or call (800) 755-7597

Issue #266

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Radio Connection student Robert Kuse Goes Full Throttle
& Network Hosts on SportsMap Radio!


Radio Connection graduate Robert Kuse

Robert Kuse has known he wanted to work in radio and entertainment since he was a kid. Now at just 19, he’s just graduated Radio Connection, forged a number of great industry connections, including one with his mentor Craig Larson, COO of Gow Media, and is even going on-air every Saturday morning, network hosting Full Throttle with co-host/producer Andrew Carlson on SportsMap Radio. Read on to see how Robert kicked his career into high gear in just a matter of months!   What brought you to Radio Connection in the first place?   “So, I looked at a lot of options. When Covid hit I was not out of a job, but my job was closed for a period of time and I was like, ‘How do I move on from here’, you know, ‘Regular college?’ I was in a community college and I wasn’t getting anything out of it, and I was like, ‘This isn’t what I want to do. I don’t see how this is going to help get me into broadcasting. So [I asked], ‘What’s the best way to get into broadcasting?’ I looked up a lot of different options and the best way to get my foot in the door was the Radio Connection. They have given me such a plethora of networking opportunities. It’s been amazing.”   You were matched with Craig Larson, Radio Connection mentor and Chief Operating Officer of Gow Media. You asked him one very direct and precise question. Care to share a bit of that conversation with us?   “He said, ‘What’s your goal?’ And I said, ‘Craig, I have a goal, but my question is, how do I become full-time in radio and can support myself as a career doing this?’ And, you know, Craig basically told me, ‘That’s on you, brother. You know, you got to have the talent. You got to have the want. And you got to have a personality, and you can’t be afraid to show it.’ And that’s what I did since I had a conversation with him. And I’ve only grown from there.” What’s the one thing even Craig Larson can’t teach in radio? Find out in our Straight Talk video with Robert below!   So Full Throttle which airs on SportsMap Radio, how did that come about?   “So Andrew was a producer on a show that I had segments on…. Once I kind of got recognized a little bit they were like, ‘Okay. So here’s your test.’ … Not a Radio Connection test… [a] real life, ‘Here’s your test. Can you do it?’… And what I found out was, working with these guys, they’re going to pull you up. So, I got in with Andrew [Carlson, a SportsMap producer] … started doing these little bits for him. He heard it…. And it was just kind of this perfect connection.   We just sound good together…. So we did some practices for a while. And Craig heard it and was like, ‘Awesome, let’s do it.’ And then we’ve been rolling out and going since January.”   What’s the show about? What topics are you guys covering?   “It’s jam-packed. We got 60 minutes and we talk about it all. As you can tell by me, I’m that person that can just talk really, really quick. I can never stop talking…. We go full throttle and it’s a sports radio show [on] SportsMap Radio. And, you know, I’m the type of guy where I can bring anything into it. So it’s not just sports. You know, I’ll talk about some entertainment. I’ll throw in some music in there on you… You want to talk about WandaVision?… That’s what Full Throttle is.”   Your first interview was for the SuperBowl episode. How was that experience?  

Robert Kuse in his home studio.

  “I think it was our second show, our second live show on-air…. So we did an interview with Chiefs’ Hall of Fame running back, Christian Okoye, the Nigerian Nightmare. And that was such a cool experience for me because that was my first interview.   [I] was just like, ‘Oh my God, like I’m talking to this guy that I’ve played with in Madden since I was a little kid.’ It was pretty surreal like, ‘Holy crap. I’m here. Like, I’m talking to this man. That’s what I wanted to do,’ is this type of stuff.” … We had a good conversation with him. He played for the Chiefs who were in the Super Bowl. And he let a message out to Chiefs Nation, [but it] didn’t go their way. My boy TB12, you know, he stepped in, does what he does…. you know, my first live show was about Tom Brady. So, it was just really surreal.”   What’s on the horizon for you?   “It could be anything. You know, that’s kind of a cool thing too…. I’m 19 years old right now. Still live at home. I feel safe and secure…. The fun part is, where is it going to take me? … I could have a job, maybe in Houston. I want my own show. I want to be an entertainer. But one thing I will say about this is speaking, hearing yourself, making your own things, it inspires you to do more. Once you hear yourself and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m pretty good,’ you want to do other things.”   What do your parents think of what you’re doing in radio?   “You know, this is really a second job right now…. I’m working a ton and other stuff, and I still have the time to do this. And obviously, I love and I cannot wait to get full-time into this. I just graduated the program a week ago. And here we are… I got all these projects going for me and a lot to look forward to. So, they’re obviously thrilled with all that and are my biggest fans right now. So it’s pretty cool.”   Learn more about Radio Connection, for broadcasting, podcasting, radio production, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Student Successes

Recording Connection grad Roland Rodas on Going Lean
in Mixing & Mastering.


Recording Connection graduate Roland Rodas

  Founder of Toronto’s Cavern of Echos, Roland Rodas (Liminal Shroud, Stratosfera, Mausoleum), graduated Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production in 2016. Since then, he’s built an enviably good career doing exactly what he loves—mixing and mastering heavy music. We recently connected with Roland to discuss what led him to our audio program, learn how he’s gone lean and come out winning, and get his advice for metal aficionados wanting to get into audio and music production.   You had another career prior to Recording Connection. What can you tell us about that?   “I have always been a musician. But my initial career was actually as an electrical engineer. And, you know, going through some phases of my life, I get to a point where I decided that I needed a change. And then I met my mentor James Seabrook, and then he directed me to Recording Connection. So I looked into it. I decided to get enrolled. I got accepted, and now I’m here. And, yeah, it was one of the best decisions I ever did.”   How was your experience training with mentor James Seabrook?   “James is a great mentor, let’s start with that. Like, he basically fast-tracked my learning. The big thing that I learned from him was discipline. Like, we’re both self-employed, so clearly, discipline is a huge aspect of this. And when I started the program, I thought that it was going to be just like a traditional school, where it’s just like if you just do work, you get, you know, your grades and off you go. No. He made sure that I understood that, ‘Okay if you want to be successful at this, you have to be disciplined, you have to keep going, you have to like be resilient. It takes practice. It takes a lot of ear training so he was really good at that. …   I’ll just give an example. When we started to learn how to mic guitar cabinets, he taught me his tricks. He would tell me the spot that he would aim for, and we would go back to the control room, and then we would listen, and then we would go back and adjust….   As opposed to how I thought it was done…. Just place the mic in the sweet spot, and then EQ it, but then now I learned from him that there’s this process back and forth to get it right at the source. I remember the first time we tried mastering, I didn’t realize how much I was going to like it at the time. Later… I was like, you know, I want to do more mastering, and it was because of him. Because he told me, ‘Hey, you know, I really think that everyone should learn how to master to understand really how EQ works,’ right?” What’s the difference between mixing and mastering? Find out in our Straight Talk video with Roland below!   So, what spurred your decision to go niche and focus on mixing and mastering heavy music?   “A lot of the clients that I work with… are either wanting to do it all themselves and they just want to give it to someone else that knows how to mix faster and better, or they want to mix it themselves and they just want to give it to someone that will master it and make it sound better. Or they take the DIY approach in which they want to save some money, and… record everything themselves at home, and then just send it to me.”   How were you able to go lean and operate with less overhead?   “Because this is a bit of niche [mixing & mastering metal], I started to go after clients that were not in my geographical area. So… say someone records an album in the states, or records the album in Europe, but then they send it to me for mixing or mastering. That’s when I started to realize, ‘Hey, I don’t really need to be in a recording facility all time, I can just set up shop at home and rent a facility what I need to, but then just market myself as this online guy who mixes and masters,’ right? So that’s how it started to happen. …   When I started, I always thought… the way to go was just to have a facility and have a big studio to be successful…. It’s very possible to be lean, to just have a set up at home that is very well acoustically treated, and basically get business and work from home. Like, to me, that was really exciting when I learned that I could do that. That I don’t have to have the overhead of a commercial facility to be successful. I can… just rent the studio when I need to go. But when I don’t need to, I just can be at home, and I don’t have that overhead.”   What’s your advice to metalheads who want to get into audio engineering and music production?   “[Have] a real clear reason as to why you want to do it. Because it’s very exciting, but it’s also very tedious sometimes, right? Also, it’s a hard industry…. It requires a lot of diligence, a lot of discipline, so the why has to be very clear. And also [have] patience, because this stuff takes time to learn, and the ears take time to develop.”   Learn more about Recording Connection, for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Beat Making, Live Sound, DJing, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Mentor News

Film Connection mentor Doug Maddox on Finding Your Niche in Film,
Entrepreneurial Thinking & More.


Film Connection mentor producer/director Doug Maddox

Film Connection mentor Douglas B. Maddox (Hope’s Legacy, Christmas Ranch, The Bill Collector) has built two thriving companies thanks to his ability to find and meet the needs of the market and serve clients with resources and strategies that work. Doug’s DBM Communications has worked with dozens of big and small clients including eBay, PayPal, and Kaiser.   Meanwhile, DBM Films develops, produces, and distributes films, documentaries, and television shows for domestic and international markets. From the genesis and development of a story idea to the making, marketing, and the oh-so-critical stage of distribution, DBM Films does it all and has launched films on Netflix, Amazon, and Showtime, to name a few.   That’s not all! Doug is also an experienced film professor who taught at Towson University for 7 1/2 years. We recently reached out to the multifaceted mentor to talk about the power of being entrepreneurial in one’s thinking, finding your niche in film, mentorship, and more.     Do you think being enterprising is an important trait to have as a filmmaker?   “For me, I think it was imperative…. When you come up with these creative ideas, you go, ‘Wow, I can see this going on fire,’ and, ‘A man a woman meet in the alleyway. And then they’re going to jump off a building,’ all the sudden, you have to go, ‘Oh, my gosh, how much does it cost to rent that city block for the week?’ you know? So, you’re constantly coming up with solutions that are creative and budgets that will reflect it and help it get made.   Then frankly, film is a whole other world where it’s like, ‘Oh, gosh, you got to distribute it. You’ve got to get it out.’ So dbmfilm.com was born 15 years ago. We help our own films and other producer’s films get distribution. Because, ultimately, if you make a movie for $1 million, but only make $100 from it, that’s not ROI [Return on Investment]. So having an entrepreneurial streak is definitely important for above the line and below the line, I believe.”   Your ability to be strategic and entrepreneurial in your approach is at the core of how you built DBM Communications and DBM Films.   “30 years ago… , people said, ‘Hey, do you do photography? Do you do events? Do you do X, Y, Z? Do you do TV?… And I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ And then, all of a sudden, I found four quadrants that were being asked of the company. And it was in the media world: new media, websites and all that, and it was in marketing, print, television, advertising, and then in video promotion, again, in marketing for that, and then sound bites for radio…. All of a sudden I’m starting to work on communication strategies for companies, I’m starting to realize that we ended up being an agency… a micro agency where we do film and video production, as well. …   A lot of times, you work with an agency and they’ll hire out production companies. [With us] we’re the production company and also [the] strategists and consultants, and [we] come up with the solutions for the marketing plans and the agency work…. It’s been a real incredible run working with large, small corporations and nonprofits over the years.”  

Doug Maddox and former Film Connection student Wayne Brown

Speaking of being enterprising, former extern Wayne Brown really stepped up during his time with you and it paid off.   “Wayne Brown is an amazing guy. Now, he took this externship as an opportunity to grow his career. I think he’s only, like, 10 years younger than I am. So he’d already been through the military, full career, and he goes, ‘You know what? I’m done being a security guard at Fort Meade. I’m ready to get into the audio-visual, creative side.’… We worked through the syllabus. He showed up. He constantly was taking the most of this opportunity to get this advanced training. And I couldn’t have been more impressed with this guy. … Learn more about what Wayne did right in our Straight Talk video below!   So after that year, I followed up with him. I said, ‘So how’s everything going with Fort Meade?’ He goes, ‘I got the job.’ I go, ‘Are you kidding me? That is awesome.’ Yeah, so with the certification, DBM Communications on his resume, DBM Films on his resume, he ended up getting that job at Fort Meade in the film video department. So he went from safety to visual. It was so cool.”   What’s your advice for those who want to work in the industry but don’t know exactly what they want to do?   “Take me back when I graduated… I could not, for the life of me, see myself as one person that would just fit one cog and then just, you know, do that for the rest of my life…. [Back then] I learned about this thing called freelancing. I had no idea what that was about. And at that time, our school didn’t teach freelancing… and it was called ‘gigging.’ You get ‘a gig.’ I would be a cameraperson, back 30 years ago, we’d even run projection systems for corporate events, slide shows. I mean, it was so hilarious. We would push heavy equipment to set up for presidential parties and for major rock bands. So, I got out there and I would just take it all in… And it dawned on me that I was learning as I was putting myself out there, not looking for the big dollar sign, but just looking to learn.   And so, I would definitely recommend to the externs and students that they just put themselves in situations to grow and learn first, then you can always kind of put a business model around it. And that’s kind of what I did… And, you know, I got involved with the Producers Guild of America. I recommend getting into as many of these professional organizations as possible. I’d also recommend once you get into a situation, don’t give up. You know, it’s hard. It’s not easy, especially when they’re not handing out these kinds of job offers every day. You just got to be there, show up, do the best you can, and be creative. Solve people’s problems. Don’t be a pain in the neck, you know. Be a resource, and it will come to you, for sure, if you stick with it.”   Why do you choose to mentor for Film Connection?   “As a professor, you know, I did that for seven and a half years. And it was great. I created the curriculum…. I would come up with… the questions, the productions, the tests, everything. You give me Film Connection, the curriculum’s already done, tests [are] already done…. That takes a lot off my plate personally. And as a teacher mentor, I just love the experience of working with the Film Connection because we can really hone the skills of what the student is trying to go for. So anyway, that’s a short and sweet answer to it. You know, it makes my job a lot easier being a mentor instead of just a professor for, you know, 14 to 20 students. You know, the one-on-one is a much better way to go. And you get a lot more traction.”  
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