You can feel it in the smell
of sunshine covered by bra
and panties. The weight of a
wedding ring brings me back
to life, where I can clean out
in the Fall put plastic on the
windows. At night when it’s
really cold, there is a fire
and hot tea. Naked under
covers there is exploration
and aging. It all adds up to
a pretty good life held together
nicely by the weight of a
It’s Sunday morning at 6:42. At this time of year it’s dark as six inches up a stovepipe. At least it won’t be colder than a witch's teet. Warmth spreads over the plains today, melting snow, making mud.
The case for radio is hard to make these days. It really is. Here’s an example. Last night, Sam Michel and Peter Krukowski announced, and Jimmy Mullaney produced, a basketball game between Whiting and Bishop Noll. It was a big game in that they were honoring the 1988 team that went to the final four.
I started watching the game in my bed on my phone. In the fourth quarter, the Noll coach Josh Belloumini got two technical fouls and was ejected from the game. Then a Noll player got a technical. It was mayhem. But the game was close and I wanted to follow it.
At 8:30 or so, Alexis and I got in the car. We were headed to El Taco Real in Hammond to meet Alexis’s friend Mary Lynn and her family. There were in town from places like Indianapolis and Cleveland to see the Bishop Noll thing. Mary Lynn’s brother, Ricky, was a coach on that 1988 team.
As we pulled out of the driveway, I turned on WJOB to listen to the game. No game. It was a flashback of an interview from five years ago.
What the heck? Usually, when we do a high school game on a Saturday night, we broadcast it first to Facebook Live in video… and then in the studio we pick up the audio from that game and put it on WJOB AM 1230 and 104.7 FM.
Facebook Live ----- Radio ------ Facebook
We call this “reverse broadcasting.” It’s when you broadcast to the internet first, play that audio on the radio, and then the material comes to rest on the internet where you can consume it any time. This is the future for radio. Us radio operators just don’t know it yet.
This progression is actually a specific instance of a more general process. Let’s call it the social media equation. Better yet, let’s call it the radio-social-equation. Here’s how it works:
- You start by producing content for the internet.
- The content passes through radio.
- The content comes to rest on the internet.
It’s a simple idea. And it works well with Facebook Live video. It works well with other streaming services like Twitter and Livestream. But it’s best with Facebook Live, for a number of reasons I won’t go into right now. Facebook Live is made for reverse broadcasting.
We do “reverse broadcasting” in concert with the radio-social equation a lot of the time these days. My morning radio show is starting to become reverse broadcasting. For now, it’s “simultaneous broadcasting.” We broadcast to radio and to Facebook Live in video at the same time.
The emphasis, however, is shifting to Facebook Live video first. That’s what consumers want (listeners and viewers). And that’s what sponsors want (people who pay our bills.)
It’s a no brainer to evolve into a reverse broadcaster. It’s easy for people like me and all of the innovators I have surrounded myself with. Believe it or not, there are a lot of really creative people in the Calumet Region and I have been able to locate some of them. We have a really good team these days.
What is not as easy to accomplish is to convince our longtime listeners that reverse broadcasting is the way to go. Older listeners stop me and complain that we didn’t have a specific program or game on the radio. They somehow knew that it was on Facebook Live, but they couldn’t hear it on the radio. That’s because a lot of the time we just broadcast to Facebook Live and that content doesn’t make it to the radio. We may play it later, but it doesn’t make it to the radio in real time.
That’s what happened last night. Alexis and I were pulling out of the driveway to go meet some people after the Bishop Noll game, so I turned on WJOB to listen to the end of the game.
And it wasn’t there. And no one had called me or texted me to complain. This is a huge moment in reverse broadcasting. In the past, when we had a big high school game on Facebook Live in video and not on the radio, someone somewhere would find me to complain.
Not last night. Maybe our people are starting to accept that it’s a new world out there… either that or just so few people are interested in high school basketball anymore. That’s Dave Kusiak’s position. What I think happened is that we couldn’t find anyone to go down to the studio and put the game on the radio. And I certainly wasn’t gonna do it.
Another example of the use of the social-radio equation is the HeyJED app. I ask the question:
How can we produce products that broadcast to the internet first and then to radio and back to the internet for archiving?
We tried this with podcasting. Tony Panek has done a great job producing a podcast called “The Region Ramble” and then playing it on the radio. Other than Tony’s podcast, however, the social-radio equation doesn’t seem to work for podcasting. It’s one of those things that you think should work… but podcasting and then playing the podcasts on the radio later just doesn’t work.
Perhaps the reason that Tony’s podcast works on the radio is that in the back of their minds they are doing a podcast for radio. They know while they’re doing it that more people are gonna listen to their podcast on the radio than on the internet.
If you sit down to do a podcast without radio in mind at all, for some reason the podcast just doesn’t work when you play it later on the radio. Podcasting and radio are two mutually-exclusive artistic forms. I won’t go into the many examples of how we tried to merge podcasting and radio. just know that so far it just doesn’t work, outside of the Ramble.
So Facebook Live works in the social-radio equation. it grows for us every day. The key will be going forward to not forget about radio, like we did last night. Another example of trying to make radio relevant is, as mentioned, the HeyJED app.
If you think about it, HeyJED works similarly to how Facebook Live in terms of its relationship to radio. Here’s how it works.
- You speak into your phone and send the message to a website.
- We pick up the message from the website and place it in our database on our computer so that we can play it on the radio.
- After we play it, the message comes to rest on the internet.
Web ----- radio ----- Web.
I believe we as radio people must explore this equation. If we do, radio can be a bigger part of all of our lives. I’m not kidding with this. I think about it all the time.
What if you were driving around and you could pick up your phone and talk into it and a couple minutes later you could hear on the radio what you just said? I won’t say much more about this right now in that we’re spending a ton of resources to get this right. And a few people are starting to use the Hey JED app. I just gotta remind myself and the staff that our first priority is radio and not to forget about it.
This will do for now. Alexis is purring in bed. I have been up, of course, since 4am. I am going to do something that is difficult for any morning radio host to do –go back to bed. We’re used to getting up and going hard for several hours. This will be an unnatural act… to lay my head back down on the pillow at 7:23 in the morning.