Gary Michaels, Production Director, Schurz Communications, Lafayette, Indiana

Gary-Michaels-2013If you’re in the medium or larger markets, you may consider small market radio as a training ground, and perhaps for a majority of people in the medium and larger markets, that’s exactly what it was and is. But people don’t populate small towns because they can’t get out. There’s much to be said for life in a market the size of Lafayette, Indiana with its population of just under 70,000, even if you’re in radio. This month’s interview checks in with Gary Michaels, Production Director at the 5-station Schurz cluster in Lafayette, a company that has been home to Gary for the past 30 years. Gary shares his secrets to longevity with one company and in one market, a small market at that, and he reminds us of the perks and plusses hard to find in the larger markets. Be sure to check this month’s R.A.P. CD for an excellent sampling of commercial work from Gary.

JV: How did you get your start in radio?
Gary: In 1972, when I was in high school, I got a tour of a radio station. Walking through this radio station, I decided, this is what I want to do. So, I started hanging around the radio station, calling the jocks, and they would invite me in.

I really got into old-time radio thanks to my mom and dad, and listening to the production work in old-time radio. I became fascinated with it and started producing comedy routines on a cassette deck with my brother. I’d march those into the radio station when I was in high school. The guys liked them. The jocks would play them. They would let me hang around the studio.

I started working in the radio station as a janitor for free on the weekends, just to be around it. After high school, I did four years in the Navy as a communications technician. That was during Vietnam. Then afterwards, I took my GI Bill and majored in broadcasting when I went to college. I’ve been doing it ever since.

JV: So you had a good background in radio before you really got started.
Gary: Yeah, I really knew what I wanted to do. I really had a goal to do it. It took a long time to get where I wanted to go, but I got there and just stayed there. It’s a blessing to be able to do in life what you’ve always wanted to do. Very few people have that luxury.

JV: Is Lafayette your hometown?
Gary: I was actually born here. I grew up in Kokomo and then when I was in the military, I traveled all over the world. Lafayette is a town I never ever thought I would settle in.

JV: How did you get to Lafayette?
Gary: I got a call from the station here in 1983 -- I was working in Illinois -- and they said, “Would you like to come to Lafayette?” I thought yeah, sure, no problem. It was a bigger station, a bigger market than the little town in Illinois I was working at.

I came here in a production capacity for a year, and then I started doing morning drive on a country powerhouse here. We have five stations. I did mornings for 17 years. For four years of that, I was a Program Director for the country station, both of which I never really ever wanted to do. All I ever wanted to do was production.

My first job was actually in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1981. Seat of your pants radio because I really didn’t know radio, and we learned to do production with a couple Revox decks and a mic and a board. We’d sit and crank out 15 spots a day -- write them, produce them, pound them out and put them in the system. I became Program Director in Crawfordsville – they shot me right up – and then I went to Danville, Illinois, where they put me on mornings. I did a talk show and I became Program Director there, never wanting to do any of that. All I ever wanted to do was production. I was there for about a year then came here to Lafayette in 1983 and finally, after 17 years here, I got what I wanted to do -- production.

JV: Tell us about the company you work for, Schurz Communications.
Gary: Schurz Communications is a family-owned company, which is probably the reason I’ve been here for so long. They’re an awesome company. They would never ever sell a property. They acquire properties. They’re not investors. They’re actual users and owner-operators.

We own television, radio, newspapers, publishing, cable, direct mail, anything communications. This company’s been around since 1865, when it bought its first newspaper. So, they’re really into the communications. They’re based out of South Bend, Indiana. We have five stations here.

I’m the Production Director for the five-station group, and I have an assistant that works with me in production. We crank them out. We have 16 salespeople. It’s small market, but I absolutely love it.

JV: You were Program Director for the country station there for four years…
Gary: Yes, I’ve been a Program Director at all three properties I worked at, and absolutely hated it.

JV: Why did you do it?
Gary: A lot of it was job security, because I’d be doing morning drive and all of a sudden, the programmer would leave. In all three instances, they came to me and said, “Gary, would you be the programmer?” My thought was well, if I say no – because I really don’t want to do it – then the new programmer is going to come in and he’s going to want his own sound, and there’s no telling what’s going to happen. So it was more out of job security than anything else.

The first time or two was out of curiosity as to whether I can do this, and it’d be good training. Nothing teaches you radio like being a Program Director. So the first time or two, I did it and thought, this is not for me, but I’ve learned a lot. The third time I did it, I didn’t really want it, but again, it was, “I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.” That was here in Lafayette, and I really liked this town.

My wife works at Purdue University. She’s a chemist at Purdue, and she makes a lot more than I do. So if I lose my gig in Lafayette, Indiana, I’m not really going to pack up my wife, who’s got a great profession going, and drive her to Timbuktu to start all over again. So I took that PD position out of a survival decision, and I did that for four years. I didn’t like it. I thought I was a good programmer. My staff enjoyed working for me. But I didn’t like it at all. I did mornings and programmed for four years, but all I ever wanted to do was production.

My major in college was multi-track commercial production at IU, Indiana. They had a 16-track machine they had just bought in 1979 or ‘80 and I took to that like a fish and started doing a lot of multi-track commercials. I thought I’d love to produce radio dramas and commercials, and use sound effects and voices and things like that. We had a great big glass reverb plate, huge plate, and we would play with that and create things. I loved it.

When I came to Lafayette, we had an Ampex multi-track deck, and I was the only one who knew how to use it. I used it and I used it very well, and I picked up a name for myself in production, even though I was doing mornings. I would do four hours of mornings, and then I would get off the air and do four hours of production and record all the clients and things like that. They valued the production aspect of me probably more than anything else.

Then I stepped down. I’d had enough. When I stepped down from mornings and Program Director, they didn’t want to lose me and that multi-track ability, so they said, “Would you like to be the Production Director?” I jumped on that like hot pie. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a Production Director. They gave me the tools to do it, and it was a great company -- they weren’t going to fire you based on numbers. And I love this town. It’s a great town. Purdue University is here. There’s some arts here. You still have a small-town feel. I made it my home. I raised both my kids here, and really like it.

I have a studio at home. I decided eight, nine years ago that I would try to do things on my own, not knowing what was going to happen in the business. So I have a home studio and some really nice gear, all PC-based. Found out that making money on your own was getting tougher and tougher because with technology now, everybody and their brother is in it. All you need is a really good microphone and an audio interface and a good computer, and you’re in the voiceover business. Trying to compete in the market now with voiceover is really tough to do. Hats off to anybody that can do it successfully. I’ve made enough money to pay off all my studio gear, but that’s about it. That’s remained kind of a hobby. When I’m done with work here -- I work 9 or 10 hours a day -- then I go home and fire up the computer and play with audio at night. I’m just a hardcore production guy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and that’s what I like to do.

JV: When you crank up the studio at home, is it for fun or are you still handling station work?
Gary: Actually, I’m like a doctor. I never consider myself off duty. So, if I get a text or an email at 6:00 in the evening, I’ll handle it. I married a great radio wife. She’s used to me running down to my studio and doing remote desktop, and producing something and voicing something, and then I’ll remote it to the station and load it up in the system there.

Everything I can do here at the station, I can also do at home. It’s nice. I’d rather solve a problem at 6:00 in the evening, than have it waiting for me at 8:00 in the morning when I come in. That’s the way I like to live.

But when I go home, I like to sit and listen to old radio shows from the ‘30s and ‘40s. I’ve got thousands of them that I’ve collected since I was in high school. I listen to old radio shows, and play with music composition software and read audio articles. People wonder if I have a life, but that’s what I do.

JV: What music software are you using?
Gary: I use Acid Pro, which I love. I grew up on 1/4” tape and splicing tape. Then we had 1/2” and 1” multi-track tape, which you don’t really splice. I grew up on that, and loading carts, and everything else that went with that, even air-checking on cassettes. Then, we got an Orban DSE 7000. We had a lot of old-timers here that had a really tough time adjusting to the digital mentality. We saw that as the future, the way to go. It’s not going to slow down for you. So when the technology change came along, it was either you embrace it or you go away, that was the inevitable.

I loved the technology part of it. The computers I have at home, I build myself. I love it. But it’s hard, staying up technologically sometimes, with what radio’s doing.

Here at the station, I work in a studio with mics, guest mics, and whatever, and record clients or record my voiceovers. Then I go down the hall to my own office and sit on a nice PC with headphones. I use Sony Acid and mix and then load things from my computer. I actually never need a studio unless I need a hot mic for some reason.

And when I’m home, I’ll sit and play with different microphones and listen to old radio shows, listen to sound effects and bird calls. I’m an audio guy. I’ll take a flash recorder and go out and do my own sound effects and things like that, try to put it all together from scratch. I enjoy it. It’s what turns me on. Always has and always will.

JV: Are you using Acid as your sole multi-track software?
Gary: It’s a primary. It’s not my sole. I’ve used a lot of other ones in the past. I’ve used Pro Tools and Adobe Audition, and Sony Vegas. I do a lot of video on Vegas just playing around with it. I use Cockos Reaper, and believe it or not, it is one of my favorites. It’s probably one of the most versatile ones I’ve ever used.

I have three or four different audio software programs on my computer, both at home and at work. My computers almost mirror each other. I use Acid primarily because I think it’s probably one of the most user-friendly DAWs you can have. I’ve had great luck with it. I started out with Acid 2 and now I’m up to Acid Pro 7, so I know it fairly well, even though they’re different operating systems.

Then, I’ll use Audition for different things. I like some of the plug-ins that I can find in Audition. I’ll take a piece of audio, and if I need to squeeze it, I’ll send it to Reaper. All my software programs interface, so I can take a piece of audio and go from one piece of software to another, depending if I want a specific plug-in or I want a time squeeze. Reaper time squeeze is better than Acid. Audition will do some different things. It’s got some better compressor/limiters and other plug-ins.

I use a mix of software. My IT lady here at work gets crazy with me because I’m always trying to load new software and play with it on the station systems, and they don’t like that very well. I’m a sucker for new software, so I’m always perusing audio software and trying out plug-ins, and seeing what works well. Acid is, I think, the easiest to teach, since it’s so user-friendly. Audition has a very sharp learning curve, Pro Tools even more so.

But everybody has their own preference -- whatever you grew up with and started with, Cakewalk or whatever. I don’t demand everybody use the same software. I have the same software in my production rooms -- I’ve got two rooms -- as I do my office. I use the same software so I can do my job in both places. And I just have the jocks voice their raw tracks, and I take care of the editing and mixing and put together the final product.

JV: You said you learned a lot about being a PD. What one or two things stand out, that you were glad you learned from your PD days, things relating to production perhaps?
Gary: I think more than anything, I learned about managing people. I was a Program Director of the country powerhouse here, and we had a full air staff, seven full-timers at one time and a lot of part-time. You learn very quickly the production talents of the people that you’re working with and what they can do voice-wise, if somebody can do several different voices or accents, or what their talents are, or what they need to work on. I usually won’t try to work with somebody’s weakness. I’ll try to improve somebody’s strengths. I think you get farther that way.

I would work a lot with the air talent that I had, and work with the production elements that make for a tighter sound, for a more consistent sound. I’m not saying I want a monotonous sound and everything to sound the same, but you have a standard of sound, as a Program Director, that you want for your radio station, and you want your production to meet that standard.

When you’re in a smaller market, you’re starting out with a lot of people who are just starting out in their careers. So, there’s a lot of training and a lot of voice coaching to do, and there’s teaching software. I do the same thing now as a Production Director. But I’m not everybody’s boss, so I don’t have to worry about whether or not somebody’s late to work. If somebody’s got a girlfriend problem, I don’t have a girlfriend problem. I’m just the Production Director, which is nice. I just want to get the spot done. I learned probably more about handling people than I did anything about production.

JV: What about programming itself did you learn that stood out, that you were glad you picked up?
Gary: I learned how to put together a cohesive sound on a radio station, as a Program Director with a heavy production background. We talk about quarter hours and how many break sets we have, and you’re consistently working with your air talent to get the sound you want out of your radio station. There are times when I would have 18, 20 minutes of commercials in an hour, and 4 spot breaks in an hour. Production is maybe 30 percent of your entire sound. So of course, you want to make that an important part of what you’re doing as a programmer. But the rest of it was learning the music, learning the community. It allowed you to hire some talent as a programmer, giving you some control over the sound you had, even in your production rooms. But I learned very quickly I did not like it. That’s not what I was built to do, and made to do, and really loved.

I have a hard time, I think, trying to draw some hardcore lessons I’ve learned. I did a lot of traveling to Nashville, meeting with country people, and enjoyed that, and meeting with voiceover people. I’d always end up going to CRS, which is the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, and actually going to the production seminars more than I did the programming seminars.

JV: You are doing the commercials, obviously. Do you have somebody else doing imaging for the stations?
Gary: Actually, we have four different Program Directors who run the five stations, and they have different people who do their imaging for them. I’ve never really been an imaging guy. I’m not afraid to try it. I can learn it. I think imaging skills are a little different than commercial production skills. Each of them has their own person doing their imaging because they know what they want their sound to be like. They don’t have me do the imaging because I would be doing imaging for five different formats, and they’re broadly ranged, and secondly, because I don’t have time to do imaging. Imaging, I think, is time-consuming if you do it right. They really don’t want to bog me down with that because my commercial load is so high. So, we have different imaging people. They have jocks who are basically responsible for imaging, as well as their air shift.

JV: You have one assistant that helps you with the commercials. You’re doing commercials for five stations between the two of you, then?
Gary: I do commercials for five stations. I do commercials for other stations in the market, where clients want me to voice their commercials or produce them and send them out. I record all the clients when they come in. Our company has 15 radio stations. So we’re starting to share resources, which means thanks to the Internet and mp3, I can voice things for another market. I can send a script to another market and have them voice things for me. We’re starting to do a lot of that kind of sharing of voice resources. We aren’t really voice-tracking shows in other markets yet, but we are starting to do a lot of production voiceover work, because with the advent of voice-tracking, we’ve been able to cut down from full-time air staffs to just two to three people per station. So with five stations, you’d have 30 full-timers in the old days, now you’ve got 8 full-timers. The amount of voices you have is becoming very limited, and even more so as we pick up speed with connecting with each of our properties in other markets. I’m starting to have to rely more and more on asset sharing with other radio stations and TV stations. We’re starting to voice for our TV properties. I’m voicing for other radio properties. I’m asking them to do the same thing for me.

It’s a lot of computer time. I sit in front of a PC nine or ten hours a day and talk with other stations and converse back and forth with our sales staff. We have 16 salespeople here for 5 stations, so it gets pretty busy. But the future is sharing the resources within the corporation, so we’re starting to do that.

JV: In the smaller markets, much of the commercial work is going to be local direct. With five stations, can you gauge what your daily or weekly commercial output is, stuff that you’ve had to produce?
Gary: It used to be you had specific uptimes and downtimes. Your specific uptimes would be right before Christmas and during the summer, right before Labor Day and right before Memorial Day. That waveform of busy and lull has straightened out, and we’ve managed to stay busy throughout the year. There’s really no up and down. It’s all up.

I don’t know if that’s saying more for my company and how we do business or for radio in general. I’m not sure what other people are finding. But I know that my assistant and I are very busy, and I couldn’t do it without him. I’d hate to try to do this job all by myself. I could probably do it for a couple months, but then the brain would be cooked and I’d be done.

We probably write and produce easily a dozen a day. He may have half of that; I may have half of that. There are times when I will crank out 10 or 12 myself in a day, and he’ll do the same thing. Plus, you’re taking care of dubs and things that come in, mp3s from agencies or whatever. You’re doing tags. Plus my assistant does imaging for his station, which is an oldies station, and he voice-tracks afternoon drive. So I’m the full-time production guy, and he’s my production assistant.

If I sit and think of the paperwork, we probably process anywhere from 30 to 50 units a day. You’re talking dubs and things from DGS and such. Plus all the things we write. We do spec stuff because you’ve always got salespeople who are prospecting, and you always have brand new salespeople who love to promise and over-promise. So, you do a lot of spec.

We do things on a triage basis. I tell my people if they’ve got a spec spot and I’ve got eight spots that start tomorrow, then the spec will wait a little while. But I like that kind of workload. I work best under pressure. I don’t like to be bored. I don’t like being over my head, but I do like being busy.

That’s another reason I like the smaller market because you’re dealing with all these business owners and not agencies all the time. I don’t like dealing with agencies because they have to do everything by committee. By the time the committee approves it, you’ve stripped it of everything that’s worthwhile in a commercial, usually. I like just being creative with the client.

I deal with clients through my salespeople, but sometimes I have lot of clients who have known me for so long, they just call me and deal with me. It seems to work out well, and I like working with these people. You feel a lot of pride in helping a client succeed, and selling their product with what you’ve done creatively. They give you instant feedback. I like that intimacy of a small market.

You’re dealing with a lot of mom and pop advertisers. The $200 they’re spending on advertising is nothing to an agency, but it’s everything to that small mom and pop place. They like to keep their hands on what you’re doing, and I enjoy that. After all this time, you get to know every businessperson in town, so you have friends everywhere. That’s part of living this kind of production. You get to know everybody. And you learn to love it.

JV: Over the years, you sent in many very good commercials that we’ve used on the monthly CD. What’s your philosophy on creating commercials that are good for the clients and good for the listeners?
Gary: I steal a lot of things just because of the time constraints. But I’ve always been a big theater of the mind person, having loved old radio and seeing the power of simply what some sound effects can do. Creatively, I’m more of a storyteller than I am a guy who uses a lot of swish and bang. You can use that to get attention, but I think you can have an opening line of a commercial that will grab somebody’s attention, too. There are so many commercials where you have that one opening line to grab somebody’s attention, and if it’s no good, they’re gone. So I’ve become a great believer in that killer opening sentence. You grab somebody and you pull them in with that first sentence. And telling stories has always been my favorite technique, I think, more than anything else.

Then you wrap it up. The two most important lines in the commercial are your very first and your very last, and you don’t want to lose them in the middle. If you can draw them in, then they’re there. And you don’t want to lose them before the end.

I like to tell stories creatively. There’s a blue million ways you can do that. Of course, a single human voice, with no music or anything, is the most powerful motivator in the world. Most clients don’t like a plain voice. They get used to hearing the music beds, and most clients want sound effects, or two to three voices, and something they consider creative.

And there’s the old thing where if you make it so creative that people laugh at it, then they forget what the product or the message is. That’s not what I’m all about. I want to get results for my clients, but I don’t want them to blend into the mush. You’ve got to find a special way to make them stand out and reflect the personality of their business, and super-serve their clients. I find that just through storytelling, that’s where my talents lie.

JV: Many readers might think the larger market is where they’ll find career happiness. What’s your secret to happiness in a small market?
Gary: The key is, you have to make peace with yourself in two different areas. You have to make peace with this business because you and I both know you don’t get into broadcasting to make a fortune. You don’t get into broadcasting to be famous. A lot of people do, but they don’t last very long because you find out that’s not the reality. So you have to make peace with the business. It is what it is, and you do it because it’s in your blood, and you’re a broadcaster at heart.

Then, you have to make peace with the market size you’re in because we all start out enamored with market size. You’re always looking for that bigger market. It lends more weight to what you’re doing creatively, if you’re from a bigger market. But you have to make peace with that and decide, “No, I like what this has to offer.”

It’s the intangibles that all add up. Everything is bigger in a big market. There are more zeros on your paycheck, but there are more chances they’re going to blow you out. There are more chances the agency’s going to make you do what they want you to do instead of what you want to do creatively.

I’d rather sit here on the ground level and help clients face-to-face, and talk with them on the phone, and go to their place and talk to them, and record them when they come into the studio. You really get a feel and empathy for their business. How can I be successful if I don’t have empathy for the business this person has their life wrapped into, and do a great job at production, trying to promote their business? How can I do a good job if I don’t have that? I find a small market gives me that. It gives me an awful lot of it. You get tired sometimes. You get in over your head. But in the long run, you sleep well at night.

You can’t do a killer spot every time. There are so many spots you do. Of course, the worst spots you do are the ones the clients make you do. But every once in a while you come up with this nugget of gold that you’re really proud of. I’ve heard spots that actually made me cry. I will cry when I hear a good commercial because it moves me, and I understand what goes into it.

So what you do is, you pick out one particular job order and you try to excel with that one particular job order. You got twenty in front of you. You can’t do it with all twenty. But you pick one, and that’s how you keep yourself motivated, and keep trying to better yourself each time. What can I do special with this one? How far can I reach with this one? Hopefully, it’s one the client will let you do.

The greatest client I have is the person that says, “Gary, I know what you do. You have complete creative freedom. Just have fun.” That’s the one you pick up and you smile, and you run with it and you make it work. Those are the ones you’re always proud of.

I’m not big on praise. I don’t do it for money, but I do it for that special feeling that you get when you hear that 60-second thing that you put together that’s a gold nugget and it’s like, I did that. The client loves it and it worked, and that’s what life’s all about for a production guy.

JV: Can you recall a specific campaign or spot you did for a client that generated feedback from the client about how successful the spot was?
Gary: There was a car dealer -- it was a last-chance car dealer kind of place. “Be this car’s last owner” -- one of those kinds of places -- $2,000 and $3,000 cars. I did a whole series of spots. They said, “Gary, just take off and have fun because there are so many people who do this in small towns like this, car dealers every other block.”

I had an absolute blast. Every spot was different. Every spot was just way left of center. I never used my normal voice in any of them. They were just way out in left field. They got so much feedback that people would stop to tell him how good his commercials were. No matter where the client went, people said, “Hey, we heard your spot from this month.”

I would do a different one every two or three weeks. Nothing was ever alike. All of them were radically different. It allowed me to have fun creatively with this one client, who allowed me to do it. I would take off and do some really wacky stuff, and it worked for him very well.

Most clients won’t allow you to do that because they have a comfort zone. They expect their spot to fit in a certain way and represent their personality or their business, whatever they think it is. They won’t let you get out of their comfort zone. I think the smaller the client, the more the advertising money is for them. The smaller the client, the less they’ll let you do that. But this one small client did, and I just had an absolute blast.

I had a pizza place -- a place called Buck Creek Pizza -- and they allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do. We didn’t always hit on all four cylinders -- you never do in production. Sometimes you think, “This is the best spot I ever did!” And the client doesn’t get it.  So what you do is you save the idea and use it for somebody else. It’s still a good idea. You save it for somebody who’ll appreciate it, and you go back to ground zero with that client. But this client seemed to like everything I did. I do a lot of parody. I love doing parody when they let you take off and do it. So yeah, a small car dealer, a small pizza joint that’s in the middle of nowhere. I had fun with it because they allowed me to have fun with it.

JV: You mentioned doing spots for clients to run on other stations. Is freelance work something you pursue actively?
Gary: Most all the business I do freelance comes word of mouth. I never really found a need to pursue it. Believe it or not, I make more money doing music-on-hold than I’ve ever done doing anything else. I absolutely love it. It’s very labor-intensive. To me, the music-on-hold is a fine science. I’ve got so much philosophy laid down on music-on-hold, I always thought I’d start my own music-on-hold place. It’s the white bread of broadcasting, producing music-on-hold, and voicing that kind of stuff. I’ve got some female talent that works with me, and we make some pretty good coin doing music-on-hold.

JV: Are you creating the music or just putting VO on top of existing music?
Gary: No, I’ve got some generic buy-out libraries. I write and voice the material and mix it down with the music. I have a lot of clients doing music-on-hold with me, and that’s something else I do in my off-hours at home. I’ll do some music-on-hold or I’ll sit and listen to old radio shows. I’m in front of my audio computer, my DAW, all the time I’m home at night. My wife puts up with it, bless her heart. She knows me, though. Like I said, she’s a radio wife. She understands it.

But I think there’s a science to the music-on-hold stuff. I sit and I talk with a client and calculate how long their average on-hold is. I have a math formula. I figure how many music beds and how often I should drop messages in. I really enjoy it, actually. I’m kind of whacked that way.

It’s like the one time when I did program a station and loved doing it. That was back in the early ‘80s. I programmed beautiful music for about a year, and absolutely loved it. I would go home and listen to Black Sabbath on my headphones, and then I’d go into work and really eat up programming beautiful music. There was a science to it, and I really liked that.

The TM Century folks offered me a job in Nashville doing a bunch of stuff for beautiful music. I turned it down, but they thought, “Here’s this young kid that just loves beautiful music, and he’s good at it.” So, it’s interesting, where these little piques of interest will pop up in your life, and you’re always discovering new ones, like music-on-hold and easy listening.

JV: Well congratulations on 30 years there, and best wishes for as many more as you want!
Gary: I tell people I’ve been here 30 years and they always say, “Wow”. It’s a veiled wow. They either think, number one, you don’t have any career goals or number two, you have no talent at all. That’s what all the wows are when you tell somebody you’ve been here 30 years.

I think secretly, people look at you and think, “God, if I could have a gig like that -- 30 years in one place, raising a family. If I could have a gig like that, it’d be awesome.” I think broadcasters envy us.

But like I said, the key is making peace with it. You’ve got to make peace with this market size. You’ve got to make peace with your goals. You never let somebody else determine your goals.

“Don’t you want to go to a bigger market?” “Yeah, but I know what that entails. That’s not my goal.” You’ve got to define your own goals. Don’t let anybody else define them for you in radio. You’ve got to learn to do that very early, too, or you’ll be disappointed.

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  • The R.A.P. Cassette - December 1992

    Production demo from Casey Van Allen at KMOX in St. Louis, plus promo work from Joel Moss/WEBN, Al Peterson/WLAD, Willie Wells/WKLY, and a ton of...