Monday, December 18, 2017

Episode #50:
Chicago Rock Radio Renegade

Mitch Michaels has been on the air in the Chicago market for several decades, and worked at just about every rock station in town! He is perhaps best known for helping start WXRT-FM, and for his work at WKQX-FM, “The Loop” WLUP-FM, WCKG-FM, and others.

He is currently ‘Doin’ the Cruise” from 3p-7p at 95.9 “The
River” WERV-FM
in suburban Chicago, and has recently released a book of the same name: “Doin’ the Cruise: Memories From A Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll".

With his longstanding run in the same major market, Mitch digs into how his job has evolved and reveals the ONE THING he feels is most important today for ANY on-air talent to remain relevant tomorrow. His insights might surprise you.

Smart Radio YouTube:

All it takes is a little initiative and imagination to create an engaging micro-targeted memory for members of your audience. Previous podguest Jeff McCarthy (SVP/P of Midwest Communications) shows how a quick visit (lead by WIXX, Green Bay PD Corey Carter) can both create goodwill and revenue while creating buzz in a station hot zip code.

by David Martin


Size matters when the objective is effective messaging. Whether it’s your rap in a set, a promo, a one-liner, or a tweet, bite-size is the right size. Ask yourself “What do I want the audience to understand? What’s the message?”

“News you can dance to” was the way radio news ace Jo Interrante described what her team delivered on music stations. Putting it another way, Jo’s advice was “Tell Mom about it.” How would you break down the news story, what would it sound like, if you were telling your Mom about it. It boils down to headline news delivered in plain, simple, and easy to understand English. The dated pop culture version would be Joe Friday’s “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

In the last century, great programmers including Buzz Bennett preached “One thought per set.” Clear and concise. Get to the point. Perhaps the greatest lesson the late great Buzzy gave us was connecting with the street. The language you find out there, the way people really talk, is essential in crafting effective messages. Always use target listener vocabulary. To relate, sound like your audience.

Pro tip: The best delivery is conversational, the one-on-one style of communication. Remember, you’re talking to one person. You’ve got to hit the responsive chord on the listener side of the radio.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Episode #049:
Karen Dalessandro - Making the Switch!

Ever have a radio station change their name for you?

That's exactly what 94.5 KTI Country did after revealing that Milwaukee country radio mainstay Karen Dalessandro was switching dial positions. Her new station is so happy to have her that they have renamed the station “94-5 KAREN COUNTRY” in a series of ads, including TV and outdoor.

Outdoor campain welcomes Karen!

Clearly, Karen is a modern-day renaissance pro. She’s done voice-over and on-camera work for advertising agencies, worked in theater and comedy improv, and was even a TV entertainment reporter for Milwaukee’s FOX-TV affiliate.

As longtime morning host at Milwaukee’s leading country radio station, she is now hosting afternoons on rival “KTI Country” and serving as WKTI Music Director.
In sharing her journey she offers some tips for deciding whether you're ready to lead a large market morning show, and importantly, what it takes to KEEP a show on top for almost two decades.

Having been in the enviable position of "hiring her next boss", Karen describes what are some of the traits (good and bad) which any talent should be aware of before signing on the line.

Karen's TV Spot

You Tube of the Week: Karen interviews Kelli Pickler

by David Martin


Never say never? There are exceptions to almost every rule and with good reason. Here are some exceptions to saying never.

There is never an excuse for bad manners.

Never confuse activity with progress.

Never lose money.

Never underestimate the competition.

Never give up.

Never hire anyone with a history of being unlucky.

Never stop learning.

Never forget the special days of others (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day)

Never be afraid to do what’s right.

Never look back.

Never assume anything.

Never lose hope.

You’re never too old to dream a new dream.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Episode 048:
It's Not JUST "Only" Rock & Roll
and SLATS Likes It!

For many who work in rock radio, Cleveland
Slats "Just the Morning Guy"
is like mecca!

The home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and legendary rock radio stations, like WMMS where Slats worked earlier in his career. 

After serving at a number of great places like Nashville, Florida and other warmer climates, it was not the weather, but his love of Classic Rock and knowledge of the market that made him a natural choice for a return to Cleveland and WNCX

For on-air hosts, Slats discusses how the job of morning radio host is changing.  With all the emerging technology and new media outlets, he also shares some solid tips for handling that evolution.

For station managers, Slats offers some candid insights on what he looks for in determining a good program director or manager.

He’s been nominated for any number of industry awards and was named Billboard Magazine rock personality of the year and both rock personality of the year And air personality & music director of the year by FMQB

Plus, he's just a fun person -- which helps explain his success in radio.

Now his business card says “Just the Morning Guy” for 98.5 WNCX – Cleveland’s Classic Rock.

Bonus Content:


Today there’s something happening in your market that’s not happening anywhere else. 

As a performer or programmer your job is to notice what’s happening and find a creative way to put it on the radio. When the audience hears it whether they think “I knew that” or “I didn’t know that” or “That’s good to know” or “That’s interesting” or “What?” it’s the first step in being relatable and connecting.

Every market may have a McDonalds, a Subway or an Olive Garden, shared things that make markets seem almost the same. Almost. Each market also has those things which make it different than others. The star performers and great programmers understand the value of being aware of what’s happening out there on the listener side of the radio. Take notice of the obvious and bring it to the attention of the audience.

The legendary Boone and Erickson of WCCO shared some of their trade secrets with me. These were the keys to over four decades of incredible ratings success. One is notice what’s going on and talk about it. Roger Erickson put it this way: “Get the audience involved. One way involves a question…Did you see the clock at Pioneer Court? It’s stopped. Wonder what’s going on?” In this example it’s easy to imagine some people had already noticed the stopped clock, most had not and others driving by the clock that day taking time to notice it was, indeed, stopped. B&E had connected. Show after show they sparked conversations people later had at work, over lunch or after work. “Did you notice the clock at Pioneer Court is stopped? What’s up?”

Notice the things happening in your market and talk about it on the radio. Your listeners will come to believe they can count on you to notice things they may want or need to know. You’ll be connected. Staying that way builds the audience and the relationship.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Episode #047:
The Morning Radio Voice San Diego Can't Ignore!

LaDona Harvey
San Diego's Morning News with LaDona and Ted
KOGO, San Diego
LADONA HARVEY is known in industry circles as the outspoken co-host of San Diego's Morning News on market leader KOGO.

Her background includes DJ stints in a variety of formats, excelling in markets like Flagstaff, Phoenix and a number of radio stations in Southern California.

LaDona then moved into information, investing a decade as news anchor before making the transition to Talk show host and now, morning co-host on a market-leading News/Talk Station. 

She shares some significant ways that she’s seeing how the role of on-air host is evolving, tips for earning a slot at a bigger station or market, and insights on how to move beyond ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’ and advancing your career in the new media normal.

Connect with LaDona:

LaDona's Game Show Adventure:
(Watch what happens with LaDona joins America's Digital Goddess (and former BRANDWIDTH guest) Kim Komando for this national 'game show' segment!)

RADIO YOUTUBE of the WeekSpecial TURKEY TIP courtest of NJ101.5:

by David Martin


Getting noticed, capturing attention is about breaking through the noise. You can do it by doing one big thing or doing lots of little things.

Doing one big thing works until that one thing is no longer unique, no longer special. If it’s easy for others to copy your one big thing, someone eventually will (once you become successful enough).

Doing lots of little things requires more work on your part but it’s more difficult for others to duplicate without them putting in the same or more work.

The cool part about little things is they can have value on their own and be cumulative. A bunch of little things can add up and create a multidimensional big thing.

Back in the day the legends of Top 40 radio delivered the goods over intros and outros. The greats understood it was the little things that made the act like how a twelve-second intro could be used as a canvas for creativity. While others used ramps for “that was, this is” the star performers used the same time to create a moment. The greatest performers were painting fine art on matchbook covers.

Embrace the otherwise common moment and leave your mark. In less than sixty seconds you can write a thank you note, return a phone call, send a text, answer a call, encourage and help others with a kind word. Do something that matters. Make something happen on the radio. Do the common things uncommonly well.

Kipling put this way. “... fill the unforgiving minute. With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…”

Monday, November 13, 2017

Episode #046
Winning Over the Long Haul!

Cadillac Jack will be marking his 25th year with Atlanta’s KICKS 101.5 in March.  He joined the station as evening host of “Crying, Loving or Leaving” when he was just 20 years-old.  

After years as afternoon host on KICKS, Cadillac Jack was cast as the anchor of morning drive in 2005. He’s co-hosted with a number of talented performers, including Dallas McCade who moved to middays with a promotion to KICKS Music Director, and now “Cadillac Jack with Ali Mac” are at the morning helm. 

Caddy (as he is called in casual circles), has dabbled in television – appearing as TV news report “Ted Philips” on ABC’s “Hope and Faith” and also won an Emmy Award for hosting ABC’s “The Road to the CMA Music Festival.”

In this episode, he shares the ONE piece of advice that has been most helpful to him along the way.  He also offers some invaluable advice for people wishing to follow his lead into the major markets, including tips to being noticed by the right people!

For those coaching winning talent, he also shares some ‘do’s and don’t’s” for coaching strong shows and helping them be their best.

You Tube Video of the Week

Smart use of SEC (Someone ELSE's Content), sharing a late-night TV bit that is spot on for format listeners.  Topical, timely, relevant.   (Oh, and funny as hell!)

by David Martin


LinkedIn deserves your attention. As the go-to social platform for business identity, your profile will be included when you’re Googled. The great news is you get to author that profile and tell your own story.

Let me suggest a few tips to optimize your profile.

Refresh often. Especially recent accomplishments and milestones. The profile is the ideal space to highlight your success stories.

Gather endorsements. Make it an ongoing mission to collect endorsements which serve to reinforce your merits and give credibility to your story. Nothing communicates your value better than a testimonial.

Give endorsements. You help others and improve your visibility at the same time.

Share deliverables. LinkedIn allows you to show off examples of your best work. One manager received some well-deserved attention (and credit) when she wrote and posted an excellent overview of her cluster’s outstanding work supporting good causes in their community. It turned out to be the tie-breaker that got her a job offer.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Episode #045:

The second season of Brandwidth On Demand is starting as a year of ‘firsts”. Our first confab coverage (Morning Show Boot Camp), and this time, our first ‘dual guest’ episode.

Fred Jacobs
is well known as one of radio’s leading visionaries. His JACOBS MEDIA created the Classic Rock format and with the initiation of the annual benchmark Jacobs Tech Survey, he’s been acclaimed as a pioneer in the connected car movement, and overseen the growth of their JACApps division.

Steven Goldstein
is recognized as a thought leader in audio programming, marketing and management. His track record of success spans virtually every major radio format for some of the nation's top broadcasting companies. He was a co-founding partner in Saga Communications, serving as Executive Vice President and Group PD from 986 until 2015, when he founded Amplifi Media.

Now these two have teamed up again for what could be a real game changer in bringing radio back into the home…with a new venture called Sonic AI. Their goal: teach YOU the ‘skills’ to make sure your station brand(s) join the new tech parade back INTO THE HOME!

If you plan on being in radio the next year or more, we hope you find this MUST HEAR episode as motivational as it is inspirational!

See SonicAi in action, and IMAGINE the ways your station brand(s) could excel!

The RADIO You Tube of the week:

Granted, this is market #1, but some examples we can all learn from:
1.)  Cool thumbnail shot (although some might want to add a station logo).
2.)  Solid produced open/close (this can be done affordably with a little effort.)
3.)  No 'security cam' video here.  Handheld, 'real' movement and well lit!
4.)  Stellar on-demand content for the target audience.
5.)  Digital, discoverable and easy to share!

by David Martin


Good things happen when you’re shortlisted. The raise or promotion you want, your next big job offer, they depend on a short list. Your objective should be getting on and staying on a few short lists. Here’s how it works. 

When managers are putting together budgets (deciding which folks deserve a raise), considering promotion of in-house candidates for an opening or looking to hire from outside the company, a few names will get attention. Those names are shortlisted, that is, they’re on a short list of people managers think about when making a specific decision.

Whether it’s actually written down or only top of mind, people on short lists have the inside advantage. Managers could know which players are working hard, getting it done and deserve a raise, they may have a good idea of which player on their team has the talent stack to be the best person to promote when an opening happens, they might have someone outside the company they would love to hire if given the right circumstances. However, they may not. Get busy.

The first step to getting and staying shortlisted is to follow the advice of that famous banjo player…Be so good they can’t ignore you. Steve Martin is right. Become known by your work, by the results you produce.

The second step is to manage up, make your manager aware of your needs and your goals. The third step is to reach out to a select group outside your company and make them aware of your situation and career objectives. This is a process not an event. Asking for a raise, expressing an interest in being promoted or contacting someone at the station you dream of working at needs to involve a campaign rather than a one and done ask.

What’s the best approach? In my experience, the most effective way is to ask – be direct. “What should I do to improve my chances of getting a [dollar goal] raise?” “What skills should I work on improving to get promoted to [position]?” “I want to work for you. What skill set will you be looking for when you’re hiring your station’s next [position]?”

Pro tip: Always ask for a raise early and often before budgets are done and apply for the job that’s not yet available. Get shortlisted before decisions are made.

Monday, October 30, 2017

#044: Season II Kickoff:
The Best of Morning Show Boot Camp

Each year, one of the best conferences for radio performance artists and those who work with them is the MORNING SHOW BOOT CAMP.

As we kick off Season II of Brandwidth On Demand, it seemed appropriate to share some highlights of MSBC 29.

While there's no way to do full justice to a multi-day event in just 30 minutes, we hope you'll find some nuggets of wisdom that will help YOU create great RADIO!  

From Tracy Johnson's insights on reaching millennials, to Scott Shannon's interview with Hubbard's Ginny Morris, there's a lot to learn!

And of course, the annual "BATTLE OF THE BITS" gives everyone a chance to strut their best stuff -- and win their share of $1000 cash!

If you like what you're hearing and would like to be part of this event in Chicago, just click the button below.

YouTube Radio VIDEO OF THE WEEK - 102.7 KIIS FM, Los Angeles

by David Martin


One of the advantages which the most successful shows and stations share is the ability to sense what’s happening on the listener-side of the radio. The listener’s side is where all the action happens. The audience decides if, when and where to turn your show/station on and off. The audience decides, in diary markets, to write down your name, the name of your show or your call letters or not. Bottom-line, the listeners decide – by their actions – if you’re successful or not.

In PPM markets the objective is to get into the places, the occasions where/when listeners access audio. In diary markets the goal is to get into their mind, to encourage listeners to remember and recall the name of your show, your dial position or call letters.

The real-time nature of radio provides the ability for you to put yourself into listener-side situations. Whether it’s an in-vehicle, at work or at home occasion you can and should put yourself into the situation and experience it. Getting into the mindset of listeners will help you to better understand listener wants and needs. Listening in the moment will also allow you to jump between stations creating a real-world AB test.

Programmers should set aside – at least - one day every quarter to listen critically, without distractions. For best results take the day off, that is, don’t go into the station and let the staff know you’re not available. If needed say you’re taking a vacation day. The best day for critically listening is Friday. You want to hear what your station and the market sounds like when fully sold.

Performers should also set aside one day every quarter to listen critically during the time of their show. In my experience trading a day off the air for performers in exchange for a written report on the performer’s observations about the market offers an excellent ROI. The performer gets to hear their competition and the market. The programmer gets another perspective on the market, a listen from “fresh” non-PD ears.

Pro-tip: Programmers should assign performers a single competitor to listen to for one week. The idea is they become exclusive cume to one station for the week, listening whenever they normally listen to radio but only to the one station and no others. Provide performers with a one-sheet scorecard which will ask them to rate the station on various attributes (e.g., topical content, local content, cross-promotion, contesting). Ask performers to compare your station with the competitor. What do they do better than we do? What do we do better than they do? How? Why?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Binge, anyone?

The second season of BRANDWIDTH ON DEMAND kicks off 
the week of October 23, with some of the biggest names in radio, as we bring you an exclusive "Best of Morning Show Boot Camp" edition.

Until then, during our hiatus, it has been suggested that this could be a good time to catch up on any episodes you may have missed.  

Season I episodes are all available by clicking on the "Previous Episodes" links at right of this page.  (A number of these episodes offer "Freemiums", which are still available -- unless otherwise noted. Be sure to get your FREE goodies!)

Here are some segments that might be especially valuable to your continued success, as together we team up to "REIMAGINE RADIO"!

Overcoming Adversity:
Superior Performance & Job Security

You're Winning ON-AIR. How about ONLINE?

Keeping the "SHOW" in "Show Business"

Radio's Future is HERE

Thanks for a great first season!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Episode 43:
A Radio Hall of Famer Speaks Out!

John Records Landecker is a bona fide radio star, soon to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. He’s perhaps best know for his trademark saying "Records Truly is My Middle Name” also the name of his book ─ now entering it’s second printing with an updated “Hall of Fame” edition.

Starting in small market Michigan radio, he quickly ascended to major markets like Philly and Chicago, where for years he held court at the legendary “Big 89, WLS(or as he put it, “the ENORMOUS but not too gaudy 89”). There he was part of a lineup that included such radio luminaries as Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, Fred Winston, and Dick Biondi to name just a few. John is also famous for benchmark bits like “Boogie Check”, “Americana Panorama” and “Press My Conference”. 

Next came stints at other Chicago stations including WJMK, Magic 104.7 and his nationally syndicated weekend show "Into the Seventies”. All this was followed by a return to WLS, both on AM and FM in the 2000’s, and numerous guest and guest hosting slots as recently as last month. He’s still going strong today with a show on his local hometown station WEFM, as he puts it 'just for fun'!

In this episode, we’re treated to some strong insights from a Hall of Famer who has been to the mountaintop – and is not afraid to speak out on what he saw! (Check out the ‘Extended Play” for even more uncensored comments. Hey…who’s gonna fire him now?)




WLS Rewind '08: John Records Landecker and former colleagues REUNITED!

(YouTube video compliments of Art Vuolo, "Radio's Best Friend".  More like it HERE!)

John Records Landecker - WLS 1977

By Dave Martin


We are each blessed with the same 24 hours every day. How we use those hours is what separates us. I have great respect for those who commit the majority of their attention, energy and passion in their day job. Building a career and the related financial security to enjoy a good life is important. Among my friends are a number of accomplished one trick ponies. My career has taken the more scenic route involving the side hustle.

On my way to learning about consumer behavior I came upon the field of education, specifically the theories and practices related to adult learning. Being a marketing guy I’m interested in how to change behaviors and that starts with creating, delivering an effective message. As it happens, how messages are processed involves cognition and learning. Fast forward. I became a serious student of adult learning and a certified trainer. The time and expense paid off bigtime because it made my side hustle – speaking – a productive part of my career. Once I understood how adult learning works my success as a speaker took off because I became a much more effective (and popular) speaker.

My point is, outside of the day job, there’s something that you’re interested in, something you are truly passionate about and it may deserve to be your side hustle. Several of my friends and colleagues have invested time and money in developing a solid side hustle. A few have gone on to retire from the day job and now work full-time in the business they built on the side. I understand this is not for everyone. The daily press of affairs can be such that there is little time for much after a long day at work. Cue the balanced life argument. Let me state the theory of my case.

Life is too long to work for boneheaded hacks. You need a day job where you and your work are appreciated and respected, a job where you can make a difference. You must also enjoy yourself and able to delight loved ones daily. Now is the time to think and plan knowing you will reach the point where you have more summer days behind you than ahead. No regrets. Don’t be one of those woulda, coulda, shoulda guys. There’s nothing wrong with doing something you love which also happens to supplement your income/savings. There’s everything smart about being ready for the day you say goodbye to the day job. Maybe you’ll just retire and be done with work but it’s smarter to have options. Invest in yourself by investing in what’s possible today and in your future.

Thanks for the great response to Season One!

YES! Please email me when the next episode is released