Watch: Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert speaks at TEDxBuffalo about being a deaf DJ

Geoff 'DeafGeoff' Herbert talks at TEDxBuffalo on Oct. 9, 2012

Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert talks at TEDxBuffalo on Oct. 9, 2012 about being a deaf DJ and the importance of listening over hearing.

I was humbled and honored to be invited to speak at TEDxBuffalo, my first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) event, about being a deaf DJ and the challenges I’ve faced in my life growing up mostly deaf. The event was held Tuesday, October 9, at Canisius College in Buffalo to an invite-only crowd and was also live-streamed online and recorded for future events.

In a speech titled “Listening Is More Important Than Hearing,” I shared how I was born with a profound binaural hearing loss and learned how to communicate through years of speech therapy. I demonstrated some of the challenges that come from lipreading, such as how “V” and “F” look identical but the sound is different by how much air comes out of your mouth and whether your voice box vibrates when saying it. I then talked about falling in love with music, and its transformative power that led me to pursuing a career in radio — and never once letting my “disability” stand in the way. I learned to appreciate music by listening to it, not just hearing it, and worked hard at radio stations in high school and college before landing a job at Clear Channel’s HOT 107.9 in Syracuse as a morning show producer and sidekick known as “DeafGeoff.” I worked with “Marty & Shannon in the Morning” for six years as possibly the only mostly deaf on-air personality in the country and our show was rated No. 1 in its target 18-34 demographic.

I’m now a producer/entertainment reporter at, the online affiliate of The Post-Standard newspaper but the challenges I face today are the same. At a radio station disc jockey (or as a club DJ), you have to listen to what your audience wants and respond to it. Social media users and website readers will often comment and/or share stories, and it’s the same thing — listening to the audience, responding to them, and continuing to inform and/or entertain.

I’m also still a DJ for parties, dances, weddings, events, etc. and I’m constantly listening to music and studying it, watching audiences to see how they react to songs. It’s amazing how hearing a favorite tune can change a person’s mood — or force them to start moonwalking (or shuffling or Gangnam-Styling or whatever) because the music is that infectious.

You can watch video of me speaking at TEDxBuffalo here, but please check out the other speakers as well. All had great, unique thoughts to bring to the event and I was happy to be a part of it.

Thank you to all who watched and tweeted me their thoughts afterwards, and thank you to Kevin Purdy for inviting me to speak at TEDxBuffalo. If anyone has any follow-up questions or would like to know more, please feel free to email me.

TMNT fail? The new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ don’t say ‘Cowabunga’ anymore


Everyone’s still concerned that Michael Bay is going to ruin the legacy of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with his upcoming reboot where the heroes in a half-shell are an alien race — but a new ‘TMNT’ is on TV, and it’s just as bad. The pizza-loving sewer-residing quartet is back with new Saturday morning cartoons on Nickelodeon, and a lot has changed. 2007’s big-screen disasterpiece ‘TMNT’ was bad enough in changing April O’Neill from a reporter to an archaeologist. Change is inevitable, reboots and remakes are easy money for Hollywood, but this is going too far.

Splinter is no longer a rat that mutated when he came into contact with ooze. He’s a human that mutated into a rat when he was mugged in alley while carrying his pets: four baby turtles.

‘Cowabunga!’ is gone. None of the Ninja Turtles say the catchphrases that made us love them in the ’80s and ’90s. Times change, and it’s understandable that some things would get updated with the new series, but now the hot new catchphrase is ‘booyakasha’… Apparently, they started shooting the series with nothing in the script but then voice actor Greg Cipes (who plays Michelangelo) used the ridiculous NBA Jam-esque word and it has become a part of the show.

Raphael is apparently the best turtle, according to the premiere episode where we’re all re-introduced to the turtles with a twisted new origin story. The show begins with the four teen turtles practicing martial arts in their sewer lair. Leonardo and Raphael best Donatello and Michelangelo, and then Raph beats Leo. Every fan has a favorite (the blue one! the purple one! the orange one! no, the red one!) but the series never led us to believe one was a better fighter than the others. Instead, they all had specific skill sets that made them succeed as a team.

Jason Biggs and Sean Astin. Young viewers might have no idea the ‘American Pie’ star had sex with baked goods or who was ‘Rudy’ (or Samwise Gamgee from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy), but they are the voices of Leonardo and Raphael, respectively. It’s very distracting to hear recognizable voices as well-established characters, not to mention Biggs has already hurt the show with his racy, very R-rated commentary on Twitter.

Anime graphics. The Ninja Turtles might be popular in Asian markets or with U.S. viewers who also like anime, but they had their own visual look that keeps getting changed with each version of the show. ‘TMNT’ was bad, but the new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ TV show actually uses anime-like graphics such as an asterisk popping up when someone’s hit — or has a thought. There was a Japanese series called ‘Mutant Turtles: Choujin Densetsu-hen’ that satisfied the anime fans, so why not keep them separate?

Michelangelo has a new weapon. Leo still has his swords (or Katanas), Donny still has a bo (or staff), Raph has his sai — and Mikey has his nunchucks (or nunchaku) but now they apparently have sharp things at the end, like he’s going to whip them around and impale thugs in the head as he does it. The updated weapon is too scary, violent.

And to make matters worse, the show doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Sept. 29 premiere episode was the week’s top telecast with kids 2-11 (6.2/2.1 million) and the cable network’s top-rated premiere for an animated series since 2009, reaching nearly 12 million total viewers in its debut weekend. 26 more episodes have been ordered and toys are coming. Cowabunga? Booyakasha?