Mark “Friedo” Friedman brings more than 20 years of talk radio experience to the new world of digital media.
Friedo got his start in 1994 producing a Fantasy Football Show on the AM airwaves at 570 KLIF. For the next four years, Friedo climbed the ranks producing and hosted various talk shows on the same station.
In 2000, Friedo and talk show host Norm Hitzges made the move from 570 KLIF to sports radio 1310 The Ticket. At The Ticket, Friedo entered the world of station management in addition to his role as a producer and talk show host.
After nine years at The Ticket, Friedo joined ESPN Radio in the same roles (management, show production and hosting).
In 2016, Friedo founded FriedoNation Productions. An audio production business that specializes in spoken word podcasts. He continues to produce and host sports podcasts, but has also established a method of marketing small businesses through hyper-local, community based podcasts.
How did you get into radio?
I never planned on being in radio. But just like many things in life it was all about timing and luck. Actually it's a very long story. But, basically in 1995 I had a friend who was going through some very rough times. His wife had left him with three kids and he only had a part time job producing a fantasy football show on Sunday afternoons on 570 KLIF AM Radio for $6 an hour. He was only working on Sundays so he was barely making any money. But, he was doing everything he could to make ends meet. I tried to help by "loaning" him money from time to time. It was one of those situations where you don't ever expect to get paid back. I just wanted to help. At the halfway point of the football season he finally found a full-time job that paid a salary. When he told his boss at the radio station that he was taking on a full-time job and was going to have to quit the radio show, his boss asked him if he knew anyone that could take over with very minimal training. So even though he was never able to pay me back the money he was able to hook me up with a dream job that paid minimum wage.
Once I took over that Sunday Fantasy Football Show, I fell in love with the radio business. It is almost impossible to advance from an entry level position at a radio station. But I was determined. I did everything in my power to make sure that I was at the radio station as much as possible even when I wasn't getting paid. I wanted to put myself in a position to take advantage of any opportunity I could get. I said "yes" to everything...including working as a receptionist at the station for a month. I volunteered to work overnights (which I loved). I also volunteered to work holidays. Eventually, I worked my way into a full-time position.
From KLIF I moved on to sports radio 1310 The Ticket in 2000 and then ESPN 103.3FM in 2009. I loved every second of my radio career and feel like I haven't really "worked" since I was in my early 20s.
How did you start FriedoNation Productions?
One of the great things about being in radio management in the 1990s and early 2000s was that radio companies had plenty of money to spend on research. A lot of people I worked with hated going to corporate research presentations and focus groups. And I definitely understand those feelings. Research presentations are incredibly boring. But, I loved the getting the information. It allowed me to learn about podcasts on the ground floor. At the time, most radio programmers didn't necessarily "respect" podcasts. I was one of those programmers. When podcasts first came out they were not really considered a "threat" or an "opportunity". But even though I didn't "respect" them at the time, I knew that one day in the future podcasts were going to powerful.
In the 2000s the entire media industry was changing. DVRs enabled people to watch their favorite TV shows whenever it fit their personal schedule. The internet gave advertisers another method to promote their products. Smart phones allowed radio listeners to listen to stations across the nation. And some radio listeners were starting to listen to podcasts. The changing landscape proved to be a challenge for many radio stations and companies — including my radio station. By October of 2016 I was out of radio and planning on simply turning my radio show into a podcast. But, I had a non-compete that was going to keep me sidelined for six months.
At this point I had lived in Allen for over a decade but had never really gotten involved in the community. So, I decided that I would spend my "non-compete" time getting plugged into the community. My first step was to join the Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce. At my first Chamber meeting, I realized that there were plenty of small/medium businesses that needed creative/efficient ways to promote themselves. Everyone in that room had stories to tell about their businesses and I couldn't help but see a room full of potential podcast hosts. At that point, FriedoNation Productions made a little pivot and I started focusing on helping other business owners tell their stories.
What is most rewarding bout running FriedoNation?
I absolutely love what I'm doing here. I look forward to waking up every morning and coming to "work". I don't even like weekends any more. Monday can't come soon enough!
I get the opportunity to learn from my clients. I get the opportunity to hear their stories. I get the opportunity to hear their struggles, successes and dreams. That's pretty great!
What are some challenges you've faced?
One of the biggest challenges I face with this business is pricing. Believe it or not clients that know me from the radio are willing to pay a lot more than others. I want to be affordable for every budget so I offer customized packages to fit the budgets and needs of my clients.
I think that a lot of people may be surprised at how much I value helping others. Sometimes I don't even realize it. Over the past few years I've been sidelined a little physically (but working my way back) and I haven't been able to be as active in the community. I am definitely looking forward to getting back to the point where I can get back to coaching Special Olympians or participating in different service activities in the community.
Get Allen American news in your inbox!
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.