Local Radio Personalities– Who Needs ‘Em?
Do you know who needs them?
Every single radio station across the entire country, is who needs them. What do they bring to the table? A full course dinner with dessert. In real estate, the word is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION……IN THE WORLD OF RADIO, IT STARTS WITH CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT!
Every personality on a radio station has a job to do, and that job is no easy task. They have to create unique content every day to engage their listening audience. That personality is the moderator of a “community”. A community analogous to communities you find online, like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s people who can relate to that DJ, whether its their programming including views on subjects, poking fun at people, news events, satirical opinions- the list goes on and on. What’s most important is that they add value to the station, and changes the “vanilla” flavor to something that adds “spice” for the listeners. There is such a disparity between “cookie cutter voice tracked programming,” to a personality who can relate to the local community and listeners alike. It is like going from one end of the spectrum to the other. Yes, radio stations CEOs can save money by eliminating the talent on air and replace it with voice tracked programming, but at what price? You save a salary but you deteriorated and cannibalized your audience as a by-product. That same audience you worked so hard to acquire.
So let’s get back to the original question, why do radio stations need them? Their unique content becomes the personality of the station and an integral part of the fabric composing their listening audience. Their loyal followers are the audience that advertisers are attracted to. Local programming, talented DJs, unique original content are just some of the important ingredients that go into the recipe for a successful radio station. Top the cake off with a talented well trained sales department to market this to their agencies and advertisers, as well as a strong digital component; and behold, you have a formula and blueprint for success, and one helluva cake! See what jacobsmedia blog says about promoting local radio. The digital component is where there is a tremendous uptick in potential. It changes the face of terrestrial radio like a facelift and brings radio into the new millennium. The unique generated content on the radios respective web site allows the interaction with the audience but on a new platform. Some stations have a webcam set up in the broadcast booth(link to story), others are streaming, and still others are providing UGC that do not fall under the FCC regulations. Watch an interview online with a guest in its entirety without the timeline given on terrestrial radio. Today the consumer is in charge of what they want to listen to and what they want to watch. If radio stations hit those aforementioned benchmarks, then they have successfully engaged their audience. And that is something they have to earn!
In Boston, radio personalities like Greg Hill(Hillman) on WAAF, Matty Siegel and Billy Costa on KISS 108, Karlson and MacKenzie on WZLX, Michael Griffin and Jay Severin from WTKK, and a host of others, generate that “audience” by virtue of their content and embedding themselves into the local communities of their listeners. They are the glue that holds the radio station’s listenership together. Eliminate them, and their respective radio stations are no better then piped in music. O.K. for some, but not the majority of people that each format represents. And certainly not what is going to capture the x, y and abc….z generations.
Let’s dissect for a moment (not literally WAAF fans, relax) Greg Hill, a.k.a. Hillman, and his audience on WAAF. Greg has been the host of the morning show for over 20 years. Greg researches compelling content everyday in order to engage his audience in discussions ranging from sports and entertainment to politics. Is their anything else left? But that’s exactly the “glue” he uses to attract his audience from business professionals to blue collar small business owners. His audience is predominantly men 25-54, but women too!! His guests have included sports figures such as Kevin Youkilis, Theo Epstein, Cam Neely.
These are relationships Greg Hill has built in this Boston marketplace! Local with unique content! In addition to sport celebrities, Greg has developed relationships in the music and entertainment communities. How is this for unique online content? Greg will setup a video shoot so his audience can engage with his guest online. This is just one way WAAF successfully integrates Hillman, his guest, with his audience. Again unique generated content using VIDEO! When you have a following, a TRIBE, like Hillman has, it enables that celebrity to get involved with local community charities such as the Joshua Frase Foundation, Heart Ball where he presents and MC’s the event, Celebrities for Charities among others. This is why local radio stations need talented personalities.
On another front, let’s look at Matty in the morning with Billy Costa on KISS. Their core audience is women 30-40′s and “soccer moms!” That mother often times grew up with these two guys and still follows them today. One of the things they do extremely well is their contest promotion. They have built ‘appointment listening,’ where there audience tunes in at the same time every day. As an example, gambling with Jon Bon Jovi at Mohegan Sun or winning a $10,000 New Kids on the Block VIP dinner with the band! Their interviews in the morning have included celebrities like Oprah, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez and the list goes on!
As far as embedding themselves in the local community, you don’t have to go far. Matty’s involvement with the Parkinson’s Walk and Billy’s involvement with The Herb Chambers Platinum Plate TV Diner Gala raised over $40,000 for Children’s Floating Hospital this past November. Let’s not forget when Matty, Billy Costa teamed up with Herb Chambers , to give Michael DeMello the keys to a Ford Ranger! Mike’s Ford was destroyed after the Red Sox won the World Series by an unruly mob. Herb Chambers came to the KISS studio to surprise Mike with the keys to his new vehicle. How about that for local community involvement? The list for these two guys goes on. These are just some of the things Matty and Billy do to keep their audience active, engaging, and listening.
The brand that each personality represents is NOT what they say they are, it’s what we, the listening audience are saying about them!! That is what makes a successful brand. Whether its a company, a personality, a product, a service, or a radio stations format, programming, and content-we the consumer decide if it is what we want it to be! read “how to create A “BRAND PERSONALITY” for your radio station.
As far as the online component goes, the radio website must have the look and feel of the radio station. Just because you have a strong radio listenership on terrestrial radio, don’t think you can dupe your audience with a sub par web site. The consumer compares your site with all other sites online. Do you have video, stream, easy navigation, contests, etc. Here again is where your radio personality fits in- they can engage the listener with additional unique content via video, audio . How good is that??
Do you think your listening audience would enjoy engaging with your “brand” online? Better yet, do you think your advertiser would embrace your online audience the way they do on your station. These are just some of the reasons why RADIO STATIONS NEED LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITIES!
It’s the NEW DAWN OF RADIO!