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March 2015: Media

| March 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Guy Bauer is the founder of Guy Bauer Productions, a “creative and crafty” video production house based in Chicago that has done work for the likes of GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Ford, Dell, and the Travel Channel. He oversees a staff of ten from his office on LaSalle in downtown Chicago. But only a few years ago he was producing a daily radio show in Chicago for Jonathon Brandmeier at the Loop. When he first got the call to work with Johnny in 2004, he had no idea who he was.

“I was working on the show Crank Yankers on Comedy Central in Los Angeles,” he explains. “Kent Voss (Brandmeier newsman) also worked on that show. I had done a radio show in high school, and Kent also came from radio – having worked with Jimmy Kimmel, so we really hit it off and became friends. At the end of the fourth season, we were laid off, so I moved back home to New Jersey. Kent called me up one day and said ‘Hey, I know you like doing radio – would you be willing to come back to LA to produce a radio show for a guy named Jonathon Brandmeier?’ I had never heard of the guy, but I was out of a gig, so I flew back to LA to meet him. I was sitting in the program director’s office, when this guy came running into the office and kissed me on the mouth. That’s how I met Johnny B.”

Bauer got the job, but in retrospect, he has no idea why he was hired.”I had never booked a guest. I had no idea how the editing software worked. I didn’t even know how to turn on a microphone. And I was the executive producer of the show. He put me through Johnny B bootcamp. It was rough. He demands perfection all the time, but I loved that kind of challenge.”

The show in LA was canceled on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005, but by September Guy was asked to move to Chicago to be the executive producer of Brandmeier’s new show on the Loop (97.9 FM). He has some very fond memories of those Loop days, particularly the Radiothon they did for Make a Wish.

“While it was happening it sucked,” he recalls with a laugh, “it’s sort of like marathon runners – during the show the nipples are bleeding, but after it was over, I just thought to myself – ‘That was incredible!’ I got to see Brandmeier’s genius first hand. I had all 28 hours booked, guest after guest after guest. Ryan Dempster (Chicago Cubs pitcher) showed up out of the blue to donate, and I didn’t have a spot for him for three hours. It shows you his character that he stayed there for three hours just waiting to donate. Radio is a lot of shoot and miss – but that radiothon was crazy because things were hitting and hitting and hitting. That’s when I recognized Johnny’s genius. I thought ‘OK, I get it now. This is why this guy is who he is’.”

In 2009 when Brandmeier and his entire show were laid off, Guy didn’t return to New Jersey. He stayed in Chicago, and he had a very good reason for doing so. “The woman who would become my wife didn’t care for New Jersey, so I stayed and tried to find a job here. I sent out 150-200 resumes, but you have to remember the recession had just kicked in, and it was a brutal time to be looking for work. I didn’t go on one interview. I had been working non-stop since I was 19, and had a pretty darn good resume, but I didn’t even get a call back. Then in January 2010, I read an article in Money magazine about websites that offered freelance gigs, and there was one called guru.com. And that’s where I got my first video editing job – 50 bucks for editing a guy’s puppy video. That was the best $50 I ever made in my life.”

His company started humbly, but it has obviously taken off, and Bauer has a pretty good idea why. “It’s all the stuff that Brandmeier taught me. If you look back at some of those early videos, the quality just wasn’t there. But the experience I gave the client was good, and so they kept giving me good reviews on guru.com, and they kept paying me more. I hustled. Put my money in the company – bought equipment. Then I got clients off my website, and then those started snowballing. We just had two teams working on a project. One team went to Texas, Washington D.C. and Switzerland. And my team went to India and Japan. Going from one $50 project five years ago to going around the world for good money; how does something like that even happen? I wish I could tell you. All I can say is that it’s been incredibly rewarding. Having a team working on this– having this company be part of their journey – it’s something I don’t think about on a day to day basis because I’m just immersed in it, but when I get a moment to reflect, I’m so grateful. It all grew organically. There was no bankroll. No investors. It was just because of the good work we’ve been doing.”

And he says that good work began with the schooling he received at Johnny B bootcamp. “Without the Brandmeier experience and his teachings,” he stresses, “I wouldn’t be here. I’m appreciative of Johnny. That show was hard work and it was stressful, but it taught me everything I know.”

– Rick Kaempfer

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Category: Columns, Media

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