A production powerhouse
By Deb Silverthorn
Melissa Waldman Plaskoff has been a doer in the Dallas Jewish community for most of her life. Now Plaskoff, a wife and mother of three, is making her mark in local media circles as creative producer of the Morning After morning show on KDAF/CW33 and as co-founder and president of On-Air Media.
When the pandemic arose, and virtual programming became the norm, Plaskoff and her On-Air Media team were there to support businesses, organizations and individuals for self-production of high-quality video and audio content.
“Melissa is a natural communicator and that comes out in everything she does, every role she takes on. She’s an incredible professional and a remarkable person all around,” said Ron Corning, who has co-hosted Morning After since it began, and who also supports Plaskoff’s work through On-Air Media. “I just marvel at everything she does. I’ve never known anyone who could balance so much, so well, and I’m so grateful for our friendship and partnership.”
Plaskoff has reduced her responsibilities at Morning After, but continues contributing segments each week focusing primarily on digital media and trends from TikTok tips to digital marketing and fun ways for anyone to get through Zoom.
At On-Air Media, Plaskoff helps her clients’ programming stand out by offering original programming platforms for podcasting, vod (video) casting, web series, videos, commercials and voice-overs. The team provides content creation, digital marketing strategy and support, livestreaming and on-demand broadcast solutions with professionally equipped studios, technical experts, sound engineers and producers.
Last November, Plaskoff produced the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum’s first virtual Hope for Humanity event. It was a labor of love as well, for her family has served as educators, speakers and board leadership for the museum. Her company worked with Fran Berg of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission to incorporate film content and tributes in honor of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
“Realizing our ballroom event would have to transform to a virtual room, Melissa and her creative team were wonderful. A number of us went to the studio; it was safe and socially distanced and it was in every way an incredible and professional experience,” said Mary Pat Higgins, president and CEO of the museum.
Plaskoff has also worked with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Recovery Resource Council and several schools including The Parish Episcopal School. On North Texas Giving Day, her organization donated three months’ worth of weekly programs for three nonprofits. and the company continues to connect with agencies whose mission touches them.
“It’s been an honor to help these organizations; for many these annual events pull in a substantial part of their budgets. There’s no room for postponing the fundraising,” said Plaskoff. “Each of them has such an incredible effect on our community, and they have to raise funds, or they can’t survive.”
Plaskoff is the wife of Bart and mother of Annabelle, Hudson and Parker; the family are members of Congregation Shearith Israel and Temple Emanu-El. As the daughter of Jackie and Steve Waldman, and sister of Michael and Todd, being concerned about the community is in Melissa’s DNA; she says it is the family’s responsibility to give back that keeps them going.
Keeping on going is what Plaskoff does, no matter what. In June, she worked from home after contracting COVID-19, and in July she and her family road-tripped to Colorado and New Mexico. From the family car, Plaskoff checked in to “Morning After” and held conference calls for On-Air Media, never skipping a beat.
For the Plaskoff home, like most around the country, life has been Zooming through b’nai mitzvah and birthdays, a “Zoomakah Hanukkah,” studies, sourcing and connecting to family including her grandmother Sarah Yarrin, who recently moved to The Legacy Willow Bend. A welcome offline joy to the family has been the addition of their pandemic-puppy, a golden retriever named Lucy.
Plaskoff’s role as a professional, creative mother and role model is all set — that is, until the next challenge.