligan.

Its timeslot is 10 p.m. Monday nights on AMC.

Schnauz, who we featured in a story in May 2014, was born and Kearny and spent the first few years of his life here before moving to South Jersey with his family.

He went to Garfield School through the fourth-grade.

His aunt and uncle, Ann and Drew Taylor, still live in Kearny.

‘Sleeping Beauty’at W.H.A.T.

Sleeping Beauty

The West Hudson Arts Theater Company (W.H.A.T.), 65 Oakwood Ave., Kearny, continues its run of family theater stage performances with Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.” Performances are Friday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 15, at 1 and 4 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m.

Young theater-goers are encouraged to wear their best Prince and Princess costumes to the performances.

All tickets are $8. Group rates are available. Tickets are available online at www.whatco.org or by calling 201- 467-8624.

Teenager Tayla Grace prepares for big time in music world

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 

Sometimes, when 17-yearolds sing, it’s nice — but there’s only so much of it you can take. In the case of Tayla Grace, her voice is so strong, so powerful, so professional, one can’t help but wonder just how soon it will be before she makes it big in the music industry.

One can only imagine that it won’t be too long before her songs are on the radio — or she’s singing on “American Idol.”

And it’s all because she’s been involved in the arts since she was a young girl. And it’s all come full circle with her first-ever album.

The Observer was introduced to Grace last week at a groundbreaking ceremony in Harrison.

The 17-year-old high school senior says it was the choir she was involved with from an early age until she turned 15 that allowed her to realize she’s extremely talented musically.

Read more »

Pooches on parade in Arlington Park

Pooches_web

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

A lot of towns — including some locally — have some kind of fall or Halloween-related festival each year. But folks from Kearny’s Urban Enterprise Zone wanted to try something different — and that is exactly what will happen this Saturday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m. at Arlington Park (between Forest and Elm Sts. near Midland Ave.).

That’s where the KUEZ will host its first-ever (and, it hopes, annual) Dog Parade.

The idea came about when KUEZ Director John Peneda decided he wanted something unique and autumnal to help attract people to Kearny, in line with the mission of a UEZ. He and a few others brainstormed, and with the closest dog parade being in either Bayonne or Montclair, the decision was made to give it a try in Kearny.

“We want people to come to Kearny from other towns, and that’s why the UEZ exists — to help businesses and to attract people who maybe have never been to Kearny to shop,” Peneda said. “We want as many people as possible to know there’s a lot more to Kearny than what people might know.”

So the hope is that Kearny and non-Kearny residents alike who are dog owners and lovers will make their way to Arlington Park to enter their dogs into the “parade.”

Peneda said that the event will be more like a fashion show for dogs, with owners “parading” their dogs before judges.

“What will happens is we’ll have a stage set up near the old railroad tracks,” Peneda said. “The owners will come across the stage with their dogs — and go before judges. So it will be like a runway, something you might see at a fashion show … or a beauty contest.”

There will be two categories for the contest: Dogs 40 pounds and lighter, and dogs 40 pounds and heavier. From each category, there will be two winners: One for the best dog and the other for best dog and owner.

So what that all means is the dogs should, at the very least, be in some sort of Halloween costume. While it’s not required for the humans, those who do show up in unique costumes will have a better chance at winning some sort of prize.

“So let’s say the dog is dressed up as Batman, and the owner as Robin, they’ll be eligible for a different prize,” Peneda said. “It’s a great way for the dogs and their owners to dress up together.”

On the day of the event, it won’t just be the contest, either. There will be representatives from eateries with food for humans and pets to buy, the Bergen County Animal Shelter will be on hand, the Hudson County Sheriff ’s K-9 Unit will be there — and there will be other activities for kids and the dogs.

Plus, local photographer Diane D. Tilley will be on hand to take, for a nominal fee, photos of the dogs and their owners, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Bergen County Animal Shelter.

So it should be an allaround great day for humans and canines alike. As of late last week, 20 dogs had been registered for the parade, according to Peneda.

“As long as the weather cooperates,” Peneda said. “We’ll just have to hope for the best.”

Peneda has earmarked $7,000 for the program, including fees for event coordinator Linda Kraus D’Isa, banners, rental of sound equipment and tables, prizes and advertising, but he said he expected to come in under budget.

Advance registration is required — and all owners must be able to document that their dogs are up-todate with rabies shots and that they’re properly licensed in their hometowns. To register, visit www.kearnynj.org and visit the KUEZ’s section on the website. Or, go to the KUEZ office at the Town Hall Annex, 402 Kearny Ave.

Registration is free and it is possible, depending on how many registrants there are ahead of time, that dayof- event registration will be available.

For additional information, call the KUEZ office at 201- 955-7905.

Who’s who of Kearny ‘celebs’ in ‘Tribute to Old Time Radio’

01-what_web

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Most Kearny residents are quite used to seeing Mayor Alberto G. Santos cutting ribbons. We’ve all seen, at one point or another, Councilwomen Sue McCurrie and Carol Jean Doyle marching along in the big parade on St. Patrick’s Day up to their necks in shamrocks.

We’ve all read Jim Hague’s sports columns and stories right here on the pages of this newspaper. And yet, the aforementioned, and several other notables of Kearny, will be way out of their element on Oct. 24 and 25 as they star in the kickoff to the West Hudson Arts & Theatre Company’s new season in “A Tribute to Old Time Radio.”

That’s right — Kearny’s mayor and two councilwomen will be on stage with Jim Hague, his wife, Superior Court Judge Mary Costello, Vince Abbott, Dr. John Branwell, Cecilia Lindenfelser, John Peneda, Phil Thiele, Steven Thiele, Edmund Shea, Robert Strauch and Robert Zika.

They’ll be appearing in the old-time radio plays “Boston Blackie and the Fur Trade,” “The Great McGinty” and “Our Miss Brooks.”

Jerry Ficeto, a founding member and president of the W.H.A.T. board, says the idea was to bring together a group of well-known Kearny residents to put on a show that would draw people who might not otherwise go to a play. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see a starstudded cast like this performing?

“We’re always thinking community,” Ficeto said. “Putting something like this on makes people want to see the people they know performing — people who are not normally on the stage. This is what we’re all about. And we figured we’d bring it all back to where performances started — on the radio — where the stars don’t need to memorize their lines.

“It’s a much easier way to act.”

That’s because just like back in the day when there were radio performances, the cast here will have all their lines right in front of them. They’ll be performing as if they were really broadcasting on the radio. Each segment is 28 to 30 minutes.

Linda Kraus D’Isa Cast practicing in reading positions.

Linda Kraus D’Isa
Cast practicing in reading positions.

 

But it hardly means the participants won’t be getting into character, Ficeto says. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“At first I thought it might take some time for them to get into their roles, but it was only a matter of minutes,” Ficeto said. “For example, the mayor (Santos) plays a police role. And it didn’t take long for a fellow cast member, Judge (Mary) Costello, to tell him he might have a job in law enforcement if he ever steps away from being mayor.

“I mean, it really took about 20 minutes before everyone was taking on their characters, doing the voices. It’s just magnificent.”

Just how much does Ficeto think the show will attract people?

“Before tickets were even on sale, the first call came from [Essex County Assignment] Costello — Mary’s sister, Patricia,” Ficeto said. “We certainly hope other family members and friends do the same.”

During the weekend of performances, W.H.A.T. will kick off its 2014-15 season fundraising drive. As a grassroots organization, fundraising is vitally essential to ensure a full season of shows and educational programs.

“So there will, indeed, be opportunities for the people who come to the shows over that weekend to get involved with our fundraising efforts,” Ficeto said. “Community theater is the people’s theater. And at W.H.A.T., we are reminded that part of its beauty is seeing friends and neighbors on stage, having fun and sharing a passion.”

The two performances will take place at the W.H.A.T. Theater, at the First Lutheran Church, 65 Oakwood Ave., Kearny, on Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are just $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and may be purchased by calling 201- 467-8624 or by visiting www.whatco.org.

Netflix has made watching TV unnecessary and frustrating

Net_web1

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

So you’ve got to wait a while before you can watch your favorite shows. It’s worth it, frankly, if you’re a Netflix subscriber — and if you haven’t subscribed yet, you’re truly missing out.

There are numerous reasons why for me, TV is not the way to watch shows anymore. But perhaps the biggest reason is the lack of commercials. There aren’t any on Netflix streaming — and I can say, with ease, it’s been a few years since I last watched a commercial.

But it’s something well beyond the commercials that makes Netflix so appealing.

Perhaps most notably, it’s the original programming that has made the streaming service a must-have.

There are numerous shows the service now offers, but the three biggest — “Orange Is The New Black,” “House of Cards” and “The Killing” are perhaps three of the best shows out there, period. And aside from the first three seasons of “The Killing,” which did air on regular TV, none ever have to be seen with annoying breaks.

“Orange Is The New Black” is the real-life story of Piper Kerman, a Connecticut woman who spent 18 months in prison after she was charged and convicted of helping her friend smuggle illicit narcotics.

“House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, is based on a British show of the same name, with an American twist, and follows the highs and lows of a man who went from being a member of the House of Representatives, to vice president to the president of the United States.

Netflix.com The cast of ‘The Killing.’

Netflix.com
The cast of ‘The Killing.’

 

And “The Killing,” easily the best of the of the three shows, is an extremely dark drama that follows two fictional Seattle police detectives who are responsible for some of the most brutal crimes imaginable.

Another reason why these shows are as popular as they are likely stems from the ability to binge-watch them.

Whenever a new season is ready, Netflix releases the entire season’s episodes on the same day.

And what that does, essentially, for those who choose to binge-watch, is create more of a 12- or 13-part full-length feature than it does an episodic show.

When the episodes of each of the three shows were last released, I watched each in a matter of two to three days. The shows are so good, it’s next to impossible to stop watching.

I wasn’t going to do it this way initially. But the shows are that good.

And yet there’s a problem for most viewers when shows like “Orange,” “Cards” and “The Killing” end — you find yourself feeling lost, sad almost, that it could be a year or more before more episodes are available.

That, of course, is driven by the notion that generally, there are 12 or 13 episodes a year. (The fourth and final season of “The Killing” only had four episodes).

But that’s what makes the shows so intensely good. Having about half of a normal season’s worth of episodes ensures that each successive season gets better. The shows’ popularity grows. It’s almost impossible to get sick of the shows.

The biggest drawback to the Netflix shows is that the streaming company does not release statistics on how many people watch the shows. So it becomes impossible to make solid comparisons to shows on terrestrial television. But it doesn’t seem to matter — because “Orange” and “Cards” have each been nominated for Emmy Awards.

Imagine that? Shows that have never aired on TV have gotten Emmy nominations — they’re that good.

Beyond the original programming, so many other TV shows are available for streaming. I became enamored with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The West Wing” after watching each episode of the series on Netflix.

And there wasn’t a single commercial break.

So the bottom line is the $8.99 a month cost is well worth it for fans of TV shows who just don’t have the time for commercials. And best of all, every new subscriber gets the first month for free.

So if you’ve been unsure of whether subscribing to Netflix would be worth it, waver no more — it’s worth every penny you’ll spend if you’re ready to watch.

Enjoy!

Kevin Canessa Jr. can be reached at kevincanessa@ gmail.com. 

Learn ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Thursday nights on ABC

murder_web

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

If you’ve been a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” at any point during its now 10-season run, chances are you migrated over to “Scandal.” If you then became a fan of “Scandal,” combined with “Grey’s Anatomy,” chances are you’re going to migrate also to Shonda Rhimes’ new ABC Thursday-night drama, “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And in combination, ABC has, perhaps, TV’s biggest powerhouse of three-consecutive shows airing from 8 to 11 p.m. every Thursday night. The suits at ABC are so certain “How to” (we’ll shorten it to “How to” since the name is otherwise annoying to type over and over) will be successful, they’ve already adopted the slogan “Thank God It’s Thursday” for “Grey’s,” “Scandal” and “How to.”

And there’s no question, “How to” got off to a splendid beginning.

It’s the story of a law professor, who also has a private practice, whose philosophy on teaching the law requires law students to learn how to get their clients off — including when they are, frankly, guilty of committing murder.

Perhaps a bit unethically, in the very first episode, she charges her students to come up with a defense for a case she’s currently working on. She and two of her colleagues then chose the four law students they believe came up with the best defenses.

The caveat? All four of the best students then get hired to work for her law firm, in what appears to be a research capacity.

But there are numerous twists along the way from the get-go.

In one scene, after coming up with a possible defense scenario, one of the students hops out of his own bed, leaves his apartment and cycles over to the professor’s office. Thing is, the student walks into the office and finds the married professor (who is a woman, by the way), having sex with a man we later learn is a cop involved in her current case.

There are also numerous flash-forwards to the four law students doing their best to hide the body of a dead man.

It appears to the be the body of the professor’s husband.

But this leaves open the door to many possibilities.

Did the professor kill her own husband and then force the kids to get rid of the body to help her get away with murder?

Is it all a farce?

Is one or more of the law students involved in killing the prof ’s husband? It’s all part of the brilliance that is the writing of Rhimes. It’s evident in the new show. It’s clear in “Scandal.” And for a decade, we’ve been treated to more plane crashes, love affairs, loused-up medical procedures and more on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

So here’s the bottom line.

If you’re a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Scandal” — and let’s face it, you should be a fan of one or both of them — you’re naturally going to like the progression from “Grey’s” at 8 p.m., to “Scandal” at 9 p.m., and now to “How to” at 10 p.m. on ABC.

With Rhimes, nothing ever seems to be off limits. Nothing is too taboo. And if you really get into this troika of shows on Thursday nights, chances are, too, that nothing will be off limits with “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And perhaps when all is said and done, that’s exactly what you learn how to do.

Contact Kevin Canessa Jr. at kevincanessa@gmail.com with ideas for entertainment stories, including review of shows, bands, books, movies and the like. We’re especially looking for local talents to showcase. 

‘West Wing’ fans rejoice: ‘Madam Secretary’ will bring you your politics fix

madam_web

By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 

Fans of “The West Wing” can finally rejoice. After seven years without a major political drama that really takes on issues as “West Wing” did, you’ve finally got a show on TV that brings you into the White House.

And even better, the major player in this new CBS show is a woman.

The show debuted last Sunday night — just before another great drama, “The Good Wife” — and it didn’t disappoint one bit from the very first scene.

The show follows the leadership of the nation’s new Secretary of State Elizabeth Faulkner McCord, played brilliantly by Tea Leoni. We first meet the secretary after two twenty-something boys from Hartford, Conn., are taken hostage while in Syria. The hostage takers think these kids are jihadists. Truth is, they’re not — they’re just two kids, really, who wanted to help seek peace for the Syrian people.

But they’re in serious trouble right away because the government of Syria says they’re going to be executed in just a few days — the days following their capture.

As all of this happens, the current Secretary of State is involved in a plane crash, and the President of the United States, Conrad Dalton, played by Keith Carradine (you may remember him as Frank from classic episodes of “Criminal Minds”) wants McCord to be his new Secretary of State.

She and her husband, Henry McCord, played by Tim Daly, are both living comfortable lives. She’s a political-science professor and he’s a religion professor at the University of Virginia.

But it all turns upside down when the President shows up to their Virginia ranch — and gives McCord a day to decide if she’ll accept the position.

You don’t say no to the President of the United States. No one does in reality. And no one ever did to other fictitious President, like Josiah Bartlet, most notably.

And so two months later, we’re rejoined with Mrs. McCord serving at the White House while her husband finds himself with a great job as a religion professor at the Jesuit university, Georgetown.

It’s a religion professor’s dream to work with the Jesuits, isn’t it? And that’s precisely what we learn about him when he gets there.

But Mrs. McCord is immediately faced with a crisis — and that is, to get these two hostages freed from the Syrian prison. That’s no easy task, given the political climate there in reality.

And the reality of it transcends into this new show.

From the get-go, we’re treated to just how difficult it is to be a member of the President’s cabinet. And perhaps too stereotypically, we’re shown, right away, that it’s often more challenging for a woman to get the President’s ear than it is for a man to get his ear.

Her covert plan to get the two hostages freed is immediately dismissed by the President — her long-time friend from days back in the Central Intelligence Agency — in favor of a plan presented by the chief of staff, a man.

So while there are some trite themes that one might expect a woman new to the White House to experience, the bottom line is the show has taken — and will continue to take — serious modern- day, post-9/11 themes and it will run with them.

This is perhaps even more exciting than “The West Wing” was, as that show never directly addressed the change to the world after 9/11 (the show began pre-Sept. 11, 2001 in 1999, and while it did occasionally touch on terrorism, it never did so based on real-time events).

“Madam Secretary” is different. The subjects are real. We finally get a very strong woman in a very high position of authority — and she’s the focus of the show, not the President at all.

In fact, this show doesn’t work one bit if the Secretary of State is a man. But it works with her as a woman (sure there have been other shows with women in a powerful position — think “24” — but those characters have always had major flaws and weaknesses.

Elizabeth Faulkner McCord is by no means weak. She’s anything but it.

And because of that, “Madam Secretary” is one that will absolutely last. It should draw tremendous ratings following football and “60 Minutes” on CBS.

And finally, “West Wing” fans can rejoice because they’re more than likely going to get the politics fix from Hollywood so desperately missed since that show went off the air seven years ago.

Dino Costa coming to you live, online, from his Western digs

Dino_web

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. —

Glenn Beck did it when he had had enough with the suits at Fox News.

Sarah Palin is even giving it a try, though we’re not so sure how much success that’ll have.

But for the first time in modern sports-radio history, which technically dates back to 1987 when WFAN launched in New York, a nationally known sports-radio host has started an online-only, subscriber- based sports-radio network he hopes will make him and his investors big bucks — and that he hopes changes the way his fans get their sports radio.

Dino Costa, who spent the last few years with Mad Dog Radio on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and before that, was on numerous terrestrial radio stations throughout the country, launched dinocostashow.com four months ago when he didn’t renew his contract with Mad Dog Radio and the suits at Sirius/XM.

Bringing Costa’s always entertaining — and extremely controversial show — to the Internet has changed the way sports radio shows are conducted now for many reasons, but most notably, not having to deal with the restrictive rules of the Federal Communications Commission.

“There are no rules, so it’s really the Wild, Wild West of sports radio, isn’t it?” Costa told The Observer exclusively. “When there are no rules, we can truly do what we want. And that’s exactly what we do.”

But it was hardly the FCC’s rules that got Costa interested in doing online-only sports radio. Instead, he says it’s because too often, the suits at Sirius/XM refused to realize his potential — and to market his show and talents properly.

“I was thinking of this prior to my departure at Sirius/ XM, however,” Costa said. “And after that, I had an opportunity to meet with the folks at Fox Sports out in Los Angeles. But long story short, an investor who was also a fan contacted me, asked me if I really wanted to do this, and I realized this was as good a time as any to break into the digital platform.

“So I wrote to the folks at Fox, thanked them, and let them know I was going in a different direction. And on May 5, we launched dinocostashow.com.”

Costa says the digital platform has led to the “most fun” he’s had in his 18-year radio career. Each show is broadcast with crystal-clear video of Dino in his studio. It’s also simulcast audio only. If listeners miss a show, each one is archived for later viewing or listening. The show also now has its own app for iPhones and Androids.

But Costa says the new platform can be trying, at times, especially considering there are no commercials.

“It can be mentally fatiguing at times, but there’s an organic flow to the show we never had before now,” Costa said. “And every time I go into that studio, I have go so with the mindset that the entire world is listening to the show. We have fewer listeners now than when I was on Sirius/XM, obviously, but I must treat every show as if the audience was enormous. People are giving us their hard-earned money to listen.

“So it is a challenge in one way, but an absolutely fun and enjoyable way to broadcast.”

While many in radio say Internet-based stations won’t succeed in the long term, Costa says not so fast to all the naysayers.

Since many cars are now coming equipped with 4G Wi- Fi access, and many more will in the future, Costa believes the digital radio platform is not only here, it’s here for the long haul.

“Let’s not forget that there are some digital-only news platforms that are now out performing traditional newspapers,” Costa said. “If those kinds of sites can succeed, why can’t digital-only radio? It only makes sense that it’s more than possible.”

Ideally, Costa says he hopes this is the last “job” he ever has in radio. But he also says he’d be foolish to cast aside any possible future opportunities that might arise.

“If other opportunities present themselves, I’d be foolish not to consider them,” he said. “But I really believe this is the future of radio, the future of sports talk radio. And each day since we’ve launched, we’ve gained more and more subscribers. We’ve never gone backward. That’s a real sign this is going to succeed.”

Matthew Mandel of Kearny has been a huge fan of Costa’s work, dating back to his arrival at Mad Dog Radio. He says having Costa’s show online rather than on satellite or terrestrial radio has made it significantly better.

“He doesn’t answer to anyone anymore,” Mandel said. “When he was on Sirius, he never got the respect he deserved from his bosses. Now, he holds nothing back at all. He tells it like it is. If a team or an athlete ticks him off, he’s going to say so — and he could do that without the fear of potential consequences.

“That has made the Dino Costa Show so much better than it was before.”

Mike Ranford of Belleville agrees — even though he hasn’t always been a fan of Costa’s.

“He says what he means and he means what he says,” Ranford said. “There were times in the past he’s said stuff that just infuriated me. But when you think of it, that’s what sports talk radio is all about. It’s purely entertainment. And with an online platform, Dino entertains while bringing his fans the best sports radio has to offer.

“He is much better off today without Sirius/XM as far as I am concerned. I just hope the online platform takes off and people are willing to pay a minimal fee to get better sports radio than any of the two terrestrial stations in the area (WFAN and WEPN) can offer.”

Contact Dino by sending an email to talktodino@gmail.com.