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088 – Jill Genter

 

Grab your favorite libation and join us for some industry talk this Friday. We’re hanging with Jill Genter of WKOW.

Jill Genter is the Manager of Marketing and Creative Services at WKOW (ABC) in Madison, Wisconsin and is the Executive Producer of WKOW’s lifestyle show, Midday Madison. She has been at WKOW for 35 years!

Topics in this episode:

  • (00:02:15) Introducing our guest.
  • (00:04:28) Who is Jill and what does she do?
  • (00:07:40) What is one of the biggest challenges you encounter in your work?
  • (00:08:23) How do you one up yourself?
  • (00:11:45) Local TV stations don’t charge for commercial production?
  • (00:13:29) What does the process look like when you are working with a new client, how much input do they give vs what you recommend? Do they listen?
  • (00:14:13) The Jim Doyle process.
  • (00:16:03) How did Jill get into creative?
  • (00:23:47) Jill’s comedy career.
  • (00:27:07) Working with celebrities.
  • (00:34:00) Moving to a bigger market?
  • (00:37:32) Living in Madison.
  • (00:42:14) Work life balance.
  • (00:45:19) How do you work within the constraints of free commercial production?
  • (00:50:40) Fun production stories.
  • (00:54:10) Involvement in AdFed.
  • (00:58:40) What was Covid like for news agencies?
  • (01:04:21) Shooting commercials during Covid.
  • (01:09:27) What is one of Jill’s favorite projects?
  • (01:15:05) What are we drinking?
  • (01:16:00) Two truths and a lie.

Transcript

Ryan Freng: 

Hello and welcome back to the let’s Backflip show happy hour. I’m Ryan Freng, co-creative director and co-founder here at Backflip. This is episode 88 with Jill Genter. She is a marketing manager of marketing and creative services at WKOW. Or, if you are more familiar with WKOW, or if you are more familiar with WKOW ABC in Madison, wisconsin, is an executive producer of WKOW’s lifestyle show, midday Madison, and she’s been with WKOW for 35 years. So this is really fun. We haven’t ever talked to anyone on TV or working in TV and we certainly don’t have this type of experience. None of us worked at a news station or TV station, so this was a real enjoyable episode. I have some notes about it, but it’s been what it’s still been maybe a year, because this was in April of 2023. And right now, as I’m recording this, it is what? May, almost June, of 2024. It’s like we’re in the future. This is our little time travel capsule. So, without further ado is that how you say that? Without further ado, without further ado. This is Jill Jenter, episode 88. Hello and welcome back to another let’s Backflip show Happy hour. I forgot the name of our show. We haven’t done it in a little while, but we’re here. How excited are you, john? We’re back, we’re live. All the way. All the way, I’m Ryan. Freng co-creator and director here at Backflip and Lord of the Podcast.

John Shoemaker: 

Joining me, as always, is John all the way excited. Shoemaker, how’s it going? Dude, good Same, all the way excited.

Ryan Freng: 

Phil, the best part about this show is, you know we’re working, working, working, and then it’s like, okay, we got to jump into the show, we got to get into it. There’s always issues, you know, and one of the things that I was wondering I was like was like oh, our guest. I don’t know how you say her last name, because I’ve never said her last name, so I’m like furiously typing is it a j or a guh or uh? So we’re gonna go ahead and bring our guest on uh, so we can start hanging out. We’ve got jill jenter. I believe that I said that correctly. If we clarified it correctly, how’s it going, jill?

Jill Genter: 

Nice job, Ryan. Yes, Jill Genter.

Ryan Freng: 

In my mind all week and previously I’ve been saying Genter. So immediately I asked John, I walked over. I don’t know if you saw before. I was like how do we say this? I’d hate to get the whole introduction wrong.

John Shoemaker: 

And I was no help, Even though now I’m wondering how many times I’ve said your name incorrectly.

Jill Genter: 

Just a handful Right, but who’s?

John Shoemaker: 

counting Just a handful in front of large groups of people.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, no, actually you said it correctly. I believe you said it at the Addy Awards and I think you said it correctly, but you had had a few drinks by that point.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah, that was more point, yeah, that was more of a. Yeah, I couldn’t even I couldn’t make a hard G at that point in the I love it Well.

Jill Genter: 

I have to tell you, thank goodness, I changed my name. This is my married name, but my maiden name was Robushka.

Ryan Freng: 

Okay, there’s a lot of characters in that name. Okay, yeah, I was going to say that probably is spelled pretty complicated, but you know, with with the Polish and and I don’t know Ukrainian or Russian that we have around here, I feel like we might have a good chance of getting that one yeah, yeah, you know, people generally would get pretty close, and so we would give them points for getting close.

Ryan Freng: 

Ah, nice, Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. This is it’s like a podcast, it’s a live show. We are live, so if people have questions during the chat, throw it in there Facebook or YouTube we can answer those. Otherwise, if you’re listening to the podcast, send us questions.

John Shoemaker: 

I don’t know how that. I don’t think that works. Maybe that doesn’t work.

Ryan Freng: 

Questions, comments or concerns. Or concerns, hit that bell, do the thing. We’ve got Jill Genter hanging out with us today, manager, uh, of marketing and creative services at wkow in madison. But, uh, maybe we could have jill. Uh, maybe you could just give us a little bit of an intro, like who are you and what do you do?

Jill Genter: 

oh goodness, okay. Um, well, my name is jill jenter, you pronounced it correctly, very good. Um, I am manager of marketing and creative services. So marketing, you know, I’m like an in-house advertising agency for the TV station, but I just have one client, which is WKOW. But I get to oversee our brand News weather sports is the biggest priority Also oversee our programming, which would be abc, and then all of our syndicated shows which I know john watches. Um, live with kelly and ryan, which you know on monday is going to become live with kelly and mark you tune in every, every day at 9 am yeah, I never miss a show.

John Shoemaker: 

I just uh, I miss the.

Jill Genter: 

The mark uh change somehow well, her husband is now going to be the co-host with her oh wow, that’ll be a fun dynamic, I could just anyway.

Jill Genter: 

So yeah, so I oversee that. In addition to um, we work with a lot of nonprofits in the community and so we do a lot of projects with them, like runs, walks, dinners, the whole bit, and that’s really fun. I especially enjoy that part of my job because I get to help out with all these different nonprofit organizations and it’s just, you know, feels good to be helping out and participating and all that good stuff. It just feels good to be helping out and participating and all that good stuff. And then the creative services arm of what I do is the commercial production side, which is probably you guys do commercial production, right, yep, but you guys do a lot of long format stuff too that we don’t generally do here, but we do a lot of commercial production for clients within the, within our dma.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, it’s interesting. We, you know, we kind of do a mix and it tends to be like, uh, a creative campaign that gets used across various mediums, right, so something that then becomes a commercial is also a long form, because kind of what we’ve learned is that people often want more. They’ll see something and they want more, so let’s give them more, and then we can do 15s on digital and you can have a longer one on your YouTube or your website or something like that. So kind of a mix there.

Ryan Freng: 

but, uh, you know what’s one of the craziest things you’ve you’ve worked on because, um, you said you’ve been there uh for a little while now, um, and I imagine there’s a lot of uh, a lot of challenges, you know, because just production is challenging, right, even when we’re direct to client, when we’re with agency and it seems like you, you know, you get the opportunity to work with, uh, um, yourself as the client and yourself as the agency.

Jill Genter: 

So there’s all the goodness that comes with that, all the all the fun things um, I would say, one of my biggest challenges, because I’ve been here for such a long time, is, you know, I’m kind of-.

Ryan Freng: 

I didn’t say that, I said a little while.

Jill Genter: 

Well, a long time could be like more than five years right, it’s true.

Ryan Freng: 

It’s true. In today’s economy, it’s like longer than six months.

Jill Genter: 

Exactly. Yeah, if you’ve been here longer than five years, you’re like a lifer, because this is definitely a turnover market. A of you know, like the smaller markets, they want to get to the medium markets and we would be a medium market or market size 72, and then, once you get here, you want to go to the big time, you know. So you want to get to chicago or, you know, make a bigger jump like that. So people aren’t generally here for very long. Um, but I was going to say one of the biggest challenges that I have is, like, because I’ve had the same client for such a long time, you always feel like you have to one up yourself last time, and so I’m sure you know you might feel the same way when you’re working with somebody and they’re like oh my God, I loved what you guys did last time. You know something like that, like oh my God, I loved what you guys did last time, Something like that, but better.

Jill Genter: 

So it’s just the challenge of being creative, doing something new and different. I will say that I’ve dug into my toolbox of maybe 10, 15 years ago and everything’s so new that I can make something that I did a long time ago and make it new again. You know.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh sure.

Jill Genter: 

So take that idea and do it again, but do it. You know differently, more current kind of thing. So that would probably be the biggest challenge. Like, do you feel that way with a client you’ve had for a while and you keep making stuff for them and have it be new and different?

Ryan Freng: 

yeah, I mean just to some degree. Um, also, it’s. I just love the media. They get that’s out there and it’s part of the awesomeness of like netflix and prime and hbo max and all that, but it’s also part of the challenge is, like there’s so much, so then there is a lot more junk, but there’s a lot of expert promos and narratives and things being crafted out there so we can rip from so much, you know, at least steal some concepts and ideas and make them into our own. So there’s always that pressure, kind of like you’re saying, of one-upmanship to one-up yourself and like hey, this you know. For instance, like this, this last thing was best of show. All right, now do that again, but better you’re like oh uh, okay, all right, well, we can at

John Shoemaker: 

least come up with something unique and uh bring the same uh attitude to it and hopefully we can make that work Well and I’ve also thought about how kind of on the flip side of that, that, we feel this internal pressure to do something new, because we’re so close to the product and to the marketing that like we way faster than any of the audience or whatever get tired of it.

John Shoemaker: 

We’re like, uh, so this has already been done, it’s run its course. When it’s like, well, actually it’s only just starting to hit the uh, the market, or just starting to hit the audience and probably isn’t saturated yet, but we’re already like, okay, we got to do something else, something new, you know. So that’s, that’s been something we’re learning with, you know, one of our, one of our clients. We have this whole series of really fun things that we did, um, like over a year ago, and they’ve only just used like the first couple pieces of it. You know there’s still rolling out this whole thing, uh, that you know mentally like we’re’re a long ways beyond that. It’s not even out yet, it’s not even hitting anything yet it’s almost like a movie.

Ryan Freng: 

It feels like we produced it two years ago, but it’s just rolling out over the last six months, which is kind of wild.

Jill Genter: 

That is crazy. I will tell you something interesting about the creative services side of things, which actually I have to say hi to keith campbell who just jumped on. Hi, keith. Um, something you may or may not know that happens with the local television stations here in regards to commercial production is that none of us charge for commercial production anymore. Did you guys know that?

Ryan Freng: 

Well, I’m well aware. Yeah, I was going to say I was not a hundred percent sure, but almost figured. You know, since there’s the ad, buy essentially right.

Jill Genter: 

Right, so I mean back in the day, which would be maybe more than 10 years ago, we all used to charge for commercial production and one of the stations was approached by a client and they decided that they wanted to get more of the ad buy. And they said we’ll throw in the commercial production if you give us more of your ad buy.

Jill Genter: 

And so they started doing that and then that became a thing, and then all the stations had to jump on the bandwagon, otherwise we weren’t going to get any, we weren’t going to get the ad buys, so it kind of. So we would charge, you know, we would make a decent amount of money. Well, you know, on commercial production. But now, it’s all sort of folded into the buy on on the station.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, so it’s like, it’s like the ancillary streams as well, and it’s interesting too, cause we’re we’re not a traditional agency in that, uh, we take a percentage of any ad buy. So we’ll certainly facilitate some of that um ad buy as necessary or connect our clients to the right people, but for us it’s it is creative services. Um, so we style ourselves a creative studio in that regard. We do have a question here, actually from Allison Lindorfer what does the process look like for when you’re working with a new client? How much input do they give versus what you recommend? Do they listen? That’s maybe the underlying question.

Jill Genter: 

Oh, that’s funny. Well, I will also say that when we’re working with a new client, the salesperson is very much involved in that process, and so they do generally listen. For the most part, I mean for us, but I would say that it’s kind of 50-50 in regards to the creative process, when it comes to commercial production, we follow this process. There’s this individual his name is Jim Doyle, and he has come out with this process I don’t know if you’ve heard of him or not where he gives you recommendations on how to produce commercials that will be super successful for clients.

Jill Genter: 

It doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity, it’s more straight to the point production straight to the point messaging, and so we’ve been following that messaging in regards to our creative services, commercial production. So we get to have fun when it comes to marketing and promotion, but not as much fun with commercials.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah. So what is that process, that Jim Doyle process? I haven’t heard of that.

Jill Genter: 

You know I am not as familiar with it as I should be. The salespeople are super involved in that process. And so together with the client. They put the script together and then we facilitate it. So we’re not as involved and we’re probably involved in the script writing like 50% of the time.

Ryan Freng: 

So the salesperson works with the client as like an agency person and then they kind of put the idea they created together and work with you guys to produce it.

Jill Genter: 

Exactly so it’s kind of. Then, when the script gets to us, you know we can make recommendations on how to, you know, possibly make it better, and then we have input on what it’s going to look like. But that first initial process we’re kind of not as involved, which is unfortunate, I think. But this jim doyle process has been working for the tv station for years now and we’re we still. You know, the lights are still on, so you can’t argue too much yeah, and what, like your story specifically.

Ryan Freng: 

How’d you get into creative? You know, were you always a creative. What, what kind of what’s brought us to where we are today, with you doing what you, you do?

Jill Genter: 

That’s a crazy question, ryan. Thanks for asking, though, though um so.

Ryan Freng: 

So I started out um studying math and geography.

Jill Genter: 

Would you have thought that at all? Um, so I have a double major in communication arts and geography, and I thought I was going to be a cartographer. Doesn’t that sound exciting?

Ryan Freng: 

yeah, very well, I mean, I love, I love the like art maps, you know, and the art that is like is a map of your area or something like.

Jill Genter: 

I love that stuff that’s so cool I know, I know it is very cool. So I was very into that. Um. But uh, um, part way through my I want to say the beginning of my junior year, I discovered communication arts and was like, okay, this is really interesting, I like this. So I pumped out all those classes, junior and senior year. But since I had so many classes in geography, I just double majored. So I don’t really use my geography and don’t ask me what the capital of some place we didn’t specialize in that um.

Jill Genter: 

I studied um climatology and climatology is the study of like, um, the, the weather and how it affects the earth and. And so at one point I thought I was going to be a meteorologist because they were, you know, loosely connected. And I did work at channel 15 for a few years and I tried out to be the weekend meteorologist and I didn’t get the position. They told me I looked too young. So I’m going to hang on to that forever.

John Shoemaker: 

Ah nice, yeah, cursed. I’m cursed with just looking too young.

Jill Genter: 

Yep, yep. Well, I mean, people don’t say that as much anymore, but I’m sure they want to.

Ryan Freng: 

They just yeah, that was just a couple of years ago anyway, so you can ride that Exactly.

Jill Genter: 

Exactly yeah. So I worked while I was in school. I had a couple of internships. I worked at Wisconsin Public Television and I worked at Channel 15 on the production crew, which was sort of their entry level position to get into the TV station, and I made $5 an hour. Don’t be jealous.

Ryan Freng: 

No, I’m like talking, I’m thinking about my kids and like having them come work here and help and all that stuff, and I’m like, how much do you make at places? I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s insane, because I feel like my first job was, yeah, $5.75 or $6.25 or something like that, yeah, 575 or 625 or something like that.

Jill Genter: 

I know it’s crazy and the expectations of what young people have, of what they should be making.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, right, yeah, good times.

Jill Genter: 

So yeah. So after I graduated I took those two internships and turned them into job jobs and I worked at Channel 15 for a short time. I worked on their show. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this before. It’s called PM Magazine. Do you ever hear of that?

Ryan Freng: 

No, and I don’t think either of us are local really.

Jill Genter: 

Well, what PM Magazine was? It was actually a nationally syndicated show.

Jill Genter: 

But it was like an entertainment format and so it came to you with a lot of holes within the show so you could insert personalized packages. Steve Donovan, he loves PM Magazine. Oh nice, oh Steve, I love you, steve. So there would be segments that were produced that were local segments, that would highlight your community within this show, this skeleton of a show that had you know different national stories as well. And so I worked on that show and there were four of us that worked on the show and I got to help um edit the show together and edit um theos for the show, and that’s kind of how I got into working in promotion. But I also answered their fan mail. It’s a very glamorous position and you actually had to hand write out letters. It wasn’t like an email where you could just send that back.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, wow.

Jill Genter: 

And then the other thing I always joke about is that they got to take a lot of trips, so we would send the two hosts oh, megan, you’re so sweet. They would get to go on a lot of trips and so I got to drive them to the airport, so the whole staff would go except for me, and I would stay back and I would edit the shows and edit the promos while they were gone on some fabulous cruise or something like that. But that was a really. It was a really great opportunity to get to work on that show, because there were only a few of us working on it, so you got to learn a lot in a fast amount of time. So I did that and that was like is that like weekly turnaround on those?

Ryan Freng: 

Like do you know, it was a?

Jill Genter: 

daily show. Oh my gosh, Wow it was yeah, it was every day at 630. And so you would get this skeleton of a show and I think we had to put in I think it was three or four packages, probably three each day. So we had like different sort of franchisee things like we had the secret snacker ah, katrina, hi, katrina. Um, we had the secret, secret snacker segment, which was this woman who secretly went around to area restaurants and would rate them and so, like restaurants would try to.

Ryan Freng: 

You know you have a bunch of franchises and it’s like okay, let’s knock some of these out so that we’re not going insane reinventing the wheel every day exactly.

John Shoemaker: 

There’s multiple secret snackers that live in my household. I think I’m a secret snacker actually too we should send you out to area restaurants.

Ryan Freng: 

You can rank them yeah, so we probably need to send you to get help if you’re secretly snacking yeah, yeah, I don’t know how secretive I’ll be about it like when you want to be the secret snacker. That’s so much fun how long would that work, though? Like, unless you have, like, a hood that you wear that looks like a normal hoodie that lots of people wear, like you’d get called out right away. I feel like, yeah, you’re a shopper in the same area.

Jill Genter: 

You’re a shopper one time.

John Shoemaker: 

You got your disguise glasses on with the fake nose. They’re like oh.

Ryan Freng: 

I bet he’s a secret snacker.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah, fake nose and mustache. Thanks for joining us. Yeah, we got a lot of yeah, no, it’s okay.

Ryan Freng: 

I was gonna say we got a lot of people jumping in with feedback. Um, hear all the famous people you met. That’s some of the feedback, some of the. A question here about jill’s uh, comedian career. Were you a comedian for a little bit, or am I reading that wrong? Comedian?

Jill Genter: 

well, um. So when I was in college, I was part of a troupe called comedy sports. Have you guys heard of that?

Ryan Freng: 

oh, very cool.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, absolutely, that’s indeed yeah, so comedy sports was um, there was a franchise here, like right when it first started, and so we used to perform. This is pretty glamorous. Get ready at the pizza hut on state street oh my gosh, like the pizza.

Ryan Freng: 

it was such a weird spot too. It was like you had to go up and back Like yeah, exactly.

Jill Genter: 

So if you went, upstairs they would clear out the whole upstairs and so they would create an audience and a stage. Oh nice, yes, thanks for bringing this up, sean.

John Shoemaker: 

I just said like, like, like a flashback moment, you know where, like uncover or like a lost memory. I’m like I feel like I will become the Madison in my schooling days and like part, you know, seeing comedy sports and I’m like, but I don’t know.

Jill Genter: 

Do you? Remember the one do you remember the one woman on stage who was super funny?

John Shoemaker: 

yeah, I just remember super young, yeah, this one person I was like she looked yeah, she looks too young to do.

Jill Genter: 

This is what I thought exactly, yeah, she must be in great school.

Ryan Freng: 

That’s awesome. Well, I mean, that kind of makes sense too, Like you have that uh, creative um ad lib sort of experience, Cause that’s a lot of what production is, I feel like.

Jill Genter: 

Yes, definitely Well, and one of the things I enjoy about um, some of the promotions that we’ve we’ve been doing over the last few years, is we’ve definitely sort of gone the comedic route and had a little more fun. Those spots seem to be much more memorable and they’re more fun to produce. We can’t have too much fun. Katrina could pipe in about this if she were here. Heard this conversation. Katrina, who’s on here. She worked with me for almost 15 years and we made lots of promos together, and so did steve donovan.

Jill Genter: 

He worked with me for about five years, um, but it was always the philosophy that we could have fun with the weather people or the sports people, but we couldn’t have too much fun with the news people because we didn’t want to, like, ruin their credibility. So you’d have to be sort of, you know, walk a fine line there as to what you had the news people do, but, like our weather guy right now I don’t know if you know john ziegler, um, he’s a riot and yeah honestly, when you’re like like we can make fun of the weatherman in the sports, I was like that’s who I was thinking of.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Jill Genter: 

John, yeah, yeah, yeah. We make fun of him all the time. He’ll do almost anything.

Ryan Freng: 

That’s great, it’s memorable right, exactly.

Jill Genter: 

So there’s my comedic career, but Katrina mentioned all the famous people I’ve met. I’ve met a few famous people. When I was with her, I remember she and I got to shoot some promos with Mike McCarthy.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, very cool.

Jill Genter: 

That was pretty cool. He was super nice. His wife was really nice. We shot some spots with the two of them.

Ryan Freng: 

What project or client was that for?

Jill Genter: 

Well, so I don’t know if you know, but WKOW is the official Packer station.

Ryan Freng: 

Ooh, I feel like that’s a tagline that I should know.

Jill Genter: 

So yeah, I definitely have to make sure you know that that I’ll send you some promos, just to remember that we’re the official packer station

Jill Genter: 

yeah so we got to shoot spots with them. Um, I also got to shoot um a spot with brett farve before he was famous, which was pretty cool, interesting, like yeah, he had been with the packers a short amount of time and he was a, a rising star, but he wasn’t, you know, mr big time, sure. So I got to shoot a spot with him. And then I ran to the um. I ran to the gift shop and bought a jersey and came back and had him sign it for me.

Ryan Freng: 

Nice.

Jill Genter: 

And so I’m not sure what that jersey might be worth, but I made the mistake of wearing it. Apparently, you’re supposed to just save that and frame it, but I’ve worn it and I spilled spaghetti sauce on the front.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh no, oh my gosh, like yeah. At first I was like yeah, it’s fine, you’ve worn it, but then now the spaghetti spaghetti. That’s irredeemable.

Jill Genter: 

I I don’t know if we can come back from that but I mean, couldn’t brett farve have worn the jersey and he spilled spaghetti sauce?

Ryan Freng: 

it’s true, and he’s like getting ready to pass the ball and he’s like slamming some spaghetti and spills it on his shirt.

John Shoemaker: 

You know, yeah, it’s it’s I mean exactly it’s widely known from high school sports that you do the spaghetti dinner the night before the big game.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, you got to carve up.

John Shoemaker: 

This is the story that you can tell. It’ll actually become more worth more. Very highly sought out the spaghetti jersey Dollars and dollars more.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, exactly, so you guys will help me promote this. We could sell it on like facebook marketplace or something yeah, we’ll come up, we’ll, we’ll do like a reenactment.

Ryan Freng: 

It’ll be great. We’ll get ziegler in.

John Shoemaker: 

It’s gonna be awesome yeah, perfect well, actually farb isn’t playing football anymore. We’d probably get him Call him up there you go.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, I mean we’re pretty good friends. After that one promo that I shot with him, I feel like I just call him up, yeah, good relationship.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, just like, take the number of his agent or whatever from the call sheet and you’re like, yeah, we’re good, I’ll call.

Jill Genter: 

Exactly. Let’s see who else have I worked with? Oh, cindy crawford. Oh, you know who she is yeah, I heard you know the name not lately maybe, but uh yeah I mean, she was, yeah, a little more famous a few years ago, but she was a supermodel. Um, she has a connection to uw hospital here. Her brother was a patient at uw hospital for a very long time and she comes back every year to participate in a non-profit event to raise money, and so we were involved in that and I got to meet her and she is just amazingly beautiful.

Jill Genter: 

Just like seeing her in person. You just kind of stop and look at her. I was speechless, but she was super nice. It was really cool to meet her and like do a promo with her, you know just sure, I don’t know how what famous people? I’m sure you guys have worked with famous people too, but I don’t know what famous people. I’m sure you guys have worked with famous people too, but I couldn’t help but be in awe the whole time I was in her presence.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, just a few, and it’s great when they’re actually good people. It’s always surprising. Why are we surprised? Maybe because we hear horror stories. But Ansel Ehrlich only worked with a few crazy famous people. But I think the people we’ve had on our productions have have generally been pretty awesome. Like who, phillip Rivers quarterback and a Catholic man he’s in the Catholic documentary. Um, that, uh, that we did a couple of years ago so and that was, that was great Cause. Like he showed up and he’s like, yeah, I’m just, I, I gotta go at this time to I don’t remember pick up kids or something. But he’s like, yeah, I’m, I’m just here from now until then. And, uh, very different. And from other, uh, we’ve been on or heard of where you have an actor who’s there for like an hour and that’s like. Or a athlete who’s there for an hour lands and like them getting out of the car is taking away from your hour, you know yeah it’s the beginning of your hour yeah okay, that’s a bummer, yeah, I, I think it’s.

John Shoemaker: 

I mean, I don’t know how much you think about this if you step back and look at your career from the 10,000 foot view or whatever, but I think it’s probably. It’s interesting that there’s probably a ton that you’ve done and you come across as just very like humble. I’m like, yeah, this is, this is just. You know, I’ve been doing this or whatever. But like, because the, the local news stations are around, you know, and they’ve been here forever, like everybody, the amount of people that come through there, whether they’re like big names or the different companies that work with it, you know, like far exceeds most, if not all, of the other production stuff going on. Like that, you, you’ve been involved in a ton of different things. That’s just really interesting. You know, like, um, I don’t know, it’s just a perspective that I’m thinking of, that’s, that’s. That’s pretty cool and it’s awesome that you have that.

John Shoemaker: 

You’ve stayed in your car, that you stay committed to that. You’ve been here and committed to this market, into this station. You haven’t done the like I’m. I got to get out of here. You’re going to move up to the, to the. You know, the big league. It’s tough when everybody is always just like passing and you have too much handoff happening. You don’t have any consistency.

Jill Genter: 

But it’s awesome when I mean that’s a good point.

Ryan Freng: 

Was that something you ever wanted to do or still want to do, like you know? Work in a different market or bigger market, or you know? It seems like you do find a lot of contentment and I think that’s important and I I try to tell younger folk that, like you know, find happiness where you are. I think there’s a disney song like that as well. Uh, certainly strive for awesome and try to do good things and have goals, but you know, wherever you are, be happy there too.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think when I was younger I was interested in moving on. I looked really hard at Milwaukee, and only because my husband was working in Milwaukee. And so I looked hard at that and had a very uncomfortable interview and decided I wasn’t interested in Milwaukee. And then I thought about possibly moving Like I’m from St Louis, maybe St Louis or maybe Chicago, and then I got married and had kids and didn’t want to like move my kids around and stuff like that. And honestly, I love working at WKOW, I love my job. I like coming to work every day. It’s a super fun job. I never know Well, I shouldn’t say never, but there’s so many different things that happen throughout the day. You think your day is going to go this way and then it ends up going in another direction, and so it’s always very unpredictable and I think I like that part of it.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, nice yeah.

Jill Genter: 

You know, like this afternoon the sales guy, the sales managers, just came in and we might have to go shoot a commercial out in Middleton, and so it’ll be fun to go out there and do something different. You know, it’s just you just never. You just never know. So that’s fun. Plus, I’ve made some really good friends here, and some of them are on this call right now Katrina Dunleavy, steve Donovan, two of my best friends. Thanks for being here, but they both worked with me and they still like me so well.

Jill Genter: 

I think they know they’re listening in anyway, and they still like me so well.

Ryan Freng: 

I think they know they’re listening in. Anyway, I love that too. I love being around long enough to know people and have worked with various people and I think I feel like that’s the value of like sticking somewhere, sticking around, because a lot of people, you know we’ll talk to younger people and it’s hard to hire younger people to help because a lot of times they just want to go to bigger markets in production. You know our push and ourselves like hey, that’s great, you could do that also. You can be doing, uh, you know, high level of production a little bit quicker. You know it’s kind of like in la, they’re like seven years, you’ll get there like all right, we’ll give us, give us two years or three years and we’ll get you into shooting, we’ll get you into into producing, we’ll get you into whatever you want.

Ryan Freng: 

But there’s definitely that vibe of bigger market. But I think there’s also democratization of creative and marketing. We just picked up a red and we can do cinematic stuff here. That’s what we’ve always strived to do from the beginning is cinematic, national, commercial level spots and quality and things like that, and then easy to travel. It’s easy to have meetings now, like you know who you know and how you know them is, is a little bit easier, like we don’t have to be in the same town. So I think there’s also just maybe more opportunities, um, to be wherever you want to be. Right, like you know, do you like like Madison, like you’ve lived several other places, like how does it compare?

Jill Genter: 

Um, yeah, I love Madison. I mean, I always wanted to live in a city. I don’t think I’m someone who would enjoy living out in the country, away. I like people, um. So, yeah, I always thought I would live in a big city like St Louis. So when I was just getting out of school, I thought that I might move to Chicago. I knew a lot of people moving there, a lot of people that go to school here, which is where I went to school go to Chicago.

Jill Genter: 

And then I got this job at Channel 15 and then the job at Channel 27 and realized that, you know, you always think the grass is greener somewhere else, like, oh, if I go to Chicago, the bigger city, I’ll work for a bigger station, I’ll make more money. You know that whole thing. But I mean, I’ve met so many people now, having been in this business for so long, and it’s like you. You know it’s the same thing. They have the same challenges, the same type of you know, the same types of problems or whatever. They’re just in another location. And so I decided, probably I don’t know how many years ago, but that that I didn’t need to do that to feel successful.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, I think John and I probably are not that dissimilar in our opinions, because we met here at the university and started working together, um, and then started our families as well, and then you kind of get to that point of like, well, what you know, what do I gain by going somewhere else and being able to, you know, have a great family life and just vibrant communities and like even google and amazon and all the big um companies are seeing that and building up offices here as well, are epic, and so, like we, we moved to fitchburg and now we’ve got like two amazing libraries by us and one of the best goodwills or saint vinnie’s as well.

Ryan Freng: 

You know, uh, all the verona, uh affluent young people who get rid of stuff. You’re like, oh, I’ll buy your secondhand stuff. That’s great, um. So yeah, I think we kind of have a similar experience where we’re like, well, we could go somewhere else and, you know, deal with the same stuff, or be here where we have all these really really great things and, you know, still be able to do what we love yeah, one of one of my uh um, I guess I can, yeah, I can call them a mentor uh, when I was interning.

John Shoemaker: 

Um, when I first started interning, I was was down in, uh, the quad cities and rock Island. There’s a production company down there called D films. I learned a ton from them and the you know both both the guy in charge there, the DP director, and the editor there, and I remember the editor was telling me stories about how people he went to school with, you know, after graduation, they’d like load up their cars and head out to la and he, you know, found a job in their market and stayed put and he’s like now, you know, a few years later, five years later, that friend of mine is still taking out trash and picking up pizza and I’ve cut, you know, national spots for hyundai and I’m working on, like, editing segments for american pickers and you know things like that. Like they, you know, and then again like, well, maybe, maybe, if I stay local, my upper end is, you know, I’m not going to go work on Avatar, but like, there’s, there’s still so much stuff that like being happy and having, you know, a well-adjusted life with your family and friends and community and enjoying what you do in your career with your family and friends and community.

John Shoemaker: 

And enjoying what you do in your career, you know, not that you can’t find it somewhere else, but like it’s right. Just it takes a certain thing if you want to go pursue those, like head out to the coast and get into the, into the rat race and, you know, hopefully you can break out of you know, garbage duty within 10 years or something it’s a, it’s a young person’s game.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, that makes me think too. Like, work, work, life balance, like what what’s it like? Um and I heard somebody characterize it too it’s like, no, no, if I’m gonna work a lot over here, then I’m gonna make sure I balance. Balance in the sense of like make sure that I’m fulfilling my responsibility and enjoyment with the life as well. So it doesn’t mean that, okay, okay, well, hour per hour, it has to match and whatever. But what, what’s it like? You know, in production, cause there’s always things coming up and things you got to deal with, and you know client response and stuff like that. Like, I don’t envy the Friday afternoon we got to go shoot a commercial, you know, but that’s that. You, you’re there and then you’re fun and you you’re content with it. But, um, yeah, what, what’s the balance like for you?

Jill Genter: 

yeah well, um, so for me it’s a little bit different, because my kids are grown, so I’ve got two children. I know you guys both have younger children, right? And so my youngest is four.

Jill Genter: 

Yes, so I have two. I have a 25 year old and a 23 year old, so they’re not at home. So my life work balance is is much different than it used to be, and WKOW has also been extremely flexible with me over the years, which has been great. And so there was a point in time, when my kids were younger, that I had a different schedule and they let me leave every day at three o’clock, so I came in earlier, I left at three and I could be home in time to either pick them up or at least they’d be carpool, whatever bus, so that I can be there when they got home from school.

Jill Genter: 

That’s awesome and yeah, so that was really nice. And then when they were older we kind of shifted my schedule around again. So they’ve been really kind in regards to, you know, families and the whole bit. So that’s been really nice. But now you know, it’s me and my husband, and so I’m I’m able to do even more. So shooting a commercial Friday afternoon is not a big deal, because I don’t have to get to the soccer game by five o’clock.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, I, I dream of that. I mean, I love and again finding contentment in the craziness like I love. All right, I’m going to go home and I’m going to have to help this kid and this kid’s going to want to go play and this and that, and you know well, now I can work a little bit later and then I can go sit outside and just stare at the grass or, you know, um, do whatever, and then I’ll probably work a little bit more again, Cause I love work. You know, I love production. Production is also my, my, hobby, so I’m curious what that’s going to be like in, I don’t know, 12 years, 18 years, however many.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah, so. So here’s a question that I have, and it’s not meant to be a loaded question, but I’m just curious. So I understand, from a business standpoint, the model of including the commercial production with an ad buy, totally get it, and I and I think that’s happened in most markets like that’s kind of like the thing now that a lot of tv stations have done, um, how do you deal with the challenge of, because years ago we would have people ask us like, well, yeah, I got a quote from X, y and Z company and they gave me, you know, this per finished minute rate, and I would just be like, well, a per finished minute rate doesn’t? I mean, if you’ve got a one minute commercial that’s a dude standing in front of a camera talking, versus a one minute commercial where you drive a truck off a cliff and it blows up in the bottom of a Canyon. Those are two different things.

John Shoemaker: 

Now you’re working in a realm where the commercial’s thrown in, but you know, clearly you’re like you’ve got to work within constraints. Um, how do you, how do you do that Like, how do you work with that? And how do you, you know, stretch the creative, uh, stretch the creative limits within that model?

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, because free is obviously not free.

Jill Genter: 

Right Now. That’s a really good question, because I know that there’s sort of that philosophy where if it’s not being paid for there’s no value to it, then it’s not valuable, or if there’s no value to it, then it’s not valuable.

Jill Genter: 

And so then I don’t want the creative services producers to feel like their work isn’t valuable, because it certainly is. I mean, I think kind of what happens now. I mean I’ve had some awesome creative services producers Keith Campbell, who’s on the call right now. He’s a great example, excellent producer where they would just work as hard as they could to make the best spot they could possibly make within the time constraints. That’s kind of how we work. And so, for example, yesterday we had a client come in and they’re going to place a huge buy on the station but they want us to make two commercials and they have to be done by three o’clock today and we found out about it yesterday. So fortunately we have some B-roll from them. We have some interviews that we did.

Jill Genter: 

But I have a producer now Keith, if you’re still here, it’s Brad. He’s loving this right now. Brad has been working on these two spots and it’s a pretty picky client who will not like the sound bites that we chose and will make a lot of changes bites that we chose, and you know we’ll make a lot of changes. Um, but the they’re all just working as hard as they can to make the best spot that they can, so that it’s the, so that it works for the client. So, um, I think that because a lot of these younger people who are working in the business now, too, at the tv station, weren’t here when we used to get money for production, so they don’t know the difference, maybe, and so it’s just.

John Shoemaker: 

This is how we operate well, right, like do whatever you can yeah there’s maybe maybe a little bit of freedom in that like depending on the client.

John Shoemaker: 

There’s certain clients where maybe we have a retainer with them and there is a little bit of freedom there to just be like I don’t really have to think about this, I just like work really hard and I don’t have to be like wait, hold on, where’s the? How far did this budget a lot, you know like I can just go for it and then you know you’re working within a constraint. You’re maybe limited in what you can hire out or what kind of sets or props or whatever you might have access to, but yeah, you’re definitely challenging that creative side. That’s when you have to work within constraints. They often say that I, I can’t my, my mind won’t give me any of the references I’m looking for, but uh, I’m sure there’s sayings out there about you know, working within constraints and how that really fosters creativity, because you’ve got to figure out how to get it done you, without unlimited time and budget and resources.

Ryan Freng: 

I feel like you see that.

Jill Genter: 

Do you feel like sometimes it makes you even better because you’re working under the wire, you don’t have all the tools you might want, so how can you make the best thing you possibly can? And sometimes you think on your feet and you actually make something better than what you, you know, had initially thought. Oh, keith wants me to tell you about the leaf blower.

John Shoemaker: 

I love this.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, all the awkward things or maybe this one’s not awkward, but if there’s things you want Jill to talk about that are embarrassing or awkward like, let’s dig into it. This is a happy hour, Okay.

Jill Genter: 

Well, I mean, if I can embarrass Keith, but I can’t. No, this isn’t embarrassing.

Jill Genter: 

No, this was really fun. So we were doing this spot, where it was a weather spot, with our meteorologist so we could have a little bit of fun. So we could have a little bit of fun, and so we had these different scenarios where we wanted to show that the family hadn’t watched WKOW, they hadn’t watched John Ziegler 27 Storm Track, and so they weren’t prepared for the weather situation. So there was a family and they’re getting ready in their home to go to the beach and they open up the door and they’re standing there in their beach clothes and it’s super windy and rainy and icky and we were trying to figure out the best way that we could convey that.

Jill Genter: 

And so keith brought his leaf blower, which we had so much fun with, and as soon as the door opens, we turn on the leaf blower full blast and it just I mean it worked perfectly. It was fabulous. We grabbed a still of it and the woman’s hair is like straight up in the air, like this. Anyway, that was one of the uh, that was one of the times I was impressed with how resourceful we were to to get the best, the best reaction we could possibly get, and the little kids of the family loved it so much that we had to keep doing takes over and over again so they could get this, you know, blown in there. Yeah, keith mentions the uh special effects budget budget special yeah, well, budget, special effects it’s so much fun too.

Ryan Freng: 

Because I feel like you see that with filmmakers and you know, I think at some point we all think of ourselves as as filmmakers or creatives in that way. But you see that with filmmakers and you know, I think at some point we all think of ourselves as filmmakers or creatives in that way. But you see, like their first indie effort and you’re like wow, so good, so much story, and look what they did with so little. And then they get $100 million from Disney or Marvel to do a Marvel film and you’re like that was kind of terrible and it’s. It kind of gets back to that idea of like unlimited resources, unlimited time, unlimited, you know, and and creatives are gonna go off the rails. But having those constraints, whatever they may be budget time like hey, we got to do this really cool special effect, like look at everything everywhere all at once, and the daniels like five person special effect team right um getting a leaf blower, like hey who has a leaf?

Ryan Freng: 

Keith’s got a leaf blower. Let’s, let’s make it happen like day of things are changing. I think that.

Jill Genter: 

I think that’s what I love about this industry oh yeah, well, another spot that I worked on with Keith. It was a lot of fun, as he had the idea of doing a stop motion spot for Toys for Tots, and so, you know, we collect toys for needy children in the area, and so the idea was is that the toys were rushing to get into the barrel, and so there was four of us stayed late one night because we wanted it to look like the toys came alive at night when nobody was around, kind of thing, and so there was zero money spent on that, except for like about four or five toys that we went out and bought. That we wanted to make sure was part of the the lineup of toys, um, and that was super fun. I had such a good time doing that, and I mean that cost virtually nothing, and so I really enjoy those types of uh, those types of things we get to do. So, yeah, we charged the client wkw.

Ryan Freng: 

We doubled what we were going to charge them which was nothing let’s see, I was trying to pull that up because I feel like I remember that one too.

John Shoemaker: 

Let’s see, I was trying to pull that up because I feel like I remember that one too.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, that was that was just? Was that just? In the addies this year it was yeah, yeah yeah, no, that was, that was fantastic.

Ryan Freng: 

So I mean addies, talking about the addies, um, we, we know each other like like uh through that. But you know john better. You’ve been a part of American Advertising Federation, I guess I don’t actually recall. You’ve probably been various board member positions through the years. What was your connection with AdFed Madison?

Jill Genter: 

Well, many, many years ago, about 20 years ago, I was on the board and I volunteered to do the addies, which is completely different than doing the addies now. But back then I just, um, I edited the show together along with I don’t know if you knew scott yarborough from um, uh, he made the american tv commercials.

Ryan Freng: 

I’m trying to remember okay, the name doesn’t sound familiar.

Jill Genter: 

Oh, I can’t remember. Anyway, we worked on editing the show together, so I did that for like a year or two, but we had to stay up all night and get the show done. It aired the next day and everything came in last minute. It was crazy. Pro video. Thank you very much, crazy.

Ryan Freng: 

Pro video. Thank you very much.

Jill Genter: 

Thank you, steve. So that was fun. But then probably the last maybe five or six years I’ve been on the board and I was the community relations outreach person for a couple of years where we would reach out to a few nonprofit organizations that we felt maybe could use some help, some advertising help within the community, meet with them, kind of find out what their needs were and then kind of give them a game plan of how they could proceed on reaching out to, for example, backflip to see if they would make public service announcements for them and the different ways to pursue getting their name out there. So that was fun. I did that for a couple of years and now since then I’ve been working on the Addy Awards and I reeled in my good friend Katrina, who’s on the call, and she has co-produced the Addys with me for the last couple of years.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah.

Ryan Freng: 

So, jill, and.

John Shoemaker: 

Katrina, are to thank for the American Advertising Awards show, cause they really pulled together all the stuff in these last and in a completely different venue, and everything you know, everything changed over the last few years, so super commendable too, because we’ve helped produce the Madison uh media professionals wave awards before, which is probably probably I don’t know a third the size, a half the size or something.

Ryan Freng: 

So just that people might not realize the work that goes into an award show like that, or the board work or you know all that stuff. So yeah, hats off to you and thank you for all your work in that.

Jill Genter: 

Well, thank you, well. Well, I mean it’s been fun, and katrina, who I, you know, would see every single day because she worked with me at the tv station um, has moved on a few years ago, and so now she and I still get to hang out oh, yeah, that’s.

Ryan Freng: 

I mean, that’s what I love about the community too to be able to work with people at different companies and even a client and then have those relationships continue, because it’s like, yeah, there’s a lot of great people who can do great work, but it’s about the great people know Steve Donovan, who’s also on the call.

Jill Genter: 

So he worked with me probably 15 years ago for about five years and he and I are still good friends and he volunteered maybe voluntold, was it, steve? He volunteered to do the production on the show. So Katrina and I do like all the other backend stuff, not just like planning the event where it’s going to be, order the food, that kind of thing but all of the oh volunteered. Okay, thanks, steve. Um, you know, we kind of help facilitate the whole people signing up and it’s a whole big process. I can’t even go into it. But um, steve very kindly volunteered to produce the show. Um, steve very kindly volunteered to produce the show.

Ryan Freng: 

So that’s another individual I get to continue to hang out with. Yeah, I love it. Steve um, what? What was like covid, like for the news uh agency and you know production, right, because production slowed down because you just couldn’t go outside but you still had to have news. So, like you guys were probably some of the first to go back to work or never stop, and probably didn’t have to stop working. I don’t know what was that like.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, so COVID, I mean I was impressed with how quickly they got us all home and working from home we used a product called no Machine. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that.

Ryan Freng: 

No, I’m learning so much today. I love it.

Jill Genter: 

So no Machine was a program that allowed you to manipulate your computer at your desk at work sure, so your remote access yeah yeah, so because we didn’t want to take all of our computers from work and bring them home that infrastructure is a nightmare. Yeah, yeah and everything would have gotten infected, or who knows?

Jill Genter: 

you know the sheets would have gotten covet, but so we were allowed to take our machines home. So that was definitely, but that happened really quickly. I was impressed with how quickly everybody was up and running and they were editing. We had the goal was to have only 25% of the staff at the TV station so that they could be completely spread out, and so they were all over the building and completely spread out.

Jill Genter: 

A lot of the on-air talent was working from home, and so we tried to make it look like they were working from home. For example, amber Noggle was home for probably a year and a half and they were able to set up a studio in her basement that allowed it to look like she was at the TV station. And then the main anchor at the time he would come in, the main male anchor, he would come into the TV station. But actually they really wanted us all back at work. So as soon as they could get us back to work, we all came back and we were wearing masks, actually up until like December this last December that we just had oh, wow.

Jill Genter: 

So yeah, pretty long time. If you were in your office you didn’t have to wear a mask, but if you were in a common space, everybody was still wearing masks. Because we had a lot of incidents where a lot of people got COVID in the building and there was a fear that we wouldn’t be able to put the news on because some essential people I’m not essential, just have some essential people would get COVID and we wouldn’t be able to do the news.

Jill Genter: 

So I think we took special precautions for longer, people would get COVID and we wouldn’t be able to do the news. So I think we took special precautions for longer.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah, I suppose it’s basically like, because you basically have celebrities, you have the face, and if that person goes down, it’s not just like any other workplace where you just fill in somebody.

Jill Genter: 

It’s like no, like the person is not available right yeah yeah, I know that was a, that was a big concern, um. But yeah, I mean, I was really impressed with how our tech department was able to get us all kind of still continue working as per usual.

John Shoemaker: 

So and I have to oh go ahead well, I was going to say that that is very impressive to me because my interaction I’ve never I I cheated, I never, you know, took my years at the, the news station, like you’re supposed to when you go into production, um, and my interaction with you know tv stations has always been like we’re trying to deliver commercials and they’re like, okay, it needs to be on beta tape and you’re like I don’t even know where to get a beta tape like the. You haven’t used that and you know like my experience with the stations was like not being ready with, like, the new technology infrastructure. So the fact that they were able to like run remote, you know, offices and run remote studios and stuff, that’s that is pretty impressive.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, I was impressed. Well, you know, we don’t have a red camera, that’s for sure, but we we do have. I mean, I feel like we have some pretty, you know, decent, we’re up on technology kind of thing. I mean, the beta tape was kind of not. When you’re bringing up beta tape, it’s not like the regular old beta tape that anybody could buy. It was like a Syshik beta tape that we used just for TV. But yeah, I do know what you’re talking about. Though, john, why didn’t you work at a TV station for a while? I could have known you then.

John Shoemaker: 

I just skipped my way through it. I worked at a production company and then when I came back to Madison, I worked at the Geo Group for a few years until we jumped off and started our own thing. Jumped off and started our own thing, but uh, yeah, a lot I mean a lot of the people if not almost everyone that I know like put some time in, you know, on production at the, at some tv station yeah, it’s cutting your teeth, whether it’s uh production or or.

Ryan Freng: 

I feel like weddings. I feel like, for production, folk like weddings. Weddings are a huge uh, you know, shooters or editors uh right of passage that we’re happy to get away from you know and do other things. Um, so what was it? Were you guys uh able to still produce commercials? Like, did you pivot and were you working on other stuff? Or like, what were you doing at the time?

Jill Genter: 

No, we were still able to produce commercials. I mean, a lot of it was based off of B roll or stock footage. You know, we have a bunch of libraries that we go to that we can use. We would go to people’s places and shoot commercials, but we couldn’t If we went inside. I think it was just one person from our team and one person, one client Sure Individual like we would shoot a stand up with the client in their jewelry store or something like that. Otherwise everything was shut outside, which was really hard when it was cold out to do that, and everybody was always pushing the limits because, like Dane County had different rules than other counties did. We serve 12 different counties around the area and you go to another county and they had different rules than what we had, but we still had to follow our own rules when we would go there and then they wouldn’t understand. You know why we had these rules, but we followed them along.

Ryan Freng: 

Good times, yeah, but.

Jill Genter: 

I felt like production went well. I felt like everybody was really busy and people were still able to get pretty much everything done. We had one person from our department that stayed at the TV station, but we have about 80 employees here and there was about 20-ish that were still working from the building and the other 60 were working from home.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, well, and just that, you know again, it’s like the restraints or restrictions or guide. You know, guide rails or something it’s like, with that we can innovate, you know we can innovate, you know, um, and so that’s what that’s. What I thought was neat over the last several years is like the innovation in production, in things like frame io, which we were using, but now everyone almost knows about it, or there’s like 10 products like that now, um, you know, we’re doing this on this tool called restream, which was this little old thing that was not super well-known or super well-developed, but within a few months this was an amazing platform that did a lot of things that Zoom couldn’t do, or Google Meets or marketing or excuse me, 360, I don’t know, whatever the stupid Microsoft one is. So that’s been really cool, because I’m such a nerd.

Jill Genter: 

Because you’re such a nerd. Well, you know, one day, speaking of you guys being a nerd, I want you to come over to the TV station and look at my equipment.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, that’d be awesome.

Jill Genter: 

Give me some advice on what we should get.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh yeah, that’d be awesome and we have been. Let’s see. The funny thing is like you were asking us about things that were on network. I’m like do I tune into Netflix or is that on HBO Max? Where do I watch WKOW? But we get it. You know, we get a lot of the content either secondhand or like through YouTube, tv Right, but we have been to the studio.

Ryan Freng: 

Who’s the studio and I’m sorry if it’s not you guys who has andy wallman on for his super bowl thing, because we have been there for that I do know andy. He was in comedy sports too once upon a time yeah, well, and just going and seeing the studio was so cool. Like production we, I think we take it for granted when we look at, you know, a studio or something like that people don’t realize. Um, also, just how much you can fit into an area is pretty impressive. You know the efficiency oh yeah, impressive.

Jill Genter: 

People are always so surprised when they come into the studio where the new set is, because the space is much smaller than what they had envisioned yeah, because it just feels and looks big yeah.

Jill Genter: 

Exactly, and you get there and it’s like the set is crammed into this space and the cameras are there and every time we need to shoot something for promotions, we have to completely rework the space so that we can shoot in there, which is almost every single day. You know, we just had a new anchor start. Brandon Taylor is our new anchor.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, he’s fantastic, but so these past like week and a half we probably had 10 shoots with him and had to, like, completely take the studio down, shoot what we needed to put it all back together before the four o’clock news. But yeah, I know what you mean about the studio. Then we have a second studio where we do the weather and we do our interviews and that space is a little bit bigger, but people are still surprised that it’s not this huge, vast warehouse well and like being able to repeat something you know, do a day, day and day out, multiple days.

Ryan Freng: 

You get really efficient and really good at stuff. I often lament. Sometimes I’m like, man, when was the last time I used this tool? It was a couple of months ago. I’m like, oh yeah, I forgot the intricacies in this and so this is a little inefficient, so that’s an awesome part of it. I do have maybe one more question, before we play a quick game here and ride out into the sunset um, unless john’s got any other questions, but what? What is like a I don’t know favorite project or favorite thing you’ve done just in your time? Uh, in the production industry. It could be. I love this project. It could be. I got to work, um, um, you know, with this person, you know whatever, just whenever you think of like something awesome that you’ve appreciated over the last, you know, so many years.

Jill Genter: 

Um, well, I know I can come right out and tell you what it is. So I used to be the executive producer for the muscular dystrophy telethon. Executive producer for the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. And if you know what the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon was, it was a telethon that Jerry Lewis used to do.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, wow, okay.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, people used to call it Jerry’s Kids, and so it would, oh yeah.

Jill Genter: 

So the Muscular Dystrophy Association also covers ALS. So muscular dystrophy affects young children, usually boys. It’s a muscle disease and sadly most children die from it when they’re young. And then ALS is a disease that kind of hits people when they’re older, like Lou Gehrig’s is another name for ALS. Anyway, we used to do this telethon. It was like a 24 do this telethon. It was like a 24-hour telethon, labor Day, weekend, and we would. You know, it’s just fun doing something totally different from what you normally do.

Jill Genter: 

So we would set up a set out at East Town Mall in the middle of the mall, this huge set, and we would have a phone bank of 24 people on the phones for 24 hours and so there would be national segments where jerry lewis would be live with entertainment and sponsors and people making donations, and then every hour we would have a 20-minute cutaway where we would do our 20 minutes of getting people to make donations locally, and so that would go on. Steve actually worked on the telethon with me he was the stage manager back in the day but it was really fun. It was very rewarding. You got to meet a lot of people, met a lot of children with muscular dystrophy and adults with ALS, and you just knew you were doing something good. Plus, you got to do something production wise that was totally different from what you did every day.

Ryan Freng: 

That’s awesome. Yeah, that as you’re describing it, too, seems like something that would be stand out, and when did you say like you haven’t done that in a while, or is there something?

Jill Genter: 

No, well sadly we thought we wouldn’t do it again because there would be a cure for muscular dystrophy. And they have made great strides in muscular dystrophy but there’s not a cure. But I think it was around the time that Jerry Lewis passed away. I think that they kind of folded the telethon, but the telethon probably went on for 40, 50 years, so it was a really long time.

Ryan Freng: 

Wow.

Jill Genter: 

And so we probably stopped doing it. Maybe 10, 15 years ago, katrina worked on the telethon with me as well. She became stage manager after Steve was stage manager.

Ryan Freng: 

We’ve done a project or various projects that have like various elements that are kind of similar to that, like we’ve done something at the mall, like amidst people, and you know we’ve done the ask people, questions, and I I always find it, you know, the end product in those cases turns out kind of fun, um, but I I find it just awesome to be out and talking to people. Like I especially love that part of the process and just meeting with people. I don’t know if, um, it sounds like just doing that good work, uh, and meeting with people I don’t know if it sounds like just doing that good work and meeting people who are interested in helping is a part of it as well, but I’ve always found that to be very rewarding too.

Jill Genter: 

Yes, 100%. So that’s probably the one project that’s really like near and dear to my heart. I really enjoyed that.

Ryan Freng: 

That’s awesome. Well, John, I threw it to you in Slack. Unless you have any other questions, I’ve got a video clip I’ll play here. We can play a game.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah, I don’t. I mean other than just to affirm what you’re saying about. You know, when you get to do those projects that you know have like a bigger impact. And we try to take this into all of the work that we do, because even when you’re just just doing another ad for some business, like it matters to those people because it’s their business and it’s what they work hard on or you know so you can still find good meaning and fulfillment than that. But when you’re directly connecting it to something where people are like like you’re just like this is just a good thing, like there’s a whole different level of uh, satisfaction that comes from that.

Ryan Freng: 

So I’m awesome, yeah, and I love that you have a sign that says maybe welcome to awesomeville or something behind you welcome to oxfordville. Population one yeah I love that that’s. It’s part of our shtick too, like let’s make awesome. So I also have some beer in here oh nice, let’s see, hang on, let me biggie size you. Yeah, this is a happy hour. I I ended up drinking, you know, sodas and stuff. Uh, because that’s just what I’m having today. We’re headed to Vegas, so I was like I’ll take it a little light.

Jill Genter: 

Yes they’re prizes. So I have all the prizes the prize closet upstairs, and then I have prizes that spill over into my office as well.

Ryan Freng: 

Prizes that you get to partake in or prizes that you have to give away.

Jill Genter: 

Prizes that we give away, but the ones that are back there. Somebody didn’t pick those up, so it’s been after their 30-day window. So now they’re mine.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, I love it. Yeah, we’re net 30 here, so if you don’t pick your product up after 30 days, it’s mine. I love that. All right, so we didn’t prep you for this, but it’s going to be fun. Okay, Ready to truth in a lie kind of glitched on my end, I don’t know if we’re gonna play a little game here. Um, and I’ll vamp for a second. You’re gonna come up with three different facts about yourself. Um, short stories, short phrases. Just you know three things you can tell us about yourself, and two of them are going to be true and one of them is going to be a lie, and we have to guess which one is the lie. And people at home can participate too. So bonus points. If you can trick uh steve keith, uh megan katrina sean, if you can uh trick everyone, bonus points oh so you can think for a second.

Ryan Freng: 

I’ll let you think. Um, I can throw up a graphic. This does turn into a podcast too, so you can check that out. Let’s back with that com slash. Let’s back flip show. Also, we’re on Apple, amazon, google Play, stitcher, overcast. I don’t know All the things. The podcast is everywhere.

John Shoemaker: 

Windows Live.

Ryan Freng: 

Are we on Windows Live? We’re on Windows Phone, except you have to come here and pick up a windows phone. We have just boxes of them bing we’re.

John Shoemaker: 

I think we’re on bing too we’re in chat gpt.

Ryan Freng: 

Uh, just ask chat gpt to play our podcast. That should be a thing, if it’s not?

John Shoemaker: 

it probably is.

Ryan Freng: 

You can probably ask it where to get it or just be like chat gpt uh, make a podcast for me, and then you just don’t do anything and then it just has its own podcast with itself yeah, that’d be scary chat.

John Shoemaker: 

Gpt has been taking all of my calls for the last you know, know, six months.

Ryan Freng: 

I love it too. I love it. You guys have been using it as a creative kind of springboard. Like yeah, I just asked chat GPT to you know kind of randomly come up with some stuff, and that got me thinking I’m like that that’s a pretty good use of chat GPT. Like let the robots do a little bit of leg work and help us do the hard stuff. What would the body work? We’ll do the body work, they’ll do the leg work, we’ll do the torso work which is a translation, for we are its slave yeah, yeah, 100.

Ryan Freng: 

Uh, we should that. We should sell some like chat gpt like, like shirts, like chat gpt is my overlord, or something. That’d be pretty great okay how we doing.

Ryan Freng: 

We can continue this chat, gpt, vamp if needed. Good, this is good. I I like to, and even when interviewing people, I like to not send questions, um, even for like a promotion. It’s like, yeah, we’re gonna kind of talk about this, and this show is no exception. So I hope you found it very enjoyable to come up with three things live on air it was, yes, it was very good.

Jill Genter: 

Well, I mean, it’s who doesn’t enjoy trying to, you know, get people to. Who doesn’t enjoy lying?

Ryan Freng: 

there you go yeah, yeah, exactly okay, you ready all right three things I got three things okay.

Jill Genter: 

I used to be a horseback riding teacher, I am a soccer coach and I once danced on stage at the Muni Opera in St Louis. None of them are TV related.

Ryan Freng: 

I love it. I think I have mine. Actually, this is like the first time where maybe I was just paying attention. Really well that I just have a strong feeling. You used to be a horseback riding teacher. That’s number one. Yeah, uh, you’re a soccer coach. That’s number two. And number three is you once danced on stage at the muni opera in st louis I got very confused initially.

John Shoemaker: 

My brain went in some direction that was hard for me to follow, which was, you know.

Ryan Freng: 

Take us down this journey, john, it was like a horseback riding teacher.

John Shoemaker: 

You know, if you break up the sentence in that way, it becomes very confusing. And then I was like, no wait, she probably meant she teaches horseback riding, as opposed to like a teacher who rides on a horse, which uh yeah, where’s that comma?

Ryan Freng: 

I didn’t write it down.

John Shoemaker: 

I didn’t write down very literal yeah the thing has got confusing for me there. For a bit my brain was panicking um, also steve had a question.

Ryan Freng: 

When you say I am a soccer coach, do you mean present tense?

Jill Genter: 

well, I mean, once you’re a soccer coach, you, you’re always a soccer coach, you know.

Ryan Freng: 

See, now I’m not so sure because, okay, my thinking was you saying you know your kids are older, so you have more time, and I’m like, well, there’s no way you’re a soccer coach, but now you’re describing it as like once I was, in my history, a soccer coach. I don’t know, steve, what are we going to do here? What do you think, john? We got a lot of horseback. People are calling horseback shenanigans.

John Shoemaker: 

Let’s see. And then it was. You were danced on stage in some opera.

Jill Genter: 

It’s a horseback. The Muni Opera.

Ryan Freng: 

It’s a theater in St Louis when you’re from St Louis there’s a lot of people who say number one is a big fat lie. That makes me be a hipster and want to not have number one see, this is where you would totally have stumped us.

John Shoemaker: 

I’ll just give you the point for like I’m sure we probably would have got it wrong, but I think people that work with you are all like horseback, no. So there’s some like traumatic instance in your history where like a horse was like harassing you.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, Everyone’s like. No, she absolutely is terrified of horses.

John Shoemaker: 

I’m gonna see, I had the same thought that you did, ryan I was like soccer coach. I don’t think so. I and because I was going with I am a soccer coach and the kids are unless you’re coaching, like you know, minor league soccer in, uh like yeah, adult children play, like you know, semi-pro forward madison fc yeah, I’m gonna go.

Ryan Freng: 

I’m gonna go.

John Shoemaker: 

Number two I don’t think you are right now, but maybe, maybe there’s two lies, maybe there’s like one and a half lies or she’s more giving than I would be, because I’m like, if my kids aren’t doing it, I’m not taking care of other people’s snot nose.

Ryan Freng: 

Kids like no yeah, yeah, 100, I’m with you on that um okay, you want to know I’m going okay, so we got to cast our votes.

John Shoemaker: 

I’m gonna go. I had the same thought I. I’m going to go with soccer coach. I’m going to say she’s going to pull a 180 here and surprise everyone online who has the horseback. Yeah, that’s what I’m counting on.

Ryan Freng: 

That’s what I’m putting my Vegas money on.

Jill Genter: 

On soccer coach.

John Shoemaker: 

If we were putting me on that, what would I do?

Jill Genter: 

So I’m not a soccer coach right now, so I said that wrong ah, so half, half win half win, half win. I was um for my son’s soccer team. You guys know, when your kids are little they’re like we don’t have anybody to coach soccer.

Ryan Freng: 

Can you do it and you’re like, yeah, or the coach doesn’t show up and you have to step in. You’re like, okay, I guess I’ll watch a youtube video.

Jill Genter: 

Exactly. So not only did I do that, but then I ended up taking a course and I became a legit soccer coach.

Ryan Freng: 

Wow, you’re better than I would be.

Jill Genter: 

My son’s team until until I maxed out on knowledge of soccer, like it got to a point where I was like okay.

Ryan Freng: 

I know everything.

Jill Genter: 

But I coached a team and my daughter’s.

John Shoemaker: 

You’re like I just there’s nothing else for me to learn.

Jill Genter: 

Can’t go up from here Exactly. Well, it was a lot like hockey and I knew hockey so I figured I could figure that out.

Ryan Freng: 

Yeah, very rowdy soccer team Exactly.

Jill Genter: 

Lots of fights and brawls.

Ryan Freng: 

All right. So everyone thought it was the horseback thing. Is the horseback thing the lie?

Jill Genter: 

No, I taught horseback riding, ooh, yes, Nice, see, we all bought it.

John Shoemaker: 

We’re like, yeah, clearly Jill would be dancing on a stage.

Jill Genter: 

You’re in front of an opera. Yeah, like improv comedy, sports special st louis muni opera edition. Exactly. No, I was not a dancer. My daughter is a dancer and I used to tease that she learned everything she. You know everything she could do from me. But that is so not true. I was not a dancer at all, but I figured, if I was really specific about it, that you guys would fall for it that that’s true, that always the more specifics is like, well, no one would come up like, just randomly come up with these specific.

John Shoemaker: 

Yeah, that’s a good strategy so wait that was fun.

Ryan Freng: 

You have danced on the opera stage right.

Jill Genter: 

The media was the lie.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, that’s right, that’s right.

Jill Genter: 

That was a lie.

Ryan Freng: 

I’m catching up here because I’m like in my mind, I’m like, I’m like we have one, we have one with the soccer thing. So, uh, also, all your, all the, all the friends, all you guys who tuned in, like, do you even know Jill? Like it sounds like you guys who tuned in, Do you even know Jill? It sounds like you guys need to have a happy hour with Jill sometime soon?

Jill Genter: 

Apparently not.

John Shoemaker: 

Sounds like you need to learn how to ride a horse, Steve. Yeah.

Ryan Freng: 

Save a cowboy I figured.

Jill Genter: 

Katrina and Steve would know, at the least.

Ryan Freng: 

Man, yeah, katrina was the first to be like nope, horseback riding teaching. Nope, not my friend, no way, no how. Happy hour on horseback.

John Shoemaker: 

Turns out, it’s just like hockey, and if you know hockey, you know horseback riding, you got it, john.

Ryan Freng: 

Had any of you won, we could have gotten you some sweet, uh, some sweet swag, but we’ll send. We’ll send these to jill, since she tricked us all to jill. Nice, she’s the one you get prize, so you don’t get the beer, but we’ll give you something to drink the beer on or set your beer on I love it I need that.

Ryan Freng: 

So that’s what we got for you today. I know you gotta take care of that shoot. I don’t want to add any more anxiety. I have anxiety that you have to go do a shoot. Um, is there anything else you want to share or plug as we’re rolling out here?

Jill Genter: 

um, okay, I’m just going to tell you one quick story and then we’re out absolutely yeah, so I thought this was pretty funny.

Jill Genter: 

So the studio at wkow used to face a different direction and it had a big glass wall in the background and so you could see through the glass wall into the newsroom. And we were like, oh, that’d be really cool, you could show people really busy and working, and if your desk appeared in the, you had to always be working at your desk so that it would look that way during the newscast, and so this was just the dumbest thing ever. So during the newscast Donovan knows this one there was this woman who was right in the background shot. Her desk is like right there and she sees a mouse come running through the newsroom and she screams at the top of her lungs and then she goes and she stands on top of her desk. You know this is going on during the news in the back oh my gosh like you can’t script these things oh, that’s amazing.

Ryan Freng: 

You don’t have a clip of this, do you?

Jill Genter: 

We might have a clip of it. Oh you got to share that there’s this mouse, and so she’s screaming and yelling. And then you see a photographer come in and he’s like trying to stomp on the mouse or catch it and he’s like running around doing this. Oh my God, it was. And this all went on during the news, but the people doing the news didn’t know this was going on behind them. So they’re still delivering the news and there’s like this, this um three circus get going yeah. I know.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh my gosh, that’s amazing.

Jill Genter: 

Very funny, good times.

Ryan Freng: 

Did? Was that the decision? Like, maybe we don’t want to see everyone working?

Jill Genter: 

Exactly, exactly. Yeah, there were other incidents. I remember the first day we got the glass, I called my husband on my cell phone and I’m like, okay, watch, I’m going to walk by right now and I walked by.

Ryan Freng: 

Oh, super fun.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, famous.

Ryan Freng: 

That’s awesome. I’ve always thought that vibe was super fun. But, yeah, you’d have to be really careful. It’s like when we’re on air, stop the shenanigans right now. Get exactly out of there, exactly, um, all right. Well, we’re winding down here. I do want to remind people this is a podcast or becomes a podcast, so check that out. We’re all podcasts are sold, etc. Etc. Jill, thank you so much for coming on and just hanging with us and just rolling with it. I really appreciate it. It was great to get to know you a little bit more well, thanks for asking me.

Jill Genter: 

This was a lot of fun, and thanks everybody who joined us.

Ryan Freng: 

You guys are my best friends and we’ll do uh, we’ll do one of these happy hours. We’re gonna move them into person too, so we’ll have you back and we’ll do one of these happy hours. We’re going to move them into person too, so we’ll have you back and we’ll be able to maybe do it a little bit later in the day and maybe cheers a little bit of beer together or libation of choice.

Jill Genter: 

Yeah, I’ll bring my.

Ryan Freng: 

All right, the prizes, yes. Your winnings, yeah, awesome John. Anything else?

John Shoemaker: 

Watch the news Go watch the news. Wherever you get your news.

Ryan Freng: 

Make sure you get it today from WKOW. From WKOW. I love it. You can actually clip that and use that as an ad now right here.

John Shoemaker: 

I won’t even charge royalties awesome.

Ryan Freng: 

We’ll end here and then we’ll jump on real quick. Jill, thanks everyone for coming in. That’s what we got. I don’t know who or when we’ll be back, because we’ve just got travel and production, but check the Facebook and the page and subscribe and hit the button and the bell and all the things. So thanks everyone. Thanks Jill, thanks John. See you guys next time. Bye.

author avatar
Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...