Today we are thrilled to welcome Bobby Mathews to the TVP Comms team! Bobby comes to us from the University of Alabama—the best university in the world, disclaimer: I might be biased—where he was a communications specialist and focused on garnering media placements for UA faculty experts. I encourage all of you to follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn. We look forward to bringing Bobby into our work and utilizing his experience previously working on a campus and as a journalist and newspaper editor.
In order to give you all a “Bobby primer,” I had him answer some questions touching on aspects beyond his professional background—you can always read his official bio for that! So, with that, read on to learn about the newest TVP Comms-er and help us welcome him to the team.
What was your first job?
Jack-of-all-trades at Dairy Queen when I was in high school. It was a small takeout operation with no seating at all. I learned to do a little bit of everything there, from creating the perfect little swirls on the soft-serve ice cream cones to slaving over a hot grill in order to serve a bus full of hungry customers. I learned a lot there—mostly that I never wanted to work in fast food again.
Is it true that the Alabama Crimson Tide is the best team in all of college football?
Let’s not talk about whether it’s true, since it’s a given that Alabama is the greatest team in all of college football. Rather, let’s talk about why it’s true. People outside the Deep South don’t understand what Alabama football means to most of the people in the state, and it’s hard to explain to an outsider. Alabama football is more than a team in contention for the SEC or national title every year. For many fans, when the Tide lines up on Saturday afternoons, “It’s our way of life against theirs.” People who think that’s an overblown reaction haven’t seen grown men cry over losing to a bitter rival. Alabama football and its success is a source of pride and strength for many of us in the state. Roll Tide.
What are the top three most played songs on your iTunes?
1) For My Next Trick, I’ll Need a Volunteer by Warren Zevon, 2) Bad Liver and a Broken Heart by Tom Waits and 3) “Last Call” by Dave Van Ronk. I’m a sucker for weird blues or folk ballads, so my playlists always look a little odd to most folks, and I’m okay with that.
What is your favorite thing about working in higher education?
I love meeting administrators or professors who have great news to share, but don’t quite know how to put all the pieces together to maximize the impact of that news. Working with smart, professional people and really helping them “get it” when it comes to media relations is incredibly gratifying. And in the process, I get to be around and learn things I’d never know otherwise.
If you could have dinner with any three people who would they be?
I want to say someone really life changing, like the Dalai Llama. But I’d either make a bunch of llama jokes, or ask if he wanted me to make him one with everything. If I were able to dine with any three people, living or dead, it’d be crime novelist Donald Westlake, the aforementioned Warren Zevon and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. (As an aside, my wife just said, ‘that would be a messed-up dinner party.’ And she’s right. That’s part of the fun.)
What is the thing most misunderstood about the South?
Slow talking doesn’t necessarily equal slow thinking. There’s a misconception (and it’s one we sometimes play into) that the South is backward from the rest of the country. And certainly parts are like that. But parts of Massachusetts and New York are like that as well. The South—especially its metro areas like Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans, Nashville—can be more progressive than many people would believe.
Is sweet tea really that great? For the record, I (Kyle) do not think it is…
When made well, sweet tea really is that great. Kyle and I agree on a lot of things, but he’s free to voice his own (incorrect) opinion on this one.