Winona, Minn., has given YouTube " 'The Most Famous Physical Therapists on the Internet,' in our opinion, of course," said Bob Schrupp, half (the tall one) of the team at bobandbrad.com. "It started as a joke, which is why we say 'in our opinion.' There were people who had way more viewers than we did, but it became self-fulfilling."
Schrupp and (strong like a bull) Brad Heineck currently have more than 1 million YouTube subscribers and "are adding about 1,300 a day. We're getting between 140,000 and 150,000 views a day. It's mind-boggling," Schrupp said.
Relatives of the PTs aren't laughing anymore, because the YouTube videos are generating checks and providing "very comfortable side business" funds. "Let's put it this way," said Schrupp, "initially our wives thought we were crazy. [Wife] Linda was: 'Why aren't you spending time on your business?' Brad said he had the same problem. They don't complain anymore."
I interviewed only Schrupp because Heineck wasn't available.
Q: Whose idea was a YouTube channel?
A: I've owned a physical therapist practice for 30 years. Brad works for me. We always wanted to do something on the side. We tried a few things that just didn't work. We made some DVDs for injury prevention, like at nursing homes. We sold zero of them. While we were doing that I came upon a channel [featuring] Gary Vaynerchuk, kind of a social media guru.
He said it doesn't matter what it is, if you really like something or are really good at something, put it on YouTube and eventually something will happen. I told Brad about this and he thought I was crazy. We put up a video, and few days later it had 20 views. We thought that was amazing. I've written blogs before, and two weeks later nobody's read it. It was kind of a big surprise. It was hard when we first started. We were 50-something years old, and here we were doing YouTube videos.
Q: What's it like to be an internet sensation?
A: [Laugh] It's really unusual. To go from being really obscure to both of us, a few times, like have been in a grocery store and people have come up, looked at me real strange and said, "Oh, you're from the internet. YouTube." It's quite a hoot. One time I was sitting down to dinner at a restaurant, and we were talking about YouTube and I could tell this [nearby] couple wasn't getting it. Right when we were having that conversation, a woman came up and said, "Omigod, I've watched all your videos."
Q: You can't be your own physical therapist, right?
A: Actually, a lot of times you can do your own treatments. I treat myself all the time. I know what the right exercise is. Exercise and stretching or strengthening is what you do to correct a problem and not using a device.
Q: Did you encounter many in-house naysayers when you started recording?
A: I remember we were filming one in the basement on arthritis, and my son and his friend are there, and my son, Matthew, says: "You know, Dad, nobody's ever going to watch this because old people don't watch YouTube." That video ended up with 150,000 views.
Q: Did you tell Matt na-na-na-na-na-na?
A: Yeah. [Laughter] He didn't remember it. [Laughter] He's actually helping us with the channel now.
Q: If old people don't go on YouTube, who are your viewers?
A: [Laughter] We do have the statistics. It probably does skew a little bit older. Our biggest core is from the 30-to-40 age range.
Q: Does shooting videos mean you have to pay more attention to what you wear?
A: Oh, absolutely. You're exactly right; we have to be more careful what we say. We do more research on [subjects] now.
People see everything. We had a cabinet behind us, the door was crooked. I can't tell you how many people brought that up — "Why don't you fix it?" Our posture for a while, we kind of had poor posture.
Q: A physical therapist with poor posture? That's not right.
A: I know. Unless you see yourself, you don't always realize you are drifting downward into bad posture.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9's "Buzz." E-mailers, please state a subject; "Hello" does not count.