Welcome to Podcast Episode Number 34 of the Mobile Alabama Business podcast with Sean Sullivan. My name is Marcus. I own Blue Fish Design Studio. We are a digital marketing and web design company located downtown on Dauphin Street. I'm the host of Mobile Alabama Business Podcast where we talk to local entrepreneurs and business owners about their businesses and how they got started. I'd like to thank you for spending time with us today.
In this week's episode, we sit down with Sean Sullivan, one of the owners from FM Talk 106.5. Sean and I have been friends for a number of years, so I was really excited to get him on the show. He's now used to being interviewed, and I think I may have seen him squirm just a little. Anyway, Sean talks to us a bit about the complexities of the radio business, how he got started in that, and the short answer to that is it was women.
We also talked to Sean about his love of hunting, fishing or nearly anything that gets him outdoors including gardening or doing the lawn. He also waxes poetic about his love for waking up before the roosters to get to the station and do his morning show. Let's dive right in with Sean Sullivan.
Marcus: Welcome to the Podcast, Sean.
Sean: Hey, thanks, Marcus. Glad to be here.
Marcus: Yeah. No, I'm excited about this because I know you and I have known each other for a long time, but this is the other side of the microphone for you.
Sean: Right. I'm not used to being in this position of being asked the questions. I'm a question asker.
Sean: This is a lot of fun.
Sean: I get to see your digs here. I'm liking it.
Marcus: Yeah. No, I'm excited about this, too.
To get started, because I think a lot of people know you from your personality on the radio, but why don't we back up a little bit and just tell us the story of Sean. Give us a little bio. You're from the area, so where did you grow up? Where'd you go to school, college, married, kids, that kind of thing?
Marcus: Next question.
Sean: Every interviewer's biggest fear, and the person says, "Yes."
Marcus: We had one of those. It didn't make it to the Website.
Sean: The answer is "Yes." I guess I'm truly not from here, if you go to the absolute definitely of being from here, because I did not make it to Mobile till I was the ripe old age of seven. I moved to Mobile at seven years old, so there was a life before that. Then I came here, went to school at St. Paul's, graduated from St. Paul's High School. Went to school at the University of Alabama, graduated from there. At that point, while I was in college, got into radio.
I remember people saying, "Has this been your calling?" I said, "Not really." We took a interest inventory test when I was a senior in high school. You fill out those things, it tells you what you should be. I had three things come up: TIA, pretty cool. A hairdresser.
Marcus: Wait. They didn't mean culinary institute [crosstalk 00:03:25] ...
Sean: No, no, no. That one was Intelligence Service. A hairdresser ...
Sean: Or broadcaster, and I laughed and laughed. I said, "[inaudible 00:03:35] would think I would be a broadcaster."
Marcus: The hairdresser ...
Sean: The other two made kind of sense but [crosstalk 00:03:39] "I'm not going to do that." I had no desire to do that, didn't know anything about it. Hadn't thought about it.
I go off to university, and my freshman year ... Now, this might be shocking to some, but freshman boys in college are driven by girls, and there were some pretty young ladies in one of my big lecture hall classes, and I liked to be wherever they were. They said, "We work at the college radio station." I didn't even know there was such a thing. I followed them there, and within about two days, said, "Don't you want to do a show?" I said, "About what?" They said, "It doesn't matter. Just do it. It's Wednesdays at noon."
I went in, started doing this radio show, and it worked. It started there. I got in [inaudible 00:04:31] radio within ... Probably that year. I started with a entry-level position that doesn't exist now, courtesy of technology, but American Top 40. Does everybody remember that? Of course, Casey would count them down, but somebody had to be there to put ... At that point, it was not reel-to-reel. It was just now on CD, The hot technology of compact disc. You'd put in each hour of Casey's Top 40 and let it count down, and that's what I did.
I would press "Play." At the end of the hour, I'd press, "Stop." Then I would press the next hour's play on the CD. That's how I got into commercial radio and have been doing it ever since.
Marcus: Pushing buttons.
Sean: Pushing buttons, yes.
Marcus: In so many ways.
Sean: In so many ways.
Marcus: A different type of buttons nowadays. Yeah. No, that's cool. Married? Kids?
Sean: I'm married, yes, to the lovely Mrs. Sullivan, and I have two children. My wife's from here, and I have two children, a son and a daughter. I have a 10 and a 5-year-old. A 10-year-old daughter, 5-year-old son. We just have a normal life. I talk about that a good bit on the radio show because, Number One, it's on my mind.
Number Two, I think it's something we can all relate to or so many of us because it's ... The daily grind of doing whatever you do, but you've got this ... Whether you're butcher, baker or candle-stick maker, but you're stuck in traffic. You still mess up when you buy the wrong kind of pasta at the grocery store. You're hauling the kids to 18 different activities per day. It's life.
Marcus: Yes, the grind.
Marcus: You run ... For those of you that may not be familiar with who you are, you run FM Talk 106.5. Why don't you tell us a little bit about that business, but also as a follow-on question, I'll be asking how you got started down that path. If you want to mingle those two, that'd be fine.
Sean: Co-mingling subjects, which I don't know ... Maybe it is legal, because we're recording this in the entertainment district here, so we can do this. Yeah, the business side of it. I've been in radio, like I said, for quite a while. I've been in the business side of it for eight years now, and I guess it's all on the business side, but an operator for eight years. It's very different. It's very different. The worlds do collide, maybe more than other businesses. I'm sure there's plenty of businesses that have that collision, but radio's definitely one of them.
In other words, what you do to create product ... I tell people ... People ask me what I do. I say, "I make product." We're making product. I'm a foreman on the factory floor making product, and that product happens to be radio shows. That's what we do. Then I have to, all of a sudden, stop that or stop the business side of it and turn into that. Sometimes, it's pretty tough to make that.
Sometimes, you grind the gears when you're doing that. Two minutes before you have to go on air to do a show and you're working on weekend schedules or you're working on health insurance questions or you're working on other HR issues or working with some of the technology we use or engineering ...
Marcus: Streaming or anything, yeah.
Sean: Anything to do and then, all of a sudden, "Oh, yeah. In two minutes, I've got to turn the mic on on a 50,000 watt FM radio station and ...
Marcus: And fill two hours.
Sean: And entertain and not be ... What I want to say is, "Do you all know how hard it was today to get the health insurance stuff filed?" They don't want to hear that. Yeah, that's where those worlds collide, and that's what I was very naïve of for years. Worked for different companies over the years in radio, did shows. Was in the business side of it somewhat because I knew what it took for them to make money so I could keep a job, and I tried to learn everything that they would teach me from every side of the business. You didn't feel the hot breath on the back of your neck the way you do once you sign your name on the dotted line. It all changes.
Marcus: Yeah. No, that's for sure. It is a completely different world thinking that you know how a business is run and then actually being the one that has to sign the checks, the one that has to make sure the bills get paid, the one that has to ensure that the sales are made because there are people that are relying on you to bring the money in so that they can pay for Sally Sue's dance lessons and so on and so forth.
Sean: Right. It's fun to come up with ideas. It's fun to entertain and engage. The heavy lifting comes in bringing whatever that idea, that concept to fruition. Like, "Oh, wow. I've got a great idea. This is great. This is going to be a lot of fun. This is going to be great for us." The heavy lifting now is that's where you get into going, "Somebody has to do it, and I guess it's signed here ... That's me."
Marcus: Yeah. In our world, we oftentimes will run across somebody that wants us to sign an NDA ... A nondisclosure agreement, for those that aren't familiar with the term, and I often laugh. Sometimes, we'll go ahead and go through the process of vetting them and signing them and stuff. I often laugh because ides are cheap. The ideas, the cheap ... Unless it's like something truly unique, there's just cheap, but it's oftentimes the execution where people ... They fall. They don't have what it takes in order to actually make that idea come to fruition.
Sean: There's nobody completing task at a bar. There's all kind of ideas written on napkins at a bar, but there's nobody ever bringing them to fruition there between round two and round three of your favorite beverage.
Marcus: Yeah. FM Talk 106.5 aims to be a news station for Mobile.
Marcus: You didn't cover how you got started down that path. I know the story because you and I have known each other for a while, but why don't you fill us in again?
Sean: How do I go from being a rock and roll disk jockey to a man?
Marcus: Yeah. Slinging disks.
Sean: Yeah, for years, I worked music radio, but I did morning shows, which ... While still ... Especially the station I was at right before I started [inaudible 00:10:50] did depend on the music, but the morning show had more non-musical content. Was news and discussion about the music, just news in general, working phone calls, all those things. I had a little bit of an advantage coming from morning rock radio into talk than I would have from a mid-day show or an afternoon show or something to that effect.
I did have an advantage, but I'm still a big fan of music and back then, I was a big fan of talk. It's weird. Maybe the grass is always greener. I worked in music radio for a long time, but when I take my breaks, go for lunch or whatever, I would sit and eat my lunch and listen to talk radio. I was just a big consumer of it. Still am. Still like it. Still love to listen to other talk shows.
Back then, that was my getaway. I would do music radio, and then I would go listen to talk radio and had my favorites out there and really would enjoy them. Then looked at the market, even though I was in music radio, looked at the market and said, "What is missing here? There's an opportunity to purchase a station," which was 106.5, which was another format at that point. It was a [pie-ren 00:12:00] at that point. It had been oldies [inaudible 00:12:02] enough.
The station I worked for for a decade, 92ZOO and what was then Oldies 106 were together. Through a bunch of stuff, the stations were split up, went to separate parents, let's say, and we had an opportunity to purchase 106.5. I looked at the market, and I kept questioning ... Because I said, "You're doing this because you like it, not because the market needs it," when I thought about talk. I said, "In fact, it does need it," because I looked around the country where there were FM talkers, and here there wasn't news talk on FM. It looked like an ability to have one voice, one talk voice instead of it being one in South Baldwin County and one in North Baldwin County and one in Mobile, to put them all under one umbrella and with the signal, with 50,000 watts of [inaudible 00:12:54], we could do that.
Marcus: What's your coverage like?
Sean: You want to be talking about range?
Marcus: No, cities.
Sean: You want me to give you landmarks. Pensacola, Pascagoula, Jackson, Alabama ...
Marcus: All the way down to the beach?
Sean: Atmore up the road, which is perfect, actually, because if you think about it, that's where the footprint of a newspaper used to be, a footprint of commonalities of discussion, be they state politics, they be athletics, sports that people are into, weather ... It all comes under one [crosstalk 00:13:29] ...
Marcus: Job opportunities and companies that are new to the area, economic impact and all that.
Sean: It's all ... Yeah. We're all one community. Sometimes you're in this county, that county, this state or that state, but you all look a certain direction. They're centered there somewhere around Mobile Bay.
Marcus: Absolutely. That's cool. Is there an area of the business for the station that you're putting a lot of effort into?
Sean: All of them.
Marcus: Obviously, you every day ... Nothing happens without sales.
Sean: Sales is Number One, and that's something that was interesting for me to learn because I came product side.
Sean: I'm foreman. I'm a shop guy. We make stuff. For the longest time, we made stuff, and those people over there across the building, they sold it. That wasn't my problem. "We make the stuff, you all sell it."
You go into business, and then you say, "Gosh. Yeah. That may change my opinion on things. Yeah. It all starts with sales, but sales for us are driven, and we say, "The flagpole is short. If you have to run something up the flagpole, we're right here." Locally-owned company, locally-owned radio station. Sales for us is more than just hitting numbers, hitting targets. It's truly about seeing that person when you're picking kids up from school, that's one of your clients, or you see that person over the weekend at the grocery store, your clients, and seeing how their advertising has worked for them and getting their stories.
We tell those stories back on the air as well, and it's that input you can get when you're a local company dealing with local clients that I don't think ... I know it for a fact, it's lost in the national companies dealing with national advertisers.
Marcus: [crosstalk 00:15:08] There's no hiding when you know the person ...
Marcus: When they're somebody that you see on a regular basis. I completely understand that, for sure, because we do some work with local clients, although most of our business is outside of the area. There's always something different about running into somebody at the grocery store like you were saying or picking up the kids or something along those lines.
Sean: I actually ... I like it a whole bunch because Number One, you get the positive stories. You get how the advertising's worked for them, or if somebody wants to tweak something, they don't have to have this agency call somebody, do this and that. They go, "Hey, Sean ... "
Marcus: Hey, Sean.
Sean: Yeah. Add this in or take this ... "Sure."
Sean: "Absolutely we can get that done," so that's ... I like that. I like that interaction with other human beings, talk about their businesses, how we can help them, because that's what we do. Yeah, that's Number One. Sales or nothing else happens.
Areas that I spent more time ... How about this? Areas I spent more time in in the last year than I did five years ago?
Sean: That would be definitely social media, definitely looking at what you ... Podcasts like this. Making our content available when people are ready for it. The old idea of, "I did the show from 12:00 to 2:00. That's when the show's on. That's when you listen." That's so outdated. Yeah. A lot of my time that I didn't spend years ago doing that, in the last year, for sure, has been a focus.
Marcus: Wow. What do you see the future of radio ... I know you enough to know that you've thought about these kinds of things.
Marcus: I look at things like the newspaper that keeps just shedding reporters and shedding staff and actually is going more in a digital marketing agency direction, so it's weird to think that we would be in competition with Alabama Media Group. Obviously, they're at a much bigger organizational level than what we are.
How does radio change in the next five years? What are you looking towards to adapt to that?
Sean: The future of radio ... If I could tell you exactly what it looks like in 5, 10, 15 years ... Then I could either go buy a bunch of stations on the cheap and ... Knowing what they're going to do. I'll say this [inaudible 00:17:26] in a radio signal.
Sean: No matter what's done with them going down the road, the fact that you can speak into a microphone there in our studies where you've been and talk to tens of thousands of people that are linked together [inaudible 00:17:41] by geography. Where the Web is great, because you can link by interests all over the place. Radio links them by geography and the commonality, whether it's buying patterns for selling, whether it's subjects for [inaudible 00:17:58] or it's a sense of community that's built around the weather, the news, the [traffings 00:18:04]. There's an inherent value for that.
What you do in between those elements may change, but [inaudible 00:18:09] values there. I don't worry about that. Where it's going, where it changes? I think the pendulum is starting ... If it's not swinging back the other way, it's at least stopped and getting ready to come back the other way. Radio has gone through the last 10 years, 15 years, through just drastic cuts. So many great broadcasters I've known not in the business any more. Lost their jobs.
Automation, consolidation, big companies have ... As they should, trying to make the most for their stockholders. I understand what they're doing, but absolutely dwindled the available staff, the information that's available, the shows, the music, whatever it is, to streamline something that may just make as much money as they did back then, but it cost them less to make that much money.
Sean: It used to be these companies had the same kind of bottom line, but they spent more money to [inaudible 00:19:07] profit, but they probably netted out the same amount. Now they play defensive ball, and they don't risk much, and they don't spend much therefore, but they net out about the same. I see that pendulum swinging back through possibly more local stations like mine, maybe fears out there from some of the investors that ... Whether it be podcasting or other things, that the field between Samson and Goliath had been evened. There's that choke hold that was held just by, let's say, broadcast media. Broadcast television, broadcast radio isn't there.
Therefore, you'd better get your Is dotted and your Ts crossed if you're coming even with the big national company on your content or eventually you'll lose that market share. Possibly that fear or that driver has that pendulum swing back. Will we ever be in the days of old when I had a six-person morning show? Six people for a morning show that we did?
Marcus: Oh, my gosh. Wow.
Sean: Those days are gone, but do we swing back to somewhere better than we are now? Absolutely.
Marcus: Yeah. It's interesting because I ... Obviously, we started this podcast just as a way to meet other business owners and tell their stories. I've never thought of podcasting as in direct competition with radio because I see the topics ... When I go to the iTunes podcast app, I'm looking for topics that are different than what I'm going to find on the radio.
Sean: [crosstalk 00:20:48] Correct?
Marcus: Yeah. It's extremely narrow. Very [neest 00:20:50] down, in a very specific segment. If I was to go to my podcast apps, there are Tim Ferris, there are Louis Howells, guys that would never make it on the radio. Sorry, guys. Hope that's not news to you. Those aren't radio guys. They're not broadcasters in that sense of the word. They're doing interviews much like what we're talking about.
Marcus: It's more leadership. It's more understanding a business. Tim Ferris has some leanings in health and fitness and stuff like that and technology. It's interesting to me in that respect. I can see where there are talk radio guys that are podcasting or releasing it in that format, that that might be some competition, but I don't ...
Sean: Okay. The reason why ... By the way, shut up. [inaudible 00:21:40] hardcore history, my favorite.
Marcus: Yeah, yeah.
Sean: I do that all day long. Here's why: It's not that one replaces the other. Think about ...
Marcus: I know where you're going.
Sean: Broadcast television. Broadcast television went through this, and they actually ... Their model went to a variety show. They actually did. They got broader, because they couldn't keep up with the vulcanization of cable, what it did to the audiences out there. Out of your audience, yes. News, weather, traffic, local things that we do, there's ... Remember what I said? It changes what's in between those things.
Sean: That's being driven and a great barometer is what's demanded in a very narrow ... A generalized broadcast is full of a bunch of narrow segments.
Sean: If I'm interviewing somebody about a coastal restoration, that's pretty narrow, but the next segment I may be talking about Derrick Henry winning the Heisman or I might be talking about Donald Trump. It's a combination of narrows. We don't hit the blender on all the subjects. We have a salsa. You can pick out the different subjects in amongst what goes on in talk radio [crosstalk 00:23:04] ...
Marcus: I thought you were going to go down a different path of if somebody's going to listen to something, and they're listening to a podcast versus turning on a radio station on their drive home from work, then that ... I guess ...
Sean: Sure. That's ...
Marcus: There's a direct competition.
Sean: There is a direct competition ...
Marcus: Because it's ...
Sean: In the minutes and hours available for broadcasters, it's absolutely there.
Marcus: Yeah, because it's all about draw, right? How many people you're reaching.
Sean: I will say this, that we, as broadcasters, can learn a lot. I'm not scared by it. I like it. I can learn a lot from it because I can actually go see, too, what is most popular, where in the broadcast world, we have to wait for ratings.
Now, some bigger markets have what ... It's called PPM, and I don't want to get into all the detail, but they get a lot more feedback more quickly. We're still in the market sizes, we have to wait for feedback. In all of the podcast world, you want to know what's popular? Go look at the number of downloads on the podcast.
Marcus: Yeah. I can tell you tomorrow after we launch our episode, because we're recording on a Monday ... We'll probably release that either tonight or tomorrow morning, I can tell you later on that day how many downloads we've gotten on that particular recording, and I can watch that throughout the day to see whether it's resonating with people or not. Also, there's social media and all that other stuff that tells us [crosstalk 00:24:22] ...
Sean: I don't think that's a bad thing ...
Sean: For broadcast. I think it's a guide. Number One, it makes broadcasters better because there's competition. Competition always makes you better, but Number Two, I can look across the fence there in the podcast yard and go "Maybe that thing I was worried about talking about because I thought nobody else but me cared about it ... Look. There's a lot of people, and a lot of people are here locally that care about it." That gives me maybe more confidence to do a subject or a subject that I thought I would have to do because it was so very popular. I can gauge it across what was downloaded podcast wise and go, "Hmm. Maybe it's not as important as traditional thought makes you think it is."
Marcus: Yeah, it's interesting. That's a really good point.
If you were talking to someone that wanted to be an entrepreneur, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
Sean: I can't say, "Run," at this point, can I? Run away? No?
Marcus: We would like them to have a positive outlook on what it is, but yeah ...
Sean: This'll be Take Two.
Sean: Don't run.
Sean: Be ready for the realistic. I say that, "Run," not because I want people to run. I want people to do ...
Marcus: To have realistic expectations for what you're getting yourself into, yeah.
Sean: To do what it is. When I say, "Run," maybe that's my three-letter word for just be eyes wide open here. Realize that even though you're the best butcher, baker, candle-stick maker, your whole day won't be there in the butcher shop. You're going to have to do other things. Make sure you gauge your desire with that, not to dampen it, but to make it more realistic so you don't have that shocking moment where you wake up one day and go, "Gosh, I don't get to do the thing I really like to do the most."
Sean: You get to do it some, but yeah, there's other parts of the business. Hopefully, as you grow that business, it gets bigger, and you can spend more of your time in doing what it is that you do. Remember, a big portion of your day is going to be doing what you have to do to keep the business running, and you have to do that first. You have to bake the cake before you put the icing on it.
Sean: Whatever your talent is, understand that that's not 100% of your business. You need to listen to people that are in business, whatever they do, and get lessons. I was very lucky. I had a lot of great advice, a lot of great mentors, still do that I can ask questions to because there's a whole bunch of stuff that I don't know. Also surround yourself with information, which is pretty readily available out there. Whether you have personal mentors or you use groups out there that are ready to assist you and give you advice, make sure you talk to those people beforehand. Make sure they set up Scenario A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
Marcus: Listen to them. Don't say, "No, that'll never happen."
Sean: Because it will.
Marcus: Yeah. It'll definitely be one of the very first problems that you have.
Sean: Do it, and get into what you love, but be realistic about it. Realistic to what that's going to mean for this thing, whatever this thing you do that you love to do, realize it's not 100% of your business.
Marcus: Yeah. There's this great book called, "The E-Myth." You ever heard of it?
Sean: Yes. A buddy of mine gave that to me years ago.
Marcus: Yeah, I know. That was Marcus.
Marcus: What it was reminding me of, and I don't think you're getting it just from the book, but you just know this ... The whole technician side of things versus business owner side of things. If you really, really, really like being a baker, then stay being a baker. If you really like the idea of owning a business, then go into owning a business, but if you like being a baker, don't own a business because you will be miserable.
Sean: I will say this. If you are a baker, and you love being a baker but you want to see more of your cakes come to life, then maybe the business is right for you.
Sean: Understand that you're not going to be able to have complete control of that cake from mixing it to pulling it out of the oven.
Sean: You may design some cakes. You may direct some other people to bake cakes. You may see more of your cakes come to life than ever before if you're an individual baker, but if you want to be there every step along the way for that cake, then, yeah. You're absolutely right.
Marcus: [crosstalk 00:28:23] not the move for you.
Sean: That analogy just made me hungry.
Marcus: Maybe we'll go get some cake after this.
Sean: There you go.
Marcus: What are some other resources that you found helpful and ... Aside from the E-Myth, any books that you found helpful or any organizations or any groups that you remember that have helped you through your business ownership journey?
Sean: I've been very lucky that I have great personal mentors. My father is the best businessman I know. I'm very lucky to have ... Yeah, to have Dad as a great mentor ... A man who'll put it right down there ... Put the hay down there where the horses can get after it. Short of just telling you, "Son, this is how it is. This is how it works," And then you know not to question him because he's right 100% of the time. Been in business for a long time. I was lucky there. Lucky with some friends.
Outside of that, some people I've stumbled upon since, and I'm really impressed with what they do, is SCORE. SCORE's been active in our area. It started really a lot of activity on the Eastern Shore, but working with both Mobile and Baldwin Counties, SCORE takes business people who've been very, very successful. They've retired, semi retired, or maybe some of them are still working with their companies but want to give back. What they do is they become that mentor. They become that realistic sounding board for folks who want to start their own businesses, whatever it is they're doing. SCORE offers these resources for free.
Marcus: Which is pretty incredible.
Sean: Yeah. The top talent, the people that are proven, that know how to do this, are going to help you.
Sean: Every time I have a chance to promote one of their events on our show, I do. I'm a really big fan of what they do, and you have a chance to just go by. Even if you haven't done it yet, that's the best time to talk to them. Say, "I have an idea. Here's what I would love to do." You can meet with somebody from SCORE and go online. If you just search SCORE here locally, you find the ... Just Google it. You'll find the chapter here, and you can go set up an appointment, go by and say, "Here's my business idea." Then they're going to ask you about 100 questions ...
Marcus: And you will be ...
Sean: You'll have to go find answers to them.
Marcus: You will be horribly embarrassed at how much you don't know.
Sean: That's a good thing. That's great advice and something that just makes you realize, "Here's what I'm going to get into." That doesn't mean, "Don't do it." That just means they're going to give you a realistic take on getting into business.
Sean: It's a great resource from the best in the business, and it's free.
Marcus: Yeah. They are pretty incredible. I've worked with them a couple of times earlier in the starting of Blue Fish, and it was one of those instances where I went in, and I basically ... This is a PG show, so I'll say, I got my butt handed to me so to speak. They definitely know ... There were some aspects of it, because of the technology side of things, that they didn't fully understand, but when it came to actual business acumen, they were ridiculously good.
What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?
Sean: Yes. Yeah. I like outside.
Marcus: Anything outside?
Marcus: Fishing, hunting?
Sean: Fishing, hunting, canoeing, camping, hiking. Don't tell my wife. Yard work, I like yard work. I like all that. Being outside, which is very strange doing what I do.
Sean: Electronic media and being inside, but maybe it's just a yin and yang kind of thing. Yeah. As soon as I'm not doing that and I have any kind of free time ... It's been great, too, as my kids have gotten older, I'm getting them involved. They can go, so I get to do my two favorite things, be with the kids and then I'm outside. Then they like it, and I'm winning on all fronts.
Marcus: Tell me if this hits home with you, but I find that if I'm ... My boys are old enough that oftentimes, they're the ones mowing the grass, but if I go and do something along those lines, maybe put some headphones in, I'm just mowing the grass, that's when my ideas hit me.
Marcus: That's when I get the idea for the blog post or the solution to the business problem that I'm having or it's when I step away from all of this mess and go and do something that ...
Sean: Yeah, very much so.
Sean: You can't see the forest for the trees. We've heard that 100 times, but you can't see the business for the business.
Sean: You go through the steps ... And it is. I come back to the radio station. If I've been away for more than two days, which is very rare ... If I've been away from the station for two days, I come back with a page of notes. For the first two days, not so many notes. Day Three, all of a sudden notes. I get that same kind of mowing and thinking angle, especially the bigger the yard, the more thoughts. If I can get away from the radio station for a few days, it's that third day, it seems like. It's just a waterfall of ideas hits, and I think you get away from thinking about plug Tab A into Tab B and align with C, which we all do every day, the mechanics of keeping your business going. Sometimes, it prevents you from seeing the outside view. Sometimes, that's exactly what you need to do.
Marcus: I was going to say, maybe there's some wisdom there for business owners to schedule regular time away so that they can take a look ... Not just decompress but also let those ideas come to them when they're not in the midst of the hurricane.
Sean: I think it's true. Now easier said than done. Let's go back to people ... Entrepreneurs wanting to do their own thing. It's easier said than done. I'm sitting here. I'm a [sinner 00:34:04] in charge because staying away from there, it's very hard for me because we're a small business, and we all have something to do on those days. When you can get away, however it works out ... For me, it's the third day. For somebody, it might be the second day. For me, it's the third day when those ideas really start coming.
Marcus: Oh, that's cool.
Give us a look at an average day. What does that look like for you? Do you have any set things that you do ... When I ask this question, I oftentimes will set it up like, "We're also looking for habits that leaders or business people have." It may even be as simple as getting up in the morning, going and working out, or getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee and checking e-mail or whatever your day entails.
Sean: Talked about this listening to an earlier podcast with Mayor Stimpson, I was impressed ... I think I can go ride by his house and knock on the door now, because he's up my hours. I was impressed with that, but I get up about 3:30. That's when the alarm goes off, depending on the sliding scale from Monday to Friday. Monday might be 3:30. Thursday might get to 3:00 ... What ...
Sean: The snooze is five minutes, so 3:40 to 3:42ish before I finally do come out of bed there, but I'm into the office sometime in the 4:00 hour and start my day. I really would love to work out and do that beforehand, because I'm actually somebody that feels so much better and thinks so much more quickly after I have physical activity. It helps my brain, but I don't get that. It's just not realistic in the morning for me.
I get up. I head into the station, and that's one thing that people look at broadcast day and don't realize that we prep ... I prep usually about an hour for every hour I'm on air, or I prep probably 45 minutes for every hour that I'm on air. We're working from the time we get in there. Getting everything ready that has to be done. We're back to the trees and the forest here. The weather, the newscast, all the things that have to be ready for that day's broadcast day. Same time as I'm getting ready for the morning show. Everything I have to do. I wish I could tell you I had a routine cup of coffee. Usually, it's a sliding scale from between one to three Diet Cokes to get myself in gear. Maybe some kind of food item, but not usually.
Then the broadcast starts at 6:00. Mobile Morning Show starts at 6:00. We go on the air. We're on the air till 9:00. Some days, when I get off at 9:00. I have staff meeting. Other days, I'm dealing with our engineer and engineering issues. Other days, I just start prepping, at that point, for my next show that starts three hours later at noon, Midday Mobile. I'll prep some and then do some office things and then come back and see if any new news stories have come out and back to office things.
Work with Dalt [Norwig 00:36:59,] my producer and the head of our social media, work in our contest, work in our social media platforms, anything coming up that we're doing in the future. Then, by that time, very quickly, it cycles around ... Maybe a trip to go get something to eat and then ... By the way, if you're thinking about getting into business for yourself, realize the majority of your lunches will be eaten at the office. If you have watched too many TV shows of business folks taking a two or three-hour lunch and enjoying themselves, that's not my reality. Your desk is your diner.
Then go on the air, on the air from 12:00 to 2:00. At 2:00, begin the process of scheduling what we call the "Commercial logs" or traffic for the next day. That's not traffic like cars, but where commercials play, how shows are laid out for the next day. Work on that and some production until I leave. Depending on the day, that could be from maybe a day like today where I slipped out to come see you, maybe 3:30 to 6:00 at night.
Sean: [crosstalk 00:38:00] other engagements in the evening. Remote, live broadcasts, meeting with clients or whatever ... That could be 9:00, 9:30 at night.
Marcus: Those of you that are keeping tabs, he did say that he arrives at work at 4:00 and oftentimes does not stop until 6:00, 6:30 and sometimes even later than that, so 14 hour-plus days. Yeah.
I've known you for a while, and I know you put a lot of heart and soul into the business. Kudos to you for keeping that train moving over there. I know you've got ...
Sean: What you've got to do.
Marcus: Yeah. No. Yeah, at one point in time, it's like what choice do you have? You started the ball rolling ...
Sean: That's right.
Marcus: You've got to just keep pushing.
Sean: Because if you stop pushing, the ball rolls back [crosstalk 00:38:38] ...
Marcus: Over you. Yeah.
Sean: Yeah. You have to keep pushing.
Marcus: Yeah. As we wrap up, why don't you tell us where people can find you?
Sean: Okay. FM Talk, 106.5 is the radio station, but that's not the only place you can find us. Of course, FM Talk 106.5 on your FM dial, but you can also find us on social media from Facebook to Twitter. Our Web site, fmtalk1065.com. If you're listening in remote land, that's great. You can stream us on our Website. You can listen to us through the Tune-in radio app, free download for Android or iPhone. These iPhones are catching on.
Marcus: There might be something to that.
Sean: I'm going to invest some money here. This is going to be something big.
You can listen to us there. Also if you use Sound Cloud, you can go there through our Website or directly to Sound Cloud, get podcasts of our shows. That's what I love that we have available. People sometimes listen to ... Which is habit, a certain part of the day, they listen to our radio station, so they may think, "It's just all politics," or "This show's all sports." We have politics. We have sports. We have news. We have gardening. We have outdoors. We have food and wine. We have golf. Pick something that applies to life along the Gulf Coast, and we probably have a show for it.
If you don't have a chance to listen to it on your regular schedule, it's waiting for you out there online. That's what I said, the big part of where we're going, our product, is taking what we do on air in a seven-day broadcast week and making it available pretty much on demand on the Web. Make sure to check us out on our Website, fmtalk1065.com, or you can go straight through to soundcloud.com. Just look for us at FM Talk 106.5.
Marcus: Very cool. I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. I know you are busy, so I appreciate you making time to do this. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?
Sean: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This was a lot of fun. It's very strange to be on this other side of the mic here and being asked questions, so I don't know how I did, but it was fun. I'll have to do this again. Maybe we'll let you come to the studio ...
Marcus: I don't know about that.
Sean: You cone in the FM 106.5 Studios and then you go sit in my chair, and I can go on the other side.
Marcus: Maybe. Maybe we'll ...
Sean: The [inaudible 00:40:48] are bigger.
Sean: A lot bigger mics.
Marcus: Yes, our mics are tiny compared to your mics.
Sean: We have big mics in there, so you can come in and be part of it. No. Thank you. Thanks for having us out. Thanks for what you're doing for Mobile, bring a lot of attention, a lot of conversation. I'm already a fan. I went back and listened to the earlier podcast, and I've learned a lot about a city I grew up in, so thanks for that.
Marcus: Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. All right. I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner. It's been great talking with you.
Sean: Likewise. Let's go get some food.