I learned early in life that delivering “value-added” service & keeping customers/clients happy were going to be the keys to my business success.

When I delivered The Morning Call newspaper as a teenager during the late 60s & early 70s in the small mining town of Coaldale, I almost tripled my route size in four years because of consistently providing “value-added” service – not just throwing the newspaper on a porch, but by putting it inside a storm door, under a floor mat, or in a milk box. It’s funny how the “little things” like this can mean a whole lot to customers…

I would get my Sunday customers their Philly Inquirer, Philly Bulletin, Reading Eagle, & NY Daily News in addition to The Morning Call so they could sit down to their morning coffee with all their Sunday newspapers. This “value-added” service resulted in massively growing my customer base (plus, as a side bonus – it provided me with above-average tips as well!). My accumulated newspaper route savings completely paid for my 1st year of college.

During my Panther Valley high school years – I wrote articles, sold ads, & helped layout our school newspaper. Our layout was done off-campus at the former Vadyak Printing shop on West Water Street in Lansford. There, I learned much about layout & offset printing from print shop veterans – Joe & Harry Vadyak. They introduced me to newspaper ad creation for the former Bright’s Department Store – the long-time “company store” in the Panther Valley area when “coal was king.”


Mark Radio PicI credit my introduction to radio to my high school English teacher & highly-successful basketball coach John Harkins. He helped me create & served as a mentor for The Panther Report, a 15-minute weekly recap of news & various events happening at Panther Valley High School.

The show aired on WLSH Lansford & WYNS Lehighton for three years.

After high school I did sports writing, news reporting, rewrites, & proofreading at The Times News in Lehighton. For a brief period, I also worked at their sister company Blue Ridge Cable TV 13 filling in as a news anchor for the nightly news report & working the TV cameras for the weekend races at The Mahoning Valley Speedway.

If I had to say where I learned the most about sales & marketing, I must credit former WLSH radio station owner John W. “Bud” Angst. He taught me “old school” Radio 101… things you would never find in a book or modern-day classroom. He introduced me to announcing, basic radio engineering, news reporting, sports broadcasting, radio sales, copywriting, & production.

Because Bud was politically active, I learned much about grass-roots “coal-region” politics. Bud started a successful weekly newspaper called The Midweeker & I added newspaper ad sales & layout to my growing list of marketing skills. Down through the years, Bud’s most valuable teaching was to be more than just an ad rep. He encouraged me to become an invaluable resource to a client where I was viewed more as a multi-media consultant & an integral part of their marketing & sales team… instead of just another radio salesman.


Because I still have former radio clients that seek my marketing insight & advice, I decided to launch Coal Region Connections.

With the help of my son Kristopher Marek, who resides in Delray Beach, Florida & is a successful & highly sought-after direct marketing strategist & direct-response copywriter, & makes his private clients millions of dollars each year – I hope to give local small “mom & pop” & mid-size businesses, along with local non-profit organizations the help they need to not only survive during these trying economic times… but also to prosper & succeed.

If you’d like to know more about Coal Region Connections, you can go to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page HERE.