An Important Piece of Our Puzzle … Roger Dykes

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

He’s a writer, a counselor, an advocate for the disabled, a relentless podcast critic, and a friend … Roger Dykes continues to be an important piece of our Free Range Texan fabric.

Roger doesn’t mind me telling you that he has been disabled with Cerebral Palsy since birth, and has spent his life in a wheelchair.    I have been acquainted with Roger since the late 1960s (I think).  The more you know Roger Dykes. listen to what he is saying, and watch what he is doing, the more you see that he is a master at battling the ever present discrimination in our society that profoundly affects the lives of people with all types of disabilities.

Roger DykesWhen we created the Heroes and Heroines File for our Free Range Texan Podcast, the first lesson we learned was that in general real heroes and heroines are not readily available for interviews.  Then it occurred to us, during the production of Episode 3, that we had a real-life hero living among us.  Roger Dykes was our guest for the very first Heroes and Heroines File.

Roger DykesRoger has a Master’s Degree from Texas Tech University, has owned and run his own business, and worked as a stand-up (or sit down) comedian and after dinner speaker.  He also found time to write a book (Non-Persons Rolling in a Normal World) about living a life in today’s world being disabled throughout most of his body, but not his mind.  Incidentally, there is an audio version about to be released on Amazon, that is narrated by a somewhat mediocre voice talent, or so says one of my avid critics.

Roger Dykes
Roger Dykes, 1977

The Free Range Texan depends on a number of special people who have generously thrown in their love and expertise behind the scenes of our Podcast.  One of these remarkable individuals is Roger Dykes.  Don’t let the wheelchair fool you, his wisdom is profound and his wit can cut its way through chain link in an instant.  He is my friend.

Not Your Average Podcast

Michael Shawn
Michael Shawn

We’re not like any other podcast that we know of.  In this respect we are uniquely outside the box.  We never planned to be, but we opened our minds, turned on our creativity, and this is what came out.

Free Range Texan PodcastThe concept of titled segments, opening monologues, and running Michael Shawn’s campfire segment always at the end, actually just developed over the first two or three episodes.  We didn’t even have a production blueprint when we started.  We just knew it was in us and we were going to bring it out.

Most of us are ex-commercial broadcasters, who spent a good portion of our lives competing in the competitive arenas of radio and television.  Local morning show hosts to formally syndicated broadcasters … and then there was me, Michael Shawn, who did all of it over a life-time of work, but I always knew these guys and respected their talent.

Kidd Manning Michael Shawn John SandersOne thing I can tell you for sure, the Free Range Texan Podcast would not exist in its present-day form if it were not for an eclectic collection of remarkable friends and professionals who have lent their expertise from the first day we lit the lamp.

In the beginning was Anthony Garza, whose engineering and post-production support taught us the technical aspects to take our first step into the digital world.  Most of us had grown up analog and it is a real mind shift to embrace completely digital editing and production skills.

John Sanders
John Sanders

Our current studio engineer is someone we rely on almost daily.  His real job title is Owner of Deep Creek Technology Services, which just happens to have a remarkable sound/video studio.  The fact that it is located in another city in this day and time, makes no difference.  Without John Sanders our computers, digital editing devices, microphones and effects technologies would often lay adrift waiting for someone who knows what they are doing to save the day.  John is that guy.

And then there are those “people” …  the ones who’s voices you hear on our podcast, often quite regularly, though many times playing different characters.  Their contributions are vital, because from a production standpoint, our host needs someone to play off of in a hundred different scenarios.

And then there are people like Kidd Manning and others, who make remarkable contributions to our content.  They allow us access to their connections, knowledge, and showmanship expertise.  It all works together.

Free Range Texan Talent BoostAnd finally, there is A-Team PR’s Studio A, which is our somewhat technically muscle-bound production studio that provides a home for our podcast.  When Free Range Texan was first conceived by the A-Team PR creative team, everyone became cognizant of the fact that a new studio would have to be designed and created from the ground up for Free Range Texan’s needs.  At that point, we were creating campfire segments in the bookkeeping and print design offices of A-Team PR.  We can’t imagine doing that now, but in the beginning, that’s how it worked.

A-Team PR Studio A
A-Team PR’s Studio A, Today

It took months of burning the midnight oil, but our first Free Range Texan Podcast, Free Range Texan Facebook page, Free Range Texan Blog, and Free Range Texan YouTube Channel all were designed and built to rise up and roll out on October 28th, 2018.  When I think back on where we were then and where we are now, it’s been a remarkable journey.  We are grateful for everybody, including our listeners who spend a half-hour or so every two weeks escaping to be a part of the Free Range Texan Podcast.