Today we’d like to introduce you to Fred Willis.
Fred, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am Fred Willis, professional musician, and digital media company entrepreneur. I am married (Rhonda) with three children and serve as Minister of Music at a local church here in Fort Worth. I have toured six countries playing gospel music (the latest tour was in Japan 2012/2013).
Of all my musical exploits, I felt my world crashing down and as if the music window was closing in on me. One day, I made a decision. I needed a job! Most job hunting was done online but I was unemployed and all of the bills were due. At the time, my wife and I had two children and money making music was no longer enough to keep the house financially secure. Our internet was disconnected so I went to Wendy’s to use their free Wi-Fi. While there, I found a job solicitiation for writers on the now defunct examiner.com.
I applied and was accepted to write for them. One column became two and finally, I was awarded a third column writing about gospel music, church (events and opinion) and funerals. I had a knack for writing but only took it seriously enough to blog on Myspace and Facebook. Those were my submissions for an examiner, Suite 101 and a few other sites that I later wrote for.
Just like that, I was a writer. I wrote mostly about events around the metroplex because our church and music scenes are like no other! In 2012, I began a podcast because I wanted to share my thoughts with my audience. I didn’t always want to write articles, I wanted more real time engagement.
As a recent graduate of Cedar Valley College, I used my notes to start a podcast and later an internet radio station, right from my house. I was doing it all, recording and writing from my music room (our third bedroom). Almost daily, new writing assignments came in. There were people reaching out to me that I had only dreamt of meeting. They were asking me to write for them, get their clients on my show and even play their music. It was a whirlwind experience for me.
In 2013, I knew that I needed to make things official and so I created the SoulProsper Media Group to do in-house many of the things I had been contracted to do for others. I remained a freelance journalist but focused more on creating content to outsource to other publications and radio stations. From my home studio, I create jingles, produce music, podcasts, syndicated radio shows and serve as lead writer for my company.
My radio shows were syndicated on as many as 11 stations, reaching as far as the Little Cayman Islands. For my work, I was awarded the 2015 Prayzefactor Radio Programmer of the Year. In 2016, my station was on the Internet Radio ballot for Stellar Gospel Music Awards. Today, I write for my company, have contributed to La Vida News (Fort Worth) and on the Huffington Post blog. My internet radio station SoulProsper Radio can be heard from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been smooth and I don’t expect it to be. In digital media, there is always change. The existence of my company represents change, itself. For my prospective clients, it’s a change from the norm and a change to a better product they can trust. Of course building trust and seeing results take time.
Some of the struggles to reach this point have been simply surviving the worst of times. The treatment in the workspace alongside many veterans in this field have been so discouraging, there are nights when I would ride home ready to quit. Waiting on artists to interview, being shut out of interview opportunities at the venue, being lied to, taken advantage of and more are all part of the story that built the resilience that has placed my company on the minds of and in the company of some of my industry’s greatest names.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about SoulProsper Media Group – what should we know?
My digital media company has taken print journalism online. Here, we share entertainment, ministry and media information with our worldwide audience. Our radio partner, SoulProsper Radio supports indie and mainstream artists 24 hours a day in addition to thought provoking and industry leading shows throughout the day.
I made a conscious decision years ago as my audience grew: I took a stance to be intentionally informative. I will never publish a story without factual evidence and will never abuse any of the many professional relationships afforded me and my company.
We specialize in delivering news that our audience wants to know about. New shows coming on, new film releases, new music coming out, all things faith and entertainment related. That’s our sweet spot.
We have chosen to not just publish press releases as they come across our desk. We want to know the story behind the story. Many times, we see the same release plastered across 10 or 15 websites in the same day. It does it no good for us to run the same release. I think like a consumer, I want to know the real story. The meat of the story…we don’t like to starve our readers!
As a musician, when I write about music, I write about the creative process. Who’s playing what? Who are the singers? Those are often left out menial press releases and I hate it. I feel like the more you can share with your audience, the more they will trust what you share with them.
In this short life of my company, I have been most proud to stand next to industry leaders as their contemporary (as well as their student).
I feel proud that I am able to achieve the vision I initially set out to accomplish. Subjects like Bishop T. D. Jakes have been my greatest experiences because so many people want to hear from him. Actress Kim Fields, Bern Nadette Stanis, Emmitt Smith, Kirk Franklin, Wynnona Judd, Catherine Monson have been some of my most popular interviews. What I love most is that locally, my colleagues and artists recognize and appreciate my work.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Integrity is what I feel is the most important characteristic to the success of my company. I believe that customers should get from my company exactly what we agree upon. I don’t under-promise to over-deliver, I simply make available the best use of my resources for every client who chooses to use our services.
In short, integrity is our brand.
- Address: 7101 Bryant Irvin #34064
Fort Worth, Texas 76162
- Website: www.soulprospermedia.com
- Phone: 817.523.1764
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: SMGMusicMedia
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SMGMusicMedia/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SMGMusicMedia
- Other: www.spradioshow.com