Just finished a three-hour radio show. It’s normally two and a half hours, but folks who come on the air after me had a hard time getting here. One thing about living at the southern tip of Lake Michigan – when it snows, it’s beautiful.
Most people that you watch on TV, streaming video, movies, concerts, etc. are prima donnas. We may seem like decent enough people when we’re on. But when we’re off, we’re usually complainers and assholes. Me too.
Hashtag me too. I too am a performing asshole.
By the time it got light out, there was a inch of snow on the ground. It’s a surprising snow. The white stuff was supposed to be for central and southern Indiana, not the northwestern tip of this fine state. The major roads are filled with spinouts and collisions. We covered it live on the air with dozens of callers.
There’s an interesting dynamic unfolding. In the past, when there was bad weather, we’d take in a ton of eyewitness phone calls on traffic and accidents. We did that today, but with a twist.
Tipsters are now sending pictures of the accidents and traffic. Many of the pictures are graphic. This is a good thing in that my show and all of the shows here on the WJOB Network are in the middle of a transition from radio to TV. We’re half and half. So when someone sends in a graphic photo of a crash on the Borman, we have a use for it on the video.
Throughout the morning, we showed the photos on the live video feed. And then one texter sent me – “JED, I’m driving around. How can I see the road photos?”
Great question. We’re showing the crash and traffic photos on the video feed but we’re not posting them on social media. Once again, in media management terms, we are wasting the content. From now on, I’ll assign someone to repost crash photos on social media. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. It’s amazing what people in the community can teach you if you let them.
I wish they’d teach me what my next move should be in terms of streaming video. I have no idea what direction we are going with this. Of course, we create a ton of our own content. Also, a ton of people pay us to create content for them. These are the Community Program Intitiave shows that come on after me. In all, we do about 38 unique shows in a month. It’s a lot of content to churn out. But we need it. We have a TV channel to fill.
But what if we shifted the focus? For better or worse, we still produce almost all of the content that we air on the radio and on streaming video. We are at our core a production company that distributes our own content.
What if we started distributing other people’s content?
To an extent, this is what we do when someone like the mayor of Hammond comes in here and sits in the studio and talks to the camera and to the radio. We produce the show and we distribute the show. But he is the content. This is kind of what I’m talking about.
What if someone came to us with already-produced content and wanted us to distribute it? This is what is happening. In a 24-hour stretch yesterday, I talked with three different parties about us distributing content they produce on our radio and TV network.
This doesn’t seem like groundbreaking news to the three or four of you. But, if you remember, I have always marveled that I have to produce all of the content that populates our video and radio. At the same time, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook doesn’t have to produce any content. He just redistributes content that people give him.
Why? Why does all of this local content leave the Region and go to Facebook and not come back?
I have no idea. My HeyJED app is supposed to a be first step toward solving this dilemma. Shamari Walker, a high school student, and I put together this app in which you can click, talk or record something for up to 22 seconds, and send it straight to us. Within seconds it can be on the air.
But almost no one is using it. Ironically, Mark Perez, our website guy, just walked into my office and pissed me off to high heaven.
“Hey JED, Brett Jennings sent in some pretty good HeyJEDs about traffic this morning. Did you know that?”
No, I did not know that.
“You go out there, Mark, and tell those f---s Jimmy Mullaney and Ryan Walsh that they missed these HeyJEDs this morning. Those f---s are supposed to be watching. Go.”
I have an office next door to where all of the activity happens in the studios and the main offices. This is a good thing. A lot of people come through a local radio station in a morning. If my office were with the others, I’d wind up talking to all of them. You and I would never get together.
So someone is using the HeyJED app. It’s Brett Jennings, the defensive coach at Whiting. He is an entertaining person who respects the history of WJOB. He’s also one of the first to use HeyJED for traffic.
And we missed it.
To get on with the media discussion… what if the WJOB Network became not just a place for us to distribute our WJOB content that we produce but also a receptacle for material from across the Region. People could send us their pictures, their HeyJED messages, their videos and, of course, they could phone us live on the air.
Sounds a little like Facebook. I probably shouldn’t even write this to the three or four of you. Facebook, Google, Instagram, Apple – they’re so powerful that they could put me out of business in numerous ways.
But the question is this – what if we could capture just 1% of the content that people produce locally and keep it here local. Region Rats are forcing me to ask this question. Do you have an answer?
I gotta go. People have figured out that I am in here behind the curtain. They keep coming to the door. Time to live a life of local radio. Bye.