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This week I'm taking the show to Brandon, Manitoba, where Tyler Glen has launched his new morning show online. He was on the air as morning show host and program director for 20 plus years, and worked alongside great talent like Chrissy Troy from Virgin Radio, and Heather Prosak from HOT 105 in Winnipeg. Now, a few months ago, Tyler launched his show, and he had a little assistance from Eric Zane, who shared his game plan with them. By the way, you can scroll backwards in our episode feed and catch that episode with Eric from July of 2022. Now, to tell you how he did it, Tyler Glen joins me from Brandon, Manitoba. Did you think you would wind up doing this when you were at WABC studying to become a broadcaster?
That is an excellent question. No, absolutely not. Although I took the TV program thinking that maybe someday in my skinnier days, I would maybe waif over into television. But you know, the radio was the thing. That is what bit me and that's what I stuck with. So no, I had absolutely no idea that something like this would happen. It's crazy.
What did you think you would do in TV if that opportunity ever came up?
I wanted to be a TV weatherman. I am a big fan of Stan Kubachek. And Cam Clark, who is my general manager at the radio station, knew Stan and actually arranged for me to have him on my morning show one day because he's selling Windows apparently, or at least was when I did an interview with Stan. And I had him on my show and just told him that I wanted to be Stan Kubachek. That's what I wanted to do as far as a TV career goes but radio pulled me in the other direction, so.
And when you found your way out of WABC, where did you go? Where did you start?
I started actually here in Brandon, I worked for Steve and Taya on CKLQ doing the all night show back when they still had them. They had records, they had CDs, and you could pull your own music at that time. They had some guidance cards that were like a recipe card that you'd pull out of a little Rolodex to have the music but no, we were queuing up records and I worked from 1am till 5am. And I pulled all the records and carts and CDs for morning man Bill Turner legendary morning man Bill Turner in this market. When I worked in all night shift he'd never lift a finger, and I did that for three years. I made sure every piece of music and commercial was pulled for him and then they all night show I just played records and tried to hit posts and at that time I was listening to 630 CKRC in Winnipeg and they were flaming hot country at that point. Was it 630 or 680? I can't remember.
1290? It was CFRW.
No was CK RC and it was... Oh boy, that's going back so long ago. But they were playing flaming hot- they were doing with a country with basically like a CHR version of country, and they were flamethrowing. Talking on the backside of records and then using the full intro and just hitting every- Doug Anderson. I was a huge Doug Anderson fan in the late 80s, early 90s. So I was trying to emulate Doug Anderson and spent some time at Q and then I went out to Alberta and worked for what is now Stingray out in the Wainwright Lloydminster market. I was out there for a year, worked for the stations that are like the Wayne FM and there's like a cat country or something out there now, and then I got picked up by Rolco and I spent most of my career with Rolco in Saskatchewan in Prince Albert. I did- that was my first morning stint was at Power 99 working for Garth Callen in Prince Albert, and then I got tied up with Mike's polyphony and Don Collins and Tom Newton in Regina and then I went and did drive in Regina for three years and morning fill-in in Regina, and then I got the call from Don Kill in Brandon were- when I was doing the all night show in Brandon, it came full circle because I was doing remotes for who was at that time the sales manager of the radio station and we had just had our son in Regina, and he said "What are you doing?" and I said I am loving life, we bought a house in Regina, Rolco was just a wonderful company. Pure radio company at that time. We still had the stations in Ottawa in Toronto at that time and actually had a chance to go to Toronto and my wife was she's from very small town Manitoba was just like that wasn't even in the realm of possibility as my one shot to get to Toronto Bruce Bruce Elliot took it Bruce up in Regina and he came back but anyway, we moved to- back to Brandon because Don said hey, I'm going to start a radio station to go with your old AM station that you did all nights on, and he was no longer the General Sales Manager. He bought half the radio station, and I said ugh, I'm set up in Regina. I don't know we're kind of having fun. I was I was a Rider fan. still kind of am and I grew up in Manitoba, but I got inoculated. And anybody that's spent any time in Saskatchewan knows what that's all about. You go to a few games and have a few beers and some Polish sausages and you're done. There's so much fun. You wear your first watermelon helmet and you're a goner. So we thought about it. And since we had our first child is like, boy, the grandparents are like, boy, you could move home. And then I said to Don, I want to do the morning show. Because I missed mornings, I was doing drive. But I was filling in for Cece and Laurie, when they're gone in the mornings, and I just loved doing mornings. It was just so much fun. And there was so much interactivity at that time. Of course, it was well before social media. So it was all about working the phones and I just loved that. And so I thought if you let me do mornings, I'll come back and start this station. And that's what happened. And then we had our second child and I spent 22 years here in Brandon doing mornings and running star FM. And we had a lot of success in Brandon, a lot of success, because at that time, there was just a classic rock station at a country station. And we came in playing Hot hits. And we just nearly dominated the market. There was a two year span where I think it was standard radio paired up their Winnipeg station with their Brandon station. It was a hot format. CHR, hotter than us, we were still hot AC and they were CHR. And so their rotations were a lot tighter, the production was hotter. And they took the younger end of 1849 from us for a couple of years. But other than that we had a two decade run, top Morning Show top station. It was a dream for me because not many guys, you know, when we were at conclave together, that was like the comment that I took away, stuck with me the most, you know, when guys are saying you went to your hometown and started a radio station and did mornings there? Yeah, for two decades. It's like you look back and go, Man, I won the radio lottery. It's over now. But God it was a great run.
I thought the radio lottery was won in Regina at Z99. Afternoon drive. I would think you're good there.
Thanks, man. I had so much fun there. It was definitely the highlight of my on air time. I mean, I gave away $10,000 in cash to one caller one time. I mean, we'll never see that again. We'll just never see that again. budgets aren't even 10,000.
That's very Rolco, by the way.
And by the way, you were mentioning about some of the things that Standard was doing. Just for disclosure, some of those formats were created in my office in Montreal and then sent to Brandon. I just can't remember which ones.
Well, they were likely country, this market and it was just filled with country. And what's incredible is that both stations appear to be still doing well. I don't think like Toronto doesn't even have two country stations. Is there a country station even one in Toronto? No. There's one in Vancouver, we have two and basically our service area at best on a day where everyone's home and all the lights are on we might have 220,000 people in our service area like the city and the surrounding towns because we have a lot of big towns that surround Brandon, which gives us like a kind of a population around 220 But have two country stations. That's crazy.
I've only been to Brandon one time.
Well, you got to make it twice, we'll have lunch.
I know it's two hours though. That feels like a long way. I mean two hours to Grand Forks to go to the Paradiso for Mexican food. But two hours to Brandon.
That's an argument. But I did offer you- we'll meet in Portage. I'll take the lion's share of the drive. I don't mind that drive. It's better than going the other way. I loved living in Regina. I did not love coming back to Manitoba from Regina. Because as the saying goes, you can stand on a phonebook and see the back of your own head. It's so damn flat there. It's crazy.
By the way, when you got to Brandon, the format was hot AC and there wasn't a lot of radio stations doing hot AC at that time. So there were a lot of people in Canadian radio paying attention to what was going on. What was going on?
Well, at that time, it was 2000 And I mean, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys. It just seemed like there was this reinvention of pop music that was going on at that time. I mean, it was much bigger than the 80s New Kids on the Block reborn this was something much much bigger and at that time, I had just come out of Regina and I remember Doug Pringle flying into Regina from Montreal and the CRTC had come up with the regulations that took the hit non hit away and radio stations went bananas. It was the lottery that we had been waiting for. Oh my god. You mean we can play Hit Me Baby One More Time. Backstreet Boys Justin Timberlake in sync, you know hit after hit after hit it was like yep, can con that's basically it. Let's go. And Doug came in and they completely ripped apart the library and it was so much fun because we had changed our positioner like literally within hours. I was getting new liner sheets handed to me there at five o'clock. We're changing to this. It was almost the closest thing I'd been to a format flip when they changed those rules, and so you know when I came to Brandon and we had the hot AC on here in Brandon, there was a lot of Christina Aguilera and vertical horizon and Nickelback, I guess? And it was definitely an interesting time because it was almost like hits for adults. You know, pop music wasn't the bubblegum stuff anymore. There was a lot of moms and daughters and moms and sons and minivans listening to the station and that's really what a lot of hot AC stations hung their hat on.
When did you become PD there?
Right out of the gate. I was PD in mornings right out of the gate. They brought me in in February of 2000 actually had to stay on in Regina I signed a deal in the fall of 1999- God that's a long time ago- 1999 And we had just flipped CJME from oldies to a talk station, and I was helping Don Collins with that. That's how I got wrapped up with Don Kollins and then got wrapped up in what's now my Twitch show, because that too has come full circle. But because Tom Brown had left I was doing morning fill-in on CJME to kind of get them rolling into 2000 and then I came to Brandon in February. So my wife set up the house set up the kid I had a one bedroom apartment for six months in Regina and we got CJME rolling and it's still to this day, hugely wildly successful talk operation that you know Don Collins was obviously instrumental in ensuring that that thing was a huge hit and is to this day and then I came to Brandon in February. And we didn't actually start till June, there was a lot of delays like a lot of Industry Canada stuff, I had to hire staff I had to bring in Chrissy Troy was my very first midday girl from Thomson, she's with Ace Burpee today. And there was Chris on there who's a big week with Golden West down in the southern part of the province. He's my first evening guy, and it was so much fun to bring these people in. And then they moved on to bigger and better things. And I just kept the tubes hot at Star for a couple of decades while I raised my family.
What was the change in Brandon, around that time? Because the market felt bigger than it was, the radio sounds bigger starting around 2000. Did anything change in the city in that period? Or did the market really realize, Oh, look, we've got all these outlying areas that have a lot of things in common, we can do two country radio stations. What is it about Brandon, that makes it a little more important than we would think?
Well in 2000. And you know, I don't want it to seem like I would take any credit for it. But the fact of the matter is, is that one of the things that Rolco taught me and I love this even to this day with what I'm doing now, it's even more important. It does not matter how many people live in your town. If you're listening to this podcast, and you are in armpit Alberta thinking that oh my god, I'm never going to get out of here. I'm never going to be discovered or I'm never going to be big. Rolco drove it into your head that it doesn't matter. Do you feel like New York? Do you feel like Los Angeles or Chicago? Then act like it and bring that. Because, you know, what's the difference? It's a microphone. When we were at Conclave in Minneapolis and had the opportunity to meet those guys from New York. And that was my first question. I want to see if it's true. Is it true? Like what's it like sitting behind the board in New York City and talking to millions of people? He's like, What is it like where you are, it's the same thing. You just bring your best a game each and every day. And so when I came to Brandon, they've given me a station. And I just literally just came in here and said, we are going to put the biggest station we can on the air with the budgets that we have. Now. If you ask the owner to this day, he has gray hairs because of me because I was in his office every few weeks and I need more money for jingles. He's like what are jingles like they hadn't even heard of jingles in this market. And you know, this is the flame throwing CHR that had been launched in other markets and we were doing the hot AC version. And I'm like, No, we need like flaming hot. We went to Tim century got some jingles done. He's like, Oh my God, we get that little audio for 1000s and 1000s of dollars. I'm like, yep, it'll check the station. It'll sound great. These imaging guys, we got an imaging guy out of Vancouver to do everything initially for star. And he's like with the pay for that. Can't we get like somebody in because there was a lot of small town mentality for the radio. And I'm like, Look, if we're going to be in a competitive market, we're going to ratchet it up a notch. And it was so exciting because, you know, I came in and I looked like I knew something when really I just been in a bigger market. That's it inoculate the entire staff to feel that don't believe you're in Brandon, you know, believe you're in a bigger city believe you're talking to the world because someday we will. Radio stations will put the audio online we weren't quite sure how that was going to happen. But eventually it did. And you know, a lot of those staff moved on like I say to bigger markets and bigger positions. But I think that the other companies in the market just went holy cow what's going on here and then they up their game. And then the whole market just got lifted up and it was fun, super competitive. Just like again the old days of radio where guys are showing up at each other's remotes and special events. And it was a lot of fun.
I think one of the things that was instilled upon me, having to do a little bit of work for the Brandon station that was owned by Standard is that, hey, this is a fight. And this is a very competitive fight. And you really need to think this one through about all these decisions that you're going to be doing, you know, send the records out, it comes back with half the playlist slashed, no, it's a little more competitive than 700 records, you're gonna have to cut it down to 500.
Yeah, well, and it's such a delicate balance, too, because you have so many people living in the rural areas, not to make a horrible comparison. But I will. It's like in Toronto, you've got the City of Toronto, and then you've got Mississauga, Scarborough, all these different communities around Toronto, and on a very, very, very, very small scale. In Brandon, it's similar, where you've got these communities, our city proper is only 60,000. But you've got a ton of towns that are 4000 5000 6001, that's 11,000. And they're all kind of in the surrounding areas. And they're all feeding in Brandon. So these people are driving to work 40 minutes. So you've got almost the equivalent of what would be a metro commute, in addition to people living in the metro area that only have five minutes to get to work. So yeah, it was definitely a balancing act to make sure you had the best songs on all the time, while realizing there were some people sitting in the car for quite some time making that drive and then doing a thing called Road reports, which is essentially the rural version of a traffic report. I mean, a big city, you're doing accidents, traffic congestion here, I mean, you get some wind hitting the highway. It's essentially a rural traffic report. And people live for that, even to this day. They're super, super important.
That brings me to the next point. And that's talent, and finding talent in the year 2000 is a lot easier than it is in 2020. So walk me through the years as it came to finding talent. I'll just assume that at the outset, people sent you a cassette and you would listen to the cassette. And then eventually it turned to an mp3. And then there's no all night or evening shows to draw from, and it must have gotten harder to find talent.
Absolutely, I mean, it's not a secret that it was like that across the industry. And in 2000, I think half were tapes, and half were CDs, people were putting some stuff on the recordable CDs, but I do remember when we put star on it, it's funny because we put the ads in, you know, your usual cast of characters. It was you know, broadcaster magazine, Milky was running and at that time, John in Ottawa was running his operation. And I'm not sure who else we would have posted through. But anyway, I betcha I had 30 to 40 people to choose from in the original cast of characters. And I thought to myself, This is great, I'm gonna have this proverbial drawer that you know, one talent leaves, I'll just reach into my drawer and pull up the next one and the next one and the next one. And I remember it was probably around 2006 2007, where the well had run dry. It was right at the time when this new internet medium was coming along where you could talk to friends and show pictures. And it was prior to Facebook. What the hell was it called? MySpace was coming along and Friendster, maybe, but it was around that time, you know, 2006 2007, where it really started to get dry. And it really, for us at our station because we've always been the tiny little locally owned and operated Little Engine That Could, we didn't have the carrot and stick to wave in front of talents face. Whereas the Standards, the Astros, the Bell Media's could say, Hey, kid, want to work in Toronto, cut your teeth and Brandon, and we'll get you to Toronto. I couldn't do that. I said, you know, it's a great town. And I call all the shots so the buck stops with me. And I'll help you as much as I can and give you as much creative leeway as you can. You will not be aligner jock is all I can promise them, I'd say look, you won't be aligned or junk with me. I expect you to do the hard work of investing in show prep and good content. And that's how I managed to fill the roster for the back half of 15 years.
I think right in that time. That was when I got to Manitoba. I was working at Power 97 as the program director, and the talent shortage, I think happened because there were a lot of licenses that were passed out to a lot of stations in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, and the talent just got super thin. So someone like me would go and pluck one maybe from Brandon if I got lucky, and that would leave you and Brandon looking, Well, where am I going to find someone?
And it was near impossible because, you know, you're wondering where these Dauphin people come from? Or the Paw or Flin Flon or these small markets. But I think at the end of the day, it just boiled down to who was able to compensate the most and even though you had some stations that weren't talking to a big community or necessarily had a big audience, if their sales were good enough, and they could attract people with the money, that's how they would get some talent to move to a small town like the poor Flin Flon or Thompson or even a Dauphin or a Brandon. But you know, it's going to be interesting to see as time moves forward, you know, with the development of AI. And now with my new venture, I've got my finger on the pulse of what's coming down the pike, and it is unbelievable, we thought we saw change, Matt, in the last 10, 15, 20 years. We're going to see more change in the next five to six months than we have seen in the last five to 10 years. I think like this time next year, things are going to be drastically different, mark my words. The next 12 months.
When it comes to talent, you've had so much go through. Talk about some of the talent that you got to air check or even work with on the air.
Well, I loved every single one of them, it was just so much fun, because we would just talk about the audience and their ability to reach the audience and communicate with the audience that we are trying to target. And again, like most stations now it's that 18-49 or 25-54 year old female and just talking to them, you know, and finding out what it is that they want to learn about and hear about. And there was nothing better than having an air check with a jock that was able to connect had great phones great energy and those air checks were just so much fun to do. They were just absolutely so much fun. The toughest Air Checks to do were the ones where most times you would have talent that had something else going on and we can talk about that now more because post COVID Things like mental health and personal issues and stuff there's a much more candid space for that and talent talent is its own monster because it myself included I am in that boat is that there there was a lot of not just on air coaching but personal mentorship almost you hate to say you want to be a friend because a supervisor or boss and I never allowed that to be used at the radio station and you can take that up with everyone from Heather Prozac to Chrissy T to anybody that worked for me over the years, they were never allowed to call me boss. You know I had one employee say, Hey boss, nope. That never like- because I was on the air too. And I was just a team member. I always considered myself the Paul Newman on Slapshot. You know if you've ever seen the movie Slapshot, Paul Newman was the coach of the team. But he also played on ice. And so it was the ugly fat version of Paul Newman on the radio station. But I really enjoyed getting to know the staff and really being able to help them through some tough times. Should that be something that I needed to do. And they really felt like they were building something special. And we were because we came in with that belief, again inoculated by Rolco, that we could be as big as we want to be. And we always celebrated Matt, like, if we had a ratings when and they happened a lot. We were very blessed. We always celebrated. And that was another thing that was new at the time and now has gone by the wayside is that when you when you need to stop and celebrate, and high five, and there's this culture sometimes of well, we don't want to get too big for our britches, or oh, they might not. They might ask for more money, or we don't want people's heads getting too big. Their talent. This is the gas that goes in the gas tank, they love the high fives, and the the accolades and the parades. And so we have a lot of fun. It was just a lot of fun.
So I look at somebody like Heather, who worked with you for- how many years were you guys together?
We were trying to figure that out. I think it was four or five years we were together. Yeah.
Well, I mean, no wonder she's got mornings down and programming down and pretty much all the things that you did, she does and has done in Calgary and Winnipeg. And I mean, truly phenomenal in terms of a breeding ground of radio in Brandon.
Yeah, there have been so many talented people that have not just, you know, obviously come through the station I was at, but even the competitor, you know, it was a great learning community. It's a community that loved and still, to some degree loves radio. And those are things that get lost in bigger markets rather quickly. I know when Bruce, I'd spoke with him earlier at Z, when I didn't go to Regina, or to Toronto, and he did and he came back and he says like, look, my time at KISS was awesome. I loved being able to do radio in Toronto, but people don't know who you are, like, show up on location and people say oh yeah, you're with that station. What which one are you? Whereas if you're in a smaller market, you know, they know who you are and you are a celebrity and it's just fun to watch your fellow staff. It's fun to take part in and then it's fun to watch your staff you know, walk into a store and essentially get mobbed. And especially when we put star on the air. That- those first five years, man, I mean, we were the only station in the area. I think at that time there was a station in Winnipeg doing it too, but I mean, there was maybe two stations in Winnipeg playing Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. So the kids were just all over us like white on rice, it was just so much fun.
Thinking back to when you went to the Conclave, that was 2019 when you went. The last one before life shut down, as it were. And we went through all the nonsense of COVID. Tell me why you and Cam went? What was the process of the decision making? Because normally I thought I was the only Canadian who would go, but you guys also made the trip. But that's an investment and an investment that a lot of people aren't always prepared to make, especially to take a trip to an American conference.
Well, you know, Cam Clark deserves all the credit with that. And it's interesting you ask that question. It's been on my mind an awful lot lately, especially considering that some of the success that I'm enjoying today, I owe two in some small way to both Cam and the Conclave. He had proposed the idea. He said, You know, there's this conference, have you heard of it? I said I had. I asked if there was a lot of Canadians that went down and he said there wasn't. And I said, Well, I love Minneapolis. I'm a big Vikings fan, as you know. Bills not so much. Hahahaha. Sorry, man. I like the Twins too, and been to Minneapolis a number of times, and I saw any chance I get to go to the Twin Cities, I'd love to go and especially American radio, folks, I'd love to hear about their challenges and network a little bit. So it was a really quick, easy decision. We just jumped on the plane and went down. And we came back from that conference him and I I'll never forget the drive from Brandon to Winnipeg. And we both were so excited. It was to this day, in my 30 years of radio, that event was the best thing I had ever gone to, to be in a room with so many talented people have big markets. And to have them talk to you like you were in a big market to was a thrill for my career. Because like I said, I in Brandon, it's not a big place. But 99% of those Americans couldn't find Brandon on a map if you handed it to them. So they didn't care. They just knew I was a program director and a morning guy. And they were sharing some of their secrets with me. And it was just phenomenal. And it was at that time we both had seen and talked to Eric Zane. And I remember after his speech gone, there's something there. And I think you and I both I mean, you're obviously Mr. Podcast guy, and he's in the podcast realm doing very well in Michigan. And so you know, you guys are talking and I'm literally eavesdrop. And going there's something here like this is going to be where things are going. Because he had just come out of free beer and hot wings. And he was doing his shtick. And I'm thinking this guy, something's feels right about this. And I remember thinking, I'm standing in the lobby of the Delta hotel in Minneapolis going God if someday, like we come back from Conclave, and they say, Here's the door, here's your off ramp. That's a guy I want to remember. And then COVID hit. Like you say, the whole world went to crap. And everything went topsy turvy. And you know, for me, that's where my story ended up was that Don Collins called me after I had parted ways with my company. And when he said, you know, we should do this, you should come on to Twitch, I thought, oh, Eric, Eric Eric Zane! I'm just going to give him a call. And while he was an email first, because I thought he probably won't return my call, because he had completely taken his show to the next level, he's doing very, very well. And that I tell you, I sent the email, I got an email back instantaneously going, Dude, if you're going to do this, I will help you every step of the way. I am in your corner, this is going to be great. You're going to knock this out of the park. And that's where part two of my journey started.
How much did the pandemic have to do with you departing your station?
I mean, we parted ways. I had moved off the air, the end of 2019. They wanted me to be running both radio stations exclusively. And that meant coming off the air, which I had agreed to do. And if you remember the pandemic, there was this next month, things will be back to normal. Next month, things will be back. It was just this constant awful waiting for crap to come back to normal. And it just never did. And I never got started. It never really got moving because like most things, nothing really ever progressed because nothing was normal. And of course, radio in general took a massive, massive hit because everything was closed. And then they would open for a couple of months and then they would close again and then car dealers couldn't get cars because the chips couldn't be shipped in. And so it just was yeah, I this is this is not this is this is just not going to work for anybody. This is just not going to work for anybody. And it's been two decades and it was interesting. I was thinking about this driving around town, thinking about you and I sitting down and having a chat today. And how ironic it is that I sat down 10 years ago with the CEO of Westman. And I was 41. And he said, So where do you see yourself in 10 years, you know that conversation, we were sitting at Eastside Mario's restaurant. And I said, Well, all I know is I need to be retired by 50, I'm going to be out of the radio business by 50. But anybody listening to this podcast will attest to and likely smile, 50 comes pretty damn fast. And all of a sudden, I'm 48. And now I'm gonna be 50 This fall, and the ride is over. And it's kind of what I wanted. That's exactly what I wanted, but not the way that it all kind of had happened. So I basically was going to embrace the whole voiceover business in 2019, I had an incredible year in my studio, I started my own voiceover studio in 2007. And it was very, very slow buildup. And I have been very, very blessed. I have clients in California, Chicago, and all over the place, and it just grew. And then when 2019 hit, I'd had a phenomenal year, in fact, my studio, I was probably compensated more in my own studio than I had in the radio business. And I thought to myself, maybe now is the time to take the off ramp, potentially, you know, and say goodbye to the business. But not like many people, you just can't let it go, you just got to stick with it. And so in 2019, because I had such a good year, and there were talks of potentially going to California for some possible work I had applied for my US visa and got it like two years later, because of all the COVID delays. So this past June, it's coming up to a year that was in 2019. So I got it and of course you get it and go okay, now what because everything is remote now and everything is done through Zoom it so I've got it. And ironically, the first time I used it was to go see Don Collins in San Francisco when I was setting up my operation now. So it's amazing how things are so connected and cyclical, really, whether it be personally or professionally, everything just kind of runs in a cycle and eventually comes around. So you know, if you're a young person starting out and you are in this business or any media business, just be kind to people try to be as kind as you can, because you just do not know who you're going to be working with, or working for, from one day to the next. So it's as good to be as kind as possible. And a guy like Cam Clark really believed that and lived that every day.
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I've had Eric Zane on the show. For those of you who are listening and are wondering what that guy is all about, you can back it up in the catalog and go listen to it. Because I really do think that he's got a playbook. And you know, it doesn't surprise me that he wanted to help you so much. I think anybody who's gone through this and made all the mistakes, they're happy just to make sure that you don't make the same mistakes or encounter the same frustrations. But you know, he's in I think Grand Rapids, Michigan, you're in Brandon, Manitoba. There's a lot of local touch points. I'm trying to figure out what the process is of what you do, definitely high touch point with the sales. But from what I can see, and just correct me, the first 15 minutes seem to go live across the internet on whatever platform is available. And then it seems to disappear behind the wall of Twitch. Does that sound about right?
That's exactly what happens is, you go basically anywhere you can be seen by video, live stream, and then you kind of corral everybody up. As I explained to people who aren't in the media business. It's like you are going to the bar, and the bar is packed with people and everyone's having a good time. And you're saying, Hey, I'm having a house party who wants to come to my house. And some people will say, you know, it was fun to have a beer with you at the bar. I think I'm good. Well, at least I got to have a beer with you in the bar. And about a quarter of those people will come to your house for house party and that's what Twitch ends up being. And the reason for that is you're corralling them into Twitch, because there's the potential for talent revenue through various forms. And like you'd said, Eric talks about- I heard you that one of the many podcasts that I listened to of your your various interviews, but Eric explains it quite well that that's why you corral all these people to get them onto the Twitch platform. And you know, a lot of people asked me, you know, what about YouTube, or what about Kick? And right now as it stands, and again, I got my finger on it because I'm thinking guys like Tucker Carlson from Fox is going to go over to Twitter, and I'm reading that Elon Musk is going to have a creator compensation program. And so it's almost like radio, right? It's like okay, so who's going to treat you better and give you the better compensation deal. And then if that has to move, the entity moves, the show moves. So someone like a Zane or a Tyler or a Matt or whatever, would just move to another corralling point, so that the entity can advertise to them in addition to the sponsors that you have, so.
I find that Midwestern and a lot of people on the prairies are really sort of slow to the uptake of online platforms. Only natural, because we don't spend nearly as much time in our cars. So if I went back to a study from 2017, podcasting was smallest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I think that's changed. And I look at somebody like Ryan Jesperson, who's managed to get a big podcast audience by doing what he does. I mean, people are listening to this, as they're in their big John Deere tractors and doing their thing in the fall. And so for you, when you are telling people locally what you're doing, I mean, it's one thing to say, we're on Apple, we're on Spotify, we're on Google, I think people would understand that. But when you say Twitch, is there a little bit of an uptake that you have to do a little education piece for the people who want to consume you?
Most definitely. And I think it can be put into a couple of boxes, one of them being age. And the other one, I hate to say it, but it's sex. And I had mentioned at a client meeting just before we sat down, a potential client, and Matt, of all my sponsors, and I have over half a dozen, 90% of the ones that I've had come and go or be on the show are women. Women are predominantly much more interested in social media, and understand social media, understand the digital landscape better than guys based on my experience only, but in this area, from the people that I've spoken to, they are very, very heavy social users and completely understand the strategy, how it all works, because it's based on connections just based on connecting with audience, and they just completely get that. Guys? It's been a challenge. And you know, so if you see an older guy, and he's asking you what you're doing, it takes some time. Younger guys, much less time, and women under the age of 50. If you can believe like women 50, even 55 and younger, no problem. It's very, very, I'm doing- I think the biggest question I had was, what isn't Twitch The Video Game platform? Isn't it where people are playing video games? And absolutely, for sure. But just as you know, McDonald's is known for hamburgers, they also sell chicken nuggets, I'm the chicken nugget of the operation that they're you know, the bulk of what they do might be burgers, but they- y'know. And at that time, Don made it widely known that Twitch was trying to expand their game because they had owned all the gamers, they are the gamer place and to this day, in all fairness to Twitch when it comes to streaming, because I'm poking around now and I'm in the space. And I want to see who else is doing it. And you've got Rumbl and you've got Kick and YouTube just, yeah, they do it. But YouTube is the monster static video place, the place you go to hit play, watch something larger form, usually not live, but they are so video dominant that when you think of internet video, people are thinking YouTube, but the social spaces are getting into it, there's going to be huge growth there. Because the social spaces are getting into compensation for content. And there is this fight for content to bring this home for radio. You thought it was bad five years ago trying to find talent, this is where things are going to change because Facebook is courting people like me to say, hey, how much money you make in a twitch? How much money are you doing on this platform or that platform, and what you're gonna see is creators make a whole bunch of money on a variety of different platforms, and you're gonna be able to make a living on the internet, because that's kind of where people are going to consume content. And so they enter content creators to be compensated by these big companies. I just hope that they don't make the same mistake that media companies did and not compensate their talent the way they should, because then you start to lose your stars. And if you don't have your stars, then you don't have much, you know?
Well, I'm here to tell you early on as a podcaster. YouTube may not be your friend, if any indication about how they're planning to treat podcasters in RSS feeds, oh, we'll take an RSS feed, but we're going to keep it and do what we want with it. Not what you want to do with it. We'll put our ads in it and
Yeah, well, and I mean, the whole YouTube Google landscape, you know, this ChatGPT was one of the greatest disruptors of the whole Google empire that we have seen since the arrival of search with Yahoo and remember Netscape. And you know, they're worried, because you type in what you want to learn in ChatGPT and it'll find it for you, and they're ferociously trying to catch up and they're using the artificial intelligence in YouTube. I know firsthand because I get a notification that Hey, how come you were talking about this? Or how come you had this little clip on? That's not a licensed clip. Okay, it was like a two second, YooHoo! Oh, well, that belongs to Matt, Cundill, and Winnipeg. So unless you're going to pay him that has to come down. And you're like, whoa, like, they cannot be watching and listening to everything, but they are, using AI.
I think Tara Sands, who does the voiceover for this podcast, I think she started to sing a Cheryl Crow song, I got a YouTube flag for that, with the irony that her great grandfather had actually penned the words.
Yeah, you know, you can be deplatformed. And I'm worried about being deplatformed. So I think the most important thing is, you know, at least have a website and a place where people can, you know, find your content and consume it from there, if the worst case scenario happens.
And then you've got the big company deplatforming, and then there's government deplatforming, you know, we've got the CRTC. Now there's going to be looking at regulating Internet content. And I'm reading that we're probably about 10 to 18 months away from that actually, getting emails from the government wanting to know how much of our money that we're making on the internet, and then they're going to take some of that and put it into Canadian content development, perhaps. And if you read the fine print on that, it's $1. If you make $1, on the internet, you're considered a professional content creator. And there's some people that are making some videos just to you know, for beer money making $2 $3. I mean, they're gonna get caught up in this. And I hope that doesn't happen. I really don't.
Why did you gotta go and get me all started on the Bill C 11, and the C18?
Because it could be a problem. And you know, we were talking about my visa. And I keep that in my backpack. And I will keep it renewed because Brandon is only 60 miles from the US border, and we have a small town just across the line. And if I had to go down and get an apartment and maybe do content from North Dakota, I certainly could. You'd hate to have to do that though. And I hope it doesn't get to that. But I'd be lying if I said it doesn't feel kind of like the old movie we loved, Matt, Pirate Radio. Do you remember Pirate Radio? Because in the internet, you can almost get away with quite a bit. And that's fun. And that's the way it should be. As long as the lines are there for a reason, the big lines, you know, just make sure that you're not hurting anybody, hate speech, things like that. Stay clear of all that stuff. But you know, if you've got a weird opinion on something, that's how ideas are shared, you know, and how we learn.
About 10 minutes after you and I had finished one of our political discussions, I had a knock on the door from Ben Carr who was running in my riding. And I said, Oh, well, we're going to have to have a discussion, at which point he lost about 15 minutes of his campaigning, where I explained to him about what I really thought about Bill C11 and Bill C18. But I do want to share this one with you, because I really, really want your take on this. So as it stands right now, the CRTC is asking for input on the law that has been passed and what's going to happen. So I just want your take on this because this is what the CRTC has up right now, as I'm sharing my screen, they're talking about the myths and facts of the whole thing. So I'll just glean through the whole thing: Myth, the CRTC will regulate content and digital creators. And then they're saying the fact that we're only going to regulate broadcasters. And the myth is that CRTC will regulate social media users and use your content. And then they again pinned it to broadcasters, and then the one here at the bottom that you and I would be interested in- the CRTC will regulate the algorithms of online streaming services. And the fact is, we will not regulate algorithms. And so I wanted to share this with you to say, do you think they're lying? Or are they telling the truth?
Well, the framework is there for them to basically regulate the internet like they regulate traditional broadcast? And the answer to that question is directly proportionate to how much you trust the government. And I think that there is a very strong case to be made that they are going to clamp down again, it's more of a not an if they're going to clamp down Matt, it's when they're going to clamp down. Because what we've seen with Bud Lights of the world and Target and what's going on in just coffee shop talk, let alone what's happening on the internet. There's going to be a point in time where the government is going to step in, and they're going to use things like artificial intelligence to go well, we'll we'll we'll we'll wait a second. back that up. What were you saying there? What were you talking about there? You can't say that, or you can't talk about that. Or we noticed that you are not talking about enough issues that matter to Canadians, which according to us, the top three are this, this, this and this and if you're going to operate your for profit organization, your business essentially you have to adhere it's just going to be another Canadian content type of recipe where they're going to respectfully ask as a condition of your ability to conduct business that you adhere to the following the rules. And so I think it's going to happen. It's not if, it's when. And my game plan, and likely yours too, Matt, is that, you know, in 20 years when this thing will really be clamped down tight, hopefully it goes to 20. It might be shorter than 10 for all I know, we'll have entered the twilight of this as far as our careers go. But if people think that the wild west of the internet is going to be around in 10, 15 years, it's- It won't be. It will not be. It will be heavily heavily regulated, it's coming.
Yeah, I just think that we're way ahead of government, they're just not smart enough to keep up with all this. They have created a law that is trying to really extract money from Netflix and the streaming services, and like Facebook and Google too, when it comes to news. And Facebook's Like, yeah, we'll just turn it off. And Google's like, yeah, we're already turning it off. And Netflix is like, we're not making as much money because we don't have a pandemic anymore. So I see this entire law that's designed to really pull money out of these streaming services. And when they don't get it from them, my fear is they'll come after us.
Well, and I think that- and on its surface, most Canadians, even the Free Speech capitalist kind of red white and blue Canadians like I would consider myself, really don't have a problem with them saying, Look, Netflix, if you're going to do business in this country, we should get a cut. I've never loved Canadian content. In fact, I've hated it. But the fact that they are able to take some money and put it back into Canadian content development. I've been a fan of that. Because if you talk to any creators, in my old radio days, musicians and stuff, they need more money, to make their music, to make their videos, and so on and TV shows. So on its surface, it looks great. Y'know, sure, get some more from Amazon, from Netflix, from Google. But I think that what's going to happen is they're going to get that cash. And I worry more about the content regulation issue, and the money issue not so much. Because I think that what you're going to see Matt, you watch this, is if they don't see enough of the Canadian content that they wish to have from creators like you and I, they'll incentivize us. What do I mean by that? I mean that they will ask you to do something like a podcast or a half of your podcast, if you can dedicate it to, enter subject here, approved by the Canadian government, in which you interview someone at a university about this particular subject, we're going to cut you a check for $5,000. And then as a struggling content creator, I go, Holy cow, sorry, what was that? Oh, we want you to interview this professor about this Canadian issue, we're gonna cut you a check for- where do I sign? You know, that's another way. And you know, depending on who you talk to, some people say, Well, what's wrong with that? You know, it's just another form of compensating Canadian content developers no different than compensating someone for their movie production. You know, I still like the organic getting by and being a success or a failure based on your own merits and not having anyone's finger anywhere on any scale. And I hate to segue a little bit, but I am starting to see that with the social media companies, as somebody, like you said, who broadcasts on all the social media companies, when I was putting out content as just a Joe Schmo from Idaho that no one knew and wasn't making any money, Facebook would- oh, I was a superstar. And you have to designate with Facebook, Instagram, Google, and everybody that okay, now I'm a professional content creator, there's throttling going on, because they can't have talent. If all of a sudden Matt Cundill in Winnipeg is getting more eyeballs and ear lobes than any other digital entity, that's a huge problem for their advertising operation. So while we're using each other, to feed ourselves, there's still some competition going on there for advertising dollars, between, you know, the platforms that I use to get my content out and my content itself.
I just wonder how they think they would be able to do that to a podcast. If I'm on an RSS feed, how are you going to regulate that if you're not going to deal with algorithms? I just looked at that sheet that one-sheeter that I had up on the screen, which by the way, I've also shared on our episode page, if you want to go look at it. And yes, I'm like you I don't believe the government. And by the way, we don't believe the government. We really mean the Liberals.
Well, and you know what I mean, you and I, obviously, we're opposites. We could have our own political podcast, which would be highly entertaining, because we're different sides of the spectrum. But on this, we would likely agree.
I don't think we are- I'm conservative, but I happen to be a Progressive Conservative.
I'm an Eastern conservative.
You're a Montreal conservative, aren't you? Those- that's a Mulroney conservative. They're just so old and gone. I'm a Westerner conservative. So see that- well and you see what happened with Danielle Smith lately, like holy cow. So, you know, it's the whole, are you happy about Danielle Smith getting in? Or are you concerned, and I'm probably part of the Happy Camp, because I've had it. None of it's working. It's not working, you know, but the point I'm trying to make is that regardless of the spectrum, even if Danielle Smith is the is the prime minister someday, in some parallel universe, some liberal's gonna say something that she doesn't like, and she's going to clamp down on them. And that's not right. From what I believe, I don't think that's right. You know, just because someone disagrees with what you have to say, does not give you the right to shut them down. We can't learn that way. You know, we have to have disagreements and discussion. That's one of the reasons I loved the business that I got into. When we were talking before the show started about, you know, the evolution and the downturn of talk radio, they used to be so much fun to listen to. People get into heated discussions and sharing of ideas. And minds were changed. But we're getting away from that. And, you know, someone who has started down that path, and has kind of evolved in his own way was Jordan Peterson, he's big into that whole free speech realm and making sure that we protect that, and I'd have to agree.
It's gonna be very interesting, by the way, one year from now, to look back on this part of the conversation to see exactly where it landed, because I think we made a lot of predictions. And it's- it's nice to know, I'm not the only paranoid one out there about, you know, Bill C11.
Well, and I think that we will probably be affected more by what's happening with AI in the next year, then we will by government because I agree with your statement, when you said governments move slow. I think again, based on who I've been talking to, and what I've been reading, we're looking at about a year to 18 months before, there's this, Hey, wait a second, and we'll start talking to show you did you get an email like this, or this is kind of weird, and those things will start popping up. But AI, oh, my god, that is- a year from now to listen back to this and see where AI has taken us is going to be very, very interesting, because it's not just going to change the media landscape. This is a big, big deal. This is moving from the horse to an automobile, or, you know, moving from the candle to the light bulb, this is a very big jump. And it's gonna affect media in a big way.
And you twofold, as well, I twofold, because we both do voiceover and there's a lot of voiceover that's being done AI, and they don't need a personality, or at least the client doesn't feel that they need one. And they're gonna go and use an AI piece of software to recreate what you and I would have done in the past.
However, remember what I said about women and young people and social media? It's the exact opposite in the voiceover world where if I can get old guy clients, they're like, We want a voice. We don't want the robot to be reading the- you know, so I love them all. I love everybody. There's like a spectrum of the technology. And you want the late adopters in voiceover that go, You know what, I should still want a voice with proper inflection and proper enunciation and so on to do my commercial. But you know, on my show, I have two AI guests. You know, I use AI Annie, and we have Annie on the show regularly, and she interacts with my audience. We have also named the ChatGPT function on my show, and his name is Archie. And he does features on the show too. So you know, I've integrated the AI so that it can be also part of the conversation because it's not going away. And it's going to, you know, I'm hoping that I can provide some entertainment value and at the same time, a little bit of education to make people aware that look, this is coming and when you pull up to a drive thru in the next year, don't be surprised if it's AI taking your order.
Oh, there's already robots doing that in places. I just can't remember if it was a Wendy's or a Burger King. But there was a robot taking some orders. Oh, no, wait, there was a McDonald's with absolutely no one in it. That's what it was.
Yeah, I remember that McDonald's taking orders in another state. I think that was even in North Dakota, that when the oil boom was on and they couldn't get workers then, this is 10, 15 years ago. And they have- I can take your order, you know, Southern drawl. They're like, This is North Dakota. Well, we're in Texas, you know, they would just take the orders in Texas, and then tell the kitchen and get the food out. And now technology is great.
How much time are you spending working sales and walking the streets of Brandon to sell ads?
Not as much as you would think. I'm still relatively new at this. I only started on March the first, and I don't really go out and sell per se, I simply go out and visit businesses. And because this is a- I hate saying semi-retirement venture. But this is not like a super critical, gotta hit my budgets for Bell media's huge conglomerate operation like in the traditional sense of the word. Plus, I have the flexibility to say, well, you know, what do you want to do this month? You want to just do a week, you want to do a month? I mean, you make the rules. So when you run your own operation, I mean, you know how it goes. It's like a voiceover you know, if you've got a completely clear afternoon and someone needs a commercial. And they're only going to shoot you, you know, 40 or 50 bucks to do an ad when you normally make several hundred. And you're just sitting there anyway. And you can say to yourself, do I want to take a quick 50 bucks? Or do I want to go watch some Netflix or whatever. And that's one of the beauties of being your own boss is that you can kind of just take it as it comes. Now, on a personal note, you know, I have committed to the end of the year to do this project, I am going to see it through, I've told my audience, there's going to be two seasons of the show. This is season one, it'll wrap in July, the second season will start first week of August and run till the end- or till Christmas. And then I'll evaluate and maybe I'll need to be hitting the street a little bit more, if that's something that I decide to do. Or maybe I don't, or maybe it just the project doesn't continue. I'm just going to take it one step at a time. And so right now, because of my radio life, I have a relationship with a lot of the businesses in the community. And it's just nice to go and see them. And they're curious as to what I'm doing now. And I'm curious how they recovered from the pandemic. And that's how the conversation starts.
You know, we've talked so much about you being live and what you're doing when you are live, there's an on-demand component to the whole thing as well with podcasts, and you've teamed up with Red Circle. I don't know anything about Red Circle, other than what Eric Zane once told me. So how does it work?
Well, Red Circle, I also got tangled up with courtesy of Eric and because I did not know anything aside from you know, Podbean and your regular major players, he sold me rather quickly on again, the compensation model that Red Circle has built. Now, just like with Twitch, it's a really good video compensation model. But make no mistake, nobody is getting rich, there's not huge numbers involved. But you know, Twitch can easily put a tank of gas in my car each month. And at the rate that I continue, probably by the end of summer, can make a car payment for me. So you can use your imagination there. And Red Circle is about half of that and can continue to grow. Plus they have advertising that they'll drop into other podcasts for you. And you can voice your own ad in the podcast that they'll drop. They make it very easy for people who aren't really tech savvy. And I've quite enjoyed working with Red Circle. Good support. They're not the biggest company in the world. But again, they do have a lot of respect for the creator. And realize that there's two goals to connect with the audience and then make some money. And they're very quick to point you in the right direction to help you at least get a trickle in the door. And then the rest is up to you to get the audience built up so that you can turn that trickle into a good stream.
I was listening last March, it was middle of the afternoon when you were on. But it was early morning in Brandon. And you and Heather were talking and reminiscing about old times. And of course, if it comes to old radio stories, I'm there for it. But it's nice to be able to do it in the middle of the afternoon in Spain. You were just starting out at the time. But when you look back now on the last few months and I guess summarize it, what lessons have you taken away from it?
You know, it's interesting that you mentioned Spain, because that's probably one of the biggest lessons and something that I thought I was prepared for, but still I'm not totally comfortable with is that probably 40% of all my stats, audience views hits, things like that do not happen in the live portion of the show. It truly hits home that we are living in a world where we are not on our clock, we are on their clock. I have people texting, me messaging me, I spend my lunch break with you now, you're the first thing I put on my TV, when I get home from work and you just- as an old radio broadcaster, or any kind of broadcaster, it's kind of one of those things that you're just like, really? You don't wake up and put it on? As an old morning guy, that's what you know, you thought that everybody did. But it's not like that. And it's interesting, because you get so much data and coming from the radio realm where there's hardly any real time data at all is like, I don't even know if I could do an analogy. It's like drinking a glass of water and then getting to a swimming pool. Like, as you know, Matt, like the digital realm is just so data rich. This worked. That didn't work. This show was good. That show wasn't good. Here's who's listening. Here's where they are. Here's how long they listen, here's the device they listened or watched on. And you just go, holy cow. And in the early days, it was really easy to celebrate the great shows and say, I'm not gonna do this. I can't do it. On the bad shows. And so that was the hardest thing for me to learn. And a couple of my clients here said that, is that you're just a business person because you think the cash register rings every day. It don't. Some days you have lots of money coming in and sometimes there's not, and you just have to ride it, but in radio every book was, oh, it's the Book Day, here comes the results. Oh, this is it, my life depends on this. We got- these numbers are everything, and then you're lucky if you got them twice a year. And the bigger markets get them three times a year. But this is every day. You get it every day. And those Twitch users or those Twitch streamers, you get comprehensive report, you turn off your stream, that report's in your inbox within the hour. And I try not to celebrate too much when I have a great show. And I try not to get too down when I have a bad show.
By the way, today is the ratings day.
Oh is it really? Wow. Yeah, don't miss that. It is just- I can't believe it. It seems like a dream some days that I'm even doing this, because it's really just about connecting with audience, right? And it goes back to that Rolco saying, you know, that when we put the station on doesn't matter how many houses and how many listeners you have, shoot for the stars. And now, maybe some days, I don't know, maybe I only have 150 people watch or less, even if there's two people, who cares? You know, there's a microphone, there's content, there's crap going on in the world. There's fun stuff to talk about. And as long as there's someone on the other end, willing to watch or interact, then it's worth getting up in the morning. And I guess I've just come to terms with the fact that that's probably why I was put on the planet, was to do something like this.
Cool. I love it. I love that you're doing this.
Well, thanks, Matt. I appreciate your support. And you've been obviously a great supporter of mine and a great supporter of people in the digital realm and podcasting and you're highly respected. And you know, in the industry, people are listening to this podcast and just keep it up. Just as Eric taught me. It's like, half the battle is just getting out of bed in the morning and making sure you're there. The rest will fall into place. Be consistent. He would always say to me, you feel like crap? Get out. Get behind the microphone. Don't worry. They love you. They love you, man. He's just great. Eric is just a fantastic guy. Him and Don Collins, like I just couldn't say enough good words about Eric and Don. It's just, I owe them a lot, so.
Thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.
Hey, thanks for having me on. This is just so much fun.
The Sound Off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Edited by Chloe Emond-Lane. Social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.