9 1/2 Questions: Robin Marshall

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Robin Marshall is known by a lot of different people for a lot of different things. She is a Radio Pro, Writing Pro, Production Pro, Voiceover Pro and OH…and she was a rockstar too.  There is no need to go on too long with this “Intro” and instead I will make with this edition of 9 1/2 Questions.  See the end of the interview for a VERY cool giveaway thanks to Robin and how you, yes YOU, can win it.

I am not sure how people will know you best – perhaps your On-air work in NYC for MANY years (25?) or maybe its your VO skills/work or maybe it will be your Production/Writing work?  Tell us a little about yourself and your key career hilights.

My career highlights…I am a writer first. I’m just lucky enough to have a voice that enables me to perform, what I write!  Started as a rock singer, had a record on a private label, and after much convincing from friends, back in the 80’s.. “get a job on the radio! you have a good voice, and then maybe you can slide your record on afterwards!” When we’re young, we believe we can do Anything!   I had one friend write me a fake resume showing I’d been on the air for years elsewhere,… another friend made me a fake air check, showing I’d been on the air in Pgh, I got in the car, with my band, drove to the NYC rock station at the time, and while they all waited in the car, I walked in and asked to talk with (I’d just learned this word) the PD! What I didn’t know, was the day I walked in, one of his main jocks walked OUT. He hired me on the spot, did not check my references, and put me on the air, overnights that week. My ‘resume writer’ walked me through the air shift. “Do I sound ok?? How do I know which way the mic goes?? What’s a Pot??” You can only imagine…   Six months later, I let them know I was a singer,…introduced my album to them, they Liked it, they gave me steady rotation on it- but I still couldn’t get distribution. Damn I tried! Ha! Where music had been my LIFE- radio, stepped in. I learned that I could write things other than songs, and I could perform in other ways, for instance, without a mic stand! Very cool beginning!
I do not get a chance to speak with very many women, and believe me I could do a better job of searching the truly talented ones out, but fact is this is a male dominated field, especially the production side.  What advantages does your lack of a Y chromosome give you?
Advantages?  I’m flirty by nature, but ‘sincere flirty,’ if you can understand. Engineers and production people would run in the opposite direction, if they saw me coming, way back when… because I hadn’t learned yet, that I was the extreme opposite of what they were, “she wants WHAT?? IGNORE! WARNING!” I finally understood the art of how to learn from them. That was the key. Having them like me enough, to let their guards down, way back when…and want to teach me, instead of run from me! LOL!
Have you run into any overt or even subtle disadvantages as a woman in this field?
Yes, from other women, in the field.  Yes, of course. The majority of the industry is one big ‘boys’ club..’ but I’ve learned that once you establish the trust, it doesn’t matter what sex you are. In fact the world revolves around ‘potential relationships’ so I admittedly rely on that fact and use it to my advantage if push comes to shove. As I stated above, it all comes down to trust, in the end. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from men and women, who are smarter than me, when it comes to production. Another key to success is listening! Everyone loves to be listened to, and if I can learn at the same time? It’s a win-win! I’ve found that with other women in the industry, quite a few will have their backs up to begin with. It’s a very small worlds for women in radio, so we tend to be over protective for maybe the wrong reasons. Once I get past that initial period of having a woman guarding her turf, and she believes that I mean her no harm, and in fact will support her to the hills- I usually wind up with a friend for life!
 Can you give everyone an idea of the percentages of your work and how they have evolved over the years?  Jock/VO/Prod/Writing? Other?  ie. I can imagine at one point your on-air work may have dominated and perhaps over time VO may have taken its place?
Writing, has always been the dominant out of all my trades. Whether it be writing songs, blogs, stories, books, shows, copy, or prep- it matters the most to me. We can always find a good production person, a great voice, but compelling writers are the foundation. Voice work comes next- my specialty is ‘story-telling.’ Whether on-air, or not- I like to captivate and hold someone’s attention. I feel successful if I can accomplish that goal.  My book, “Is this thing ON?” became a best seller withe Barnes and Noble …it was a compilation of stories written by other jocks, so it was not my writing. I just put all the pieces together, cleaned it up a bit, because most jocks can’t write-LOL- and then begged my son to do the art work! It was probably one of the most important pieces of my life. The huge success affected me, my son and every other writer that had volunteered a story for the book! For months after the book had reached #1, I received multiple emails from the multiple writers in the book- telling me of unexplained successes they’d fallen upon! They felt the book had some kind of Karma, that had helped them along! I loved it! Most importantly, we gave the proceeds to the Make A Wish Foundation, and my son was deeply affected when he read the letter we’d received, explaining what the money had paid for. We all sent a little boy and his family on a long trip to Disney World! I saw my 6’3 athletic/artist son, cry as he read the letter. To me, that was the pinnacle of success. Quite a life lesson for all.
You have been hired as the Production Manager for Cumulus Sound Solutions.  As a former employee of the company, if I am correct as to what the service will do, it is very much needed.  Tell me what it actually is and what you will be doing.
Yes, it’s sort of one of those departments, that you almost feel, should have been there already, for every company! It was Jon Pinch’s dream to have an in-house team, that would not only put together a production library, that all production directors and sales people would be able to pull from, if ever they needed a spec spot, or if they needed, this same team could build a new spot, fully produced and ready for air. Certainly takes a lot of the pressure off of the individual prod dir, just knowing there’s someone out there specifically meant to aid and create for them! Let’s face it, most production directors are no longer working with just one station! They’re overseeing 3,4 and sometimes 5 stations in a cluster! They will soon understand, that I’m a very large part of their team, and very much on their side!
Am I correct that you were not in the company before you took the job?  What do you think set you above the rest, including current Cumulus employees, to get this gig?
No, I was not with Cumulus prior. Several of the people in management had been very aware of my work, through multiple projects in the past. Also, they’ve mentioned my work ethics and reputation. Regarding my reputation, I have always taken great pride in knowing that if say “Yes, I can do a job, I’ll do it in a timely manner, at a high level of professionalism. It’s important to me, that I always feel proud, of what I create before it winds up on the air or in print. I’m thrilled that these people within the Cumulus family, felt comfortable enough to bring me in, based upon those factors.
What are the day to day duties like?
Right now, I’m creating the library. It’s tedious, but at the same time, I’m listening to hundreds and hundreds of audio pieces, picking out certain spots that are stellar, which then involves me reaching to that production director, to let them know how good I really think it is! I’m then able to ask, “who wrote it, voiced it, produced it?” This allows me to build my dream team on the side.
How much “Production” vs “Managing” will you be doing?
I believe, after I’ve picked the proper team, and they’re in place, they will be strong enough that I won’t have to ‘over-manage.’ It’s not my goal to stand over people to get the job done. Yes, I’ll want it done at a level of expertise, and that will take training, depending upon how raw that person’s talent is…but once they’re up to speed, I think every one of us will look forward to coming to work and working together, on a daily basis!
A lot of writing?
Writing will be intense, for sure. I know the vision that Jon Pinch wants, and I can hear the product in my head. My job will be to make sure that everyone working with me, hears it too!
Will you be directing a team in Dallas?
Yes, this is based from Dallas for now.
How will this impact your voiceover company, if at all?  How will it impact any other professional aspects of your life?
This job is my priority, but they are well aware of my voice over/writing career. They have no intention of seeing my extracurricular work, as interference.
Bonus:  What is your favorite thing about Dallas and/or Texas so far?
I love the lay of the land. The homes, the property,…just beautiful! The attitude is a mixture of NY and the Carolina’s from where I just spent two years prior. Smarter,sassy, but humble! I fit! LOL!
Bonus Part 2:  You’re a real-life writer?  I mean of an actual BOOK.  Sweet!  I shall link to it HERE.
Can you tell me one of the best stories from the book that isn’t already printed on your site or on amazon etc?
I can’t take the time to tell a story, but I will say, that no matter how many years you’ve been on the air, or OFF the air- you still have that nightmare, where the music doesn’t play…or you get locked out of the studio, and on and on! It’s called “Disc Jockey’s Nightmare!” We all still suffer from it, and probably always WILL! It started as a group I created on FB. I called it Disc Jockey’s Nightmare. I had 400 members before I could even blink!
Can I give a copy away to my readers/listeners?
Yes, of course. Just let me know all of the particulars and who the book goes to.
Thanks again to Robin for her time and letting everyone in on her career and what she will be doing with Cumulus.  Now for the FREE book.  Simply “Share” THIS ARTICLE POST on the FACEBOOK page and you are in the running.  Today is Thursday the 30th of August.  I will randomly select one of the “Sharers” on Wednesday the 5th of September.

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