12 Questions: Mark Lipsky

Mark LipskyMeet Mark Lipsky.

Mark is the President & CEO of The Radio Agency, the national advertising agency 100% focused on results from radio.  He’s the author of “Radio Tips: 101 Tips, Tricks and Secrets to Make Your Radio Advertising More Profitable” and a frequent convention and conference speaker.  He lives in Broomall and survives the grueling 6-10 minute commute from his home to The Radio Agency’s offices in Media.  You can reach Mark at (610) 892-7300 x108 or via email at Mark@TheRadioAgency.com.

And now, the 12 Questions.

1. What kind of kid were you?

I was obsessed with music.  The Beatles invaded America when I was seven.  I spent the next 10 years surgically connected to a radio, bopping to the British Invasion and grooving to Motown and Memphis.  I was that cartoon-caricature kid who twisted radio dials under the blankets at 3 AM, entranced by the faraway stations that entered my bedroom via sky waves.  I was also a bit of a wiseass that did way too many impersonations for a 10-year old.

2. What influences have shaped you?

My sister taught me how to read while I was still in a playpen.  My working-class parents scraped together the funds to put me through college.  Saturday Night Live banged my funny bone and saved me from a life in chartered accountancy.  My mentors and colleagues at WPEN/WMGK helped me develop my writing and marketing skills.  A Lakota medicine man and a biofeedback institute trained me to simplify my life by not working so hard to complicate it.  I’ve been remarkably fortunate to benefit from the love and good influences of so many.

3. Ever done anything really dumb?

Pretty much every day.  But last summer was a doozy.  My daughter and I were driving to Quebec for a week-long vacation.  Five hours into the trip, just north of Albany, I realized I’d left our passports at home.  We could enter Canada, but we wouldn’t be able to get back home.  We drove five hours back to Philly, with me kicking myself over my stupidity.  My daughter and I broke the mood and salvaged the ride by creating an improv game naming – and then acting out – the “even more stupid” things I could have done.  (We cashed in frequent flyer miles the next day to join our vacation, already in progress.)

4. How’d you learn to do what you do?

By listening hard and then putting myself in a position to be surrounded by some wonderfully-talented people I could emulate.  Through diligence and pure passion, I logged my 10,000 hours.  And then the fun started.

5. What are you working on now?

I’m writing a fascinating piece called “12 Questions Interview.”  In about an hour, I’ll be back at work on several advertising campaigns while deftly avoiding work on my half-finished second book.

6. Walk us through a typical day at work.

Client meetings.  Staff meetings.  Scripting a radio commercial or two.  Directing voice talent in a recording session.  A couple of phone calls with total strangers, explaining to one why radio is not a good fit for them and explaining to the other why radio is their perfect match.  Always a curve ball.  Rarely a dull moment.

7. Who do you love?

My amazing daughter, Kirsten.  For better or worse, she’s assimilated my sense of humor and is gifted at improv and creative writing.  She also has a beautiful singing voice.  She’s centered my world and balanced my life, all by being simply wonderful and playfully silly.

8. What are you passionate about?

Radio.  Jazz.  Improv.  Howard Stern.  Arrested Development.  Elliptical Workouts.  Blues.  Travel.  Philly Sports.  Sambuca rocks shaken.  SNL.  And the satisfaction of helping others realize their potential by making positive choices as an active driver on the road of life.  Beep beep, beep beep, yeah.

9. What are you proudest of?

Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the good fortune to lead an incredible team of creative professionals at The Radio Agency.  They make me proud to meet captains of industry and tell them our story.

10. Describe a great night out.

First, call ahead to request good weather.  Next, a light-but-satisfying meal; possibly sushi.  Then some entertainment: jazz, blues, improv, maybe a little Zydeco dancing.  Finally, a cool-evening-breeze walk with rich visuals for the eyes and a warm hand-in-hand to share the stride.

11. So what’s next for you?

Whatever comes my way.  I’m a planner, but happily balanced by the reality that out of seven billion people on this planet, I only get to control one of them.  (And that’s on a good day.)  So no matter what I think will come next, what comes next will be what comes next.  Life’s an endless buffet of planned positivity dashed with surprise and unexpected tragedy.  Master the mix and each day becomes a navigable adventure, well worth the daily dive.

12. What will your epitaph say?

“Ouch.  Don’t step there.”


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PCG Staff
Know somebody who should be featured on 12 Questions? Tell us!

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