- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

NEW YORK — Even though John Tesh got his start in television, the former newsman isn't a fan of what's on the tube these days.
"Maybe I'm getting conservative in my old age, but I think a lot of what's on television is worthless," says Mr. Tesh, who quit his job as co-anchor of "Entertainment Tonight" seven years ago to devote himself to his musical career.
"The reason I come to this conclusion is because I have an 8-year-old girl, and my whole outlook on life has changed," he says. "My daughter is on lockdown. There are certain stations she can't even turn on."
Mr. Tesh, who won two Emmys as a journalist for WCBS-TV in New York City, complained about the sex and violence on television, and said he wishes the networks would be more selective in the images that are shown.
His views reflect his family values: The 49-year-old follows a devout Christian lifestyle with his wife of 10 years, actress Connie Selleca, and their daughter. (He has an adult son from a previous marriage.)
He expresses his beliefs on his new disc, "A Deeper Faith." It's the most overtly Christian record of the dozens he has released; he's better known for his light-pop, piano-based instrumental tunes.
Mr. Tesh has sold more than 1 million records and has been nominated for a Grammy. Even former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin is a fan.
During the interview, the receiver-turned-minister interrupts Mr. Tesh to give him a bear hug and tell him he loves his music.
Still, Mr. Tesh, the host of a syndicated music radio show, knows that to some, he's still considered kind of cheesy. He has learned to not only accept that image, but also make fun of it.
"I will go on Conan [OBrien] and he'll make fun of me and I'll make fun of myself with him," he says. "People don't want you to be too serious about everything."
Q: Have your religious convictions deepened in recent years?
A: I had a relationship with God, but I didn't have an earthly relationship with anybody to help me through earthly temptations. I think that when you have kids, all of a sudden, you become [more spiritual]. You realize, "You know what? If I don't deepen my faith in a hurry here, there's not going to be anything left for my family, anything left for me when I go."
Q: Were you worried that you might be alienating some fans by releasing a Christian record?
A: Not only worried, but it's happened. For every 100 e-mails that we'll get from people saying, "Hey, thanks for being so honest, thanks for the new record," I'll get two saying, "You know what? If I wanted to know something about your faith I would have asked you. It's very private to me and I don't need to hear about yours." And we just send those people their money back for the record or for tickets.
Q: Did you enjoy making your singing debut on the record?
A: It just seemed a little weird to be playing piano on a worship record and not leading the worship. Then, you hear your voice, and you're like, "OK, how many background singers can we put around this?" But it's been fun. You get to know your limitations.
Q: Is your daughter allowed to listen to artists such as Britney Spears?
A: I had a bad experience with that whole Britney Spears thing because Britney arrived on my doorstep on my Rolling Stone magazine with I mean her top was almost off. And I went crazy on my radio show. I said, "Britney, why would you do that? I have an 8-year-old in my house who thinks you're a great singer, and now she thinks she has to wear revealing tops."
Q: Have you considered a return to television?
A: I get offers to do that stuff, but there are only a couple of things I can do at this point. One is to be a dad, and [the others are] to tour and [create] my music. To do a job like that is a full-time job. It's the reason I left "Entertainment Tonight."

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