Sometimes it Takes More Than “Local” to Win


(By Gary Berkowitz) Recently I was in one of the smaller markets I work in. One of the stations in the cluster is a 6kw CHR. Their competition, a 100kw CHR, not only sounds pretty good but also runs the syndicated “Dave and Jimmy” morning show.

I do not work for the CHR, (I’m the AC guy) but the station owner knows me and knows that I always have an opinion (lol). He asked how I thought his station sounded. I told him it was “just ok”.

He knows that “just ok” from me means I think they stink! It lacked “differentiation” from the other CHR and played a lot of unfamiliar music. Most important, the new morning guy they hired was just plain, boring.

The owner was not happy with my response and quickly told me that “we just hired this local morning guy to talk about local events and happenings to combat their syndicated show”.

If you have not heard the Dave and Jimmy morning show, take my word. They are good. Very good.

They have a large production team working on it every day. The show moves, has high energy, and is in touch with what’s happening. Most important, Dave & Jimmy are talented and funny.

My client’s guy is local but that was just about all he had going for him. No excitement. No entertainment. Nothing compelling or special.

What’s my point? Being local is not enough. Better talent & content always wins out. For my client, it means his local morning show will most likely never come close, no less beat Dave and Jimmy.

Just imagine what would happen if a TV station put a “local” guy on opposite Jimmy Kimmel. Yea, he’d be local, but viewers would still choose Kimmel cause he’s so likable, funny and TALENTED.

Gary Berkowitz specializes in ratings improvement for AC and Classic Hits radio stations in all size markets. He can be reached at (248) 737-3727 or [email protected]



  1. Of course if just about every station put on a syndicated show from another source where would all the future radio personalities go to get their start? Where do all the older ones go if just about every small, medium or large market station is carrying an out of town program? And please don’t tell me you can learn anything about doing a radio show by voice tracking. Studios have become like many shopping malls. They are “EMPTY.” Commercial radio needs its own vaccine. It’s called “live and local.”

  2. Totally agree Gary. So many easy examples of this. Stern on terrestrial radio years ago. He’d go into a market with pretty much zero local going on since he was ‘networked’ in NYC, and he usually crushed everyone else. He was simply more entertaining. Let’s jump to today. Pre-election 2020. Was there anyone in the entire world who didn’t have something to say about Trump and could be pretty vocal about it? Was Trump local in Canada, or Europe, or China etc? No….but INTEREST of him was local just about everywhere. So back to Stern on this. Would you rather hear Stern and Schwarzenegger talk about who Arnold was dating when he was single in Hollywood and all that scene for movie stars, or that there’s a local bake sale going on to raise money for a new sewing club?

    Local really has very little to do with distance/area/city/proximity/setting as so many in radio who use that term. Just because you’re talking about something within a 20 mile radius doesn’t mean it’s of interest to anyone local. As Gary points out, you have to dig and dig to find out what local people in your area actually care about or are interested in. Certainly some items of interest will be ‘local’, but unfortunately high odds in this day and age of the net etc., that what they’re mostly interested in isn’t going to be all that ‘local’ as in the typical radio meaning of the word.

  3. Gary:

    It is, of course, a combination of factors that make a great radio station. Good national beats bad local. The reverse, though, is true as well.


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