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Spotlight Conversations

Author: Donna Reed

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Radio personality and voiceover pro Donna Reed chats with friends in her cozy recording studio. Drinks are always on ice; music, media and more are the conversation starters. Theme song: Mark Sparrow, Song Bird Studios | Booth announcer: Joe Szymanski @joethevoiceguy
21 Episodes
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Today I'm in the studio talking with Gloria Zenteno, founder and president of Barrio Dogs in Houston, an animal welfare group whose goal is to not only help stray and neglected animals in the city, but also offer resources to help the people who care for them. Stressing the importance of education and community, Gloria talks about the many ways her group reaches out to the communities in the Greater East End; of her dedicated staff and partners who work tirelessly with  www.barriodogs.org; about her calling as an animal activist; and a little about her beloved musical family, The Zenteno's. It's an episode about community that you don't want to miss!
Guess I can say this guy has just about seen it all!  I'm in the studio with reporter and producer Mark Barger, celebrating his 30 years covering stories for the NBC News Channel. I mean, he's got stories! He not only talks about covering some of the biggest stories in television news and entertainment since starting his career with the network in Charlotte, NC; but talks fondly about his early beginnings of news reporting in the Raleigh-Durham market with WQDR FM and WPTF TV; his fast thinking backstage maneuver on the set of Saturday Night Live (plus reporting on the show's 40th Anniversary shindig); his favorite locale for the NBC Olympics and tosses in a few of his favorite celebrity interviews. He also offers some sound advice for aspiring radio and television journalists. Enjoy!
This week I'm with the very entertaining Emmy nominated actress and North Carolina native Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue/Sylvia Sipowitz; Grey's Anatomy; Desperate Housewives) as we talk about her growing up in Raleigh with her parents (her dad, Tom Lawrence, was a television reporter for then CBS affiliate WRAL TV5) to her years working in New York on Broadway, to her successful career in Hollywood; plus all about her new movie 'A Christmas House' premiering this month on Hallmark Channel USA! The  versatile actress and advocate discusses how more women than ever are making the decisions in Hollywood, and shares her many stories on the craft of acting, writing and directing. Don't miss it!
Kicking off Season Two of Spotlight Conversations is producer, radio host, podcaster and morning show guru Jim Beazy - also known around Houston, TX as 'Jimbo' of the Madd Hatta Morning Show on KBXX 97.9 The Box. The multi talented master of parodies sits down in the studio and talks about making the successful transition to the world of podcasting, including his new podcast creation 'Crispy Coated Robots; a new morning gig called  'The Jimbo Show' on internet station 'Houston Radio Platinum'; plus all about his band 'The Surrealtors'. (he's also a skilled  juggler too - but that's a whole other podcast!)
This week, it's all about branding, marketing, radio, podcasting, health and wellness, all wrapped up in a tidy bundle with my guest Jay Nachlis. He talks of how his radio days as a program director led to his current work as the Marketing Director with media research firm 'Coleman Insights' in North Carolina; how he works in a side hustle as a voice talent; what's with his book 'Never Trust A Grown Man With A Ponytail; How A Regular Guy Lived A Rockstar Life' (I mean, right?); plus the inspiration for his new wellness/mental health podcast 'Do This, Feel Better'. Join me in the studio for this entertaining and insightful episode. 
This week, Lone Star 92.5 Dallas radio veteran Ted Mckay (also known as The Rock Professor), joins me in the studio to talk about his new show 'Throwback Thursday' on Radio Free Raleigh; his love of classic rock and rock trivia, plus a few backstage stories. Direct and humble, he also discusses the radio industry, the new internet radio boom and his charity work in Dallas with 'Paws in the City' (www.pawsinthecity.org). Tune in and enjoy!
Today we're in the studio with Brandon Baca, CEO of the Houston based charity 'Attack Poverty'. Brandon talks of how his unique team and the local communities work together to help others; by building strategies for the community and with the community; and by working with area partners and foundations to find solutions to poverty. The global organization led by Brandon and his Disaster Recovery Team continue to help families during the pandemic and hurricane disasters with supplies, financial assistance and job skills. Here's your opportunity to tune in - and then volunteer at www.attackpoverty.org !
Houston rock radio legend Dayna Steele talks about her inspiring book 'Surviving Alzheimer's With Friends, Facebook and a Really Big Glass of WIne'. The Texas Radio Hall of Famer and former Rock 101 KLOL alum talks openly and candidly about her mothers' Alzheimer's diagnosis. Chronicling two years of caring for her mom in the book (pulled from posts and comments on Facebook) Dayna talks family, friends and community struggling to come to terms with the disease. (The book is now her one woman play 'The Woman in the Mirror'). As Dayna puts it all out there in the interview, the book - and the play - continue to let caregivers know they aren't alone as they work through a loved ones Alzheimer's diagnosis. 
Today I'm in the studio talking with character voice talent, producer, puppeteer and North Carolina radio legend Rowell Gorman. He talks about scoring a recent cool gig as the 'off voice of Colonel Sanders' for KFC's Alexa app; his early days in radio as the sidekick character 'Zoot' with Bob Inskeep at radio station WRAL; working as a puppeteer with actors behind the scenes on the set of Jim Henson Productions 'The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland' (and meeting Vanessa Williams and Mandy Patinkin!); his love of silent movies, parody songs, cartoons, and all about his movie memorabilia. A fun episode you don't want to miss. Enjoy!
What do recording studios, fishing, home schooling and traveling with kids all have in common? An episode with pro voice talent Joe Szymanski - Joe the Voice Guy - www.joethevoiceguy.com ! Besides recording daily from his mobile studio, Joe talks about living his very full life on the road with his family; voicing promos for Jimmy Kimmel, National Geographic and more; home schooling his kids with his wife (long before the pandemic); fish stories; the voiceover industry, and his early adventures into the world of audio. Enjoy!
Love the movies? Then tune in to this entertaining episode with Houston film critic and radio veteran T.j. Callahan as she talks about meeting actors Matt Damon (sigh) and Jason Statham (double sigh); the true color of the famous carpet at The Critic's Choice Awards  and her work with The Houston Film Critic's Society. The KILT FM alum and inductee to the 2018 Texas Radio Hall of Fame tells all about what really happens during a commercial break at a televised awards ceremony. Bring popcorn and enjoy!
Toronto based voice talent Rory O'Shea talks voiceover and marketing; how to establish and maybe even re-establish your voiceover career. With an emphasis on business, Rory streamlines the how-to of voiceovers into an inspiring podcast. Enjoy!
Here's a guy who notoriously played the bagpipes at the closing of a beloved music venue in Raleigh, NC known as 'The Brewery' back in 2011. Yance Covington, professional bagpiper and drummer, talks about those early days of punk and metal bands at the venue; his love of rock music and Scottish Bagpiping; playing in the North Carolina Pipes and Drums Band at NCSU (no easy feat!)  and becoming a member of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. A proud supporter of local bands in the triangle area, he also set up a creative art venue in Garner, NC, where upcoming bands found a place to entertain new audiences. Enjoy!
Need a life changing attitude on life? Positivity is the name of the game with award winning author Shannon Perry as she talks about her new book 'Grace and Guts: Strategies for Living a Knock-Out Life' (a #1 Amazon best seller) plus her uplifting weekly television series 'Grace in High Heels' on NRB TV.  This versatile women's conference host (and singer of the National Anthem at both the Houston Texans AND Houston Astros games!) encourages men and women alike to take chances and overcome obstacles. Enjoy!
Nashville musician and songwriter Bill Lloyd, of the country duo Foster & Lloyd, spends time in the studio talking about his current pet project "The Long Players"; tours with legendary country artists Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison; working with Cheap Trick, Guy Clark, Beth Nielson Chapman and Gary Tallent (E Street Band); and his contribution to the Nashville Cats and The Country Music Hall of Fame. If you love country music, you gotta tune in! 
She flies - and she writes! Los Angeles based flight attendant Ellie talks travel during Covid 19; the aviation industry; staying healthy and avoiding stress, furloughs and layoffs; and of course those interesting in-flight stories. A semi finalist at the Austin Film Festival for comedy screenwriting (including a spec script she submitted for 'Sex Education' on Netflix - dang!), it's an interview you don't want to miss. Enjoy!
From Chicago to Las Vegas and gigs in between, musician, engineer and producer Mark Sparrow talks music; about touring with The Romantics and Molly Hatchet; virtual studios; the story behind his song 'Via Della Rosa'; and - wait for it - writing theme music for slot machines. He's also the creator of the Spotlight Conversations theme song. I know, he's talented. Enjoy! 
If you thought public relations was only about writing press releases, Laura Frnka Davis, owner of Houston based public relations company 'LFD Communications' sets the record straight. She talks about running her successful home business during COVID-19; tips on social messaging and new business reputation; being versatile; and how PR is shaping businesses today and for the future.
Donna talks with Nashville video director Steve Boyle about his early days at the CBGB in NY, the Raleigh, NC music scene of the 80's, and creating the famed music documentary 'Return to Comboland'.
Veteran broadcaster Joey Kovacik - 'Joey K' - talks about how his passion for radio led to the creation of his own online radio station 'Houston Radio Platinum'. Plus he offers advice to students about getting into the broadcast business. 
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