R.A.P.: Were you marketing yourself back when you were at KILT?
Bill: No, not at all. Zero. Of course, back then there were just two clients, Pace and Beaver, and both of them had strong Houston bases. I don't have any marketing people now and never have had.

I'm very proud of the work that we do. We're a very strong service organization. I'm not sure that anybody cares as much as we do about what we do. I'm not sure that came out right, but I'm not sure how many people would get up at two o'clock in the morning and do a session time and again. I'm not sure that many people have that kind of commitment.

R.A.P.: Did you do concert spots from the beginning and up through the present day because of a love for that kind of spot, or did you see a hole in the market for someone to produce those spots then try to fill that demand?
Bill: Oh, I love that kind of commercial because it has a very creative palette to work on. I didn't see concerts spots as something to pursue. I had never heard of Joe Kelly until I actually got out there and started doing it. I didn't know anyone was out there doing it. There never was any design, and I never assumed that we would be doing this many concert commercials. I wanted to keep the clients that I had and service them, and then build into local agency work and do a lot of that. The more we did, the more people said, "Hey, these guys really do this right."

We have competitors, and some of them have achieved, and I'm sure will continue to achieve, a certain degree of success. And I'm sure over a period of time there will be more. But, we have a tremendous facility, and there are not a lot of people that would be willing to make the financial commitment to have a facility to service an industry like we have. You're not just going to go in on weekends and do this, for a variety of reasons. You have issues like collections, and that can put you out of business if you're not real careful. It's one thing to go collect from a few clients. It's another when you're getting small amounts from LOTS of clients. I would not be able to compete against us today and sufficiently beat us.

R.A.P.: Do you ever turn work down?
Bill: Yes.

R.A.P.: Why? What work do you turn down?
Bill: I turn down some things that I just don't feel good about doing. I believe that there is an order to this world. I happen to believe in a god, and I think he has been very good to me. There are certain responsibilities I have, to do what my conscious tells me. Sometimes we're presented with opportunities to do things that I just don't feel clean doing. So I just don't do them. I don't have to do them. I don't want to do them.

On the other hand, we do a lot of free stuff, lots of public service things. I happen to believe in the Don Henley project. There's no charge for those projects because I believe in them.

R.A.P.: What kind of turnaround time do you have?
Bill: You can order spots from us at seven o'clock in the evening and get them in the morning. And that's what I'm saying; you've got to have a staff and a facility large enough to do that. You've got to be big enough to negotiate with Federal Express so they will not come until nine-thirty at night. A one-man operation just couldn't do this. I suppose if someone wanted to invest ten million dollars, they could be there from day one.

R.A.P.: Are you doing a lot of work outside of the U.S.?
Bill: Oh, yea. We shipped spots today to Australia. A lot of the tour business involves world tours that will come to America, but they will also go to other places. Lately, we've shipped a lot of things to Mexico. It was very thrilling this past year to do the Rolling Stones tour worldwide. The spots for the London show were a lot of fun because I could imagine Paul McCartney out there hearing the commercials, and I'm enough of a groupie to appreciate those things.

Many times we will just ship music tracks and kind of supervise, but in many cases we will actually voice them in English. There's a lot of that in Mexico. The AC/DC tour we did throughout Europe all in English. There were tag spaces left where they would fill it in with local languages. In Mexico right now, a major thing is for an English voice to do a line, then a Spanish voice comes back in behind the line and repeats it. We also do a lot of radio station ID's down there.

R.A.P.: Are you producing a lot of station ID's?
Bill: In Mexico we do a lot. We don't here in the States, and that's for very clear reasons. We have lots of opportunities to do them, but it's an area of work that can sometimes conflict with our core business. We could be doing ID's for a station that happens to be in a very competitive situation with a station that our leading promoter client happens to work with, so we've compromised our-selves in that market. Plus, ID's chew up voices real fast.

R.A.P.: Referring back to your thoughts about KBOX, do you feel, as a former Program Director, that this kind of highly produced sound still applies to successful radio today?
Bill: It does, and only because it's not being offered. The times that I have seen it reoffered -- the resurgence of some of the "Power" formats is an example -- those times I felt were very exciting from a production standpoint, and those stations certainly achieved a degree of success. KKBQ, back when they really hit hard, was very highly produced. But I don't think it's being offered today, so I don't know how you could research whether or not it's effective. I don't know how you'd research it anyway.

R.A.P.: Any parting thoughts for our readers?
Bill: I would encourage everybody to strive to go the extra mile. In searching for a production man this past summer, I had the opportunity to listen to lots of tapes. There is a lot of room for improvement out there, and there is obviously a real opportunity for people who care, who are willing to go the extra mile to do very well for themselves in production. There's a whole new world out there to be learned, technically.

I've often said that I was very fortunate in that I learned things in a time when I could afford to live in Tyler, Texas making fifty-five dollars a week. The economy of the world at that point in time allowed me to learn all those things. It took me twelve years to get to a major market, and unfortunately now, not many people would stay at it twelve years at those kinds of salaries, and certainly not while having to put up with doing every single thing in the radio station, and then go in and type the log themselves. I hated every minute of it and complained, but I learned how to do it.

Today, as an owner of a company, I know how to do those things, and I would not have known had it not been for Lufkin, Tyler, and Waco, Texas. If someone truly wanted to make the investment in their career, I'd say go someplace where you've got to learn to do everything. Put up with it for as long as you can possibly do it. Don't be in such a big hurry to get to a position where you have all the tools. When you only have a 2-track Magnacorder to work with, you have to be rather inventive.

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Audio

  • R.A.P. CD - February 2004

    Demo from interview subject, Mary Collins at the Collins Communications Group, Morrisville, VT; plus promos, imaging and commercials from Bryan...