Attached is an article in today’s Charlotte Sun:
Dr. Beach on the water
Expert tours area, extols waterfront living
By BRENDA BARBOSA STAFF WRITER
When Stephen Leatherman, aka “Dr. Beach,” visits beaches across the country to compile his yearly list of America’s Top 10 beaches, he usually likes to fly under the radar, quietly dodging the press until after his popular ratings are published.
This week, though, the world-renowned beach expert broke from his usual protocol to speak to local reporters as he toured up and down Charlotte County’s beaches and waterways, extolling the area’s pristine waterfront.
Leatherman was in town this week filming a television episode for a pilot program on waterfront living, as well as a three-minute promotional video highlighting Englewood beaches, Punta Gorda and the barrier islands, including Don Pedro and Knight islands.
“Normally when I come to an area, I am doing ratings of beaches, and I don’t usually meet with the media until after I’ve done the ratings because I don’t want to get the red-carpet treatment,” he said. “This is very different.”
And when it comes to waterfront living, different can be better.
“I thought it would be nice to go to a place that is a little less known but of high quality, and Charlotte County came up,” he said.
Unlike most coastal communities, Charlotte County offers the best of both worlds — miles of “Old Florida” beachfront and a harbor teeming with world-class fishing and boating.
“You have a beautiful environment here with the harbor,” Leatherman said. “It’s more laid back here, more easygoing and more friendly.
“Your beaches are more remote than most beaches, and that actually makes them in some ways better, because they are not overcrowded,” he added. “I’m used to the east coast of Florida where the beaches are jam-packed.”
Leatherman was joined by Emmy-awardwinning producer-photographer Russ Weston, who was directing the film crew.
Weston, who recently was on assignment in St. Louis, Mo., covering the World Series, has worked on television shows like the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” and National Geographic’s “Extreme Alaska.”
“This has been a neat community to work in,” Weston said of Charlotte County. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
The crew spent the day on Monday filming in Englewood and the barrier islands. Tuesday, they spent the day touring Charlotte Harbor; and today, they will spend it on the Peace River.
In June, the Charlotte County Commission approved a $79,000 budget transfer from the Tourist Development Trust Fund to fund the video and pilot episode, which then will be shopped to several major television networks. The pilot will combine Leatherman’s background in coastal science with beachfront living.
Realtor Robin Madden of Islander Properties in Englewood believes the investment will pay for itself and then some.
Madden met Leatherman a few years ago when he toured Palm Island to show reporters how he makes his “best beach” selections.
“He’s brilliant,” Madden said. “He is so well-known, so well-thought-of and highly respected. This is really going to help put Charlotte County on the map.”
SUN PHOTO BY BRENDA BARBOSA
World-renowned researcher and beach expert Stephen Leatherman, aka “Dr. Beach,” has spent the last few days touring Charlotte County beaches and waterways filming a promotional video and a pilot episode for a television program on waterfront real estate. He is joined by Emmy-award-winning producer-photographer Russ Weston, who has worked on programs like National Geographic’s “Extreme Alaska.”
Here’s a link to the NBC Fort Myers story that aired last night regarding the Dr. Beach TV Pilot
Nov. 19, NBC (WBBH-Fort Myers)
Here are the previous stories on SNN and WINK
Nov. 18, SNN (Sarasota)
Nov. 18, CBS (WINK-Fort Myers)