It’s 9:57 on a Friday night and the power is out. As the three or four of you know, we’ve been living amidst gray and rain for eight months now. Tonight, it culminated in a wicked thunderstorm that has power out across NIPSCO's territory. At least the laptop’s charged.
And the phone. That’s how I listened to IU just get eliminated from the Big Ten tournament. They lost to the same team twice in the same way. In both games, IU was beating Minnesota handily and then gave up a ton of runs in the eighth inning. I am so pissed right now.
So instead, I’ll see what the three or four of you are doing. Me? I’m sitting on the bed in my underwear. Alexis couldn’t take the loss of the game and the silence. She called my sister Jennifer who lives a couple blocks away and they’re now at Jenny’s house watching a chick flick. My sister, who also works at the radio station, is as big of a sports fan – and a big nephew Craig fan – as I am. It’s nothing that a couple glasses of wine won’t soothe.
Not for me, though. I’ve got the three or four of you. And since the only thing you can hear this evening is the constant rush of the Borman Expressway, maybe it’s time to review where we’re at with the spread of technology in My Radio Life.
As you know, I want to capture on paper the change from radio to something other than radio. And it’s happening rapidly. This week, we did a whole bunch of programs as Facebook Live videos:
A year ago, Facebook Live started. Since then, we’ve had more than a million views. Also, we’ve started our own podcast network. It’s coming along a lot more slowly than the Facebook Live video, but we have several people listed on our website, JEDcastradio.com.
Amidst all of this, our marketing is changing in a hurry. This week, a potential client called up and inquired about Facebook Live. We sold them in a day. We also have several proposals out to clients that would not be coming to us if we had not been doing so much Facebook Live video. It makes us much more visible.
But is there actual money in Facebook Live and podcasting? And can a legacy radio station (now two radio stations) reinvent itself into a tech innovator? Is that even possible?
I don’t know. There’s a lot of people doing Facebook Live video right now, but I’m not so sure that there’s that many people actually making money on Facebook Live. Live streaming media on a mass basis is just too new. Perhaps the biggest benefit financially is at places like us that can benefit from the added connections brought on by FB Live to make dough on another area. In our case it’s radio. Maybe newspapers are doing the same thing. I don’t know.
So if you really look at it, it’s not only the way we’re broadcasting that is changing rapidly, it’s also the marketing that is changing rapidly. As the three or four of you know, we don’t really go out and sell ads. I joke a lot about our Passive Marketing System (PMS), but it’s really true. For many years, we have concentrated on doing radio and developing new media… and have basically let the community come to us to support it.
This fits in with my general slacker attitude… but it also allows us to keep our costs low. Since almost all of our resources go into producing product – and not into administration or marketing – we operate on a really tight budget.
I’ve told the three or four of you before that a few years ago we hired a consultant. He came in, looked at our books, listened to some radio, checked out our equipment – and then asked to meet with our marketing department.
“We don’t have one,” Debbie Wargo, our station manager, told him.
“What do you mean you don’t have a marketing department?”
“It’s JED’s idea. He calls it the ‘passive marketing system.’”
The consultant went on to tell us that out of all of the radio stations he’s dealt with over many years, he never heard of doing it the way we do it.
“If you hire a marketing director and some sales people, and give them a budget, you could double your revenues in six months,” the consultant said.
That was a few years ago. Now I’m ready to sell our stuff. Why? Because I finally fully believe in it. We have the right people in place and we have developed cutting-edge technologies to connect with Region people.
Since it’s only the three or four of you and me, I’ll tell you that up until recently I did not feel altogether confident in approaching people to buy advertising on WJOB. It’s not that it didn’t work. WJOB advertising has been a solid investment for a decade. It’s more that up until recently it didn’t “dazzle.” Now it does dazzle. And now I want to tell any business that will listen that we have the talent, the students and recent grads, the distribution network on a variety of platforms, the top-of-the-line studios right on the Boulevard at Purdue. It’s coming together to be an even better value. I want to tell everyone that.
So I’m gonna, or at least I pledge to. Finally.
That should be closing in on Another Thousand Words for the three or four of you. Since the power’s still out and I’m still sitting on the bed in my underwear, I won’t be able to post this to the blog right away. The internet connection depends on power in the house, and I’m too lazy to join my wife over at my sister’s house around the corner. I could post this there, but that would require putting on pants.
And I don’t want to put on pants. For some reason, it feels right to be sitting here in my underwear talking to you on another rainy night in the Region. Another Thousand Words. See ya.