Spotlight: Mike Austin. Radio Dad.

Mike Austin. Radio Dad.Welcome to our first Spotlight! The Father Life Spotlight is meant to keep you informed about fatherhood-related media that you should know about. We’ll be spotlighting everything from people and organizations to websites and blogs. Enjoy!

Mike Austin. Radio Dad.

Back when The Father Life launched, one of the first voicemails I received was from Mike Austin of Radio Dad ( He called just to say congrats on the magazine and good luck; since then, weve ended up chatting a number of times…

A year ago, Mike took some time off from Radio Dad in order to focus on his family’s adoption of 4 children from Poland (in addition to his own 2 children). That’s an adventure in and of itself! “The kids we’ve adopted have totally changed our dynamic as a family!” says Mike. “I took Radio Dad off the air and took that year off with the kids to make things work. We went to Poland, did the adoption… 4 kids (3 girls and 1 boy). It was more like a 2-year process when all was said and done, what with the paperwork, etc… Thank God my wife is really organized!”

Mike has been in radio for 28 years, most recently having produced the show Radio Dad for the last 10 years. Radio Dad was a 2-minute radio spot that featured interviews and commentary on fatherhood. It was relatively successful, airing on 26 stations in 17 states. “That’s not bad, but you really need more than that to attract national advertisers. This has been a 12-year process. A lot of starts and stops all while figuring out mistakes.” Now that life with 6 kids has become as normal as it can become, Mike and family are preparing to move closer to other family a couple hours north of Chicago and Mike is ready to get back to Radio Dad.


Mike is ready to get back to Radio Dad and relaunch not only the show but the brand. “I’ve been working with a friend (Ron Stevens) over at All-Star Radio Networks out of Saint Louis and we’ve been working really hard to get the show back out and to syndicate it into a bigger market.” Mike is very excited about the new 90-second format of the show. “The show lends itself well to listeners because it’s quick and it’s accessible. I think we have an approach that fits really well into a stations format.”

Mike also has some additional projects on tap including a book, but the main focus right now is the show and the website. A lot of energy is being put into ‘clearing stations’ and Mike’s been back in the studio busy producing shows so that he has spots ‘in the can’ in advance of the slated Father’s Day 2007 relaunch. This time around, in addition to the show, a lot will be done with the website “Everything on the radio show will also be available on the website. Podcasts of each show, a blog, merchandise (for example, if he interviews an author youll be able to go to the site to purchase the book), and widgets. The site will be very interactive.”

Mike will have 30-40 shows ready to go by the time the show relaunches, with topics including: grandfathers/legacy, an interview with author Neil Chethik about the topic of father loss, an interview with the founders of The Father Life (yes, this is a shameless plug), some connections with Men’s Health and Best Life magazines, and ’10 Rules of Dating my Daughter’.

But one of Mike’s favorite interviews is with Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts’ coach Tony Dungy. “I ended up talking with Tony through Bryan Davis over at All-Pro Dad. I thought that it would be a real long shot, but they gave me some contact info for some folks over at the Colts organization. I thought that, at best, I’d have to call and talk with at least 10 people just to get through the door. But Tony is a really down-to-earth guy!”

Mike was doing some work in his home studio when his phone rang. “Hi, Mike? This is Tony Dungy… I heard you were trying to get a hold of me? How can I help you?”

“I’m thinking, ‘oh my gosh!’ Here’s Tony Dungy calling me from his car phone, and I’m sitting here like a schmuck with nothing ready! No questions ready, no recording equipment ready… I was so embarrassed!” recalls Mike. So, despite his better judgment, Mike asked, “…this is going to sound really bad and I’m really embarrassed, but… could you call me back in like 20 minutes?” Tony said it wasn’t a problem.

“20 minutes went by and the phone didn’t ring; I thought I’d totally blown it! But than 30 minutes went by and he called back and we had a great conversation and a great interview!”

So, keep an ear out for that interview when Radio Dad relaunches this coming Father’s Day. We’ll keep you updated through The Father Life, and we look forward to Radio Dad coming back on the air!

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