Sometimes, business success is about serendipity — about being in the right place at the right time. That’s the story of the Grindhouse Radio. Brimstone, a serial entrepreneur, had an idea. But it didn’t come to fruition until he noticed the talent and hard work of two interns — Kim Adragna and Steve Zambito — in his publishing and entertainment business. Both had extensive experience in radio and broadcasting, and Brim proposed the three of them do a test run for a radio show to gauge how they “would vibe throughout an hour-long recording session,” the three entrepreneurs say.
But “vibe” they did as they “crammed around a single microphone on an open desk after hours. Everything clicked. The chemistry was exactly where it needed to be.” Adragna, Brim, and Zambito made a unanimous decision to move forward with the intent of becoming partners once the show gained enough steam. They established goals and created a business plan in order to reach them. And then, the trio recalls, “It was a quick growth — sometimes too quick!”
The Grindhouse Radio, also known as GHR, is now an internationally syndicated, award-winning pop culture talk radio series that is featured on iHeartRadio, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and over 19 other syndicated networks with between 3.5-4 million listeners weekly worldwide. The Grindhouse has been ranked as high as #8 on the Overall worldwide charts for iTunes, with a weekly spot in their Top 20 Best Comedic Podcasts worldwide. GHR is very popular on Long Island, its home market, with 620,000 listeners. It was voted the 2017 & 2018 Best Radio Station on Long Island.
Prior to entering the 2018 American Small Business Championship (ASBC), the trio says they “weren’t familiar with SCORE and how it operated.” But, they say, “It is never too late to learn something new.”
At the networking and training symposium for ASBC finalists, they attended a presentation by Betsy Dougert, SCORE’s director of communications and public relations. Though Dougert was not yet an official SCORE mentor, the three entrepreneurs say that they “requested that she assist us in some areas that we wanted to improve upon.”
“We wanted to pick Betsy’s brain about certain aspects of media that we are already involved in, [but] needed a clearer ‘outside of the box-looking in’ type of view,” they say. “We enjoyed a mentoring session that confirmed that we were doing the right things — as well as picked up a few great ideas that assisted in building metrics.”
The trio adds that meeting with Dougert “has assisted in achieving a few goals. It made us work smarter and harder in order to continue building and growing as a business and as a team.”
The Grindhouse Radio recently celebrated its third anniversary. And the trio says they’re “looking forward to the 2019 launch of The Grindhouse Radio Network — a 24/7 broadcasting network that will allow up-and-coming talent the opportunity to follow their dreams in entertainment.
The Grindhouse Radio was also just named one of three 2018 ASBC Grand Champions, meaning that they won $15,000 to further grow their business.
Looking back, Adragna says, “It’s crazy to think an internship would turn into a partnership based around a fun conversation in front of a single microphone.” And Zambito adds, “We have grown tremendously over the last few years … now we’re looking to offer the same opportunity to others!”
Paying it Forward
Since the ASBC symposium, Brim and Adragna have worked with many of their fellow ASBC finalists. This has inspired Brim to become a SCORE mentor himself.
Brim, Adragna, and Zambito have advice for aspiring business owners:
“Work hard — if you don’t do it — someone else will!”
“Never change, be yourself — there is only one you — don’t become a cookie cutter image of what you believe Corporate America expects.”
“[You need to have] heart and thick skin [and] love what you do and expect that not everyone is going to love it as much as you do.”
“If you need help — ask — there are people out there who are willing to help you.”
“Grow — never stop growing — ride it until the wheels fall off!”