Our special Country Radio Seminar issue of Radio Ink Magazine is about to be plastered all over the Omni Hotel in Nashville as radio executives, country PD’s and on-air hosts converge on that city for the popular event held every year in February. This year, after 16 years at the Renaissance hotel, CRS will be held at the Omni Hotel and will feature a completely revamped agenda. You’ll read all about those changes in your February 8th issue, along with Country radio’s top 30 Program Directors. Also, in this issue is a special feature on syndicated hosts Big D and Bubba who have been together now since starting out at WTGE-FM in Baton Rouge back in 1996. After being syndicated by Premiere for about a decade (they now have a deal with Compass Media Networks), they went out on their own, launching Silverfish Media. Today they are heard on about 70 stations and they control all of their own content. Here’s an excerpt from our interview with the morning team about how they remain relevant and successful after all these years.
RI: What have you done to keep yourselves fresh and relevant?
Big D: We probably evolve the show on a monthly basis. We’ve never been huge fans of doing one bit every day at the same time. We just never have. Most people are on a routine, and they do the same thing every day at the same time. But they don’t want you doing the
same thing every day at the same time. They want it to be something different. We have “benchmarks,” and I am using little air quotes, but they move around. The show is very geared to the country audience. You hear people say we are the audience. I don’t know that we could be more the audience. So people think they have a voice, not to get too cheesy. I really think people relate to us tremendously.
Radio Ink: Guaranty Media Baton Rouge Market Manager Gordy Rush
told us you guys always go the extra mile to make your show sound live and local, even though it’s syndicated. He loves how accessible you are.
Bubba: We contact, we text, we call, we e-mail, Facebook owners, operators, and GMs every day. They’re our friends. It’s a relationship. We go out of our way to help people. For example, they might ask us for help to get a connection with a label for a concert. Yes, we will do our best, make some phone calls. Because we want to superserve when it comes to being local. That’s something that comes back from our past in radio. So if there’s a severe snowstorm going on, maybe, in the Northeast, maybe they need special attention, we will send them special parts of the show that only they get that talk about what’s going on there. It’s all done in real time. The same thing for hurricanes in the Gulf or Florida, or wildfires, or earthquakes.
Big D: Anything where you need to be hyperlocal, that’s when we want to be hyper-local.
Bubba: Because if something really big like that is going on and you’re talking about anything other than that, you’ve lost. We make sure we’re local when we definitely need to be. For the really big events, you can count on us making sure you’re not sounding dumb in your market.
RI: What advice would you give kids thinking they could do the same thing?
Big D: I would tell anyone thinking about getting into radio: Go for it. You have one life, and if that’s your dream, go for it. It doesn’t matter what it is. I can’t stand radio people who say, “Don’t do it. Run for your lives. Learn from my mistake.” I hate that because that’s partly what’s hurt our industry. We need more cheerleaders for radio. Radio is amazing.
Bubba: You have Apple getting into audio, you have all these other companies, like Google. Everybody’s trying to get into the dashboard. What does that tell you? We are a viable industry, and we’ve lost our way. If we can concentrate on continuing to develop new talent, then absolutely we are going to tell them to go for it and live out their dreams, because it’s all right there in front of them. You just have to go out and grab it. We need to remind ourselves how sexy radio is. We need to give ourselves a compliment and say, “Man, my butt looks good.” We don’t do that enough. If you don’t believe it, your potential advertisers aren’t going to believe it.
Big D: If you go up to a girl that you are really wanting to get with and you say, “I am not really attractive, nor am I funny, and I don’t have any redeeming qualities. You don’t want to date me,” then she’s not going to date you.
Bubba: I wish radio would get back into the entertainment business and not be, “We are playing more music.” That’s fine. But it’s a balance. We play music in the morning. We also talk. We entertain. We do all of that. But it’s a balance. You can’t be too much one or the other. I think you’ve got to have both.
To read the entire Big D and Bubba interview and get your own copy of the CRS issue that includes the Top 30 Country Program Directors in America GO HERE
For more information on the show visit www.compassmedianetworks.com