Sheri Lynch is truly special. She’s analytical. She’s smart. She’s well-read. She’s got one of the fastest, sharpest senses of humor you’ll ever run across. And, she’s on the cover of the May 9, 2022 issue of Radio Ink Magazine which comes out Monday.
Here’s an excerpt from our interview…
Radio Ink: 1992, when you started, was a different time. How are you keeping yourself relevant with the changing times?
Lynch: My career has coincided with some of the wildest roller coaster loops in radio. When I began, consolidation was just rearing its head. I got to watch all these radio stations get bought and sold.
I was also around when the Internet exploded. I was in a meeting one day and someone in the room told the GM at the time, “Don’t worry about the Internet, that’s a fad.” I vividly remember thinking to myself that there was always someone who would say cars weren’t going to make it or that electricity would never replace candles. There’s always one person like that in every room. I made a mental note of this cool moment.
The world is changing literally in front of our eyes, and I work in a dominant form of mass communication, and there are people in this room who don’t want to see it. I didn’t think it was a fad. I knew what I was looking at. Even if I couldn’t predict all the dark and wonderful things it would become for us.
I also was, I think, the first adult on Facebook. I saw what social media could mean for people who do what I do, and to this day I’m bewildered by how some in our industry are indifferent. I was on the phone with a program director in the beginning of the pandemic who said, “I don’t really believe in social media.” OK, well, I don’t know what to tell you. To
me social media was an obvious brand extension of my show and what I do. If I’m connecting with people from 6-10 AM M-F, now I can connect with them 24/7 and not just with words, but video and images. I can be all up in their business and they in mine. I dragged our show kicking and screaming into that world because I believed in it and still do. It’s incredibly powerful for radio, and helpful when used correctly.
Unfortunately, we have a lot of old minds thinking in positions of power, and it’s considered a necessary evil or the last agenda item. For fun I will hop around and check radio stations’ social media pages, and I’m very often disappointed in what I find. They’re like static billboards; there’s no humanity to them. I think, “OK, I can’t convince everybody.”
Radio Ink: Everybody thinks they can be a TikTok or social media star. Do they
want to be radio stars anymore?
Lynch: I don’t know that I’m the person who can answer that important question, but it seems to me that no one wants to be a radio star. They want to be an influencer. Can you blame them? There are people who can barely eke out their rent in radio now. There aren’t a lot of great opportunities now.
The industry hasn’t exactly been welcoming of people who enter horizontally from another place. You’re supposed to follow the farm team model, doing overnights in market 200 and working your way to the top. That pathway doesn’t even exist anymore because a lot of those entry-level jobs are gone to voicetracking or automation. We still want people to come through the traditional pipeline, but we plugged it up with cement a while back.
Why is it surprising to anyone that 20-something kids want to be TikTok stars and not radio stars? How is it controversial to point to the obvious truth that TikTok has almost no barrier to entry? If you have some talent, initiative, and game and know how the algorithm works,
you can become a star on TikTok, but we have gatekeepers. Those gatekeepers are not necessarily going to open an e-mail or look at a resume, are they?
Get your own copy of this issue, which includes the 2022 list of the Most Influential Women in Radio, HERE