(By Randy Lane) I value my decades-long friendship and creative partnerships with Bert Weiss of The Bert Show and Kevin Rolston of The KVJ Show (Kevin, Virginia & Jason). During this time of unprecedented change, true innovators like Bert and Kevin step up to the task.
The syndicated Bert Show continues to do the show sheltered in place from multiple locations in Atlanta and KVJ has been fortunate to stay in the studio in West Palm Beach. Here’s an inside peek at how two of radio’s most successful and influential brands are connecting with their listeners and viewers on multiple platforms in the COVID crisis.
We got the order from station management that nobody would be allowed back in the building because an employee might have interacted with a person that was corona virus positive. The person indeed, tested positive. Our first day sounded pretty rough. We are using the BlueJeans app, but none of us had the right broadcasting equipment. Hell, I used my kids gaming headset the first few days before I could go out and get a Yeti mic.
We can visually see each other like a Zoom call. We figured out slight delays and how to communicate with each other both verbally and non-verbally. If someone has something to add, they hold up their hand and the person talking usually calls them by name if two hands are up at the same time. Then the person talking throws it to another team member most of the time. It sounds more annoying than it really is. But it’s alleviated a lot of conversational overlap. It’s like passing a basketball between teammates.
Our show hasn’t changed much. We’re not experts, and we’re not as smart as the president (thinks he is) so we don’t try to be covid experts. Listeners will go to News-Talk if they want daily corona virus updates. We’re a show that’s based on real problems and real talk. So, most of our real-life content is coming from what we’re all experiencing during the pandemic. It’s a tricky balance providing an escape but also not ignoring the obvious.
We’ve also extended the show from 10-11 am as listening patterns have changed. I have been pleasantly surprised by the consistency of our online stream and on-demand segment. Who knows what’s going to happen to the PPM numbers. I have no doubt the PUMS have plummeted for all cities and that’s out of my control. So why stress? Let’s hope management and corporate feel the same way. lol.
We extended the show by an hour, from 10-11 am, while still starting at 6 am. If necessary, we will use replays to help fill any open time. Each replay is woven into the show to sound seamless with the rest of the show.
We created videos promoting our live stream, podcasts and smart speaker skills. We are also running sweepers through all dayparts on the radio station to promote these platforms.
We have increased video content, especially on Facebook. We added our After the Show podcast to Facebook and now do it live on both Facebook and YouTube at 11 am weekdays. We started doing a virtual cocktail show on Friday’s at 5 pm. We are also doing live interactive videos featuring cooking, gaming and random lifestyle topics.
We also brought back a virtual version of our dating game “Hook-Up or Hang-Up.” We hook people up with virtual dates on Friday and then check back on Monday’s show to see how it went and if there will be more interaction between them.
We have partnered with our charity Little Smiles to provide 740 meals to front line workers at eleven hospitals and facilities from Miami to the Treasure Coast.
We have also provided emotional support in hospital drive-bys.
Randy Lane can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at [email protected].