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article imageTalent manager Linda Rohe talks Coastal Entertainment, technology Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 11, 2019 in Entertainment
Astoria - On March 11, veteran talent manager Linda Rohe chatted with Digital Journal about her career in the entertainment business and running Coastal Entertainment, one of the leading talent companies on the East Coast.
Coastal Entertainment is responsible for booking comedians, celebrities and entertainers all over the country. "I started working for Rick Messina, who was a manager and comedy booker in the late '80s and early '90s. He ended up signing Tim Allen for his NBC deal. He left the company behind to myself and another girl who was working in the office," she said.
Rohe continued, "We moved the company to Long Island and at the time, we were only booking comedy clubs. It was called Creative Entertainment. When she ended up leaving the industry, I moved the office back into Queens and renamed it as Coastal Entertainment. I was still booking comedy clubs, but I decided at that point, to start managing talent. I started working with comedians and actors. I started the company in 1991, and two years later, in 1993, I did my first soap opera event with Kelly Ripa and John Callahan."
Regarding her plans for 2019 with Coastal Entertainment, she said, "We are expanding our comedy management roster. We are working with more diversified talent and signing her people that are coming into New York. On the entertainment and celebrity front, we have booked over 30 minor league baseball teams. I bring in celebrity talent to throw the first pitch in minor league games. We do baseball and hockey teams, and we are really busy with that. We are adding brand new cities for General Hospital Fantasy events, where Coastal Entertainment is responsible for the smaller soap opera events."
Rohe noted that she created Fantasy Events Inc. with Dino Ibelli about six years ago. "We did over 20 cities last year, and we are probably going to do the same this year, but we are adding new cities to the mix. It's all good things. We are excited," she said.
When they started Fantasy Events Inc. and they did the larger-scale General Hospital Fantasy events, Rohe wanted to include a charity component. "Dino brought Tunnel to Towers to the table, and I brought in Contractors for Kids," she said. "The Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation reached out to us. We love working with all of these charities to help them out. We do raffles and auctions to help benefit them at our larger events."
Rohe loves working with the nonprofit organization Tunnel to Towers since it is relates to September 11, 2001, and she loves the idea of helping children with Contractors for Kids. "Robin Cohen, the CEO of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, impressed us so much with her work with the Ovarian Cancer Foundation that we couldn't turn it down," she said.
Each day, Rohe is motivated by the love that she has for her work. "Every day is different and it has a different energy to it. I love the people that I work with. Everything about the job, I absolutely love," she said.
Regarding the key to longevity in the entertainment business, Rohe noted that it has to do with "honesty," as well as "good business and organizational skills." "My reputation means a lot to me. I feel that my reputation in this business is really solid," she said. "I book clubs that are honest and I make sure that things are done the right way. To me, reputation is everything."
Digital transformation of the entertainment industry
On the impact of technology on the entertainment business, Rohe said, "Technology has expanded what we are able to do. I remember when we first started, the Internet was just coming out and e-mails were just coming into play. There was no texting or e-mails. Now, I feel that we have triple the workload of what we have to get done daily since everything is done electronically."
Rohe added, "Social media has changed everything too since that is an additional job on our plate. I love learning the new programs."
When asked about the impact of streaming services on the contemporary comedic scene, she said, "Initially, some people were against it when Comedy Central first came out. People were afraid that regular customers would watch comedy on their television, and that they would refrain from going to a comedy club to see it live. Those concerns have been re-energized thanks to streaming."
She added, "Viewers would watch a comedian online on the streaming platforms, and then they would go and see them live at a comedy venue. Streaming and social media have helped boost attendance at comedy clubs. Streaming has definitely brought comedy back to the forefront."
For aspiring comedians, Rohe encouraged them to work hard and to create new material. "Keep working on that material until it gets stronger," she said. "If you work hard in this business, you will get noticed."
"We are very grateful to the venues that work with us, the people that come to our events, and the talent that works with us," she said. "If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have a successful business. We are very thankful for the venues, the fans and the talent."
To learn more about Coastal Entertainment, check out its official website, and follow them on Twitter.
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