R.A.P. Interview: Tim Miles

Tim Miles, Soundbrands, Zimmer Radio, Columbia, Missouri

Tim-Miles-1004

By Jerry Vigil

This month’s RAP Interview checks in with yet another radio cluster utilizing the “in-house agency” approach to take control of local direct business. Surprisingly, this very successful creative department is in the small market of Columbia, MO, but there’s nothing small about how things are being done at the Zimmer stations in Columbia. $100,000 in production fees in the first eight months doesn’t sound like small market numbers. Soundbrands is the name of the in-house agency, and Tim Miles is the creative mind at the helm. Tim takes us through the birth of Soundbrands and gives us an inside look at how Soundbrands works, utilizing many of the skills taught at the Roy Williams Wizard of Ads academy. Be sure to check out the Soundbrands demo on the RAP CD. And by the way, apparently the Zimmer people know a little about the programming side of radio as well; they have the number one station in the market!

JV: How did you get your start in radio?
Tim: From so many of the interviews that I’ve read, it seems like I started in this biz kind of late. I started working for the Zimmer Radio Group, a family owned group of radio stations in the Midwest, in August of 1995. I just passed nine years with them, which I guess is kind of an anomaly because I’ve been with the same company ever since I started in the business.

I was a theatre major at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale at the time and did a play with a guy who was the General Manager of a radio station. His name was Bruce Welker. As a theatre major I was out of work, and a friend of a friend said, “Hey, I think you’d be really good at this,” and I’d always liked radio from my days of listening to my little blue ball AM radio as a kid. Bruce said, “Well, I have an opening for overnights on a country station.” I hated country music but thought it sounded like fun. So I started at Z100 — not the one in New York but the one in Carbondale, Illinois. I was working three or four nights a week doing country music and was terrible. I was a terrible DJ, but they had this other room in this little converted Mexican fast food restaurant that had an old ten pot board, a 2-track recorder and the Arrakis TrackStar 8, which was like one of the first systems for nonlinear digital editing, and I just started doing stuff in there.

The theatre background meant that I could start doing little mini plays and things, and they would pay me to do commercials. I absolutely fell in love in there and literally started sleeping at the station. It was the most fun time in my life that I’d never want to do over again. I had this great little studio, made only $12,000 bucks a year but had no expenses, and there was a bar next store. I would go home sometimes in the mornings and shower and come back and pull some acoustical tiles off the door and bring a sleeping bag in and just kept playing around in there. I loved it, but again, I was terrible at it.

Then I think it was 1996 when I came across a copy of Radio And Production magazine. I had never heard of the magazine, and the issue I got had an interview with Dan O’Day, who I also had never heard of. He was talking about a cassette tape series called “How to Write and Produce Radio Commercials That Sell,” and I said, well this guy gets it. He doesn’t talk about just bending over backwards to kiss the butt of the sales rep or kiss the butt of the client. It’s about doing the right thing. He just was very unfull of crap and funny in the interview, and I remember it to this day. So I ordered that series, and my eyes were opened to a world that made me say, “Yep, this is what I want to do the rest of my life.” And through Dan O’Day you sort of open up this world to find out that Dick Orkin did more than Chicken Man, which I grew up listening to. And I read a lot of John Pellegrini and Dennis Daniel. I got Dennis’s book through the RAB and couldn’t study enough of this. And even though I was only making $12,000 bucks, I had enough to buy a few beers at the end of the night and was able to start, at a very early age in my career, investing my own money into training materials because I knew I didn’t want to stink at it. I’ve done air stints here and there, but my primary focus since the beginning of 1996 really has been creating commercials and promos.

JV: So you were doing production for the Zimmer Group by that time?
Tim: Yes, they agreed… “You know what, you’re not really good at this DJ stuff, but you love to write, and you do a lot of prep work for an overnight country DJ show. We don’t think what you’re doing is particularly good, but you are a good storyteller. We think you can help our direct local advertising.” At the time, I think the Marion-Carbondale market was ranked somewhere around #219. So that means there’s just tons of direct local advertising. I got a chance to make these commercials that people started describing as “weird.” It wasn’t that they were weird, they just didn’t sound like ads. People hate ads. They like stuff that interests them, and I started making those things into radio advertising.

JV: How did the transfer to the Missouri stations come about?
Tim: I worked at the Carbondale market until February of 2003. Then they said they wanted me to do something special. They wanted me to be sort of a boutique agency for their best clients, clients with the most growth potential. And that’s when we came here to the Central Missouri cluster. There are eleven stations that we’re involved with. There are two in Lawrence, Kansas for which we write and produce for a certain number of their clients, and here in Central Missouri there are nine stations in Columbia, Jefferson City, and Fulton.

JV: So it’s been about a year that you’ve been doing the boutique agency thing.
Tim: Yeah. I hate that word and I used it, to be fair. But boutique sounds fancier, like poodles that wear little neckerchiefs, and we’re not really that. But even though this is market 251, it’s a very progressive market. The University of Missouri is here, and it’s probably a 16 to 18 million-dollar radio market as far as what they spend in radio advertising.

We have a creative services department here. The thing that I do, Soundbrands, is separate from that. We’re pretty progressive with our creative services department, and much like Canada I think in this respect, because we actually have four and a half creative services people not including me. We have a Creative Services Director who handles a lot of the continuity and some of the writing, but then we have three more full-time people and a half-time person. It’s pretty extraordinary. These people handle the bulk of the direct local clients. The ones who want to make a name for themselves and become associated with something cool in people’s lives and have a tremendous growth opportunity and are already really good at what they do but suck at advertising, well then the sales rep brings those clients to me, brings them to Soundbrands.

In the beginning, we didn’t know what we wanted to do. We just knew that if we were good enough at this we could make it work. There are people like Chuck Mefford who go to the various markets for thousands of dollars and speak at these things you bring your client to, and then some guy from another town writes eight ads and you pay him $3000 or whatever. We watched Chuck Mefford speak. He was closely associated with Roy Williams. They knew that I had studied a bunch under Roy, as well as having done the Orkin and O’Day stuff. They turned to me and said, “Can you do something like this?” I said, “Yeah, I think I can,” and Soundbrands was born.

We got tired of paying the guy from out of town to come in and be the expert, plus there were all those little booger eater agencies — someone who got fired from a radio station and suddenly they can put “agency” behind their last name and they’re an expert and charge money for it. And that was a frustration too because the messages and the dubs that we would get from them were crap oftentimes. So we decided to commit a great radio heresy and say, “We’re going to charge for in-house production. It is at a level, and the services you get with it are at a level that is higher than what you are used to, and you are going to pay us for it.” Some of the naysayers were like, “They’ll never do it.” After about a year and a half, we represent close to fifty clients, and I have probably done upwards of about 110 to 120 presentations. One person. Only one of those clients has baulked about paying for radio station production.

And I know we’re not alone. Next Media in Chicago and Wisconsin is doing something similar, and I read an article in Radio And Production about Chris Ackerman, who is at the Clear Channel Station in Boise; they are doing something similar as well.

If you have somebody on your staff who can really write and likes talking about this stuff and knows what they are doing, you can make additional revenue from this stuff. In eight months, Soundbrands billed an additional million dollars in 52-week contracts, and we made over $100,000 in production fees. And that certainly not only led to greater job security in this time of consolidation, but it changed the way our reps thought about selling radio. Their standards have gotten much higher, and their confidence has gotten much higher. Now they’ll say, “Sir, we don’t think it’s a good idea that you put your dog in your radio ad.” The education that has gone along with it has been pretty cool. We try to teach our clients as we go along, and we never say the other radio stations in town are bad. We just say, “This is really what we believe, and here is why we think our ads work. And we can help you with it if you’re really good at what you do.”

JV: I think it’s amazing, especially in a market that size, that you’ve only had one out of those fifty complain about paying for the production. Why is that?
Tim: I think it’s a lot to the credit of how they have taught the sale reps. The sales reps bring me the client for the presentation, and they don’t bring every client. It’s not right for everybody. One of the great things that Roy Williams teaches is about relational customers vs. transactional customers. Our reps look for relational customers. Relational customers think with their heart. They want to believe you and perceive you’re an expert, and they are not so concerned about getting it the cheapest. Our salespeople do a really good job of finding those relational customers for us to speak to. And the college bars who are trying to scrape up the cash every week and want to get it the cheapest and want to beat you up on rates… we don’t speak to them. I’m not for everybody. That’s cool; I wish them the best. I have no cheesy close at the end of our presentation that says, “What would we have to change to make you do this today?” That’s a lot of crap. It worked twenty years ago, but I’m not so sure it works today. Our approach is like, “Here’s what we believe. Here’s why what we do works. If you want to do it, cool; let’s get started tomorrow. If not, okay. Good luck to you.” And I think that takes a lot of pressure off of them because our clients don’t feel like they are being sold.

JV: When did you go to the Roy Williams seminar?
Tim: I first went down to Buda in May of last year, right before we launched Soundbrands officially. I went to the Magical Worlds Academy, which is the writing academy, and felt like I had come home. I’ve read his Monday Morning Memos and bought the books and looked at the videotape series and all that, and it’s all cool. But until you really get down there, you just don’t realize. And Zimmer paid for it. It was some of the very little training that I’ve gotten that I haven’t paid for myself. It was an expense, but they saw it as an investment. And from the moment I got back it helped us, and they saw that it helped us. Since then several people from Zimmer have gone down. I’ve gone to three more academies since and have become a partner in Wizard of Ads as well. Now it’s not right for everybody, but for me, the lack of hype, the confidence in the strategies we develop, it relaxes me and helps me do my job. And I found someone; I tell people he’s the least full of crap guy about advertising that I’ve met. He truly wants to help people who are good at what they do and want to be helped. He doesn’t feel the need or the pressure to do a little monkey dance and say, “Look how good I am.” He doesn’t care about that, and I feel the exact same way. So I recommend it. I tell people I went down to Magical Worlds and all I got was a million dollars in direct local revenue and $100,000 in production fees.

I know there are a lot of GMs out there who struggle to find the kind of money it takes to send their production guy and to justify that. But how many people a year do you send to the RAB to learn the same closing technique and how to get past gatekeepers? They don’t think anything about sending seven or eight of their salespeople to go get drunk for three days and see the same conference year after year. But when their production person wants training, they look at them like they have horns growing out of their head. I’m telling you that if you give your writers and your producers more responsibility, such as so many of the stations in Canada do, you’ll be amazed. I look forward to the RAP CD every month because I want to hear what the guy from Canada did. I love some of the American stuff too, especially the guys who send it in month after month and you see how they’ve grown and gotten better. But the guys from Canada, at those stations where they talk about having a copywriter and a producer for every two or three sales reps, you hear it in their work. Their work is stronger because they meet more of these clients and they have more training. And it seems like every time I go down to Buda, Texas, twenty five to fifty percent of the class is from Canada. It’s pretty cool.

JV: You mentioned you are a Wizard of Ads partner. Looking at the partner list on the Wizard website, it looks like you’re the only one that came from radio or at least one of the few. Can you tell us more about the partner program?
Tim: I’m one of the few from radio. Their goal by the end of 2005 is to have 100 partners across the world and 200 by 2006. The partner program that Roy set up is designed to be a network of people like us who believe what he says, but it’s not designed to be 200 mini-Roys. Each one of them has their own thoughts and backgrounds, but we share this common thread of a distaste for bad advertising and bad advertising people who like to be liars for hire. We share distaste for that but a strong willingness to help other people in what we think are the right ways to do it. So some people are writers, and some people do have radio backgrounds. Walter Koschnitzke is a new partner, and he is from Next Media up in Chicago and helps run the DreamMakers thing there, which is a lot like Soundbrands. There are a couple of former radio station GMs that got fed up with the merry-go-round. There’s a radio station owner in Canada. There is a commercial airline pilot in Canada. It’s a pretty strange group of people, but the common thread between us is, we like helping small businesses – small and medium-sized owner/operated businesses that are already good at what they do but get inundated with so many goober salespeople from, not only radio, but television and print and the door mail stuff. And how do you know whom to trust? We arrogantly feel it is us! [laughing] But you don’t have to believe us. You don’t. We’ve got plenty of work.

So what we do is sort of pair together for a client that could be across the world or across the state. I have the full blessing of Roy to continue to keep my day job, and then on the side I write a little bit for some clients across the world and do some speaking. I am lining up some other speaking things for radio stations and broadcaster associations and clients and speaking groups across the country for next year — just to say, “here’s what we believe.” It’s not a franchise. You don’t have to spend like $30,000 bucks to buy into it. It doesn’t work like that at all. If you’re someone who loves Roy Williams’ stuff and just gets it and thinks, “You know what, this is a better way. It’s free of hype. It’s full of common sense,” I would urge you to talk to him about it. I’m not going to sit here and try to sell you on it, but if you think that stuff is interesting and it makes sense to you, find out more. Go to WizardOfAds.com and look at it. Call me.

JV: A lot of people having read some of Roy’s material will come away thinking, “Whoa, this is pretty deep.” I mean, he does get in and dissect the brain and gets into the art of advertising much deeper than most.
Tim: He’s a reader nut. The picture I sent you is actually me sitting at his desk from May of last year. It is just stacked six feet high with books. And he’s got seven on his bedside table. He’s just a reader, because the more you know, the more confidence you have in why stuff works. You can’t fake that with a client. I talk about the brain in the presentation. I don’t do it to the length that he does, but I think it’s important to know why people think the things they do and why I love radio so much to tell those stories to people. It has a lot to do with neuroscience, and it’s important. And if you’re a Production Director right now at a small or medium sized market or even a large sized market, you may not have the time to do all that stuff because you’ve got the job and you have kids at home. My wife and I are expecting our first son in November, but you find time. I always found time. Since 1995 I’ve found time to get better at it, because it feels good to not have to try to lie or BS my way through things to clients. It feels so much better and they sense that, and that’s what is so important to us.

And the results speak for themselves. We didn’t set out to try to make a million dollars in a year. We joked about it. We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew we were going to be honest. We knew we were never going to try to oversell anybody; and then the money followed. And that’s such a neat thing to not have to be in New York, to not have to be in Los Angeles. You know, if people measure success by how much they can help people and know that the money will follow, then this stuff can be pretty cool. If you’re setting out to try to make a name for yourself, I wouldn’t go this route. I would email the guy from Z100 and have him help with your work because he’s done it. He’s shown how you can get to one of the premier stations in the world doing production and imaging, and his articles bear that out. He’s a tremendous teacher. And don’t follow the Roy Williams stuff if you want to get to New York or LA as a radio station guy. If you want to make a million dollars, if you want to be a millionaire, you’re never going to get that working for somebody else. You can have security to a certain degree, but I wouldn’t necessarily try to create a Soundbrands at your radio station if you want to be a millionaire.

How you measure success — and we tell this to the clients too — determines the path we’ll take to get there.

JV: Though Roy’s material gets pretty deep, applying it in the real world can be really simple. Give us an example of a recent successful commercial you’ve done using the Roy Williams techniques that illustrates this.
Tim: Let me say first that a lot of times we create commercials as part of a campaign that either our clients hate — and I know everybody goes through that — or the ad will get listener complaints. Our philosophy is to write commercials that people will listen to. They may not always love them, but at least they’ll listen to them. And we make bold choices to that effect. One of the examples is a spot that was on the August RAP CD, the “My husband and his three drunk buddies” ad. The client is Weathershield Wood Care. They are terrifically good at what they do and have very little competition. They do deck and fence repair in this market. Columbia is a very hilly town. Everybody has a deck, so there’s a lot of work for this guy, and they’re really good at it. We always, always, always will interview the client. I don’t see how you can write successful ads for someone with stuff from a bar napkin or print ad that a salesperson left you. Make time to talk to the client, even if it’s just for 20 minutes, and listen to what they’re excited about. Ask them what gets them off about what they do, and their eyes are going light up. They will love talking about what they do, if they’re good at what they do. And one of the things that the client said was, “You know, we get all these calls from women whose husbands try to repair the deck themselves, and they’ve invited their buddies over, they brought a case of beer, they drink a lot of beer, and no work ever got done.” Christine Coyle, who works for Dick Orkin, said to listen for the click. It’s that sort of mental snapshot where you get a picture in your head – click. Yep. That’s it. It just resonates with you. And if it resonates with you as you’re talking to the client, it’s going to resonate with thousands of other people. The whole series of Seinfeld was successful, not because it was rip roaring and hilarious, but it’s because we could relate; we could click with these successions of tiny little moments. We understood that. And we could see ourselves in those situations whether I was waiting in line at a restaurant or taking a book from the bookstore to the bathroom.

That moment with the client, as he’s telling the story, it just clicked. It was like, okay, I can totally see that. And so we did a fake testimonial. We took a common construct in radio, a testimonial, and we skewed it for “my husband and his three drunk buddies wood care.” And we played it straight; we didn’t wink at the joke. I hate ads that wink at the joke because then you’re just trying to be cleaver to other radio production people. If it’s true and it’s funny and you integrate the humor into the ad, people get it. And you can underplay it. That’s what we did, and the phones have gone off the hook for the guy. He’s got work through the end of his season, which is the middle of November.

Now, he did get some calls from conservative Christians saying, “That’s terrible; I’m never going to do business with you.” He called me up and I said, “That’s okay. You’re not a hundred dollar bill; not everybody is going to like you.” And we’ve also been successful in not having to redo a thousand ads because up front we have an understanding with the client that not everybody is going to like this, but here is why I made the choices that I made.

You don’t have to have all this training to make a commercial like this. What it helped me do though is be able to better explain to my clients why I made choices that I made. Or if you don’t deal with the clients directly, which I wholeheartedly recommend, why you made the choices that you made to the sales rep. Then you don’t have those problems. And meeting with the clients directly has also eliminated the need to do spec work. We don’t do spec work. We tell clients, “The only thing I can possibly do for you without having ever met you is try to do something funny or clever, and that at the end of the day doesn’t necessarily make the phones ring.” And you should see the clients’ faces light up because you know how many people have tried to bring them little cassettes or CDs with a clever ad on it without ever meeting them? And never again do they take that because it’s not sincere. It goes back to just being fake and sales like. We don’t want to do that.

JV: How’s your relationship with the salespeople?
Tim: I’m very lucky to have a very sharp sales staff, and I don’t know if those words have ever been printed in your magazine before. But they get it. Not all of them get it. I don’t work with a couple of them because they do it their own way, and they’re successful at it. That’s cool with me. I don’t need you to like me. I’m not really concerned about that. If you like the stuff then chances are we’ll become friends, and most of the salespeople I’m very good friends with and they respect it. But I’m very lucky to have help from them. I have a very progressive forward thinking management team and an owner in James Zimmer, the primary brother of the Zimmer Brothers who owns and operates Columbia, Central Missouri, and Lawrence. They get it. And they see the results on the balance sheets too, but they get it. I also have an assistant, Deidre, who started just to help me keep appointments and remember meetings and keep me on track. She fell in love with listening and learning. She’s remarkably pleasant and polite and all of that, but now she’s also becoming really good at putting radio ads together. And it gives me a chance to teach someone who wants to learn. So we’ve been able to grow thanks to bringing her on and it’s great.

JV: Thinking back to your beginnings in radio, sleeping in the production studio, it sounds like your passion hasn’t subsided at all.
Tim: No, to the detriment unfortunately… well you can ask my wife about that. I bore the hell out of her talking about this stuff. I love it. And that’s one of the comments we’ll always get from clients; whether they end up working with Soundbrands or not, 95% of the time they walk out saying, “Wow, he likes talking about this stuff.” And yeah, I do. I found exactly what it is I want to be doing.

Whenever we have a field trip, like with a group of second graders, they don’t care that much about all this stuff. So to explain what I do I say, “You know what my job is? I get paid to be a writer, an actor, a director and play with the coolest computer and stereo equipment everyday of my life. That’s my job.” My brother is a heavy equipment operator on the highway with the union, sweating his butt off in 120-degree heat on asphalt, and I get to wear a T-shirt and a baseball cap some days; some days I wear a suit. I don’t have a nine to five job. Some days I come in at five in the morning. Some days I don’t come in until ten. I have the freedom because I love it.

JV: Tell us about your studio setup.
Tim: Once again, we have four and a half creative services people here in addition to me, plus all the jocks. There are three production rooms, and a fourth, a news room that can be used. They’re full all day. When I’m at work, the only thing I do in the production room is cut vocals. It’s on a Novel network and I’ve got a couple of Firewire drives. I produce everything on my laptop. I’ve got some very nice Altec Lansing speakers that work just fine and a nice pair of headphones. I do all my mixes and things right in my office and free up a production room for everybody else. I do a lot of my work at home too, and you can do it so cheaply now. I run SAWplus 32 almost exclusively. I’ve not upgraded to Audition but I do have CoolEdit Pro that I use for two track stuff because I like their effects more. I record most of my vocals at home on a Shure KSM32, the poor man’s Neumann. And I produce it all on my laptop with a couple of external Firewire drives, about 200 gigs worth. And literally, you can go on the road, do some traveling, and take your studio with you. It has been amazing.

JV: You certainly have the qualifications to break out on your own and do your own ad agency. Is this in your future?
Tim: Yeah, it is. I’m so blessed to work for the company that I do, James Zimmer and his management team here. I’ve told them all, “You know what, five to seven years from now I’m going to have a few clients on my own. I’m going to teach at the academy down in Austin, which is growing every day. I’m going to play a lot of golf, and I’m going to watch my son grow. I’m going to take my son to little league games to play.” They understand that, and they see the benefit of having a partner of Wizard of Ads on staff because I can teach the stuff and they can be branded in with Wizard of Ads and they get it. So we are developing right now that sort of three to five year plan of okay, how can we make our entire creative services department and Soundbrands the same thing, so that every one of our creative services people in the Zimmer radio group not only is able to charge production fees but gets a cut of that production fee? It’s an exciting really forward thinking company. Five to seven years from now, will I still be working for a radio station company? No. But I have a tremendous loyalty to them and want to help them as much as I can grow this thing that we’ve created because it’s become bigger than anyone of us. It’s pretty special.

JV: Other stations in your market have to know what you’re doing and know that you’re getting a lot of business from it. They’re probably running many of the spots that you’re producing, right?
Tim: Yeah.

JV: Are your salespeople able to swing the majority of the clients’ buys to the Zimmer Group because of Soundbrands?
Tim: Yes. And although that is true, what I think is cooler than that is that for every one of the 30 reps that calls on a business from radio/television/door mail/skywriting/whatever, they trust one above all the rest. So when stuff starts getting tense, they call that person because they know they can trust them. Of the clients who tend to work with Soundbrands, that one rep is the one from Zimmer. So when push comes to shove, if they have questions, they know they can trust the person at Zimmer because they have the client’s best interest at heart. Which is fun for me too because then I sort of become the goofy uncle who is a lot of fun to have around, and they can call me and ask me advice too.

So, yeah, if we can prove that the other stations in town are running a proper schedule, we’ll send the ads over because the clients pay us per month to help them do stuff, in addition to the radio buy. And we know that if you are going to use Soundbrands, you have to meet certain requirements with Zimmer radio and that includes an annual 52 week contract with X number of ads a year, depending upon what it is you are trying to accomplish. Selfishly, we’re getting ours. The company is getting ours. And to not jeopardize that credibility, we’re willing to help advise them not only on what stations from the other companies in town we think are strong, but we’ve started helping with newspaper and we do a little bit of TV — we can’t shoot it obviously, but I can edit — and we’ve helped with some billboards and some direct mail. At the end of the day, if the client gets where they want to get, they love you.

JV: That’s unheard of — a radio station helping clients buy newspaper and billboards as well as other stations!
Tim: Yeah, but it’s cool, man. It’s so nice because at the top of that pyramid is their Zimmer Radio Group broadcast schedule. And what we’re doing basically is using what we use for our clients with ourselves -- we’re branding the idea of a marketing expert with Zimmer Radio Group, and the bridge between that has been Soundbrands for these 50 or so clients.

JV: What heroes did you have in the business while you were cutting your teeth?
Tim: I am where I am today not just because of the big heroes – the Dick Orkins, the Dan O’Days and the Roy Williams — but while I was in Carbondale for eight years, six of those years I had the best partner anybody could have and he was the exact opposite of me. His name is Ryan Patrick. And if you have the luxury of having two or more people whom you write/produce with, don’t ever let them go. That’s the one thing I’ve been saddest about is that the happiest times I’ve ever had in radio were when we were able to actually shut the door and crack each other up, and the next thing we knew we had an ad that worked. That’s the best advice I can give. Find somebody in the building. It can be such a lonely job sitting in a studio or staring at a computer screen. Find somebody you can talk with who gets it. Maybe it’s your husband, maybe it’s your wife, maybe it’s a partner like Ryan, maybe it’s somebody in traffic. Where I am now is that that person is oftentimes the client, and what a cool thing that is.

And I have to mention my first Program Director, Scott Cox, who taught me that sales folks weren’t the enemy.  Scott also taught me not to hit stuff when I was frustrated.  He also moved to Columbia, and we share an office together.  He properly reminds me from time to time that he taught me everything I know.

Don’t be afraid and continue to study. Don’t settle for average. You don’t have to. Find someone who won’t kiss your butt. I had another guy in Carbondale, the sports guy there of all people, Mike Reis who was just a big grouch. Actually, Reis is going to be the middle name of my son because he was the first guy who said, “Well Timmy, you want me to tell you what I really think or do you want me to kiss your ass?” Find someone like that in your life. They’ll help you get better. Roy’s the same way.

And don’t give up. Try not to get frustrated. I’ve been very blessed to have a Ryan Patrick in the company. Not only a Ryan Patrick but like a Brian Young who’s won the Radio And Production award, who’s won the Mercury award. It’s great to have people like this to bounce off ideas with. There’s Zack Lowe down in Joplin, Missouri who sends a lot of stuff your way. Another guy I’ve sort of gotten to know through his work is Steve McKenzie. Todd Manly at WGN, another Southern Illinois University alum. RAP magazine is great to read and listen to the CD. If you really want to grow and learn and you can’t afford the $3500 to go to Austin, send emails to these guys. Every one of the articles in RAP at the bottom in italics says, “…welcomes your correspondence at…” you know, Timmiles@wizardofads.com. Use those. We’re such a small weird miscreant of the population that we need each other.

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