J. Craig Klope started a celebrity talk show for radio even though he had no experience or training in radio or communications. Here’s how he did it.
Starting With No Experience
[00:01:30] Craig started listening to Mystery Theater on the radio as a child, and later he’d listen to radio talk shows as he traveled. The celebrity interviews intrigued him. After moving to Nashville in his 20’s, Craig came up with the a name for a production company, had a letterhead made, and started contacting radio stations. He was finally able to secure a time slot at one of the Nashville stations, but he had no guests!
[00:05:07] Craig’s determination and persistence paid off. His first guest was Bob Denver, the actor who played Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island. Once that first show was done, it became easier to get more guests. Craig shares how he recorded the show in a spare bedroom with an answering machine.
[00:07:23] Anybody could have looked at what Craig was doing and said, “That’ll never work,” but it did. If you have a dream, it’s important to get people around you who will encourage you, not people who only tell you all the ways it won’t work. Craig says, “If I’m with somebody else that has a dream I tried to look at the ways it can happen, because I know how it is to have somebody, or people, just say, ‘Oh wow. That’s great but you know it’s impossible unless…this or this.’ Well, we know that things aren’t impossible. We’ve seen that over and over through many people that have had success.”
[00:11:17] As different celebrities sent media packets and books, Craig read their autobiographies and got familiar with their stories, which were fascinating. Craig realized his show could tell more of the story than other shows where they only gave a few minutes to each guest. He’s writing a book called Celebrities in My Guest Room which will include stories from the celebrities he’s interviewed.
[00:16:02] One interview that stands out is the one with television legend Art Linkletter: “He found that the people on the street, people that were not given a script, were actually funnier than people that had memorized monologues. So he would just go with it. Everyday people.That is a big testimony to his skill of bringing people out and getting the stories out of them.”
[00:23:32] Craig says once he got a few celebrities as guests, others followed. He learned to look for those who had a book to promote. Craig says, “Any time they had an autobiography, I knew that they had certain engagements they would have to make through the publisher.” That was a prime opportunity for Craig.
Mentoring, Criticism, and Encouragement
[00:25:48] Craig discussed some early mistakes. You can start without any knowledge or experience, but you can’t stay that way. He tells how he found a mentor in the radio DJ who put his program the air.
[00:34:33] He could have just dropped his tapes off at the radio station, but instead Craig sat with the DJ as the show aired. “I was like a sponge. I didn’t know anything, so I tried to soak up as much from him – as much knowledge as I could.”
Craig was willing to put in the hours and make the necessary changes. It’s important to listen to constructive criticism. And, if you’re the one who’s a little further along than someone else, then you can be the teacher.
[00:36:19] “I’ve been fortunate to have some people in my life that were like that. They they could criticize in a way that let you know they were on your team and they just wanted you do better.”
Craig recommends finding a group of people who are also pursuing their dreams,
- where you’ll be both challenged and encouraged
- with people who will share what they’ve learned
- by people who are qualified to give the advice you need
[00:41:08] All things are possible. Craig says sometimes naivety can be your ally: “If I had thought about it, I would have said, ‘Well, this is impossible. Nobody can do this. Why even waste my time?'”
[00:42:27] Craig shared a story from another guest, Robert Schuller.
[00:50:08] Just a simple question can encourage someone. Just ask how it’s going.
J. Craig Klope is is a producer and speaker based in Nashville, TN.