Something is happening that I am glad is happening but I didn’t expect it and I don’t really know what’s next with it.
With radio, as the three or four of you know, I host the morning show. In the past, I’ve announced a lot of games in several sports at different levels. If there’s a huge new story going down, I go on the air. During the flood of 2008, I was on the air for six days straight.
Ultimately, when it comes to radio, I have been the focal point. Part of this is financial. If I host the morning show, then we don’t have to pay anyone else to do it. Also, for whatever reason, from the moment that I kicked everyone out of the studios and started doing the morning show, it has felt like home.
That was, now that I think about it, ten years ago. We’re coming up on my 10th anniversary of doing the morning show on WJOB. That’ll be in a little over a month – on September 24th. Time flies when you’re talking shit.
So for these last ten years, when you think of WJOB, perhaps you think of me. I wear WJOB on my sleeve and on my forehead. When I go to Strack & Van Til’s, like I did a couple of hours ago, and I’m waiting my turn at the deli counter, I wear WJOB.
“Are you JED?”
“You don’t know me, but I listen every morning. My sister is married to your cousin, Mark Rex. Love the show.”
And then we talk about how Alexis and I saw Mark and Diane Rex in Scottsdale recently and spent a day drinking and laughing. This conversation with Diane's sister would have never happened if it wasn’t for WJOB. It defines me.
Actually, let me be a little more specific for the three or four of you. WJOB radio defines me. Now we come something completely different is happening. Let’s call it “WJOB video,” for now.
WJOB video is the thing that is happening that I didn’t expect to happen. With radio, you see, most of the people who listen, listen to me. We take in about 75% of our revenue off of our morning show. That’s just how it is.
Now, as we migrate to live video, there has been much the same trend – until recently. When we started Facebook Living the morning show, I got way better numbers than any of the other shows that we Facebook Lived. We started Facebook Living in May, 2016, and that trend held steady for about a year.
Recently, something different is happening. We do three, four, up to eight live videos in a day on our Facebook feed. We’ve surpassed two million views total, and we get more than 50,000 each week.
And you know what? It’s not all about me. Then who is getting the views, if it’s not me?
The answer is easy – everybody.
My show? I usually get about 10,000 views a week for the morning show… and maybe 4,000 or so on JED in the Money segments and other things.
That’s, say, 14,000 views out of the total of 50,000 per week. In other words, look at it like this. When we hired a consultant not too long ago, he was able to take a look at the numbers and figure that more than 75% of our total listenership came from my morning show. Don’t ask why.
This 75% of total listenership compares favorably to the share of our total revenue. About 75% of our revenue on radio comes from the morning show.
But look at what’s happening with video. For about a year, about 60 to 70% of the views came from me. Now, it’s, as we just saw, 28% Maybe these numbers are warped by all of the parades and festivals going on, and the youth baseball that we’re doing at Optimist Park.
But I don’t think so. I sense a different trend. I can’t necessarily explain what it is or why it is happening, but it is happening. Whereas I lead the radio… whereas when many of you think of WJOB, you first think of me, this, I believe, is not the case when it comes to WJOB video.
Do I suck at video and the rest of the crew doesn’t? Do I get the lion’s share of the radio listening audience and revenue because I am simply in the best time-slot? Is there something else going on here?
Maybe. And I’m glad that it is. Since, as we now realize, I’ve been doing the same show in the same time slot for ten years, I have established a relationship with thousands of people in the morning. They wake up, turn on WJOB, and there I am babbling about how cold it is out or how much traffic there is on the Borman or how another Lake County elected official has been indicted.
I bring my family into the show. My daughter, Jeanie, announced where she was going to college on the show, (breaking my dad’s heart, in the process, by the way. I’ll tell the three or four of you about it some other time.) My wife comes on the show most Fridays (for now, at least). My sister does the books for the station. I write this blog in which I try to be open and straightforward about how the impending death of radio is effecting me.
I open up to people, and they – the three or four of you – reward my effort with your ears. It’s a nearly century-old relationship. The morning host on WJOB talks, and the Region listens.
I get that. And I feared, as we moved into video, that it would be similar in live video as it is in live radio. You might think that the Trump part of me would want this, that I would want to be the star, however small of a pond it is that we swim in.
Let’s do it this way – I’ll ask myself an honest question, with the three or four of you watching, and then I’ll answer. See if I flinch.
To me: JED, do you resent that others are getting more Facebook Live video views than you are?
Me: Let me think about this. No.
To me: Are you sure?
And I’ll tell you partly why. Everyone has an ego. I certainly had a stretched ego when I traded in the pits of the Chicago Board of Trade. I thought, with my degenerate cohorts, that we were the coolest people in Chicago. We could do whatever we wanted to do because we were pit traders and we were making a ton of money. That’s an ego.
And, yes, it was quite disturbing when trading went away. It hurt. My ego got bruised.
But what about ego when it comes to radio?
It might actually be the other way around. If you have too big of an ego, people sniff it out and they don’t want to listen to you. This may not hold for people like Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Jim Rose and Rachel Maddow. They have huge egos, you can tell, and people like to listen and/or watch them.
But at the local level – who are you kidding? If you’re the morning host, you are one of us. So don’t kid yourself that you’re anything more than that. In other words, I’ve learned to tame the massive ego inside me. And, as the three or four of you may be able to tell by now, I welcome it.
So, now that others around me are having equal or better success with Facebook Live than I am, be certain that I want this to happen. Part of it is simple relief – for ten years, I have defined myself as the morning host on WJOB. I give to the three or four of you and to the seven or eight that listen to my show all that I am. I do not hold back. You get me. No more and no less.
But I don’t know if I can have the will to do the same in video. I like doing the morning show in video, but you know and I know that it’s really just a radio show that happens to be on video. I only know how to do radio. That’s it.
So it is relief. Let others shoulder the duties of bringing an audience. They can give some or all of themselves so that WJOB is not only the Voice of the Region but also the Face of the Region. Let it happen.