Radio -- Podcasting That Makes Money

Many of you have asked me to tell you when the podcasting client I have been writing about goes "live" with their new age approach to morning “radio”.

Now I can share some details about how we are building a franchise for them to make money.

I’m proud to tell you about two great talents and exceptionally nice people – Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis who started their Grand Rapids morning podcast about two weeks ago.

We’re all excited because I am sure I drove them nuts trying to get a non-radio approach to what they used to do to well – radio. But Dave and Geri were eager to learn.

They are shaking up the city in which they have been top rated for 18 years -- most at Regent.

That is, until their most recent employer (of about one year), Citadel, decided to end their careers at WHTS-FM and deprive loyal listeners of their favorite personalities – and these folks are local personalities.

The Punch and Judy show at Citadel ended it – to save money for Fagreed.

Too bad.

For Citadel.

Dave and Geri are up and running with the most unique franchise that is growing virally as I write this.

Local traditional media – TV and newspapers – have featured them in a “Dave & Geri is back" splash that helped us regather some of their lost listeners.

You know me, I wanted Dave & Geri to go back to their former Citadel station and get them to sell some ten-second spots to announce their little old podcast.

But Citadel apparently isn’t in that much financial trouble.

The refused.

I guess they are afraid of a podcast that has to start with nothing except the goodwill of their former morning show.

Nothing but talent and new media savvy.

So, Dave & Geri went on-the-air Monday, June 15th a day that we're hoping Citadel will note for future reference.

This is a work in progress, but since so many of you have inquired about what we were doing, let me give you some highlights. I am often asked for good news and Fagreed, Tricky Dickey and John Slogan Hogan don’t give me much of a chance to indulge in "happy talk", but today you’re in for a treat because there is life after a consolidator axes you.

Just some brief context.

Dave, Geri and I met at a Conclave session I was doing for Tom Kay last June on new media, the next generation and podcasting. They persisted until they got me to agree to weekly telephone work sessions (that to their credit they financed even being out of work).

You think they're not committed to success?

At the Conclave session, I told the attendees that radio people are the most qualified folks in the world to do new media. That anyone can do podcasting, but a real pro must learn new skills to build a podcasting franchise.

Here’s what we built:

1. A 35-minute daily podcast available on iTunes or on their website.

2. No music – none. Dave & Geri didn’t make it big in their market because of the music. Sometimes, they did in spite of it.

3. We analyzed what the three best elements of their act were and we captured it.

4. We didn’t do the first test podcast for at least four to five months while we learned about generational media.

5. Much of our time was spent making the transition to new media and understanding the differences between radio and podcasting. Of course, consolidators don’t know. That’s why their personalities often do leftover radio on their podcasts.

6. We worked on formatics – after all, I am a program director. But the format doesn’t resemble radio. We never call it a podcast during their 35 minutes of visiting with fans.

7. We made Dave & Geri a Grand Rapids podcast – just because it is available on the world wide web doesn’t mean that Dave & Geri want to be number one in Bangladesh. Okay, maybe they want to be, but the money comes from Grand Rapids.

8. Speaking of money, they got the Fifth Third Bank, one of their former sponsors, to sponsor their podcasts. And in our world, a sponsorship contract doesn’t mean commercials. A second client is deciding on which financial option they want – all in the first two weeks. Several other (additional) prospects have contacted us to ask if they could be part of this.

9. We developed a pretty strong 30-minute ad presentation that is unlike anything a radio salesman would do (at least what they are being forced to do by their bosses right now). It effectively uses the time to present possibilities. Oh, by the way, Dave & Geri are getting awfully good at doing solutions based sales presentations, Judy!

10. Once the ads are added, within the next few weeks, you may not hear them on the podcast because a lot of our business is off-air ancillary income (sounds like I am reading my own blog – ancillary).

11. Dave & Geri are finding their former listeners through traditional media, Facebook, Twitter and viral strategies we’ve developed. Each day, more and more people find their favorite morning team again.

12. Dave & Geri emphasize that their “show” (which is really not a show) can be consumed any time of the day -- on demand. It encourages fans to decide for themselves when they like to listen or for that matter are able to listen. Good students of generational media, aren't they?

13. The acquisition of new listeners will continue as the podcast develops so former listeners and new ones may enjoy this unique and talented morning team.

There’s more – much more.

We’ve only just begun to develop the content and advertising possibilities. These two have always worked at delivering satisfaction to their clients and they are committed to doing it in their podcast.

Additionally, they can never be fired by Fagreed or Judy.

They may actually be the beneficiaries of their past good will provided to listeners and advertisers in this new media iteration.

There are off-shoot businesses that revolve around the 35-minute podcast and we have plans to fine tune the current approach in the future as we read generational media trends.

I’ve always said consolidators will rue the day that they let all their talent go.

The only reason it hasn’t bitten them on the behind so far is that new media is under development – not sitting there ready to absorb all the talent discarded by terrestrial radio mismanagers.

But I wanted to share this note of optimism with you this morning because as new media and podcasting (the new “radio”) develops, happy days will be here again for those who want to go back to school and learn about new ways to use their great talents.

What consolidators don’t understand is that radio as we know it is changing.

An entire new generation carries their jukebox in their pocket or on their phone right there -- next to their text messaging.

It may be – it may very well be – that the missing link, entertainment, will be delivered from your mouth directly to their ears.

iPods for music.

Podcasting for entertainment.

I’ve believed this from the first day I started working and interacting with the next generation and today, with the encouraging start to the Dave & Geri podcasting franchise, I know it.

Congrats to two great people who conceived, believed and achieved.

I'm very proud of you.

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