Podcasting That Rivals Radio Ratings

Many of you have asked me to keep you posted on the remarkable journey of my podcasting clients -- Dave Jagger and Geri Jarvis, who after 18 years with top ratings as a Grand Rapids morning show duo were laid off by consolidators.

This is a time when corporate cutbacks are sacrificing a lot of good talent and with all the stupid news from consolidators who are pillaging the industry's talent banks, there is also some great news for any aggrieved personality looking for a new media future.

Dave & Geri were relaunched eight weeks ago as a podcast. I call it a funcast because that's what their 35-minutes a day without music really is. The content is not really a radio show turned into podcasting. That's our secret. It's more complex than it sounds.

Look at their numbers after just a few weeks (compared with their last book on-the-air for Regent in the market):

• Weekly 12+ cume when they had done their last stint on-air was 28,800 to 40,800 -- now 35,000 hits on the podcast download.

• Quarter Hours were 20,000 to 25,000 for 12+ and 8,000 25-54 -- (daily visits, our corresponding metric to radio's quarter hour) is 18,083 for Dave & Geri On-Demand.

These numbers grow exponentially and we have been building a systematic social networking strategy that is attempting to recapture Dave & Geri's audience but also encourage new fans to follow their daily "show".

Using bandwidth as an indicator, we have been able to track 36,979 weekly listeners in two months.

Imagine what it will be after three months? Or one year?

Here's an excellent article that deals with the issue of how consumers' routines have changed in the morning -- a major disadvantage for morning radio-as-usual and a boom to new media podcasting. Read it here.

Of course, Dave & Geri's excellent adventure hasn't been easy.

They spent the first six months of our relationship working every week with me in making the transition from traditional to new media -- not as easy as you might think for those of us who love radio the way it has always been. It required lots of work with no immediate income stream and they had to pay JD as well. These people are committed. The work continues every week as we build and grow this franchise.

Nonetheless, Dave & Geri persevered with an open mind. Now I can sincerely say these two talented entertainers couldn't be dragged from the podcasting franchise we are building because it's exciting, rewarding and makes money.

That's right, I said money.

Dave & Geri have already secured the largest bank in Grand Rapids as a client, the largest supermarket chain. Plus a third prospect that tells us they are leaving radio to spend their dollars in new media. More proposals are being made every week.

(By the way, interested in knowing why some sponsors said they were abandoning radio? Radio is not as entertaining as it once was and they don't like their commercial buried with lots of other advertiser's commercials -- their words).

What's more fascinating is that Dave & Geri are doing their own "sales" -- learning new skills and getting good at it. I like the way they work because they bring solutions to clients.

Most of their business is off-air projects that are so unique I will tell you about them in future stories if you're interested, but for now -- doing spots on Dave & Geri is a limited offering and even at that they won't sound like any radio commercials you've ever heard.

I estimate that they should earn $100,000 minimum after the first year of podcasting -- and they don't have to share that with anyone. Costs are minimal. The time they invest, however, is major so that they are being compensated for creating daily content and for helping sponsors accomplish specific goals utilizing their fan base. In other words, Dave & Geri are earning every penny.

In three years or more I anticipate this will be a $250,000 franchise for them -- with more growth probable. Maybe sooner.

That's why when Lew Dickey and other consolidators are screwing around with his content and beating the morale of his remaining employees to death, they are missing an opportunity to create a new revenue stream.

Not from repurposing morning shows (assuming they still have morning show talent to bastardize) -- but creating 50 podcasts that have nothing to do with the terrestrial signal and transmitter.

Scroll back up and do the numbers.

If Dickey Do or Fagreed Suleman or John Slogan Hogan could duplicate one Dave & Geri, they could have the potential of generating $250,000 a year (although they would have talent and sales costs) for each podcast.

For 50 podcasts, that's $1.25 million per market.

Do just this one thing in 30 markets and it's $37.5 million a year in two years with growth potential beyond.

A lot of consolidators have their heads up their P&L statements. They can't see this and if they could they would probably screw it up. It has to be done as an entrepreneurial venture where the talent wins -- a concept they just don't understand.


Now the good news for talent is that they, too, can do this -- without Dickey Do, Fagreed, or Slogan Hogan or for that matter, anyone. And it doesn't have to be limited to a morning show. Music is possible (although there are royalty expenses).

It takes a year's commitment. An investment in time and money (Dave & Geri tapped their private finances to bet on themselves).

Hard work.

The interest in learning new skills (selling yourself).

Maybe you can see why I bristle when anyone says radio is only about doom and gloom and if you observe it and report it you get accused of the same thing.

The only doom and gloom is coming from Cumulus, Clear Channel and Citadel.

Look at what radio people think of them in Inside Music Media's continuing poll of The Best & Worst Radio groups. See the latest poll results up-to-the-second here.

Dave & Geri move on undaunted and other talented radio people can as well.

They are radio people like us -- through and through -- but they have caught a wave into the future and all the naysayers who are looking in the wrong place for the future of radio will be left with the spoils.

Podcasting is moneycasting, career recasting and personal broadcasting for new devices that proliferate in our society today.

Too soon, another boob consolidator will be doing something idiotic that his employees know will not work. He'll force it on people, tell fibs about how beneficial it will be and eventually debase radio even further.

That's why if you want bad news, look at radio consolidators.

You want the future, look at pioneers like Dave & Geri and the potential of podcasting -- the new radio.

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