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The Only Connection To A Community

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(by Ed Ryan) One of the great things about this job is that nearly every day I get to meet, and talk to, great radio operators all over the country. Not only do they produce great local radio every day, you can tell there is no other job in the world they'd rather be doing. Craig Swimm is the General Manager of WMAS in Springfield, Massachusetts, and John Wharff is the President of WMOA in Marietta, Ohio. They don't run a cluster of stations or have million dollar budgets (not that there's anything wrong with that). They have one station, one staff, and one goal: to be great at radio. You're going to want to listen to this hour because Swimm and Wharff tell great stories about how they connect with their local communities. And as you'll quickly figure out, if you're doing it like they are, it's something that can never be duplicated by any other media or replaced by the latest mind-blowing digital app. Listen to our Podcast HERE

And after you listen, send the guys a digital high-five for a job well done. and

(7/19/2012 2:32:36 PM)
They said TV would kill radio. It thrived. They called Sirius and XM the "Death Star" for radio. It thrived. I'm a full-time Chief Engineer for a heavily community involved AM/FM in a smaller community. They didn't EVER say "the sky is falling." With a full-time technical staff (unheard of these days), outstanding facilities and serving their community (think I read somewhere we're supposed to do that) they have thrived. Social media is just another tool to serve their community.

- Joe
(7/19/2012 12:01:45 PM)

You are right about one thing, social media is very good at inciting a "flash mob" at the local Wal-Mart. If local radio is being done right, like it is by Craig and John, Social Media just becomes one of their tools. Local Radio can never be matched. Granted, not everyone does it like these two.


- Ed Ryan
(7/19/2012 11:57:35 AM)
I think both comments make relevant points. However, every industry changes, grows and evolves. Local radio is experiencing all of that and will come out the other side a stronger medium. Look at broadcast has survivied Cable, satellite and corporate consolidation making the necessary adaptions to move forward in this new age.

- Diana
(7/19/2012 11:47:10 AM)
As soon as I saw your headline I knew we had another person with their head stuck in the sand. The BEST connection to a local community now is social media. Almost every town & city... large and small... has local pages on Topix, Facebook, etc where local residents get real time running commentary on what is happening in their community from house fires, traffic delays, car wrecks, gossip, politics, weather, etc. I used to listen to News/Talk radio 5+ hours a day... now I might catch an hour and I do that on Sirius/XM. Radio is rapidly becoming irrelevent. And yes I AM a station owner.

- Chuck
(7/19/2012 11:07:35 AM)
You write: "They don't run a cluster of stations or have million dollar budgets (not that there's anything wrong with that). They have one station, one staff, and one goal: to be great at radio."

The problem is that the corporations that own the vast majority of stations these days have a very different goal: to maximize shareholder value.

That may not be fundamentally incompatible with making great radio, but it sure seems to be. And, yeah, I'd say there IS something wrong with that.

- Bill Goldsmith

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