Steve Reynolds: Coaching Through Crisis
Updated: May 31
There I was flipping through Facebook and seeing Steve Reynolds comment about hearing something he felt was out of place on the radio in the era of COVID-19. This is not to be confused with the non-COVID comments about Sirius Yacht Rock playing a lot of crappy B-Sides on their channel. (He's right. No one wants to hear B-Grade Little River Band song. Ever. With so many radio people and radio shows in flux Steve is good person to bring on right now to talk about our new surroundings.
We also got into some great discussions on the role of social media and how important it is "go live" more than ever. Also this might be a time to adjust your personal brand rather than doubling down on the emotions that may not matter to many people right now. And what happens when the two or three person morning show starts to struggle with the "at home" dynamics that have been put upon them?
FREE! Inside this podcast Steve offers up a free promo idea for your radio station. It's like a prize in the Cracker Jacks box!
There has been a lot made of people now taking the show home. So set ups are impeccable,
some questionable, and others just downright awful. Here's the thing: It's a lot like sex. It takes time to get it right. Here are some resources for getting your house set up properly for live broadcast, podcast and streaming:
Steve is using the Blue Yeti.
I recommend two versatile microphones that podcasters love. They are great because they are affordable, convert to both USB and XLR formats, and cope with background noise nicely. The ATR 2100 and the Samson Q2U.
For lighting - and you will likely need some lighting. I made this purchase on Amazon last year.
Corey Dylan who has been a guest on this podcast, has a list of recommendations that she has accumulated over the years.
Also Steve said he was feeling the "weight" from staying home. Here's a podcast episode you might want to check out if you're feeling heavy. Lianne Laing and Eliza Kingsford talk about managing your Quarint-eating.(Full disclosure: This podcast is a client of the company's)
Finally, if you have any drink recipes for Steve, please e-mail him. He is not a cocktail kinda guy generally, but he has the time to see what all the fuss is about. Personally, I think a caesar is a good drink before a carnivorous meal. All the ingredients on the page are fair game - My favourite magical ingredient is HP Sauce.
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:00:01
This is the podcast or broadcast podcast with Matt Cundill.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:08
There I was scrolling Facebook. Hey, check this out. It's a post from talent coach Steve Reynolds. He's commenting on something he didn't quite like hearing on the radio. Now, this isn't your June of 2019 comment when he called out Sirius XM and their yacht Rock channel for playing too many boring B tracks. This is a little different. He was just commenting on how somebody was handling their broadcast in their new surroundings. Now, that person is not a client of Steve's, but probably should be. And so I thought there's no better time than the present to get on Skype and connect again with talent coach Steve Reynolds from the Reynolds Radio Group. Steve is going to help us all get settled into our new home Studios. And as it turns out, Steve has done some technical upgrading to his own home studio.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:01:00
I think since the last time I saw you, I actually went out and got proper equipment. I was embarrassed after I spoke with you last, I thought I had the proper equipment, but I realized after we got done that it wasn't proper equipment. So I went out and bought proper equipment.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:16
And you know what? It's true. Let's flash back to episode 127 when Steve was on the show and hear what he sounded like then.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:01:24
This is the beauty of what we do in radio. People do not have the same relationship with local TV anchors that they have with us. Radio, I always remind people, it's so intimate. Probably it's our greatest strength. It's the intimacy of the medium and our ability to show our heart.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:42
So what kind of microphone are you speaking into?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:01:45
I'm going to tell you, being the pro that you are, you'll probably groan and say, oh, my God, you're one of the masses. I got this blue Yeti.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:55
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:01:57
So I would imagine that that's sort of like the regular person's microphone. And, you know, I've done a few. And, you know, here we are, $99 later.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:09
That's about the price you should be paying for a microphone for podcast or at home.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:02:15
I don't have it on a boom. Maybe that's I'm going to buy lighting because now people want to do all of these Skypes and zooms with me. And I look at myself and I'm like, oh, my God. I mean, on a good day, I look awful. And the only way to fix it is surgery or lighting. So I'll go the least expensive route. First, I'll buy some lights digital virtually. So I'll have to make the investment of the lights.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:38
And by the way, no need to write all that down. I have provided a small guide to some of the tools you might want for your home studio. They're in the show notes of this episode and on the episode firstname.lastname@example.org. At the very least, getting a new microphone is going to ensure that you sound the very best on a Zoom call. But first, a dumb story. My family, you zoomed at the Passover and Easter tables, and one of the microphones caught somebody nibbling some matzo while his brother was doing the reading. He learned where the mute button was in time for Easter. Anyhow, enough of that. This is one of the experiences that a lot of radio people are going through in the first week. You go home, the microphone is not right. Maybe they don't have the right lighting. There's not enough acoustical treatment. So what is it like to start working from home and what do we need to pay attention to?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:03:32
First, there's a lot of distractions during a 60 Minutes call with the show. On average, I'll go to the refrigerator 142 times. I've got a great wireless headset. I'm outfitted here to be able to do this. But most people have their set up on their kitchen table with their bills to the right and last night's plates to the left. And the thing that I learned years ago is you have to have a routine. I talked to a morning guy today who I asked him what time you normally wake up. 333. 41st break on the show. First light breaks at 530. So what time do you get up today? He said, 415. Okay, we're okay. I said, what were you dressed in? And he said, sweatpants and a T shirt. No, that's a work at home. Don't. You should not do that. It's quite tempting. I mean, I could be sitting here in my bathroom talking to you right now, but you may not know it. I would feel like I'm not at work. So even in the short run, you have to have a routine, because think about your day. If you go to an office, you wake up at a certain time, you've followed the same routine of you let the dogs out, and then you make the coffee and then you take the shower, and then you do all of that stuff. And then you drive to work and you go into the building and you turn on your computer and you go get a cup of coffee in the kitchen, and you curse the person prior to you because they didn't throw the empty cake up out. And that routine acclimates you to the day when you're ready to actually do work. And you don't have that when you're in the house. So you have to craft that routine. The other thing that is really critical to discipline is I'm a disciplined person. I think in part, that's how I was brought up. I got lists. I started today with a list of the shows. I want to listen to the shows. I want to record the things I want to talk to the shows about. I've got apps and all that kind of stuff for this. But having a level of discipline and lists, at the end of the day, I will say check Mark next to all or most of it. It was a productive one for me. The downside of working out of the house is that it's super easy during a commercial break on Wheel of Fortune to float into the office to look at an email or do something. I'm terrible at this. I mean, the phone used to ring and I'm like, oh my God, someone loves me enough to call and I walk in and I look at the caller ID. I've tried to end all of that stuff. You have to say, this is the end of my day, 536 o'clock. Whenever that might be, you lose socialization. Like I can't float into your cubicle and find out how your life is and how your sports team did. We can't talk about the game or your family and you can't ask that back of me. So you lose socializations, you got to take breaks and you got to get out of the house, run an errand or two, walk the dogs, lunch. You cannot have lunch in front of your computer. You have to have it in the kitchen to sort of change the frame. So I mean, it's a long answer, but it is an acquired ability and a lot of people are just getting used to it. The other thing I've just do match is you got to set boundaries for the people that are under the roof with you because your spouse will walk in and stand there during a conference call expecting that you will pause the call to answer a question. Or if you have kids, the kids will come in not believing you're working and pester you. So you've got to set boundaries for people who you're with. If you don't have a dedicated workspace.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:59
Also, you have to start sharing some of the utilities around the house. For instance, if you're doing a live broadcast, it's not a good time for teenagers to be gaming.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:07:09
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:10
That is one thing that I've had to encounter in the past is tell the teens, yeah, you can't game and we can't be on the air at the same time.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:07:19
So a friend of mine who's stuck in his home, he's an ex radio guy tells a great story. He's got his wife and his two adult daughters under the same roof with him. They are 1500 sqft in Florida. And he was telling me the story over the weekend that last week his eldest daughter was doing a Skype interview for a summer internship at work and she's sitting there conducting this interview over Skype and his wife. Her mother wanted a smoothie. So she walked into the kitchen in her bathrobe, loaded the fruit into the blender and the daughter gets angry because she can't conduct the interview. The kid being interviewed sees the mother in the pink bathrobe and she got up and stormed out, went to the bedroom, slammed the door, finished the interview, came back and then it was words, and all of that happens. If you don't set those boundaries, then.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:19
We start to broadcast. So the talent is sitting down. And this is an age old talent issue. Whether you're broadcasting from a bar, the Super Bowl, you take it on the road. You start to talk about the surroundings where you are. We're going to be served an excellent lunch. Coming up later is a little bit of breakfast, right? It's inevitable that we're going to have these conversations. And I always used to tell talent, I'd say most of what's going on around you has nothing to do with your audience. Who is correct listening to. So why does talent always want to talk about their surroundings? I always think it's because they're a little bit uncomfortable in those surroundings and have a need to express it.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:08:56
I think you're partly right. I think that some think the audience cares. They don't. And I also think it goes to lack of prep. If you're in your house, when are you going to prep? You have to be disciplined to prep and understand the wants and needs of the audience don't change. They come to connect with you. Yes, they want to know about your life, but they want to be entertained in the process. I've heard talent, not shows that I work with. I should say this go on and on, telling the audience that they're at their Lake house or they're in the guest home, the guest house on the property. On their property. And I'm like, Whoa, I mean, what a disconnect, right? You've got the family of four huddled in their 1200 square feet laying on top of one another, not knowing what to do with tensions level rising. And you're talking about your Lake house. I think that there can be an exception there if it truly does become content. I'll give you an example of that. I was on a call. I'll tell you who this is because I'm proud of him. I love this show. Christine insulted 96 five TICF EV in Hartford. Christine was one of the early people to go into her home, and she was in the basement. And we sort of reminded everyone in the audience doesn't care where you are, so don't tell them unless it really is going to become bold content. So there's no need to do any of that. And I had asked her on the call, it was like 940 in the morning. I'm talking to the show, it's done at nine. I said, well, where are your sons? And she said, Where are my sons? They're in bed. And I'm like, It's 940. So we got a good laugh out of that, right? That's past my age and your age, but that's what teenagers are doing at 940 if they don't have school. So we decided that we would challenge her two teenage kids to contribute every morning, the 815 break, and we knew what it was. We figured out what it would be, how it would be entertaining. They're Italian, their mother's fluent in Italian. They don't know a stick of it. So they were going to come on the air and learn Italian with their mother. So we thought that would be fun. Character development. Most importantly, as we get the kids asses out of bed at 08:00 in the morning, and we thought mothers would laugh at that. And then the fact they're contributing content to the show, we feel the mother son dynamic on the air, and that would also allow for some humor. It worked. It lasted its time, but in a general sense, it's lack of prep and then believing the audience cares enough that if they say it matters to them, it doesn't. The listeners are greedy. They just want to be entertained. They do want to connect with, but they want to be entertained. And it's just not entertaining to say I'm at my Lake house or I'm in my basement.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:40
I want to take the prep thing just one step further because there has to be an extra layer of evaluating that prep and that's keeping it so it doesn't land in a tone deaf situation. So I'll give an example of something that came across a radio station Internet poll. What do you miss the most? Seeing friends, travel, parties or sports. And I'm looking at them going, how about a paycheck?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:12:04
I would have said sports.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:10
Probably. Me too. But I thought that the pole landed in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:12:14
Right. I say to show, as I did very early on in this, we control how people feel. We control how people feel. So we have to be pretty careful with creating breaks that make people feel the way we want them to feel when they interact with our product. The example, the example de jour taken from this great book that I read a couple of years ago from a recommendation of a talent that I work with in Boston, the great Kennedy sent me a book called Do You Matter? And I was mesmerized by it because it's in part about marketing and I just love the topic. And it talks about Apple knows how they want me to feel whenever I interact with them, whether I go into the store to play with the new gadgets or I go to the Genius bar to get something fixed, or I the white box shows up at the house with the new gadget in it, or I have to call tech support. It's not by accident. They know how they want me to feel when I disengage with them, so that I come back for more of that feeling. And I read this and I'm like that applies to us, too. So we have an opportunity in radio. Of course, I'm a big radio advocate here's where we shine to connect with the audience and to sort of move them in the direction that we want them to move emotionally when they come to us for however long they do. So I heard a show talking about martial law and looting and the buying of guns and, well, that really is happening or that could happen is the excuse. I'm like, yes, but everyone is frightened. So why don't we walk walk in the opposite direction unless we truly need to do that, why don't we reassure people with the relationship that we have with them? Why aren't we positive? Why don't we make them laugh? Why don't we look at the brighter side of this? If we're not compelled day to day or break to break, to reflect the sadness or the fear that really is out there, people say to me, show say to me, Matt, listeners choose us for an escape. And that to me is kind of this innocuous statement that requires a follow up. So I said, well, what do you mean by an escape? An escape from what? And of course, I think for a moment I said, is it an escape from the topic? Because I don't think that that's what they're trying to escape from because relevancy drives shows, we have to be relevant and the Coronavirus is relevant right now. And so what they are running from is the stress of the topic. And that's about how we present it to the audience.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:50
I totally get that. Yet if I'm a PD right now, I am looking for a balance between rescuing the audience from the stress and providing the right amount of information. So what is that? Because I know I need to take a break from Twitter because it makes me stressed. Yet I go to the radio and I want the information, but I don't need a ton of information because when you're ordered to stay in the same place and go out for groceries once every seven days, there's not much to do after that.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:15:21
Yes. And I can get information on my mobile device. We all know that. I think conveying information to them is fine. The folks at Coleman talk about the three T's of content, topic, treatment, tone. It's the topics you choose and what you do with the topics is the treatment. And then the tone matters. I work with a conservative talk show here in the States, and I had this conversation with the anchor of the show, who's awesome. He is a great local anchor. And I said, I don't think now is the time for pounding the table. I don't want to leave people angry with the other side, force them to their tribal corners. And that to me is just about the tone of voice that you bring to it. So, yes, we should share information that we might have that can be done not in a monologue, but in a dialogue with the other interesting people on the show or experts that you might have. I mean, look, Mojo in Detroit had Dr. Oz on the other day. I mean, they think that would be an interesting interview. Let's get him on and ask him what he knows about the topic. Intriguing dialogue that conveys information that has a level of emotion to it around the topic that is top shelf for everyone right now.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:16:39
What's your advice on sourcing information? How do we source information? What's the advice on that?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:16:45
There are credible and non credible sources, and I do not want to pedal in conspiracy theories and I don't want to speculate because that just adds to the fear and anger. And that's the last thing we need right now because you can feel it's a little bit of a powder keg with no one knowing what tomorrow will bring. And then everyone has cabin fever. They're all inside. They're all stressed. I mean, the park by my house closed because there were too many people in it looking to get out. I think we have our credible sources. And if we don't have our credible sources, which everyone should, they're quite obvious, then I think you find experts like, I have a great doctor. I have a super doctor. I think now is a great time for experts. And I would ask my doctor because I believe in him and I have a chemistry with him. I mean, he's been my doctor for a long time. We make each other laugh. He's a really good person. And I'd ask him if he'd play a role on the show in conveying information, because I know he would do it in the right manner to calm the audience and that it would be perceived as credible because it is one.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:49
Of the things that I predicted just before we went into this and I did this on a podcast episode about a month ago, is that the opportunity for radio is that you're going to be able to reach out and touch listeners and soothe them and speak to them, and they'll put a face to you, whether that's through the Internet or through the telephone. But one of the things I didn't completely foresee, but I probably should have is the amount of wing nuts that are now contacting radio stations to challenge the advice that is being given. So we've sort of had this new contact point for talent and listeners and that's the wing nuts are getting through to the radio station and talking and putting second thoughts into talent's ears.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:18:26
So to me, that's noise, and we need to ignore that. There are times to do radio, and then there are times to serve the community, and now is the time to serve the community because everyone is on edge. So if these were normal circumstances where I was doing a regular show and the crazies called, I'd put them on. I'd let the audience know. I didn't believe any of this, and it would be highly entertaining. I'll allow the Jerry Springer show that the wing nuts have taken over for their 60 or 90 seconds, and we're all laughing at the end of it. But now we can tilt the view and the perception of the program. I think now is the time we serve the needs of the audience, which means we have to be hyper aware of their emotional state and cater to.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:11
That in just a second. More on Radio's opportunity, how to get yourself out there by going live on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. And Steve says no contesting. And then he executes a contest on this show for the single greatest payout in podcast contesting history, $1 million.
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:19:33
The Sound off podcast.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:35
What's the opportunity for both the talent and the station in this moment? What can they learn that they have never learned before?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:19:42
How to connect on the deepest emotional levels? There's a talent that I talked to earlier today, and she has great fear that her husband has the virus. He has a lot of the symptoms. Some who have the symptoms go and get tested and they're negative. And I hope that's the case here because I love her, but we don't know. And I have to first say, are you comfortable bringing the audience in on that? She is. And then let's live that on the air. We could have a very cordial, fun relationship, you and me, and build a friendship from that. But when we really move our relationship or our friendship into the proverbial next level is when you present to me and I present to you a level of vulnerability in our life where we really reveal who we are and what's going on in ourselves several layers deep, which means it's not all fun and games. It is fear and pain and shame. I don't know if you've ever read Renee Brown. I adore her. She talks about the power of vulnerability is the birthplace of the greatest level of belonging, the deepest love, the most creativity, and the most satisfying relationships. So if you and I can get there in friendship where you truly reveal to me, I don't want to use the phrase your deep, dark secrets. And that's a process. By the way, trust is a product of vulnerability over time. And so you've got to earn the key. So it's not like, hey, Steve's here. Tell me about the issues you're having in your relationship. It's like we build trust over time where you're comfortable to be that vulnerable with me. And then our relationship sort of takes off in the stratosphere, and we have that opportunity right now with the audience.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:30
If you're on a multi person morning show, there's got to be some change because now we're not seeing those people every day. With the shows that you've worked with, have you noticed that any of the team morning shows are having trouble maybe with the chemistry that they once had in the room that they don't have being separate?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:21:47
Absolutely. Sure. It's a great question because I've told all of them now that you're in separate locations, your comfortable surroundings have changed, therefore, the chemistry is going to change. And now we have to overcommunicate. We have to over prep. And believe it or not, this goes to the relationship they had before. If they had a foundationally, if they had a strong relationship, they've known each other for 20 years and they know a lot about each other, it will be easier. But if not, there's a situation that I have now where one cast member is out and the other two are in. And I'm not quite sure about the conversation that's going on amongst the two when the third can't hear it. And that concerns me, that their relationship concerns me. So you've got to overcommunicate. And, of course, any time you upset in a figurative sense, the dynamic where you do this, you'll take a couple of steps back. The question is, how much work will you do to regain that?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:48
What's the role in contesting and all this?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:22:53
Well, I mean, I wouldn't I don't know that it has a place right now. I don't think that's what the audience wants. I think it's inappropriate, and I think it's tone deaf. Most of it that I've heard is tone deaf.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:05
One of the things that I do, of course, because I get sucked into the social media vortex in Instagram, for instance, and I'm not sure. Are you on Instagram?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:23:14
I'm proud to say that I'm not on Instagram.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:17
Well, one of the things you do now when you turn it on is that every Bachelorette who's ever been eliminated, they're all talking to each other, and there is an opportunity. I think people are at home is more social media consumption and going live. All of a sudden, when two or three people used to pay attention to my going live, I now get 20 or 30. So it's obvious that there's some sort of consumption going on out there. So what can you tell talent right now about using any of those live opportunities?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:23:47
Yeah. I mean, it's another connection opportunity, right. I think novel and unique, and that's where people are. And look, I'm posting more on Facebook now, and I don't like me for that because I feel it's me saying to Facebook, I require attention, and I don't like that about myself. But I get it. There's a morning guy that I work with in Amsterdam. He's a very good looking guy, quite gregarious. We were having a Skype last week, same as Giorgio. He works at Funx in the Netherlands. Really good guy. So we were doing the Skype, and I could see where he was, and I could see shirts and pants behind him while we were having the conversation. And I said, Georgia, I said, what would it be like if every day at the same time you did something on Instagram Live or on a social media platform, a feature called Giorgio Is in the Closet and he has a girlfriend. They're about to have a baby. It's a storyline on the show. And he could not stop laughing at the thesis of the idea. And I said all you would do is come on for 20 minutes, invite your fans to the forum, and they could ask any question that they wanted of you or the show or whatever you wanted to do. I don't know if he's doing it. I've not checked back. I hate to use the proverbial word opportunity. I'd certainly do it. That's where people are. Look at all of the artists who are performing on Facebook, and people are loving it. And what is an allure about? It not that they're necessarily performing as much as where they're performing. So I get to see someone in their kitchen. I get to see a performer in their kitchen. And there's something about that very scaled down production value. It feels so real because it is. And I think talent should do more of that. I'll give you an idea here. I suggested to some shows, and your listeners can certainly take this if it works, don't mind that doing a Zoom lunch asking listeners, why don't you join me for a Zoom lunch today? And you send 20 listeners the link, and you're all up on Zoom. You're all in your kitchens, you're all having a sandwich, and you see all of the boxes and you record it, and you put the video up on social media and you're just talking to these people and you pull the best audio off for your show. So you've got content for the listeners. So I say yes. It was a long answer, wasn't it, Matt?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:26
No, I thought it was a very good answer. And I'm amazed by the number of creative things that have sort of come up over the last few weeks. And Cory Dylan, for instance, in Atlanta, she is making some food every day in her kitchen. And I think she might be consuming wine at the same time.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:26:43
Yeah, I would do all that.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:46
For instance, you said you started to post a Facebook just a little bit more, but it was one of your Facebook posts that led to me reaching out to you to say, why don't we come on the podcast and talk a little bit about this? So there's some of the unintended consequences of jumping onto Facebook when you have.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:27:00
Things like this happen. I tell shows, I've told shows in the last few weeks when we have something like this, everyone's world contracts. The world gets small in a bad way. Like I'm here in my home and I really don't venture out. And our job is radio people because I don't have as great inability to socially interact with people, even my neighbors, as much as I did. Our job in radio is to expand their world, to put more people on the show. So that people listening know that, hey, I'm not alone. I have that same experience. I'm putting weight on to. Hey, I'm going through that, hey, I've run out of stuff to look at on Netflix, listeners telling the audience that signals to me the guy who won't call the show. I'm not alone in this pandemic. And I think social media is like that too, is we are all hardwired to connect. That's a human trait. And we're all out looking for that. Whether it's the fewer number of people who might be choosing terrestrial radio, at least in the early hours, but also the greater use of social media.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:12
I have a solution, by the way, to your weight problem. It was done in a podcast and I will share that podcast in the show note to this episode. For anybody who is worried about putting on extra pounds during this strange time, I'm listening. Well, I'm going to put in the show notes.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:28:26
Oh, you know, you're not going to tell me. Okay, I'll go to the show notes. Hey, Matt, can I ask you a question? Do you happen to have in front of you right now a podcast snack? I do.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:38
I do not have a podcast. No, I don't. I actually forgot to even bring down the glass of water I'm supposed to be drinking.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:28:44
And I have. I did. I'm always prepared with the water. Listen, I have a podcast snack in front of me. I did say a little earlier that I don't think contesting is a smart thing to do. But what I'd like to do, Matt, is I like to do this game that I call one guest, $1 million. I have my podcast snack and I'd like to take a bite of it. And if you can guess what it is, one guess only. I'll give you a million dollars. Are you ready?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:15
I'm ready to play.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:29:17
Okay, here we go. Just to prove I'm not making up. That's the bag. Are you ready? Here we go. Now take whatever time is necessary because we have no commercials to run so we don't have to hit a stop set. One guess. Okay.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:44
For $1 million, Steve, the answer is pretzels.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:29:53
Is that your final.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:54
It's my final answer.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:29:58
Fortunately, Matt, it was cool Ranch Doritos.
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:30:03
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:30:04
We will play again the next time you invite me into your wonderful podcast.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:07
What was the drink you washed it down with?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:30:09
It's water. It's my water. You would think it's a gin and tonic, but I'm mostly a non drinker, but it's just my water.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:17
Alright, Steve, if you think back, by the way, what was the last big crisis that we went through as a radio group? Was it 911 and have there been others?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:30:28
Yeah, I think it was 911. I think the 2008 meltdown in the States was probably did affect people. There have been some smaller ones, like Jason Aldin's concert in Las Vegas when 50 plus people were murdered. I think it was obviously short lived. I don't say that to be callous at all, but that dissipated after a while. But as an ongoing thing, probably 911.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:56
I look at some of the stars that are coming out of all this on TV. So in the States, I think Cuomo is doing very well because he speaks in a very reassuring manner and speaking to some of the things that you were talking about earlier, appealing to people's emotions. And Doug Ford, who has always been one of these sort of staunch Conservatives in Canada, is coming across in a very warm way that he never did before. Trudeau, who got elected by being reassuring and listening, is doing that every day. But you see Trump, who got elected by saying what he wants and making it up, and that's how he got elected. So some people are changing and moving with the times, and other people are sort of staying patent who they are. So what does that mean? If you're a radio personality? Do you have to change and move? How do you flow and identify that you need to make a change?
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:31:43
I think all the great talent craftily worded, by the way, so that I don't have to talk about Trump.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:50
There's nothing to say about any of those people. It is all being said, twenty four seven on a new cycle. We cannot stop. And if you want to save your mind, you have to stop.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:32:00
Yes, this is why you're so good. So the great talent look at the great talent can evolve as human beings. Howard Stern is a wonderful example of someone who has evolved as a human being over the years. If your listeners have not consumed Howard Stern in the last ten years, they walk in with a certain perception, hey, the dude is all about sex and turn them on now. And it's like there's still that element of his show. But Howard is a 60 something male who's reflecting the values of where his life is in this moment because he's had a collective number of experiences that have forced him to change. And so I always say to talent in the industry, what are you doing to grow as a human being? And specifically, where do you get back to your community so that you can further develop a sensitivity, a humanity and a level of empathy so that it ain't all about you? And here's where I think radio does its best work. And so when I work with a show and I work with the show long term and there's a lot of shows that I've been with for a really long time, I get the greatest satisfaction in seeing talent become parents and adopting causes that are important to them and affecting other people and turning the show back over to the audience because they're comfortable enough in their own skin that they don't have to make it about them. And then there are some who can't do that. Let me say this. You are like the best interviewer. I listen to your podcast and I adore everyone because you're prepared. You ask great questions. You're a hell of a listener. How you do this is just it teaches me when I listen to your podcast, you teach me how you interview and engage people for an interesting conversation. So I always leave impressed.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:03
My goal in life is to leave this Earth as the third best interviewer of all time because I've got Terry Gross and Howard Stern.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:34:12
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:12
I might be able to get to three. I'll have to learn how to pass Dan Patrick because I think he's very good.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:34:18
If you end your life with the bronze only, will that be satisfactory?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:23
Yeah, I'll take a bronze medal at that for sure.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:34:25
All right. Well, gold plate it because, I mean, the two in front of you, Howard and Terry, are off the charts. Unbelievable. But Oprah, by the way, should be on that list, too. You can't do this without doing your homework. Every talent needs to learn that. So many walk in. Many walk in. Not so many walk in believe that they can wing it. You got to really think about what you want to get out of this and prepare for that. And then you make someone like me, Radio's most boring talent coach at least seem coaching. And I thank you for that.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:55
I spend a half hour before every interview researching and writing down where I want to go, and then I'll sort of move the questions around into a path that I want to take. And then I'll listen to the responses that you give, and then I'll go to the question that I think fits best next.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:35:14
Yeah. Because you think it through and you know what you want out of this, and you know how to make it engaging for people who just float in on it. Are you mad I didn't give you the million?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:23
No. I'll try again tomorrow.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:35:25
Okay. We'll play it again. I guarantee we'll play it again.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:28
I've interviewed so many artists over the years. That was my job. My job was to do all the artist interviews, and it didn't matter that it was high on the playlist or low on the playlist. I had to give him an interview. And there's nothing worse than asking a question that has nothing to do with the album or nothing to do with the artist. So most of the research came from fear of embarrassment.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:35:49
I have a show in Dallas that got country superstar Sam Hunt for an interview last week. Do you know this dude?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:55
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:35:56
Core artists now probably to the country format. And I have high performers at the station that I work with in Dallas. These folks, they do their due diligence. They know that they probably could wing an interview with Sam Hunt, and it would be okay. It might even be good. So they did their due diligence and they found out something about Sam's wife that they wanted to explore on the podcast. Given the coronavirus and the toilet paper, shortage alleged that no one can find toilet paper. They said to Sam that they had read in an interview that his wife was having installed in the house of a day. Have you ever used one, Matt?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:37
Certainly. I've been to Spain and France and Italy many times.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:36:41
I've never used one. Is it all that in the bag of potato chips?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:47
Yeah, it can be. Yes, it can be.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:36:51
So they presented this to Sam Hunt Who confirmed that that was the case that a plumber was coming to install a bidet. And for the next three minutes as they explored this with him, you could hear it in his voice. The dude never lost a smile. He loved that they knew this and explored it and then his connection to it, how he was reacting to it, how it impacted his relationship. It was like three minutes of such lightness around the big topic and you can't walk into any show believing that you're pretty enough that you can do X number of original content breaks without ever thinking how am I going to do these in a way that will resonate with the audience to set them up, to connect, to entertain them so they come back the next day for more of that candy.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:40
Steve, this has been fantastic. I'm so glad we got together to do this and it was all based on a Facebook post that I saw you do. So keep up the social media work.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:37:48
Well, I'll do it when it becomes self indulgent. You'll Ping me and you'll say, okay, that one was over the line. Take a break.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:56
And Steve, everybody who is listening to this podcast I think should send you cocktail recipes.
Steve Reynolds (Guest) 00:38:02
Okay, that's good. I need as much of those as I can get because if this goes on much longer, I'm going to need to be drunk by 530.
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:38:10
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Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:21
Written and Hosted By Matt Cundill
Amanda Logan (VO) 00:38:25
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