In anticipation of the next Genuine JBH podcast episode featuring our very own, Zack Lear, we sat down with Brad Hook to learn a little bit more about him and his background.
If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
GENUINE. IMMATURE. REALIST.
What’s your story; how did you get into the livestock industry, and how are you currently involved?
I dropped out of college in the 1980’s farm crisis and got a job in the insurance industry. Hated every second of working for someone else and started my own brand of club calf and breeding stock sales over a period of 30 years. After experiencing every genre of the show cattle business and becoming bored with it, I took the skills that I had mastered after years of doing it for myself and provided it as a service to others.
From the looks of your Snapchat stories, it appears you are always on the road. Out of all the towns you’ve visited or traveled through, which is your favorite, and why?
That’s IMPOSSIBLE to answer...there are bigger cities like Cheyenne, Lubbock, and Indy I like but there are also smaller towns like Hillsboro Ohio that are nearly my second home.
If you’re not snapping behind the scenes on the job you’re usually snapping food... If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ribeye - cooked medium.
How many days a year are you on the road? Do you ever wish you had a job in which you didn’t have to travel so much?
I’m on the road pretty much 10 months straight. I do get home occasionally but for never any length of time. I chose to live this lifestyle. My children are all grown and my wife of 34 years can’t hear me snore three states away and I always bring money back when I return. It’s truly a dream come true for her.
Tell us three things you love about being a livestock photographer, and three things you hate.
1. Nailing the shot on a really good animal.
2. Finishing a really big job and watching it get cashed into a huge payday for my customer.
3. Getting to work and laugh with customers that have basically become family.
2. Dark dreary days.
3. Bad hotels.
You recently started a podcast which has been very successful. What made you decide to start a podcast?
For over a decade I had wanted to do something positive and entertaining for our lifestyle, but I just never could get a grasp on what it was. I initially thought video productions were the road I needed to go down, but with them being SO time-consuming it always got put on the back burner and rarely accomplished. I never really took podcasts seriously until I was asked to do Stock Talk, and the overwhelming response made it clear this was the path I needed to go down.
Out of all your podcast episodes, which one has been your favorite so far and why?
They are all like my children. I really can’t choose a favorite. I have favorite things about each one, but no specific favorite episode. I really enjoyed learning about the species I wasn’t as familiar with, but also loved learning the life history or some of the greatest livestock icons in the world and I am so grateful they gave me the opportunity to record it.
What is the future of your podcast going to look like? Do you have any exciting things planned for it that you’d like to share?
Well, the podcast is still really in its infancy stage although we are now starting our second season. There has been incredible growth and change in a short amount of time. After the flood of positive comments and support for the first season, I decided this venture was more than one (very busy already) man could handle and a professional marketing director was put in place which has turned out to be an extremely good move for the sponsor's customer service. Also, numerous mini-series were added to the podcast so that the availability of potential podcast guests became more plentiful and easier to capture from various locations I was already filming. I have a huge vision for this entity in the future.
What challenges, if any, have you faced with producing your podcast? Do you have any tips for others that are thinking about starting one?
Basically, the only challenge I have faced with the upstart of this podcast is finding the time to dedicate to the production of them. My filming schedule is brutal ten months a year so just making sure each and every second of every day is a productive one has become the norm. My advice for future podcasters is QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY. Quality sound, quality editing, quality guests. Respect the fact that people are giving you this time out of their life to listen, and it better be worth it.
One of four Empire founders, Zack Lear, sitting down in the "recording studio" with Brad Hook!
We can't thank Brad enough for giving us all a little peak into his life, we can't image what it's like being this popular!!! Tune into Brad's Podcast series called "Genuine JBH" on Spotify or iTunes Podcast app!!
The Empire Team