South Lake Tahoe man launches toy-inspired podcast
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A local man and his co-host have turned a long-time passion and blog into a successful podcast.
In 2012, Tom Romero was a law enforcement officer who was consumed by his job. So he decided to pursue a hobby to keep from being overwhelmed with work. That’s when the Toy-Lines website was born.
But, the story really starts in 1982 when Romero was given his first He-Man action figure, which he still has. That’s when his passion for toys was born. It grew when early in his career, Romero posed as Santa at children’s hospital where he could share his love for toys.
“There was one little girl who refused to go to bed until she saw Santa, so my friend got me on the phone,” Romero said. “I told her she needed to go to sleep so I could appear, so she went to bed as soon as I got off the phone and she was the first person I saw at the hospital the next day.”
The website covers everything from classic collectors figures to the new figures that accompany the new Star Wars franchise as well as comic books and movies. It also has an online store.
Romero has gotten more involved in the toy industry over the years and his readership has continued to expand.
In 2017, Romero moved to South Lake Tahoe since his wife grew up here and wanted to be near family.
The brand grew in June 2020 when Romero started the Toy-Lines Podcast with his co-host, Ian Westhoff.
Each week Romero and Westhoff talk about pop culture news or interview industry experts.
Romero said his target audience is, “anybody that loves toys.”
“Toys are generally made for children and those are the figures sold at retail stores and we cover that but we mostly cover the companies that cater to collectors,” Romero said.
He added that they keep the content clean in case children do want to listen.
“Because they’re the future adult collectors,” Romero said, joking that he himself never grew up.
In addition to his original He-Man figure, Romero estimates he has about 600 action figures.
“I’m a big proponent of doing things you love,” Romero said. “People tell me, ‘you’re in your thirties why are you still playing with toys?’ I’ll always be doing it, it makes me happy.”
Romero is going to start hosting a new podcast that focuses on the Masters of the Universe and Westhoff will be launching his own podcast this December.
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