Day 341: Radio isn’t dead

Today, I went to an International Association of Business Communicators – Nashville meeting, and as always, enjoyed it thoroughly. I’m sure I’ve talked about this group before, because I feel right at home with them. They are all writers, creatives, or speakers of various sorts, and I connect so well with their hearts.

The topic today was the need for radio today, and 3 panelists spoke of their work in radio. They did a nice job of telling us why radio remains relevant in this fast-paced, ever-changing digital world.

The panelists were:

  • Devon O’Day, the co-host of Nashville Today on WSM, the radio home of the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Chris Kulick, WSM General Manager.
  • Paul Ladd, Senior Correspondent for World Christian Broadcasting, and a member of IABC Nashville.

The panelists said that radio is the only medium that still requires people to use their imaginations. Video is visual. Print is visual. Radio is primarily auditory, and so you have to put pictures to the words you’re hearing.

Interestingly, they said that radio is so relevant today that even video of radio hosts at work in the studio is making its way to television, simply because people are so fascinated with the stories being told, and they want to see the workings behind the scene at the studios. So it’s becoming imagination, plus visual.

They all talked of noticing every person you come in contact with, from the janitor to the make up artist, to the project managers. They said it’s critical to make those connections with people. Chris stressed, “Do the right thing every day and you’ll never have to worry about meeting up with someone another time and feeling uncomfortable. That person may end up to be your boss one day.”

They each spoke of the impact they make on local communities. Many non-syndicated radio programs tell stories of local happenings, and may even be the first to broadcast major breaking news. By talking with people who live in the local areas and listening to their stories, radio can bring enlightenment and new business not only for the storyteller, but for those locals who advertise on radio.

Chris told of the way that businesses can market with radio today, and that it’s not the same as it used to be (that is, paying for a spot on the radio hoping people would hear it and stop in). He said that one of the ways he helps business market is by helping them to network. He gave the example of advertising a networking luncheon, along with a backstage tour of the Ryman Auditorium, and how that will bring people in to a business much more effectively than radio advertising used to be. It’s Finding Kindreds at work.

Devon spoke of connecting the radio shows with social media and how people needed to be aware of the power of social media, no matter what their age. She said it’s the ultimate way of networking. She mentioned a story that she had posted on her FB page about some horses that were going to be put down. After posting, she asked her 67,000 followers to share the story, and it changed the course of those horses’ lives. They were not destroyed. Her point? Networking and a community working together (even if they were not in the same physical location) can make a huge impact.

Paul talked about how people will remember specific comments that were said on the radio, and write into the show to talk about those impactful moments. He said it was important that you contact each one back and connect with them because what people really want is that connection and to realize that someone, somewhere knows that they exist. He said, “They may not remember all you said, but they will know that you cared.”

Everything they were talking about was tied back into Finding Kindreds: caring about people, noticing them…no matter what their social level is, connecting with those in the community. I really enjoyed the conversation, and was so sad that I had to scoot out of the meeting a few minutes before the end.

One final note, Devon O’Day worked in radio since she was 17. She recently got the position at the Grand Ol’ Opry, and she said that finally, at 52, she’s living her dream…the dream of working at the Opry that she had a young adult. It’s never too late to live your dream.

DAY 341 HOMEWORK: I know this a longer reading than normal so I won’t give you homework except to encourage you to turn on a local radio station, and connect with someone nearby.




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