Monday, July 17, 2017

Episode #037:

Dave Van Dyke
Founder/President, Bridge Ratings
Bridging the Audience Gap

Dave Van Dyke
Is your audience moving away from you?

The attacks are not just online anymore.  Media reseach sherpa Dave Van Dyke offers a look at the ‘audience gap’ between listener usage pattenrs, where radio is and where it needs to go to remain competitive, if not dominant. Dave was raised in radio, showcasing talents on-air, in programming, sales, marketing and research. After over two decades with posts including VP /GM at KCBS/Los Angeles along with senior management positions at Westinghouse, Viacom, Infinity and the ABC Radio Networks, he started Bridge Ratings and Research.

Now he’s focused on every facet of radio, audio and Internet audience engagement and is widely recognized for his ability to forecast and gauge media Bridge Ratings conducts several studies annually to determine the impact of a variety of media which compete for consumers' time.  

All of this data is rolled into the annual “Bridge Ratings New Media Gauntlet” which we link to below.

This episode will help you bridge the growing audience gap, for survival of your station brand ─ and your career!

Dave's LinkedIn profile

Click HERE for the 
2017 Bridge Media Guantlet report

Bonus Content:

Video:  Is JohnJay Spiderman?

A great 'real life' moment gives the audience of previous Brandwidth guests
JohnJay and Rich 
an inside look at the show in action, and generates great multi-platform exposure.

by David Martin


Here’s a powerful trade secret. Keep in mind, it only works 100% of the time. Every market has its own unique characteristics. While it may be said that all markets adopt and integrate many of the same national brands (e.g., McDonalds, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy), it is also true each market has its homegrown favorites. Having lived in Portland I still thirst for the taste of Burgerville product.

One audio trait homegrown in each market is the local accent, the local vernacular. In Dallas and Atlanta it’s common to hear “Y’all” used on everyday conversation. You won’t hear that in New York. In New York people stand not “in” line but “on” line. There have been national studies by beverage brands to determine what category their liquid competes in. Is it “soda” or “pop” or “cola”? You get the idea. Every market has a “sound.”

Allow me to dare a guess that you have been told more than once “You have a radio voice.” It’s because having worked in audio you have developed a certain discipline in your speech. You have likely reached the point that you no longer notice your practiced pronunciations. You have, in fact, created a professional voice which is different from the voices people normally hear in their conversations.

Radio stations are heavy with professional voices. From the on-air talent, to promos and commercials smooth and often remarkably distinct voices fill the air. What is usually not heard are everyday voices of the locals. On the listener side of the radio these voices “pop” or jump out when they hit the air. The listener ear detects or notices these voices, a degree of dissonance is created.

Getting the sound of your market on your air should always be a priority. Beyond your use of local vernacular, find creative ways to get the voices of locals on your air. It’s no accident that many successful talk shows and morning shows on music stations have a “cast” of contributing listeners. The legendary Fred Winston had a great ear for finding colorful listeners, including ones with the strong Chicago “dese, dem and dose” accents, via the request lines. He would often record them asking an obvious question to set up a set element “Hey, Fred are you ever gonna tell us if it’s going to snow today or not, jeeeze?”

Does your station have an accent (or three)? It needs to and should.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Episode #036:
JASON CAGE, Mix 96.5/Houston
Serious FUN = Serious Success!

Jason Cage
Admittedly, radio isn’t always fun. But Jason Cage proves that a big part of it is how you deal with situations that come your way.  And for him, more often than not, that’s been FUN!

After exiting CBS Radio at the end of 2016 when CHR “96.5 Amp Radio” WZMP Philadelphia changed formats, Jason rejoined the company to host afternoon drive at Adult CHR Mix 96.5/KHMX Houston.

From his hometown station in Huntsville, AL, to Chicago (B96-FM), to Philly, and now Houston, Jason has learned the secret to having fun along the way, and sharing it with his audience.  All while maintaining some semblance of family life (as you'll hear!)

Not only is he a prominent major market host, but Jason has also been a devotee to all aspects of online engagement, too. (Please see links below).

In this episode, he offers tips on getting to know a new market and the realities of working every virtually every daypart.

He also shares some compelling advice for those who’d like to follow in his footsteps along with things he knows NOW that he WISHES he’d known ‘back then’.


(click for video)

MORE good thoughts from Jason:

- - - - - -


To give yourself the best chance of achieving success you need a plan. Having a plan not only improves your odds it also provides focus. Here’s a popular framework which you can use to create a solid plan. SMART is an mnemonic acronym for the framework.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

Putting your plan in writing is an important part of the process. Behavioral scientists involved in the study of cognition have proven there are real and significant advantages in putting your thoughts in writing.

Keep in mind, planning is a process not an event. All plans become obsolete when they meet the real world. Effective plans are “live” - informed by real-time feedback, study and reflection. The most productive plans are fine-tuned, changed up, adjusted as circumstances demand and opportunities present.

I’m not a fan of having a plan B. Having a killer plan A and tweaking it as needed has delivered the goods for the teams I’ve played on.

Beware: don’t confuse activity with progress. It’s very important to measure impact. Activity which is not measured can be a resource and time wasting trap.

In my experience, every successful plan includes serious consideration of contingencies. After you’ve developed your plan ask “What could go wrong?” Next, develop your responses. If X happens our best options are Y and Z. The $100 name for this is scenario planning. No matter what you call it – it works. You want to think through issues and responses before you become influenced by the emotions usually present in the moment things go wrong.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Episode #035:

Chio in the Morning
Proves Perseverance Pays!

CHIO IN THE MORNING is a Philly radio legend, and proof positive that perseverance DOES pay off. He’s been part of winning stations LITERALLY from coast to coast (Z100/New York to KHTS and XHRM/San Diego). Through all of that, Chio is marking over 16 years hosting mornings in America’s 9th largest market, at stations like Q102, WIRED 96.5, and now at IHeart’s MIX 106-1.
There he starts Philly’s day with fun games and benchmark features like “Battle of the Sexes, “Truth or Trash” and “Chi-aoke”, his version of “karaoke” on the radio. He’s also known for helping local families in need with charities like the “Yo Cuz” foundation, “Big Brothers and Sisters of the Independence Region” the “Philadelphia Sunday Love Project” which helps feed the homeless.

Never shy about unveiling his personal life on the air, he is a proud Dad of four children, and recently got re-married to his ex-wife, live on local TV! 

By David Martin


Thanks to some incredible mentors my career and life have been changed for the better. Truth be told, I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time a great number of times.
Allow me to share a few lessons from one of those mentors. He was a musician turned band leader and concert promoter which is to say he was an entrepreneur. At the top of his game he left it all behind for a job in radio. Starting as a disc jockey he went on to become a successful bigger-than-life music radio personality. He was an original, a nonconformist, a great showman and my dad.

Have fun.

When leaving for work he was fond of saying “It’s time to go play radio.” Like many, I had a bedroom radio station growing up and enjoyed playing radio. Dad taught me a job wasn’t worth doing if you didn’t have fun. He truly did have fun playing radio. Many who worked with him later told me it was infectious.

People tune in to be entertained or informed.

He preached - when you crack the mic it’s showtime. No matter what kind of day you’re having or the week you’ve had the show must go on. The audience expects something added to their day, they expect a performance and you’re paid to deliver one. Be positive, cheerful and enthusiastic. Make a difference in their day.

Long after people have forgotten what you said they’ll remember how you made them feel.

He became known as a companion and he suggested it was an important role to play. He often said audio has a magic power to stir the emotions. Radio is a personal medium, use it to communicate and relate in a personal (i.e., one-on-one) way. Make listeners feel they made a good choice listening to you.

Understand it’s a business of shows.

As a guy who started his professional life singing for his supper he was always acutely sensitive to the business success of the show.  His advice was get involved; make meaningful and memorable contributions to the sales process. Go out of your way to create a killer commercial experience for the client, the listener and the sales person.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Episode #034:

Skip Mahaffey: All Radio Needs is (K)Love
Morning Host, EFM's K-LOVE Stations

Skip Mahaffey
     Whenever you mention ‘great radio people’, invariably the name Skip Mahaffey comes up.

     After decades as a morning ratings magnet, his CMA and Billboard Award-Winning “Skip Show” has been dominent for decades, winning in markets from Tulsa to Phoenix, St. Louis to San Diego, Los Angeles, Tampa and Dallas.

Now Skip captains mornings on one of the most innovative plays in radio, EFM’s K-LOVE stations whose approach to ownership, quality programming and business model are changing both the complexion of branded audio content and the lives of listener's they serve.

Click to Learn more about this innovative media concept

Check out Skip's book

Follow Skip on Twitter

Friend Skip on Facebook

(Hear the EXPANDED PLAY of this interview)

by David Martin

Announcer, DJ, Personality. Three of the audio talent types which we’ll focus on in this piece. We acknowledge there are others including voice actor, raconteur, host, interviewer, narrator, anchor, storyteller and reporter. All deserve respect.

Announcers are most often readers. They’re the professionals engaged to deliver the words of others. The highest paid in this group are the commercial voice over announcers.

DJs have played a role in radio since radio started playing records. Today the DJ involvement in music radio ranges from high profile to low key depending on the station, the format and the daypart. The highest paid “DJs” are not working on the air at all but in clubs and at events on the EDM circuit. They’re not voices or DJs in the traditional sense. Their skill set involves reading the crowd and mixing the music to create a moment. Calvin Harris was last year’s biggest earner at over $30 million. There are radio DJs that make a very good living working in markets of all sizes. Pro tip: DJs who also do other work (e.g., commercial voice over, imaging work, copy writing or become known as the go-to MC for local community events) do exceptionally well.

Personalities are the rarest breed of voices. They are the show, no matter their particular style. Whether they be crazy bigger-than-life characters or serious soft-spoken intellectuals, personalities connect with listeners and create a habit forming relationship. Personalities have the unique ability to become part of a listener’s daily routine, they become family. The highest paid personalities generally work in major markets however there are many working outside the majors.

One of the questions I often get from radio talent is “How do you get ahead and become successful in this industry today?” My response has remained the same over the years. First, hustle. Today is not a dress rehearsal, make something happen. Get serious about your craft and dedicate yourself to doing what it takes to reach your potential. Never give up. Get out there and connect, engage with others. You’re only as good as your network.

Let me add two more from Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Try not to suck. Do simple better.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Episode #033:

In Search of Radio Excellence
Jeff McCarthy, VPP/Midwest Communications

Jeff McCarthy, VPP
Midwest Communications
You may not see Jeff McCarthy hoarding headlines, mainly because he’s been too busy… quietly and consistently helping build Midwest Communications into one of America’s fastest growing, privately held radio powerhouses.  

For over 30 years, he’s been Vice President of Programming for a company that Wisconsin Radio Hall of Famer and Rockwell Award recipient Duke Wright started as an AM/FM combo in Wausau, Wisconsin, then added another 100,000 watt FM and leading AM in Green Bay.  Now the company has over 70 stations in 7 states, with recent acquisitions in Nashville, Evansville and Michigan, to name a few. Impressively, Jeff has managed to raise his family in the same town all those years.

One key to all his successes: EXCELLENCE.  In this episode, he reveals some of the approaches, tips and techniques that helps him achieve, maintain, and increase standards an ever-growing group of quality stations. 

As a veteran broadcaster, market dominating PD, and now VP overseeing product for one of America’s fastest growing groups, Jeff shares advice for ANYONE wanting to advance in the industry today?

He reveals the traits he looks for in a prospective air talent or PD, and explains what makes one candidate stand out over another.  He also has JOB SURVIVAL TIPS for people who
wants to make themselves INDISPENSABLE and prepare to move up through the ranks at a good company like Midwest Communications.

by David Martin


What’s in a name? That is the key issue at the heart of any discussion of brand. It also happens to be the title of an influential book from the last century by the brilliant advertising scholar, John Philip Jones.

My thought is it’s possible and practical to reduce the concept of brand to the unvarnished answers for a couple of urgently important questions. What’s in your name? What do you stand for?

Here’s a pragmatic exercise which will help you to prepare for those two questions.

Provide the following questionnaire to every performer. Leave spaces for their written response. Let them know their answers will be kept confidential. Ask them to be honest and share their true feelings. Give them three days to think about it and return it completed.

What’s unique about your show (station) compared to all of the other shows (stations) in our market?
Why do people listen to your show (station)?
When people tune in to your show (station) what do they expect to hear?
How would one of your listeners describe your show (station) to a friend?

Provide another questionnaire to every associate not on the air adjusting the questions as follows and leaving spaces for written response. Provide the same instructions as above. Pro tip: we’ve used other versions of this questionnaire in LAB sessions and via listener email polls for decades and gained valuable insights.

What’s unique about NAME OF TALENT compared to all of the other talent in our market?
What’s special about CALL LETTERS compared to all the other stations in our market?
Why do people listen to CALL LETTERS?
When people tune in to CALL LETTERS what do they expect to hear?
How would your friends describe CALL LETTERS?

This isn’t a scientifically valid poll and there are no right or wrong responses however you should look for patterns. Remember to look for what’s not there. Anything missing?

Let me suggest your participants are now ready for an all hands session with one purpose – an open discussion of those two urgently important questions. What’s in our name? What do we stand for?

Developing and building a brand involves complex calculus rather than simple arithmetic. The fundamental moving parts include attitudes, perceptions, values and feelings. Getting everyone in your organization on the same page is always a smart place to start. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Episode #032:
Tips from a Top 10 Market
Tony Lorino, PD
Star 94.1/Atlanta

Tony Lorino
PD, Star 94.1/Atlanta
Tony Lorino is proof that even in radio, good people CAN finish first!

After great runs at numerous large and major markets, including Milwaukee, Kansas City and Atlanta, Tony offers thoughts on making ANY station great, and shares insights for ANY broadcaster relocating to a new locale?

Tony has worked with some great people over the years (including former Brandwidth guest Brian Kelly) and shares some of their best advice. He also reveals things some ‘not-so-good’ bosses have taught him to avoid!

Perhaps most importantly, he lets you know EXACTLY how to be on the ‘short list’ for the next big gig.

Your Act 

Every performer develops a reputation. Performers become known for attributes, intentionally or not, in the minds of audiences, co-workers and employers. 

What is your act? The most successful performers are able to answer this important question with clarity. Invariably, the stars among performers are those who resolve what they stand for. They’re relentless in this pursuit using focus, persistence, creativity and optimism to earn their reputation. 

Aware their act is a work in progress star performers seek and use feedback to course correct. They understand a skill set is dynamic and are dedicated to continuous improvement. They are also open to developing new skills and abandoning others as needed. 

On the day job we recently assisted a client in their search for a new morning show co-host. The performer hired set herself apart in a number of ways. First, she could clearly articulate the value of her act, the specific attributes she would bring to the job. She was able to say here is what I will bring to the show on-air, here is what I will bring to the cluster off-air, and here is what I’ll need to make those things happen. Perhaps most impressive of all – she created a video which addressed those three topics including testimonials from listeners, colleagues and two former managers. 

If your listeners, co-workers, and managers were asked to describe you in three words what would they say? Finally, what’s likely to be the most frequent response should those same people also be asked “What does s/he stand for?” 

Monday, June 5, 2017

#031: Make Mine Medium!

Chris Murphy
OM, Midwest Family Media, Springfield, IL

Chris Murphy
OM, Midwest Family/Springfield, IL

Don’t let his wicked sense of humor fool you. CHRIS MURPHY is as serious about creating winning radio -- as he is in making radio fun. And he’s in a medium market after winning in the majors, for quality of life and other reasons he shares.

Growing up in a “Radio Family”, Chris stayed in the business anyway. After on-air with a station roster that includes powerhouses like Magic 98 in Madison, WI, and KS-95/KSTP in the Twin Cities, Chris brings a major market attitude, while making a home ─ and career ─ in the medium market of Springfield, IL.

There he has served as morning host on a music station, anchor and host for a News/Talk station, Operations Manager for the entire cluster, and as this is being published an announcement is being prepared for his latest promotion!

Chris shares some of the skills required to move up the ranks at a good company, as well as some surprises he’s had along the way. He also shares some great tips for prioritizing duties when juggling a lot of different functions.

Show Prep #2

Show prep for performers.

Begin your prep for tomorrow’s show at the end of today’s show. What did you have planned for today’s show that didn’t make it to air? Will it still be relevant tomorrow?

Put it down on tomorrow’s prep sheet. Any new ideas come up during today’s show? Pro tip: put everything in writing. Use a one-page prep sheet to stay organized and focused.

When you’re not on stage (i.e., on the air) you need to be alert and aware of the world around you. Pay attention. Notice what’s happening. Put yourself into the mindset of your target audience. Stay open to suggestions and ideas. Make notes on your prep sheet.

Be smart about social media. Use it to stay in touch and tuned into what your audience is talking about. When you’re not on stage, listening and watching are more important than engaging. Engagement is a good thing but choose your moments and don’t allow engagement to be your only use of social. Strive for a passive/active balance which leans passive. Note what seems to be shared and mentioned most often. What’s trending? How can you use this on your show?

Today’s high five. Day of show, develop a list of the top five things your audience is or will be talking about today. One of your roles as a performer is companion. You have the important job of keeping your audience in touch with the things they need to know in order to navigate successfully in their social orbit. Make your listeners “feel” they know what’s up.

Start each show with a plan. A basic road map of what you’re planning to do every set of every hour. Place your top five into sets across your show. When repeating one of your five make it fresh, that is, deliver the same message in a totally different way. Keep in mind people are always tuning out and tuning in every set.

Trade secret: collect cool people. There are a bunch of cool people in your audience. They may or may not text, email, message, or call you but they’re out there listening. The most successful performers are constantly in the hunt, looking for ways to connect with these cool people. They’re the leaders of your pack. Cultivate the cool kids and find ways to make them feel special, make them the stars of your show.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Episode #030:

Online Marketing Superstar

Online Marketing Rock Star
If your email list or digital strategy is still a "work in progress", THIS is the episode for YOU!

AMY PORTERFIELD is NOT broadcaster, but every smart media person can learn a LOT from her online marketing skills and approaches.

She authored one of those big yellow “Dummies” books all about Facebook and was named by Forbes as one of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. Then, Amy spent over 6 years working with Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins, managing his content marketing team and major online campaigns.

Since the entire Brandwidth concept focuses on ways in which traditional media can and should be using ALL avenues of engagement, Amy shares lessons and observations from her mega-successes (…and some things she’s learned NOT to do!).

Take Action

To generate momentum, action-by-action is a more effective approach than step-by-step says Amy Porterfield. It’s wise counsel.

The most successful people I know share a few attributes no matter their profession. One of those traits is an bias for action. Until you take action, until you commit and squeeze the trigger, nothing happens. Too often there’s nothing going on but a lot of talk (ready, aim, ready, aim, ready, aim, aim, aim).

A careful study of the situation is important, developing and discussing options is essential however being decisive and taking action is what wins the day.

On the day job we use a simple framework.

What needs to be done?

How do we get it get done?

When do we take the action(s) required?

We’re blessed to work with some amazing people. It’s not unusual for us to see teams understanding what needs to be done and knowing how to do it, and somehow they’re failing to take action. I have been involved in some killer white board sessions after which…nothing happened.

This happens across all endeavors.

How many people know they need to lose weight and know how (diet & exercise) but fail to act?

Taking action is the powerful secret hiding in plain sight. It’s damn hard to do especially when the chances of failure are ever present. Never give up.

Gratuitous sports metaphor: Jordan and LBJ set scoring records because they also set records for scoring attempts.

Our counsel is learn how to fail faster to succeed sooner. Be bold. Take action!