This letter was sent to all the independent broadcasters that I had email addresses for yesterday. I am sending this now as an open letter to ensure I reach every independent radio owner and operator as I believe we have a unique opportunity in front of us.
These are strange times to say the least. I have been thinking about the power of radio and the fact that there are so many independent radio stations in America that make a difference every day in our individual communities. Often the large public groups accomplish great things on their own to help various causes.
Given that independent operators like you and I represent only a small number of stations individual, but together, represent more radio licenses than all the public companies combined, I thought we could use that power for something amazing and show the country and our own industry that independent radio still matters.
There has been plenty for all of us to reflect on these past few weeks. Something that has remained constant on my mind is the number of people that just weeks ago were getting along seemingly okay, only to realize that missing one or two paychecks has impacted the most basic human need: providing sufficient food for their family.
I reached out to “Feeding America” to see if they would consider working with independent radio stations, coming together as a collective group (Independent Broadcasters Association or “IBA”) to coordinate a one day nationwide fundraiser to help feed people that have been most impacted by this crisis. They have responded affirmatively and with much enthusiasm.
The concept for radio could be fairly simple:
- Promote the one-day event for three or four days prior to it
- Conduct the event (every independent radio station simultaneously 6a-6p)
- Continue reminding listeners post-event for another three or four days to allow stragglers to contribute .
Every station could do the one-day event as they see fit. Some may choose an all-day radiothon, similarly to St. Judes Country Cares. Others may choose to just provide talking points throughout the day. Whatever can be best executed by your station(s). The bottom line is collectively we all do the best we can to raise as much as we can from our listeners for a cause that has never been greater.
Feeding America will host the landing page that listeners will be sent to. That link can be placed on your web sites and social media. All the talking points needed will also be provided for your on-air staff by Feeding America. I suspect there are plenty of local food shelf volunteers that could participate by phone with knowledge about how many people are in need to make your broadcast excellent. 100% of all money raised will go to Feeding America.
At the end of the event, local independent radio will all be able to promote the total amount raised by the “IBA” sharing with our listeners the power of local radio. Imagine the possibilities of what several thousand radio stations working together could accomplish!
The first step in this is to gather the information on all the companies that would be willing to participate. Adams Radio has set up a landing page to collect this information.
I am asking that every broadcaster that wants to participate, enter their information on that site by April 15 so that we have your information and can distribute to you what you will need for the event. The target event date would be April 30, the day we all are hoping will be the last for the shelter in place orders. That gives everyone 15 days to prepare which should be plenty.
This is our chance to show that radio, specifically independent radio, is very much alive and well and doing what we have always done best, serving our communities. I hope you will participate.
If we find success in this event, we may be onto something big for independent radio operators. A new organization designed specifically for us. An Independent Broadcasters Association. A co-op organization working together to accomplish many great things in the future for our communities and our own operations. There are so many ways we can help each other by working together. The power of many will go a long way! Please consider the concept.
Ron Stone President
CEO Adams Radio Group