Marlar House Productions
Have held positions of Production Director,
Music Director and Operations Manager. Worked at radio stations
including KCNW, KFKF, Bott Radio Network, and KCWJ. Founded
Marlar House Productions in April 2000 producing quality station
imaging and production for Christian and family-friendly
stations all over the country, and daily show prep to hundreds
of radio talent around the globe. Samples can be heard at
1. When did you decide to form Marlar
would answer this question by saying that Marlar House
Productions kind of evolved on its own, but since the entire
theory of evolution is riddled with errors and Darwin is
certainly a creationist now, I'll say that the creation of MHP
is a "God thing" instead. And, as all "God things" in my life
happen, it started with no help from me whatsoever.
I need to begin by saying
that my entire radio career has been spent on the air and in
the production room. I love both areas, but it's the
production side that I've always been drawn to. Fortunately,
I had no semblance of a life in my early 20's when I first got
into radio, so spending every waking hour in the production
room was no real sacrifice. I'd come in at 5:00am each day to
do my show, after which I'd make my way to the production room
to produce whatever needed to be produced for that day, and
then at 5:00pm when everyone was leaving the building, I'd
still be in the production room creating parody commercials
and character voices. I couldn't stop. I'm sure the entire
staff thought I was insane. I had all this nutball material
on my show and people started thinking, "who is this guy - and
what's the name of his psychiatrist?" It was the best job I
ever had - and it paid off in more than just money and
experience... a listener named Robin liked the fact that I
was a nutball on the air. She was obviously a nutball as
well, because she thought "Hey, maybe I could marry that
nutball!" We've been married for seven fantastic years now.
(I love you Robin!)
Jump ahead a few years now.
I'm still having fun on the air, spending lots of time in the
production room, and wondering what's next in my career. I
thought perhaps the title of Program Director was in my
future, but all of my job hunting in that direction never
seemed to pan out. I came extremely close once to a PD
position in Columbus, OH for a Christian station there... but
was beat out by the only other finalist in the audition
process. Disappointed? Yes. But also relieved. It just
didn't seem right. I decided to contact somebody that I had a
lot of respect for and get his opinion on what my next career
move should be. I sent him samples of my work, asked for an
opinion, and then asked what he thought about my career. He
had one big suggestion... imaging radio stations. He
complimented my production as being extremely high quality, he
heard some of the imaging in the demo I sent, was impressed
with it, and told me I should start contacting stations. Oh,
by the way... that guy was Rick McConnell... you know, the
Monumental Air Show guy? I have a majority of my current
career thanks to Rick's constant support and encouragement.
Even when he began offering his own imaging, he'd still stay
in touch (still does) seeing how things are going, send a name
my direction of someone I should contact, give me ideas on
things I can do with the business, etc. In fact, we're
getting ready to begin a new service called The Online
Production Director, which was inspired by an idea he'd given
me a couple of years ago. I don't know where I'd be today
without Rick, I really don't.
Anyway, about that same time,
God had this wonderful idea of getting a station owner from
Tulsa, Oklahoma to hear some of the imaging I'd been doing.
How he heard it, where he heard it, or how much he heard I
still to this day do not know. And honestly, I don't recall
exactly how the relationship with this guy started, but I do
know he contacted me out of the blue and asked if I'd be
interested in doing some imaging for one of his stations. I
found that I really enjoyed doing imaging for a station I was
not employed with... it was freeing in a way, as I did not
have the pressure of a PD, a GM, or a sales staff looking over
my shoulder at all times. I liked the freedom, I liked making
my own rules and decisions, and began thinking of possibly
making that kind of thing a full-time career. God must've had
that idea too, because just two years later that's exactly
where I am and although I am no longer making as much as I was
while working as a radio personality, I am much happier and
content in knowing that I'm doing what God wants me to do.
Oddly enough, I get job offers and inquiries all the time
2. What were some of the obstacles you faced when
launching your own business?
Running my own business...
that was an obstacle. I was my own problem. I had a
owner/manager that had never run this type of business
before, had no experience in promoting said business, and
yet was in charge of everything. Hey, I can't even balance
my checkbook correctly! (Radio people count by 60's and
30's... not by 10's and 100's... boy does that mess up your
bank account!) Man, why did I hire ME in the first place?
I'm totally unqualified for this position! For years I'd
been making fun of the "sales weasels" at the stations...
suddenly now I was a (gulp!) VENDOR! I had become what I
had despised - a sales person! Man, I was clueless. But
over the past couple of years I've learned quite a bit, and
now I'm not only a producer and talent, but I'm also a
business manager. I just hope I never have to fire myself
for insubordination... that'd be a real bummer.
Another obstacle is trust.
Trust in God. That might sound strange coming from someone
that works with Christian radio stations, but I'd be lying
if I said I didn't have my down days. Being in business for
myself means I have no one to blame but myself if the money
is tight this month. And if someone is late with a payment,
it gets real easy to start biting nails. Steel nails. My
fingernails are long gone. Money gets tight, economy gets
rough, and I'm still responsible for getting that house
payment taken care of. If you want security and a
guaranteed paycheck each month, this ain't for you. But for
me, I have to step back and remind myself that God truly is
in control and that He will take care of me as long as I
don't squander the gifts and talents that He has given me.
It's definitely a humbling experience at the end of every
Open up Radio & Production
Magazine (great magazine, by the way) and in the back you'll
see at least a dozen more obstacles in my way... companies
providing imaging for stations around the globe. How can
one little guy compete with all of those other
companies? Rick McConnell gave me a huge piece of wisdom in
this... "find your niche". Not "find A niche", but "find
YOUR niche". That turned out to be Christian radio. I help
secular stations too (as long as they're family friendly),
but I cater to Christian radio stations - that's where my
heart is. Of course, now Rick is offering imaging too...
that meanie. He's now an obstacle as well. I must
destroy... just kidding.
3. What are some of the features you offer with your
Ah, one of my
favorite things to do in the whole world... show prep! No,
really... I mean it! Honest! I know, I know... you're
wondering about the name of my psychiatrist. It's
contagious, isn't it? The UnNamed Daily is the free show
prep service that I offer on the website (www.MarlarHouse.com).
It's grown considerably over the last couple of years, and
it now contains a LOT of stuff. I keep thinking I need
to trim it down a bit, as it often reaches 30 pages a day,
but I find myself adding more and more anyway. I try to go
the extra mile with just about everything in the service.
The bible trivia questions are given in a way that they can
be used for a live game show I've created called Bible Brain
Busters - I even supply all of the sound effects and
audience reactions for the game in the prep service. The
"today in history" stuff usually has a kicker comment
afterwards, and the birthdays are divided up so that the
Christian artist birthdays are separated and given a week in
advance so that stations can plan their own little birthday
tributes in advance if they want.
One of my favorite bits is
Bob, the station engineer with "Today Is". It's amazing how
many holidays there really are in the world. Like "look for
the shape of Elvis in your potato chips day" and stuff like
that. Bob is a free audio feature where he comes out and
tells you what some of those holidays are for each day, and
gives his own opinion about them. The problems is that Bob
isn't really all that bright, and often misses the true
meaning of those holidays completely. It's kind of fun, and
he's become more and more popular as stations have been
listening to him and using him on the air.
Some other daily bits
are the News Kickers, jokes, a Rush Hour Devotion each day,
and the Moment of Duh. I also have the files of Law
& Disorder in the prep... which comes with an interesting
story. I could easily have been sued over that one. Archer
& Valerie (another show prep site) has copyrighted the term
"Law & Disorder" - but I didn't know about that when I
started my own Law & Disorder feature. So for two years I'd
been illegally using that name for a "stupid criminal"
feature and didn't even know it. Fortunately, I had a good
relationship with Archer & Valerie, as I'd been contributing
news kickers for free to THEIR show prep service for quite
some time already - so when their lawyer called them and
ratted me out about my illegal Law & Disorder feature, they
told him not to worry about it and then gave me written
permission to continue on as normal. I almost had my own
Law & Disorder experience up close and personal!
I also have an interactive
part of the show prep called the "Build-a-Bit" where I give
a story or topic to the subscribers, and they in turn send
in their own kicker comments, punchlines, etc. I gather up
all of the responses and list them all in each Monday's
prep. It's a lot of fun, and it shows the creativity of
some of our subscribers. With almost 600 people using the
prep now, it surprises me that we don't get any more
submissions than we do, actually.
4. How can you offer your show prep service for free?
And how does someone get it?
Getting The UnNamed
Daily is easy - it's available online at HisAir.net (duh!)
and it's also on our website at
If signing up for the service on our website, an account can
be created so the subscriber can get the prep via email as
The big question though,
and I get this a lot, is how I can possibly offer the
service for FREE. To be honest, it hasn't always been
that way. The UnNamed Daily used
to be a pay-prep service, but God changed my mind on that
one and now it's more of a promotional tool to let people
know about the imaging, voicework, and production services
that MHP offers. It keeps our name in front of radio
professionals all around the world - just in case they need
a new signature voice, need help in the production
department, need station imaging, etc. It takes about four
hours per day to do the show prep, but right now it's
working fairly well as a promotional tool. Also, I don't
think there are enough prep services out there that keep the
Christian and family-friendly stations in mind - so even if
the prep isn't a money-maker, I think it's worth the
effort. I'll continue to do it as long as I can. I think
it'd be great twenty years from now when I'm looking at
early, early, early retirement (yeah, right) and wondering
how I can continue to get the prep up on the web while
traveling in my Winnebago.
5. How did your passion for Christian radio develop?
My passion for
Christian radio mostly comes from my being a Christian and
the fact that my first radio job was with a Christian
station. I fell in love with Christian music, and listen to
almost nothing else now. But my CONVICTION for Christian
radio actually comes from my secular radio experience.
After spending time in the secular radio world, I saw how
lacking Christian radio was in the way it promoted itself,
in the quality of the DJs and imaging, and in other areas.
I'm not saying that Christian radio is bad in any way... but
I do believe we need to raise the bar considerably in what
we consider quality radio. Christian radio should be the
format that secular stations listen to and say, "Wow - why
can't we sound like that?" With Marlar House Productions
I'm trying to help Christian stations reach that level in
any way that I can. Show prep and audio bits for the DJs,
imaging for between songs and stop sets, and I'm hoping to
create an Online Production Director service in the next
couple of months so we can help stations sound great even
during the stop sets as well.
6. Who are your main radio influences?
You mean, besides Dr.
Johnny Fever? Oddly enough, I don't really have any radio
influences from when I was growing up - I never really
listened to anybody else until I got into radio. Of course,
now I listen to everything with a biased ear. I would have
to say "thanks" to a couple of guys for helping me get to
where I am today though.
First would be Rick
McConnell for the reasons I mentioned above. If it weren't
for his constant encouragement I don't think Marlar House
Productions would exist. He pushed me to a new level.
Secondly, I'd have to say
Dan O'Day. Rick may have helped me with the confidence to
begin helping other stations, but Dan O'Day helped get me to
the point that I was ready for that step. Dan O'Day and I
have become kinda like email buddies in a sense, as I'm
always asking his opinion about things. I didn't have
anyone I could go to in my career to give me feedback on
what I was doing, how I was doing it, etc., so I had to take
the initiative and teach myself how to do this whole "radio
thing". I learned as much as I could by reading books,
listening to cassette tapes, taking notes from lectures, and
it all came from Dan. In fact, it was his cassette series
"Radical Station Imaging" that pushed me to improve the
quality of imaging I was already providing. If you're
reading this, Dan and Rick... thanks!
7. What in your opinion is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personailty today?
I don't know about a
primary role, but I can tell you what I'd like to see more
of. I'd like to see Christian jocks having fun on the air.
I think we get all caught up in this "we're a Christian
radio station so we must behave ourselves" and we forget
that being a Christian doesn't mean you have to be calm,
cool, and collected all the time. You don't have to be
spiritual 24-hours a day. Yes, you should always reflect
Jesus - but c'mon, do you think Jesus spent all of his time
preaching? I'd like to see jocks having fun on the air with
interesting stories, phone calls that are fun, off-the-wall
contests and promotions (like giving away a real ground hog
on Groundhog Day - ground pork!). Be stupid once in a
while. I think we do more to further the kingdom if we're
just ourselves, laughing when we feel like it. If
Christians can learn to open up and have fun, maybe
non-Christians won't be so put off by us and avoid contact.
It's kind of hard to be an influence on anybody if they
won't give you the time of day.
8. What advice could you give to a young person
wanting to start a career in Christian radio?
Be willing to pay your
dues. Everybody and their dog wants to be a radio star
instantly in this world - but it doesn't work that way. Too
many people apply for a radio job thinking they'll be on the
air doing drive time the next week. If a station doesn't
have any openings, ask about an internship where you work
for free for school credit. If you're not in school, offer
to work for free anyway - what can they lose if they don't
have to pay you? Getting your foot in the door is the most
important thing. That being said, once you do make it into
that door, learn as much as you can from all areas. Don't
put the blinders on and consider only on-air work. Look at
it all and see where your gifts may be. And if you do ever
get that thought that you've "arrived"... it means you
haven't by a long shot.
On the flip side, your
biggest gift to radio could be you leaving it as a career.
Not everyone is cut out for this business. You get paid
squat, you work long hours, you see your family less than
normal people, and it's not as glamorous as you think.
Don't get into radio and start complaining that you're not
in the position you want to be in, or that you're "too
talented" to be where you are or to be paid what you're
getting. If you're going to be that way, get out... you're
not doing anyone any favors and you're bringing the quality
of radio in general down, because you're bringing everyone
else down. There's no room in radio for people that think
that way... that's what Hollywood is for.
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