The growth of the Internet has affected radio in infinite ways, including the creation of many unique partnerships. None is as interesting as the ongoing relationship between radio and MrSkin.com founder Jim McBride.
It was Confucius who said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Jim typifies that sentiment, building a multi-media empire powered by broadcast radio, while pursuing a path he is truly passionate about.
You might remember MrSkin.com from the pivotal role the brand played in the 2007 Judd Apatow movie Knocked Up. Seth Rogen’s character spends most of his time in the movie trying to develop a website that specializes in celebrity nude scenes, only to learn – too late – that someone got there first. That someone, of course, was Mr. Skin. Here's the scene, and by the way, this video is very unsafe for work.
But the story didn’t start there. Jim McBride (call him Mr. Skin) launched the site that chronicles celebrity nude scenes in movies and television in 1999 when the Internet as we know it today was still in its infancy. Within five minutes after it launched, the site had its first paid member and today, 15 years later, it averages nine million unique visitors a month.
Much of that growth was spurred by McBride’s ongoing appearances on radio shows across the country. He’s a charming, affable guest with unique content and the ability to discuss when and where any Hollywood actress – or actor – has appeared in the nude. The site’s growth has spawned several other radio businesses, including the launch of several morning show prep services, marketed under the Good Parts Media brand umbrella.
Jim is a savant when it comes to celebrity nude scenes. Every week on big morning radio shows throughout North America, listeners call in to test his knowledge and tap into a brain that is truly focused on both his business and his passion. Megawatt shows including Howard Stern, Lex & Terry, Bob & Tom, and Lamont & Tonelli have made him a regular guest because his segment always lights up the phones and provides great male lifestyle content and entertainment.
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An innovator and entrepreneur who has a unique relationship with radio, we asked Mr. Skin to share some thoughts on his interesting career, what it takes to constantly innovate, and how he views broadcast radio.
Skin: As a teenager I taped movies and made collections of the nude scenes. I did this throughout the '80s: hundreds and hundreds of tapes documenting nudity so I became kind of an expert. My friends could quiz me with “Has Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) ever been naked?” and I could tell them.
Thank God the Internet came along because what good would all that knowledge be without it? I launched MrSkin.com on August 10, 1999. Its success led us to start “Mr. Man” which specializes in male nudity and Good Parts Media, our radio prep service business. We also own Fleshbot — the number one sex culture and adults-only news site — and we run business operations for Naked News out of Toronto. All this spun out of Mr. Skin.
JM: How has changing technology caused you to innovate?
Skin: One of the biggest changes has been the transition from VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray. We started using BetaMax and VHS. Now with Blu-Ray technology and HD streaming, celebrity skin that was hidden is crystal clear and we can zoom in to see detail. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the famous Sharon Stone scene from Basic Instinct in HD.
So we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary by releasing “The Top 150 Greatest Celebrity Nude Scenes of All Time,” which has given us the opportunity to go back through those classic moments.
Also, our tech team is constantly updating the website so we can get the word out as quickly as possible. We’ve added “Skinovations,” including playlists like “The Greatest Stripper Scenes” or “The Hottest Nude Scenes Featuring A-List Actresses.” We also produce videos like the “Mr. Skin Minute” where I highlight everything new and nude in Hollywood and my Top 5 video lists like “Top 5 Naked Oscar Nominees.” These personalized touches help the site evolve and improve.
JM: How did you end up on the radio?
Skin: Radio was part of what I did before MrSkin.com launched. In 1997, I was in a bar and friends were quizzing me on nude scenes. Harry Teinowitz (formerly of WMVP/Chicago and currently on WGWG) overheard us. He asked me to come on his show and answer celebrity nudity questions from callers and a star was porn… I mean born. Then Steve Dahl had me on, and things started to explode. All of a sudden I was on in Boston, then Seattle, then national shows, and finally in 2000, I appeared on The Howard Stern Show.
JM: You now have several radio prep services. What led you to do this?
Skin: I got into radio prep because of my knowledge of radio from providing content to so many shows myself. It gives me a feel for what works on the air. Plus, we already had great technology, writing, and creative teams in place so we had all the right people. We did our homework, saw that there hadn’t been many new prep services launched in the last ten years, and the time seemed right. Now we offer five services: Mr. Prep, The Locker Room, The Hookup, Mr. Talk, and Prep Country. WTMX/Chicago, KSAN/San Francisco, KDGE/Dallas, KOST/Los Angeles, and WCBS/New York all use our prep services, and we are very proud of it.
JM: It’s often helpful to get an outsider’s perspective. As someone who is around the radio industry, in what area of the business do you see the most need for innovation?
Skin: This isn’t necessarily an innovation, but one thing that may help is more young talent. When I first started, there was a bunch of young guys across the nation, lots of up and coming talent. I’d love to see more of that.
JM: What is one suggestion you have for a person with an innovative idea that isn’t sure how to get started?
Skin: It doesn’t hurt to be 36 years-old with no wife and kids living in a studio apartment, like I was in 1999. When you have nothing to lose, you are more willing to take a risk, and really go for it.
But seriously, if you have a great idea and you’re confident you could make a lot of money, just start doing something, anything. And don’t be comfortable with a salaried job, even a good one, if you have a chance to start your own business. There’s no comparison, owning your own business is the greatest.
JM: What is the single most memorable moment from one of your radio interviews?
Skin: In 2009, I was on Howard Stern for Mr. Skin’s 10th Anniversary. My wife was in the green room and Howard called her in. He did 45 minutes with the two of us that I will never forget. She was a trooper. People tell me all the time that was their favorite appearance of mine on his show.
JM: Finally, what impact has radio had on your business and your career?
Skin: Radio is a HUGE reason I am where I am today. At this point, I have to have done close to 10,000 guest appearances. I’ve had days where I have been on 20 different shows. I owe almost everything to radio and the incredible reach it has.
It’s a beautiful partnership. I provide content and they help promote my site. When the hosts endorse you, it creates legitimacy. We have nine million unique visitors a month and I’ve never spent a dime on advertising. Don’t tell me radio isn’t powerful.
Thanks to Jim McBride for taking the time, and Mike Stern for putting it together. If you have ideas for who or what should be our next honoree in “Radio’s Most Innovative,” write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INNOVATION QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”
Robin Williams (from Dead Poets Society)
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