Innovative Media and Marketing Trailblazer, Kelly Kantz, stops by to talk with Samera Entertainment and the Chloe Chronicles about the always-evolving model for successful media!
Discussing the importance of networking and building relationships, her journey in the entertainment industry, and what is next for Kantz Media.
Q & A by ~ Chloe Brown of Chloe Chronicles
Q ~ Kelly, it is great to speak with you and hear your story. You are someone who has been involved in the media, sales, and marketing, and promotional aspect of the entertainment industry for many years now, what first interested you in this business and how has it changed since you first began?
A ~ I love the building aspect of making things move smoothly and making it a win-win for everyone. The media industry is changing daily and the opportunities for the “regular guy” in programming is as well not only on TV but also on podcasting and streaming/on-demand. Anyone can get their ideas out there in the media world with the right tools, all you really need is a camera and an idea.
Q ~ You were once quoted to say that you think, “The foundation of content in today’s visual world is video.” What do you mean by that statement in terms of film and television production and what can we expect from this creative social shift?
A ~ Well, I think video engages consumers because it is easy to digest, entertaining and it holds people’s attention. This allows your programming/marketing or ads to have a greater impact. Video is a powerful marketing tool and there is a huge demand for video content which increases daily. Now, you can watch TV on your phone, IPad, computer and Smart TV anytime you want and from anywhere. You can watch via TV channels, streaming platforms, and even social media outlets. Video is now only a touch away and the power of that is a great marketing tool. In advertising, the advantage of this is the opportunity to reach mass audiences with a single spot. Watching TV is the #1 common leisure activity.
Q ~ In 2008, RFD-TV offered you the job of Vice President and General Manager. As well as the addition of other networks including Family Net and Rural Radio on Sirius XM, besides moving from your home state of Texas to Nashville what was the biggest change that position brought to your life and career and what did it teach you?
A ~ When I was in my early twenties Patrick Gottsch, the owner/founder, and I tried to start the network out of Fort Worth, Texas and it failed. We had always remained friends and when he was able to get the network RFD-TV up and running again he offered me the position of General Manager and Vice President if I moved to Nashville, TN. I thought it was a great idea to help grow the network. We purchased Family Net and from there created Rural Radio on Sirius XM and I was working alongside the programmers for that and found my passion was the developing of those relationships with programmers and helping make both the network and programmers successful. During this time I became the Senior Vice President of Programming. On a personal note, I was able to experience and do some great things with this position like being on a float in the Rose Parade twice, being a part of Guinness World Record, and being involved with The American Rodeo and so much more. The experiences were wonderful.
Q ~ How much did you connect with the content produced on RFD-TV and if so how do you think that impacted/helped you gage how to build the network and audience?
A ~ I have never really been a rural person, I was probably the only city person that was a part of the network. For me, I loved the people. The rural community. The viewers and programmers were loyal. I loved that quality and honesty from them. If we needed help, they would write letters or anything that was requested. I made a lot of lifetime friends through this position and it was amazing
Q ~ You expanded RFD-TV’s network sub-staff from two people to over fifty employees, how did this transition come to fruition, and what was your role with this change?
A ~ It was the natural positive progression of growth. The network grew and the staff grew. With each new area, we went into we had to grow. The staff was amazing, and they were all hard workers with so many other in-house jobs. That was one of the things that I loved about the staff I worked with. It really didn’t matter if it was in your job title if help was needed the staff jumped in. We were a great and hard-working team.
Q ~ You were with RFD-TV for 8 years before you took a position at Center post-Ltd. (Media) as the Vice President of Programming for Youtoo America, BizTV, and BizTalkRadio, what would say prepared you to take that kind of role and what were some similarities and differences in the work you did for both companies?
A ~ I like the idea of trying to grow networks and this helped me with this position. Being the liaison with the programmers and trying to make everyone successful. The programming on these networks was different from RFD-TV. Youtoo America (YTA) was anything “American” and BizTV and BizTalkRadio had business programming. So, internally creating streaming/on-demand outlets such as Bizvod and Youtoo America GO then consisted of pushing out the podcasts on BizTalkRadio. This was a great way to learn how to expand on the new online outlets and see how they became stronger daily.
Q ~ For those who don't know your backstory can you explain your first job and start within the industry and when you knew you had a calling for this line of work?
A ~ My first real job was doing marketing for Wild Bill’s Western Wear Store out of Dallas and working with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. I was then offered a position by the owners of Dallas Alley (Step Three Entertainment) to work for their marketing team. I did the marketing for nine nightclubs, managed media relationships, developed media releases, press kits, and was the primary liaison for the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the West End Association. I also organized corporate events, worked major conventions, and developed Monday night outdoor concerts and VIP relations.
Q ~ At the beginning of 2020 you started your own company Kantz Media LLC. what prompted you to do so and what are some challenges and advantages have you found given this new work dynamic?
A ~ I have wanted to do it for many years but was always fearful of jumping off that cliff with young children. Now that they are older I just don’t have that fear anymore. Having always been a hard worker and truthful within the positions I’ve held has been a big part of that. I believe being truthful whether the answer is good or bad it is what it is. I have been a relationship person my whole life and I think that has helped me within the industry and with my contacts. I do my very best to make sure that everyone is in the know and I want to honestly help everyone. I do not believe there is really competition. There is plenty to go around in this industry and there is no reason not to try to help everyone be successful. I believe in keeping your word.
Q ~ Your staff at Kantz Media are all very well-qualified and experienced industry professionals with skill-sets in various sub-sectors of both the business and entertainment side of things, how did you go about building the team you have around you? And, how do you think that makes your company stand out from other competitors in your field?
A ~ My staff can do anything! That’s the key. Allen Jette was my editor at RFD-TV and has been with me since those times. He can do anything from editing together a small clip or creating a TV show and he even filmed the Rose Parades out of Pasadena while at RFD-TV. I always know he will get the job done amazingly. April Cashion worked for me at RFD-TV and has been in almost every position at some time or another. She can do anything and is not fearful of anything. Lance Harvill is an amazing musician who has 20+ years in the industry of writing, recording and producing music for all types of media ranging from reality TV shows such as Pawn Stars to Ford Motor Company car commercials. He can create anything anyone needs musically and has a great strong voice for VO opportunities.
Q ~ Your approach with your company is unique because you handle networking as the fostering of relationships which allows your clients to find advertising and national programming that fits their projects and business models, has that always been your way of approaching media and why do you think that is so successful especially in today’s media consumption landscape?
A ~ You want the network and the programmer to be successful. That’s the key. Programmers are looking for distribution and networks are looking for programming. It can be successful for everyone and I try to find that right fit for both.
Q ~ What do you think it is about media, especially the programming side of things, that excites you?
A ~ The relationships I build excite me. Being able to help programmers get what they need to succeed and grow. Ideas – I love ideas! I’m amazed at how creative people can be and how they put their ideas out there in the hope that they can excite the viewer to watch.
Q ~ The state of the world is crazy right now with COVID and the entertainment industry is in the middle of a big shift, what do you think this will mean for media, programming, and advertising moving forward? And, what do you think this change may entail for people in your line of work?
A ~The world is crazy right now BUT more people are watching video now than ever. More people are at home, more people are buying from ad spots. I believe the industry will grow even more. People who have not done things via streaming and on-demand have had to learn. One thing that will happen is it isn’t only young people doing things online anymore, the older generations are learning too. This opens all types of doors for advertisers and programs.
Q ~ What do you and Kantz Media hope to explore next, that you haven’t done yet?
A ~ Starting my own business has been eye-opening for sure. You never really know what will come across on a daily basis. I am an out of the box thinker and anything in this industry is possible, so I don’t limit myself and am open to exploring anything new that I don’t have on my plate. I think at this time if you can dream it, you can do it with some help.
Q ~ And, finally, what can you tease to our Samera audience about what is next for you or projects currently in the works?
A ~ One exciting thing coming my way is some sports programs. I am super excited about that since we haven’t had any sports on TV for a while since things have been postponed. It’s interesting to see how commentators and sports figures are figuring out how to get out there and be creative while not being on their “main” national networks. I am excited about the future and I am loving watching musicians, hosts, sports figures, and documentaries coming to light that never would have without COVID. People are creative and they want to get their ideas out there. I believe more entrepreneurs will come out of this situation. You have had to figure out how to live in these times and amazing people will do amazing things!