Creativity Leads To Sales in Ithaca, New York


In our ongoing effort to troll the country and find radio stations doing unique, out-of-the-box radio so we can share those ideas with you, we tripped upon what Cayuga Radio Group General Manager Chet Osadchey is doing in Ithaca, New York. This lead came from Saga CEO Ed Christian who leaked it out on his brief, but always entertainining, earnings call this week. The name of the feature is called “Business Over Coffee” and Osadchey explains exactly what he does, why he does it, and why it’s working.

This week on the Saga earnings call CEO Ed Christian specifically highlighted the interviews you are doing in Ithaca. Can you tell us about them?
Osadchey: We created a series called “Talking Business Over Coffee.” It is simply a rotation of interviews with local company leaders speaking about their industry, growth outlook, and general shared leadership tips. We run 1-minute “promo” versions of the segments in rotation on all our stations, and direct listeners to listen to the full podcasted segments online.

You use the interviews in several ways don’t you?Chet
Osadchey: We do. They are used to keep local businesses relevant in the minds of our community. These are the businesses that are paying taxes, employing local people, and re-investing back into our region and state. Many of these businesses may not even have a direct-to-consumer message, but they are incredibly important to the fabric of our community and our economic health. It is the same way I want these businesses and listeners to think about our radio group.

What is your goal from “Business Over Coffee?”
Osadchey: The goal with the program is localism. It’s creating relevant content that engages listeners, advertisers, and our community in general.  There’s a disconnect in many communities. People drive by a big building every day and probably don’t even know what that business does. They probably don’t recognize the impact that business has economically. The “Talking Business Over Coffee” program educates the listening audience and goes one step further by humanizing — actually putting a voice to these companies; real people that also live in our community. Only radio can really make that comfortable connection, and this format does it extremely well.


How does it make the business owner feel when the GM comes to their business to conduct an interview?
Osadchey: I never thought about how it makes them feel, but in general I would say there is a good sense of appreciation and understanding that we share the same common goals. We are both here to be valued assets and members of our community — the same community. A radio GM in Saga Broadcasting is a lot like a business owner, so I think they feel like they are speaking to someone that identifies with their challenges and appreciates their insights.

Why do you believe this type of feature makes your station(s) stand out?
Osadchey: Our company (Saga) is what I would call a “bottom up” company. Every GM, GSM, and Brand Manager in our company is among the most talented and “wired in” broadcasters in America. Because of that, each knows their market — both the audiences and advertisers. The nuances of what makes this feature stand out in my market is going to be different than any other market of my peers in Saga…but it stands out because we know what fits here. The empowerment inside Saga for these talented radio leaders to create their own program within their respective markets is unique.



What has the reaction been from listeners?
Osadchey: Reaction from listeners has been extremely positive, and I genuinely mean that. The conversation with business owners and leaders should be important to our listening audience. These are very successful leaders offering valued business experience to share with others…I think it helps paint these business operators as the valued members of the community that they are. I love hearing businesses talk about needing to hire people, and I want those future employees to be local people. The most rewarding aspect from the listener is the feedback they give directly to the businesses themselves. The greatest words of our industry are “Hey, I heard you on the radio!” Local businesses need affirmation from their community that they are valued. A program like this helps facilitate that conversation. I do hear listeners comment on how these segments, as well as other endeavors we are doing, make our stations sound “local,” and they appreciate that.

Are they something you sell?
Osadchey: No.

Have they lead to sales?
Osadchey: Yes. Whether some might say we are “extending the olive branch” or offering some sort of carrot in the hopes of this endeavor leading to sales is really missing the point. Radio works. I believe that in today’s fragmented advertising world, it actually works better than ever.  When the main advertising discussion today is about ad fraud and ad blocking, I am proud that myself and my fellow radio broadcasters are proactively preaching, creating, and implementing honest and authentic elements that work. Create good products, it will create its own demand.

Listen to all of Chet’s Podcasts HERE

Reach out to Chet to congratulate him on a job well done up in Ithaca, New York, for this great idea and excellent representation of radio [email protected]

Are you doing something cool and unique worth bragging about to the industry? Please send all the details to [email protected]


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