Our friends and hosts of Minnesota Bound Laura Schara and Bill Sherck reflect on this history and the legacy of the show as they celebrate their 1000 episodes with a special on Sunday, November 13.
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Stephanie Hansen 00:12
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the makers of Minnesota podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things. And it’s a pretty cool episode when we can talk to Laura Sherif, who is the legendary Ron Sheraz. Daughter. Obviously, Ron Sherry is not here with us today talking. But we are here with Bill shirk who’s Laura’s partner in Minnesota bound. And Ron started the series. And I’ll let Laura talk about her dad. But everybody in the media world has such fond feelings about your dad and about Raven, and you guys really put Minnesota on the map. So I’m super excited that I get to talk with you as you’ve just recorded your 1,000th episode. I mean, as a Minnesota show myself, I think I have close to 300 episodes. And I feel like I’ve been doing this forever. So this has been like your whole life, hasn’t it?
Laura Schara 01:04
It definitely has been a lot of my life. You know, and my dad started the show back in 1995. I remember him filming in the kitchen. And you know, when they first got started in the television world, my sister and I would probably be running around the house and doing things and making too much noise. And we weren’t used to having to be quiet on the set. Sure. But yes, the show is celebrating its 1,000th episode and 25 years in the making. So it has been a long a really long run. And we’re thankful that we’re still able to continue it.
Stephanie Hansen 01:37
And Bill, tell me about when you became part of the program and your role because I full disclosure, I was saying I also know Scott Franzen. I know Kieran Cleary who’s does sales for you guys. And I know a lot of people on your team. But I hadn’t met you yet, Bill. So tell me what your role is here.
Bill Sherck 01:55
Well, I hide pretty well, I just locked the door to the back office. Your buddy Scott Franzen is of course, our CEO was actually a story about how we met and how that all came to be. But I was getting ready to leave television news. And it must have been 2003, I guess. And I love telling stories, using pictures and sounds and writing. I just don’t like the kinds of stories I was telling at that point in my life. And my dad had said, you know, you should write Ron Sherif a letter. I thought, I got to write Ron share a letter, but I wrote him a letter and one thing led to another and at the time, his director of photography was a guy who I had helped get his start in television back in the day. So it just all kind of worked out. And I was lucky enough to become part of the team.
Stephanie Hansen 02:49
And you guys tell Minnesota stories and you’re primarily focused in the outdoor space. Has that changed Laura from like, what your dad’s enthusiasm and interest was to yours?
Laura Schara 03:04
You know, it, it hasn’t changed. I think what we always focus on as a team is when what has made Minnesota bound so special is really the people and their stories. And we always you know, are blessed to have so many people in this state that are passionate about the outdoors. And really everything from hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking, state parks, camping, you name it, all of those things. And that has remained true to the show from day one is really it’s about the interesting characters, places and people that all the things that make our state so wonderful. And that is stayed true to through all 25 years and continues to be so you know, I think each of us, including Bill and myself have been able to bring different approaches to the show and fresh perspectives. I brought back the wild game cooking in the show. My dad had started that a long time ago. And then it kind of took a break and I am passionate about cooking myself I love cooking. And I know just from being around a lot of wild game growing up is that a lot of people are intimidated by what to do with it if it’s in their freezer. Now if it’s only one person in the family that’s doing the hunting and the other person does cooking in the family, sometimes they don’t even know what to do. So I wanted to get back and you know, make sure we’re doing the full circle of life here and showing people that it’s easier to cook Wildgame than they think. And it’s a really green way to harvest your food. And also that there are ways to cook it other than using cream of mushroom soup in a crock pot. And well I vowed to never use creamy mushroom soup in any of the cooking segments. Oh my god. Yes. And I wanted them to be chef driven but also very easy recipes. So that’s why we’ve worked with Chef Jim for all these years. He’s wonderful. And and it’s fun to see people come up sometimes and say Oh, I had a chance to try that recipe and I’m like, Yeah, you tried it because they are really easy and we use simple ingredients but they have a very chef gourmet flavor. And that’s been a really fun aspect of of the show and I hope that encourages more people to try Wildgame
Stephanie Hansen 05:03
Yeah, Bill, can you think of something that maybe you have brought to the show just based in your knowledge base?
Bill Sherck 05:10
I do a lot of recipes using cream of mushroom, specifically Gamble’s.
Laura Schara 05:16
That’s my goal, and I don’t ever cook together
Bill Sherck 05:18
exactly what you know, I don’t know, it’s, this will probably sound a little bit thick. But it’s the storytelling aspect for me. It really is, we’re lucky to use pictures in the sounds and the words and you know, I got a college degree in journalism and history and just being able to tie all that stuff together and travel around and meet people in our state and, and communicate their stories. That’s what’s most important to me.
Stephanie Hansen 05:55
Can you think Bill have a favorite episode that you felt like really exhibited the storytelling in a great way?
Bill Sherck 06:02
Stephanie Hansen 06:03
I know, it’s like asking you to pick your favorite child, but
Bill Sherck 06:06
1000 episodes 23 724? I mean, there’s so many great stories, right? Just wonderful. People. Yes, Minnesota is very diverse. And we have all these different cool environments that are sure the southeast, the Driftless region, the prairies, the North Woods, but all that is amazing. But really, it comes down to the people we meet. Oh, gosh, I mean, Caitlin’s a story about the dad who lost his fishing buddy, his daughter, she got run over walking to the high school football game. And he still puts on a fishing tournament every year in her memory, the slick family deer camp, you know, like 60 members up north by by dad and one of the members went into a coma for like two years, and couldn’t go to deer camp and one day suddenly woke up. And you know, within a year was back in Deer Camp. And he wanted to thank the people who had cared for him for those years. So they wanted to bring a cooked meal of deer to you know, the hospital and the home. And, you know, whatever, roles wouldn’t allow them to do that. So instead, rented buses and shipped all those people out to their deer camp to just cook them a meal and camp. Right. Those are just such profound and kind of epic stories. Yeah.
Stephanie Hansen 07:39
Okay, and I’ll try and link to it in the show notes so that people can can check that out that Minnesota is really rich with history. And you guys are telling these stories. But I also want to touch on the business aspect, because journalism has changed a lot. The news has changed a lot. Like, we don’t necessarily get a lot of these stories anymore. And how does the business aspect work? Like do you charge people for their stories? Or do you make all your money back in the advertising pieces?
Bill Sherck 08:12
Laura can tackle this one? Yeah, go ahead. Um, so there are two there are two parts to this. Number one, journalism, right? Television Production. Number two, the outdoor industry. And the outdoor industry for a long time has been pretty loose meaning people are engaged in this stuff, and they get ProStaff deals and get some free fishing rods and a bag of jigs in a jersey, that’s all marked up. And they call it good, but that doesn’t necessarily pay for college, right? So we really run our production company like a business. You know, when we go out to shoot a story, whatever that has to do with a fishing guide, or fishing, it is very segment. We’re not just going on vacation and hanging out for a few days. It’s okay. We travel from 8am to 11pm. We make introductions 1130. We’re on the water we’re shooting fishing until 1pm and 1pm We should interview till two and then we get out of there and so many people in these places we go you just got here like where are you going? Well, just like you you’re running a business need to get home you need to get to the next assignment that has helped us be pretty efficient. The other part is we have a very dedicated sales team. Our content is profound but we don’t last, you know without income, and so they help sell advertising what we think is a little bit curious. We build relationships. We have such great long term partners the Aquarius kinetic goes the rappel, as you know, all these companies that we deal with we’ve had relationships sometimes for decades and it’s based on relationships and reputation, and return on investment, and yeah, so that’s part of how we stay in business. When I miss Laura
Laura Schara 10:12
didn’t miss much, that was a great explanation. We don’t charge people to be on the show, you know, part of keeping the show true to itself is really making sure the stories are great stories with really interesting characters or places or stories to tell. So that is always remained the same. And you know, we have been fortunate that our sales team is they’re awesome. But we’ve had amazing partners, and our show really sells out way far in advance, as far as advertising goes. So that’s been a blessing, and that they do a great job at really setting up wonderful packages with social media and all those things included. So yeah, works really well.
Stephanie Hansen 10:52
And that’s kind of the new frontier, right? So you guys are producing these beautiful stories. And then do you find ways to share them on social? Whether it be through Facebook or Instagram? Or does that part of the package that you’re offering now is your Laura Haller
Bill Sherck 11:08
will definitely answer this one. Not me. She fantastic. It’s social media.
Laura Schara 11:13
Oh, my goodness, I try to keep up it moves so fast. Ah, yes. So. And of course, our sales team would speak the best on this whole on this question. But the answer is yes, when there is a partnership developed with a company or client, social media is included. And depending on if they are working with the show directly that they will be featured on Minnesota balance page, Facebook page, Instagram page, of course, all of our Minnesota bound full episodes go up on YouTube. And then they are also put up on Amazon Prime video. So we’re making sure we’re hitting those streaming people. And then if a company wants to individually work with Bill or myself and the show together, we will also then of course, be posting on our social media pages as well. I mean, social media is just part of everyday media now. So it’s definitely part of the process. You know, Bill and I were not as active as we should be on social media. We’re getting better at doing it. But it is kind of it is part of the job now is social media.
Stephanie Hansen 12:12
Yeah, it’s really, it’s come full circle in the expectation to not just of companies but of media, folks, it used to be that you did your job, and then you went home. And now you know, you’re supposed to be on and accessible. And it is kind of hard because you have to find a line that works where you don’t feel like you’re at work all the time.
Laura Schara 12:33
Bill Sherck 12:35
we’ll meet with potential advertisers. Well, we’ll meet with potential advertisers and sit down and look at some of the numbers we’ll say, well, we get 37 million eyeballs a year. And they’ll say yeah, but how many Facebook likes do you get? Oh, things are changing.
Stephanie Hansen 12:52
Yeah, it was kind of like that. I’ve been in a lot of advertising businesses, direct mail, radio, newspaper, and all of a sudden, the social came on the scene. And it’s, it’s free. I put that in air quotes, because of course, nothing’s free. But when I talk to small businesses, and just business people, they’re like, well, most of our strategies, digital and social. And they do kind of forget that, you know, in terms of pairs of eyeballs, and literal eyes, seeing things that there is a lot to be said about these not these traditional mediums, still, they still do a great job, and how you balance all of that and hit all of those is really interesting, and really part of the story. Because if you’re just talking to your Facebook followers, you’re kind of in an echo chamber of your own creation.
Bill Sherck 13:43
So it’s interesting, you I think back to, I don’t know, probably 15 or 18 years ago, a great set of television gear temp broadcast quality video, you had like 50,000 invested in a single camera tripod battery, very few people could afford that. So these big networks like ESPN will come to us and say, We want your program because you are professionals now jumped ahead. 18 years later, and professional quality video is on everyone’s cell phone, and they can pick up a DSLR camera for 800 bucks. And they can produce content everywhere. Right? So now the slice of the pie. They’re just millions of these slices. So for us, we have tried to stick to quality, storytelling, journalism, high production value, we have the best AWARD WINNING PHOTO journalists in the industry to a point that’s sort of been our niche. That’s how we’ve been able to survive. It’s not all on television anymore, but it’s all these other spots Laura talks about. That’s you know how we’ve progressed in the next chapter.
Stephanie Hansen 14:50
Do you guys also do like I know some content companies are expanding and producing content for their clients that isn’t necessarily driven show driven. So like, are you working with any companies to chronicle their stories in different ways? Are you becoming a content creation company? And that happens to produce Minnesota bound? Or are you Minnesota bound specific and that’s you’re just gonna outdoor branded,
Bill Sherck 15:19
we’re Minnesota bound. And people love that type of storytelling and content. So we have companies like Polaris, companies like bushel boy coming to us saying, do what you do. Can you share help us tell our story? And yeah, we do some of that, but, but at our core, we produce our own content. Right.
Stephanie Hansen 15:42
Okay. And are there other products that Minnesota bound is working on besides the show itself? Like, I don’t know, if you’re doing events or if you’re doing gun shows, or whatever the other items might be? Because the outdoors world is so vast?
Laura Schara 16:01
Yeah, you know, rancher productions, as a whole has numerous television shows besides Minnesota bound so they have destination Polaris, which is a national nationally syndicated show on fox sports. And also they have made for the outdoors they have. Oh, my goodness, where am I forget the flash, thank you. For its details, other shows on the Outdoor Channel, etc. So, yes, they’ve been very busy as far as creating content and other arenas and of course, do door foot doors, which is on valleys now. So that has been and continues to grow as we move forward. You know, Minnesota bound, of course, is the mothership, the mothership. Yes. But there’s been a lot of other shows have been produced from the production company, for sure.
Stephanie Hansen 16:50
I really admire the work that you guys have done. It’s not easy being in this space. You know, it’s just there’s so much content that’s being created, and it’s moving so fast. I love that you’re hanging in there, and that you’re not only sticking to that quality piece, but also helping the advertisers connect with something that is so Minnesota centric, and that helps them move the needle in terms of selling their products.
Bill Sherck 17:15
And I will tell you, we’ve talked a lot about kare 11 For the last few weeks and our outstate markets they have stuck with us and supported us. For decades. We’re 26 years into this and parent companies with accountants sitting in some office in New York City don’t always know what Minnesota bound is. But these stations have fought for us. Same with Fox Sports north, which is now Bally’s. They have been such key partners of us and they bought our programming up against live sports, which are strong numbers and broadcasts like those sorts of things have been so helpful and helped us survive and we’re just so appreciative of those people, but it takes those relationships to make it and continue.
Stephanie Hansen 18:06
Well, I will connect to your YouTube channel so that people can watch your episodes the 1,000th episode, can you say what it’s about your program? This particular podcast is probably not going to release for a couple of weeks. So can you say what your 1000 Episode topic is?
Laura Schara 18:23
Go ahead, Laura. Yeah. You know, our 1,000th episode is really celebrating who we are, where we came from, and what is the future and the legacy Minnesota bound. And we go through a little bit of history and how much our company has grown over the years. And you know, Belinda Jensen kare 11 used to be on Minnesota bound she used to be a roaming reporter. So we kind of just take a little history ride and then my dad finishes it off with what’s the future Minnesota bound. So we have a one hour special actually primetime special on kare 11 coming up on November 13. Sunday. So we’re excited about that. And then we’re also live in studio with with Belinda not live, but live to tape in studio and we talk about some of our favorite stories and things people may not know about the show, kind of behind the scenes
Stephanie Hansen 19:14
look. Alright, well, I love it. Thanks for spending time with me, Bill and Laura and for allowing us to get a glimpse in Minnesota bound. Thanks for championing Minnesota. I’m a homer to and I love it. I really appreciate your time you guys.
Bill Sherck 19:27
Stephanie. We appreciate you.
Stephanie Hansen 19:29
Yeah, thank you. We’ll talk soon. Bye.