After working in radio for more than 30 years, Robert Lindsey felt it was time for a change. About 11 years ago he bought Auto Tech Service, an established car repair business in Lexington, Kentucky. Lindsey tells Radio Ink that while the changing face of radio resulted in a shift of his career path, radio is and always will be part of his life.
Radio Ink: Tell us about your radio journey.
Lindsey: I started at 16 at a small market station back in 1976 in my home town of Paducah. The station let high-schoolers come in on a Sunday night and go on the air with a show they called The Broadcasting Club. You got to do 30 minutes on the air. The first time I did it, I said, this is it, this is what I want to do. I tried to do as many shows as I could and finally got hired part-time in my senior year doing seven to midnight. After three years I started my travels. I did radio in other markets in Kentucky and Tennessee, then Florida, then California, and finally ended up back in Kentucky.
Radio Ink: How does a radio guy end up a car guy?
Lindsey: I was interested in the car repair business because of a show I started on a radio station I programmed. It was called Under The Hood. So the owner of the business was on the program several times; he was good. A lot of people would call in with questions looking for advice.
When I decided to leave radio and basically end the program after about 10 years, he contacted me and asked if I would be interested in owning the business. I said, “I’m not a car technician, so how could that work out?” He told me I didn’t have to be a car technician to run the place because the employees were really the business. So I took the plunge and within the week I was advertising my new business on the radio station that I had been programming.
Radio Ink: What stations do you use and what type of spots do you run?
Lindsey: WVLK, Lexington. I’ve been using them for about 11 years. I do recorded 30s but most of my spots are live read, endorsement-type spots by the morning guy. People still recognize my voice because I was on the air in the market for so long.
Jack Pattie, the morning guy on News Talk 590 WVLK, is sort of like Paul Harvey. When you heard Harvey do a live spot you believed that he believed in the product.
Radio Ink: What advice would you give someone considering advertising on radio?
Lindsey: I would tell them that radio works. Over 90% of the population continues to listen to radio. Be consistent with the right message and spend as much as you can afford so your message will be heard. Radio is so affordable and you are putting money back into your community.
Radio Ink: Do you miss working in radio?
Lindsey: It was a 35-year career, it’s still a passion, I love it and I miss it sometimes. Before I got out of the business, I was the Operations Manager and PD of the News Talk station. The last five years or so, as Ops Manager, it was 24/7 and that I don’t miss.
In my business now we close at 5 p.m., we’re closed on weekends, and we are closed on holidays. I like that a lot better. It’s an adjustment for sure. I still have those radio nightmares where I can’t reach the board and my song is running out. I actually have had car repair dreams, but those radio nightmares continue.
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