While I love radio, my first love was television. I started in public access at the age of 8, and from there learned the in’s and out’s of hosting, editing and filming.
As the years have gone on, and I’ve been fortunate to work in both mediums, we’ve seen massive change. Cord cutting, OTT, streaming. Local TV is competing with Netflix and YouTube. Radio is competing with Spotify and podcasts. And frankly, everyone is competing with each other in the same space… online.
Radio stations, meanwhile, haven’t shifted much. Audio first (if not exclusively), website that pumps out a couple half-baked re-treads from TMZ, and not much else. But if we are all competing in the digital space, then there is no more pigeon-holing. Radio can do television shows. Television stations can start to podcast. Barstool Sports was a self-published newspaper that now crosses all mediums.
For years now, I’ve thought of bringing cameras into the radio studio. I tested the concept a couple years ago. Like most stations, we have so many funny and talented people in our building. Not just air talent, but throughout the building from sales to street team. Getting them in front of a mic and getting a taste of their quick-witted humor would be a great draw!
Now, after spending a small fortune, and hundreds of hours of research and tuning, I launched “#Free4All” in February.
Every day at 4pm, the Mix 94.1 Facebook Page hosts a live talk show starring myself and many of the very creative personalities in and around the station. If people are on Facebook at work, chances are they may not be streaming us on Radio.com. While I’d love to force them all to listen, a simple website post shared on Facebook would get practically no traction. However, Facebook pushes the organic reach of live broadcasts much farther. So, while we can’t broadcast the station on the stream, we CAN broadcast the logo, and funny material.
Over the last few months, we’ve gained a steady stream of dedicated viewers that look for it daily, and as they drop off and leave work, we hopefully stay on top of mind as they head into their car and start their car.
So far, the ratings have trended upward, and reach and interactions on our Facebook page have exploded. What’s more, it’s created a slew of new material for our website. And we’ve created mini-stars out of our behind the scenes talent, who are recognized at remotes now.
The #Free4All lives “on top of” the broadcast. As a break comes up, you get a behind the scenes look at how the sausage is made, and a banner underneath driving people to visit Radio.com or the app to listen live. The bottom ticker shows a constant stream of the latest promotions and concerts we are running at the station. We cover trending stories all with broadcast quality graphics and cameras, along with seamlessly integrating social interactions from viewers and giving them a moment in the sun.
Bringing a full-fledged secondary television talk show into an afternoon show is a bit of a foreign concept to some. One of the biggest kvetches behind the scenes is “people should be listening to the station”. But… why podcast ever, then? Content is content, and the more of it you have, the more you can sell. Programmers and talent from around the country have messaged, asking how I’ve been doing it, which is incredibly humbling.
Here’s a look at one of the most recent shows, un-edited and in their full glory! And make sure you watch weekdays at 4pm PT on the Mix 94.1 Facebook Page!