Someone once asked me what a TV producer does. That someone was me. I asked me what a TV producer does. Maybe I should ask Bill Stainton instead. Because he WAS a TV producer – specifically, the TV producer of “Almost Live!” If that show could be compared to a farm operation, then Bill Stainton was the cruel overseer… the guy making sure the crops got in each week. Keeping the farm analogy going here, he was the guy who did the hiring and firing, supervised the operation, sometimes drove the tractor, put together the budgets – and, when necessary, went to the whip. I still have the old scars – and you should see the ones on Steve Wilson‘s back. You can hardly see his tattoos anymore.
Bill Stainton, as the show producer, had to deal with the various staff sharecroppers, malcontents, agitators, drifters, hard-workers, soft-workers, non-workers – while also nurturing the creativity, while also being a comforter, motivator and prodder. He was technically the boss… without being bossy. And for most of the life of ‘Almost Live!‘, Bill Stainton served as the show’s protector. So whenever station management, advertisers, politicians or viewers got pissed off, he was the one who attempted to be the conflict counselor, negotiator and calming front man, walking the line between compromise and defense. In addition to all that, he also did the other stuff: Running the meetings, performing, writing, hiring interns, budgeting and deciding what was going to be in the show each week – and what wasn’t. That’s all.
Since the production of ‘Almost Live!’ ended abruptly over two decades ago, Bill, like all the rest of us, has moved on to new things. For the last several years, he has found considerable success as a keynote speaker. In fact, in 2019, he was inducted into the National Speaker Hall of Fame. Me? I was recently inducted into the National Listener Hall of Fame. But I’m not gonna brag about that right now. Because we’re about to visit with Bill Stainton.
Here he is, speaking from his Seattle area house… which is located immediately adjacent to his Seattle area garage.