Kevin Short has learned to just do it

May 3, 2024

Kevin Short grew up in Georgetown playing guitar and piano. He also sang. Kevin describes himself as a tinkerer, and he started building his own sound mixers and systems.

As both a musician and someone interested in the technical side of the business, he knew at an early age that the entertainment world was where he wanted to be. Kevin said he caught the bug while working at a sound recording studio in Secretary, Md., in high school.

When Kevin was 24, he opened his own recording studio – Mid South Audio. As business evolved, he eventually outgrew that space and bought space at his current location in Milton in 2017, moving into the new location in 2021. Providing the sound systems for musicians, churches, special events, etc., Kevin had four to five gigs on the road at any time. When COVID hit in the spring of 2020, he figured it would be over by summer. But then everything shut down. “We couldn’t answer the phones fast enough to take the cancelations,” he said. As work came to a complete halt, Kevin didn’t want to lay any of his 20 employees off, so they all worked together to finish the construction of the new studio and store. 

While the music business gradually disappeared, businesses and churches began streaming their meetings and services. Then due to supply chain complications, that business started to suffer as well. Consequently, Mid South Audio was closed for six months. Eventually the world started to reopen, and business returned. In fact, Kevin’s business is now busier than before COVID. The big difference today is that people don’t plan events as far out as they used to. Instead of scheduling events/acts six months out, the planning time is reduced to as little as six weeks. 

Kevin’s biggest challenge, as he grows, is finding the right people for the right jobs. The kind of people Kevin looks for must be both technically proficient as well as creative, which is often a difficult set of skills to find in one person. While his turnover of employees is very low, when positions are added, it may take several hiring decisions to finally find the right person. “There’s just a limited number of people in this business, so unless someone happens to relocate to the area, or is looking for an opportunity to grow in their job, recruitment is a real challenge,” he said.

Probably the most dramatic change Kevin has seen in the music business is the explosion of digital music. When Kevin started out, most musicians made their money selling albums, then tapes, then CDs. Musicians went on the road primarily to promote the sale of their music. Today, it is just the opposite. And that’s where Mid South Audio comes in. For example, they have furnished the sound systems for every musical performance at Freeman Stage since 2008. Some groups bring their complete sound systems with them for Kevin’s team to set up. Other groups bring nothing with them, leaving Mid South Audio to provide all the necessary components of a complete sound system. 

When asked what he would say to his 18-year-old self, Kevin said he would follow the Nike slogan and say, “Just do it.” Kevin used to spend a good deal of time planning and worrying what would come next. COVID taught him that something unpredictable can come along at any time and leave you with no way of planning for such a possibility. Be resilient and learn to rely on your gut instincts; you’ll eventually figure out what to do, he says.

What Kevin is most proud of, in his 35 years of owning the business, is the people who have grown up with the company and are now leading many if not most of the key activities. Kevin strives to create a family-like atmosphere with his team, and they know Kevin will always have their back. 

Kevin enjoys his association with the Return Day Committee, which he has been doing since the 1970s. He recognizes what a unique event it is, and he believes that if every state adopted the same idea, some of the vitriol and division in this country could be minimized. 

When Kevin is not working, he enjoys playing music and singing. He performs in a band called Big Hat, No Cattle that play at Irish Eyes in Lewes on the last Thursday of every month. And as Kevin would urge you, don’t worry about planning the evening; just go do it.


  • This column provides an opportunity for readers to connect with the personal side of business leaders in area communities. Many of our local business owners and CEOs are thought leaders in their community, and they can provide valuable insights and ideas on issues of common interest to all of us. Successful businesses are essential for a healthy and growing society, especially as people continue to move to this area looking for employment opportunities. This column will highlight leaders who are not only successful, but also making a difference in our communities.

    Jeffrey Fried has been an executive in the healthcare industry for over 40 years, including serving as the president/CEO of Beebe Medical Center for 24 years. After leaving Beebe Healthcare, Jeff started his own consulting and executive coaching company, and has coached executives in a variety of industries. In addition, Jeff has partnered with a company called Vistage, the oldest executive coaching company in the country, where he serves as a local chair on the Delmarva Peninsula and leads/supports a group of medium-sized business owners and CEOs. Jeff and his wife Sherry reside outside Lewes and between the two of them have three children and five grandchildren. Last but not least, they are the parents of two rescue dogs.

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