Michael Toms, co-founder of New Dimensions Radio passed away on January 24, 2013 at the age of 72. Michael began his broadcasts which featured interviews with leading-edge thinkers in 1973. What began as a local San Francisco radio show quickly grew into a syndicated international program carried by over 600 stations as well as by satellite and on the internet.
Michael was known as the “Socrates of radio” and his guests included such luminaries as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Joseph Campbell, Buckminster Fuller, President Jimmy Carter, J. Krishnamurti, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and many others. He was considered by many to be a major force in bringing innovative ideas into the mainstream culture. His sensitive and engaging interview style was heralded by many in the industry.
Michael and his wife and New Dimensions partner Justine, were one of the couples that we featured in our book: Secrets of Great Marriages. They both proved to be as comfortable on the answering side of the interview desk as they are the asking side and their contribution to our book was invaluable.
Michael’s memorial service was held in San Francisco and was attended by many of the people who have worked at New Dimensions over the years as well as many of those that he and Justine had interviewed for the show.
Michael was a visionary in the truest sense of the word. He possessed the ability to recognize the gifts within his guests and as so many speakers at his service stated, “to bring out the best in everyone with whom he spoke.” He also believed that anything is possible if you believe that it is. Yet Michael wasn’t naive. He knew that it took more than visualizations and affirmations to bring forth transformation in the world; it required effort, commitment, and perseverance, all of which both he and Justine gave in full measure to their work with New Dimensions.
And their work was truly a labor of love. When we interviewed them for our book, they told us that they don’t see their work as interviewing people but rather as engaging in dialogue and conversation, which is exactly how we felt as the four of us spoke together in their studio. Several years ago Linda and I were fortunate enough to be invited by Michael and Justine to be guests on New Dimensions ourselves. Their relaxed, open-hearted way of being enabled us both to express and even discover new insights into our work that we were seeing for the first time.
Michael and Justine were partners in every sense of the word and they embodied a spirit of enlightened self interest in their lives. They each recognized the extraordinary gifts that the other brought to their work and their relationship and they nurtured each other on an on-going basis. They were both sufficiently secure within themselves to generously share their love and appreciation to each other in a variety of ways, and in so doing, they created a cycle in which love was continually expressed, exchanged, and deepened. That love and their commitment to service is the foundation of the New Dimensions’ mission.
I believe that without exception, everyone present during Michael’s memorial service feels certain that because of who he is, of how he lived, and what he and Justine created together, that the world is a far better place than it would have been without his presence and contributions. And that may be the greatest tribute to a person’s life that can be said.