(By Ryan Wrecker) It took two videos before they found a sponsor. Not much time passed before Dave and Chuck the Freak monetized their daily video for WRIF in Detroit. “We would do occasional little snippets of behind-the-scenes stuff, and the reaction was amazing. People always wanted more,” said Dave Hunter. Quality was important, not just for the talent side but also the station side. “It all just worked out well.”
“We have five different cameras set up, one on each person, and one group shot” — they decide to record each camera angle simultaneously and their editor decides the best reaction shots to include as part of post-production. In this case, their editor is also their call screener who is able to show off some of his talents and contribute to the show in a whole new way.
If you’re a talent reading this article, don’t take your audience for granted. Part of connecting with them means you’re willing to build a relationship with them, and you’re in connection with them not just when you want them, but when they want you. If you’re a station manager reading this article, the very same advice applies to you.
“You can’t be one thing. You can’t just be a morning show on the radio for a certain amount
of hours. You have to be with your listeners and carry your brand through different venues.” Dave went on to say they created a video game during an on-air absence to stay connected, and it was a very effective way to keep their audience active.
The basic understanding of cume building through consistency and relevancy is universal between a terrestrial audience and a digital audience. It’s why many smart talents are treating themselves as personal brands, taking the same techniques stations use to nature and grow relationships with the audience. Instead of trying to hold listeners over to the next quarter hour, talent are holding listeners over to the next day and month.
“In video you can’t hide. When you hear us, it’s a fully real scenario. We’re not in there acting or putting something on. What you see is what you get.” Chuck is very cognizant that the constant exposure to cameras may make some talent uncomfortable. For Dave and Chuck, they say the more comfortable you are with your co-hosts, the less intrusive it feels. And for the sake of viewership, genuine reactions will always be in demand.
In the past, both podcasters and video content creators weren’t competing with you directly. This year, more options continue to become more popular. Take Alexa for example. It’s Amazon’s personal assistant device that enables the user to speak commands to perform a variety of functions. In a way, it’s a piece of technology that acts like a radio, but instead it engages in two-way communication. It puts users in control. That’s what people want and expect, especially the up-and-coming generations.
As talent, Chuck said they may be one of the only shows that took their entire audience from one station to another. “I think it was social media and the things we did like having our own video game… we weren’t allowed to be on the air, but you could still be in these people’s lives, letting them know we still exist and were still funny.” When they got back on air, they had a huge head start. It’s also credited to being a very large contributor to their consistent top ratings in the morning.
Dave summed up one of the key points to making a digital footprint in this industry: It’s not enough to just do a show any more. “It’s essential to be in more places at more times. The audience doesn’t listen from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. You’re silly to think if you put it in a different area you’re taking away from your show. You’re not. That’s how our brand developed and grew.”
If you haven’t previewed some of their work, go to WRIF.com and steal some of their money-making digital ideas. Now ask yourself what your audience is doing when they’re not listening to your station. Are you making the mistake of being digitally forgettable?
You can reach Ryan Wrecker on Twitter @RyanWrecker and also RyanWrecker@gmail.com