Why are we doing this?
Why are we doing this? Why now? These are valid questions. Why are Marty and Casey and Tina starting a business at arguably one of the worst times in history to do so? Why are they starting up in the Deep South instead of California or NYC? These are all valid questions. We have tried to explain our motives over the air, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job, but it seems important somehow to put our reasons down in writing. I’ve always been more of a writer than a visual performer, anyway, so the task falls to me.
Why indeed, out of all the industries in which the Rollins clan have experience would we pick the entertainment industry in general and New Media in particular? To answer that I have to go all the way back to 2004, when we started a blog with Greg Rollins, (rest his soul) our older brother. Marty and I were determined to work together on our own business back then, but we had no idea what industry we wanted to target. Greg was working in software development, and he helped us set up that first blog to get us educated in the ways of the mighty INTERNET. Greg showed us how to test software to destruction in order to learn how such things are built. “If it’s new, and shiny, then get your hands on it as soon as it is available and try to break it.” was Greg’s instruction to me and Marty. Greg convinced us to be early adopters of every app, widget, and social media project that came out in beta. Tina joined the party, and we were off to the races.
We spent the next three years running blogs and promoting music. See, the entertainment industry is an area where Marty and I had the most common experience in our working lives. Both of us were previously employed in different genres of entertainment; Marty having worked in golfing, me in a zoo, and both of us worked together as the Horticulture Maintenance department at Talladega Superspeedway. Both separately and together, Marty and I had observed how mass entertainment is pursued in the real world. We also made note of the fact that ridiculous amounts of money are spent on entertainment, hence the idea to tap into that particular fiscal stream. Tina’s experience in sales and marketing has been immensely valuable to us since 2004, giving our little team the means to do the tapping.
In 2007, we ran into Ester Goldberg over at BlogTalkRadio, and Marty and Ester struck up an instant friendship. When Ester left BlogTalkRadio and moved to NowLive, (NowDead is a more appropriate name these days for that particular social broadcasting venue) Marty and I started our first internet show, Brotherly Love, at NowLive, and our broadcasting careers began for real. In those days, we were doing comedy. Most of our humor was blue, but not all of it. Our inspiration was drawn from multiple sources; comedians that we admired. To find the folks who influenced our comedy, all you have to do is google Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roast and pretty much everybody that ever cracked a joke in those events is a source for us.
We did live, improvisational comedy on the internet, at various web adresses for the next couple years, until the second half of 2009. By then, we were a little tired. We had all worked day jobs for low pay all along, and maintained a crushing 5-day-per-week show schedule, holidays included, since June of 2007. During the 2008 election cycle, we had begun talking politics more and more on our shows. Tina, Marty, and I felt that the state of the union was pretty bad, and our taste for pure comedy was in decline. Marty and Tina had become employed by a local News radio station. I was doing the retail clerk thing; all of us were looking to take our act in a different direction, hopefully one that would pay real money and get us out of our day jobs. When Marty and Tina left the News station, all three of us went to a local Talk radio station and offerred our services. Tina sold ads like crazy, while Marty and I went on the air with The Honest Answer, vowing to do comedy only when the world got funny again. We were in terrestrial radio for a year. Before leaving WDNG, Annistons’ Mayor, Gene “Slugger” Robinson, wondered aloud in an off-air comment why Marty, Tina, and I didn’t run our own station. I remember all three of us making eye contact, and thus our little dream was born. Marty, Tina and I have worked and lived together for so long….we often find ourselves thinking exactly the same thing, at the same time. Such like-mindedness can be both a blessing and a little bit of a curse. Most of the time, though, we are blessed to be able to communicate subliminally, and move together in one united mass.
And here we are, in Talladega County, starting up our own New Media office, with plans to use the radio tower on this property to bring together New Media and Old Media in order to put our little part of Alabama in the public eye in a good way.
“Why do this in Talladega County, Alabama instead of Los Angeles or New York City, or even Atlanta for Heaven’s sake?” Okay, yeah, I hear ya. The biggest and most important reason is that we Rollinses really and truly believe in taking care of the home folks first. Not only are our parents and Aunt Alda deeply rooted in the area, but most of the best folks that we know live right here in our own backyard. Heh…some of the best folks that I know don’t live here, but are FROM right here. Using the internet, we can talk to the world from Talladega County, and by having conversations with our fellow North Alabamians we can show the world that no matter where you are, your local politics are going to be just like mine. All of you out there have county commissions and city planning boards, and parent/teacher associations, and local politicians who don’t behave any better than the ones around here. By involving ourselves in the civic life of our immediate area, we want to show all of our audience how to get locally involved, yourselves.
The second reason to be starting up our little venture in Talladega County is that it is easier to conduct business right here than doing so would be in Cali or Noo Yawk. I don’t think I need go into great detail describing the suffocating regulatory environments existing in the bastions of the Left and East coasts. Maybe it’s just our thrifty Scottish blood talking, but we really don’t see why anyone would deliberately try to start a business in such a high-cost regulatory environment. It’s damn hard to get any business off the ground and into profitability, no question. Marty, Tina, and I would rather stay here at home and be able to pay our employees higher wages and offer them better benefits that make their money go further than NY or LA. It’s a no-brainer, really.