Florida teacher wins Netflix survival show

‘Outlast’-ing everyone else came with loss, reward

Nick Radner went from teaching at a Pinellas County high school to competing on the Netflix show “Outlast.”

He was also the wrestling coach and said he was used to cutting weight but didn’t expect to lose a whopping 48 pounds during taping.

Radner joined Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden on Florida’s Fourth Estate to talk more about his experience on the reality show.

“Outlast” requires you to finish the show with a team.

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But, Radner said he had a rough start.

“That first Alaskan storm hit us and it was freezing rain, 40 degrees. We didn’t even have our shelter up yet. We’re sleeping on an icepack, permafrost, in a rain forest, and you’re cuddling up to somebody with the intention of building a shelter and it was just miserable. Within 24 hours we lost our first contestant. And we were the first team down a person. So here I am from Florida, trying to prove (to) myself that I can handle this, that I can be a good teammate, and we’re down a crucial team member — 25% of our team in 24 hours. It was like, man, if it continues like this, we’re going to be done before we begin.”

But Radner and his team kept pushing forward despite the cold weather and limited food.

“I lost 48 pounds. It took me eight months to recover,” Radner said.

The high school teacher and wrestling coach said he was so hungry he ate the foam that bubbled off the brackish water he boiled before drinking it. The pain from the hunger didn’t stop there.

“Right around week five, I could start to feel my hip bones. My heart was beating really slow. I couldn’t catch my breath,” he said.

In the midst of that struggle, Radner said he also had to deal with divisive personalities.

Despite all the challenges Radner and his team went on to win the show, splitting the $1 million prize. But Radner said it is the lessons he learned about himself that are more valuable than the money he won.

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“Honest to God, the best part about what I did was free,” he said. “There was no money involved. I got to learn about myself. You never know what you’re going to do in those life-and-death situations. I mean, yeah, it was televised, but this was like, how much quit do you have in you? And I would love to believe like everyone else that, if there’s a fire, I’m going to save a person or if there’s a tragedy, I’m going to step up and I’m going to be the guy to save a group of people — but you just don’t know. But I got to learn about myself that I will walk right up to the line of life and death and I will stay a good friend, and I will stay a good person, and I will treat others with respect right up until the point where I don’t know if I’m going to survive tomorrow or not. That was cool and that was free. The money is just icing on the cake.”

You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below:

Since learning those hard lessons Radner has returned to teaching and coaching with his students.

He said that experience and exposure from the Netflix show have also helped him to get better results in the classroom.

“By doing this show, I seem to have hooked their attention a little bit better and they understand that what I’m teaching them in class is like be a critical thinker. You know, be easy with yourself, learn as much as you can, it’s like they know I’m not lying. And I think that’s the coolest part about it,” he said.

To learn more about Radner and his experience on the Netflix show “Outlast” check out Florida’s Fourth Estate.

You can download the podcast from wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also watch it anytime on News 6+.

Florida’s Fourth Estate airs every Monday and Friday on News 6 at 5:30 p.m.

About the Authors:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.

Emmy Award-winning anchor Matt Austin joined the News 6 team in June 2011 and has been the evening news co-anchor since December 2013.