Monday, August 14, 2017

Episode #040:
Kellie Raspberry
The Show Must Go On

Keeping the Kidd Kraddick brand and spirit alive

Kellie Rasberry was born and raised in SC with aspirations of becoming an actress, but the owner of a local radio station saw her at a talent convention and thought be great for radio.

She eventually become News Director, host of her own morning show, then came a seismix shift: She moved to the big city to join Kidd Kraddick in the Morning in May, 1994.

Kellie Raspberry
Since then Kellie has won numerous Favorite Radio Personality of the Year awards, had a part in the made-for-TV movie, “Holiday In Your Heart,” with LeAnn Rimes, co-hosted the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards along with an episode of “Live! With Regis” during the “Women of Radio” week.

Perhaps the biggest shock came with the untimely passing of Kidd Kraddick in 2013, at just 53 years old. Although she had lost her ‘radio husband’, the show soldiered on, and under her guiding hand, the Kidd Kraddock In the Morning show continues to excel to this day.

In this insightful and reflective episode, Kellie discusses how she and the team kept the Kidd Kraddick 
brand and spirit alive, and shares powerful tips on how YOU can overcome adversity.

Follow Kellie on Twitter or Instagram:

Expanded Play:

Bonus Content:

Video of the Week:

by Dave Martin


The back to school ad blitz signals the end of summer and the new season just ahead. For Radio folk it’s a reminder. The Fall sweep is upon us. Nielsen’s diary market survey runs September 14 thru December 6th, the PPM market’s September monthly begins August 17 with the December monthly ending December 6th.

While some programmers may claim books are baked before they start, experience has taught me ratings might be half-baked, at best, on the day ratings begin. Inertia plays a role as do habits however what you do during measurement can and will make a difference. The ratings are a game. It’s about preparing to win and playing to win.

Here are four time-tested tips to improving your score.

1. Under-program your radio station (show). Let these two quotes guide you. Miles Davis: “It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.” Fred Winston: “Edit! Use the Butcher’s Rule. Cut the fat to expose the meat.” Make every set count. Get on the listener side of the radio. What matters is what they’re hearing, not what you’re saying. Refresh everything.

2. Embrace the topical, the obvious and the local. Halloween, Thanksgiving, the retail run up to Christmas happen during the sweep. Get ahead of the game and block out your strategy and tactics for the big stuff now. Prepare. Free your mind to exploit the unexpected of now. Get into the mind of your target. What are they thinking about (or should be reminded about) now? Every market has its own rhythm. Be alert, pay attention, and know what’s happening and what’s happening next.

3. Improve your chances to score. In diary markets the game is getting the station’s name written into a diary. In meter markets the game is getting into the spaces where listening occasions could happen. In both cases it’s about getting into the listener mind. Put the power of suggestion to work. Listeners need to be given reasons to listen and reasons to listen again. Your ratings will improve when there’s an increase in the reporting of the listening which is already happening. The game is getting more credit not simply more listeners.4. Have fun on the radio. No matter the format remember you’re in the performing arts. It’s show business. 

On with the show!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Episode #039
Waking up the COUNTRY!

KELLY FORD is the epitome of “Award Winning” morning host.  After taking home three CMA Major Market Personality of the year, plus a Marconi, an ACM, and the prestigious Gracie Award from the Alliance of Women in Media, it’s no wonder that NASH-FM wanted her to be part of their “Ty, Kelly and Chase” national morning show. 

The program airs from Nashville via New York where she was the first live voice heard on NASHFM 94-7, the first NASH station in the USA.  Prior to New York City, Kelly woke up country listeners in Denver for 20 years. 

In this episode, she explains some differences between doing a local show and national wakeups.  She also discusses how all outlets, from on-air to online and even in person have made all the difference in her success.

And for those who’d like to follow in her footsteps, wait’ll you hear her key advice!

Expanded Play Interview:

You Tube Video of the Week:

KDWB's Fallon's Honeybee Progress Check - (Dave Ryan Show/KDWB, Twin Cities).  
Hear Dave Ryan's tips on 


Never say never, exception #100. Never believe you can’t win. Whatever the obstacles in your way, they can probably be overcome. Truth be known, in the majority of situations, it’s possible to out-think and out-work your competition and win. The most common obstacles are actually myths. Let’s review three.

First to market wins. Nonsense. Google wasn’t the first search engine. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player. Facebook wasn’t the first social network. The first station to launch a format in your market or the first morning show to feature an ensemble cast or the first to do anything is not guaranteed perpetual success.

The so-called first mover advantage is a myth. Back in the day we often said the weakest signals were simply R&D factories for the big dogs. Class A FM launches a new format, it scores a strong first book and a ratings challenged Class B or C FM puts that new format on their air. BOOM. Physics is not a myth.

Incumbents are rock solid. Malarkey. History is full of examples. Being #1 or owning the leading share of whatever market depends not only on what one does as the incumbent but what others do to capture your market. In market after market stations were thought to own a format or own #1 until the day they didn’t.

More often than people like to admit a station owns a market position because no one has the courage or will devote the resources necessary to take them on. Incumbency is largely irrelevant.

It’s been done and it didn’t work here. Hogwash. If a station puts a format on the air and it fails did the format fail or did the station? In market after market a format or a type of program, successful in other markets, is tried and when it fails the concept is too often pronounced dead to the market. Allow me to quote that great American poet Penn Jillette, “In all of art, it’s the singer, not the song.” 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Episode 38:
The GUY with a MILLION Quarter Hours
(at the same station!)

Guy Phillips is undeniably an institution in the St. Louis area. After over a MILLION Quarter Hours on CBS owned Y98 (KYKY), he continuously reinvents his show, and makes St. Louis laugh every morning. Hundreds of thousands of listeners prove this every book.
For Guy, he says “ “I’ve been one of the luckiest guys to ever work in radio. I have had steady employment over five decades in St. Louis and I haven’t once failed to laugh, on the air and off, on any of those days. I work with a crew that is not only passionate about their jobs but have compassion for one another.

As an amateur photographer, obsessed golfer, avid traveler and licensed pilot, Guy is what one might consider busy.  Still he finds time for significant local charitable work, and is one of the most sought-after event emcees in the market.  Earlier this year he was named to the St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame and nominated to the National Radio hall of fame.

In this episode, he offers some great tips on people who would like to enjoy the same longevity and success, shares insights on what he’s done to evolve with the changing mediascape and his audience and reveals what he knows NOW that he WISHES he’d know ‘back then’!

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VIDEO of the Week:

by David Martin


Being #1 is not an accident. It takes hard work to get there and more hard work to stay there. Being #1 you become the #1 target. Being the incumbent provides no guarantee of security, in fact, your only guarantee is more competition, more work.

Having done a bunch of startups and turnarounds, and enjoyed more than my fair share of #1 stations and market leading shows, allow me to share some lessons learned.

In show business who you know is not important, what’s important is who knows you. As the great George Johns said “If you do your radio show exclusively for people who don’t know who you are, they soon will.”

Listeners have choices. Choices in the stations they choose and choices in the shows they spend time with. In my experience, the best marketing for your station and your shows is your station and your shows. The programming is what gets people to listen and gives them reasons to listen again. Unless the programming sucks.

The daily goal is to capture attention, to get noticed. In the words of the legendary Gordon McLendon, the mission every day is “Get people to talk about your radio station.” The most effective way to do this is to give them something to talk about. Do something on the air and off the air that gets people talking, texting, posting, messaging, etc.

Back in the last century when radio stations were powered by firewood I was working at a Chicago station. One day our US Senator, Chuck Percy, showed up to tape a public affairs show. I’ll never forget meeting him. He walked into the radio station and owned it.

Cheerful, smiling, introducing himself to every single person as he was guided through the station to the studio. Later that day I went to the newsroom and asked if the Senator was usually that friendly. The news guys said “He works every room he walks into the same way. He’s always on and makes people feel good.”

Chuck had the job but he was focused on keeping the job. He was running for US Senate with the election years away. He made interactions memorable, he engaged, he took advantage of every opportunity. He got people to talk about him.

In startups, turnarounds and in every other competitive situation you should always be running for US Senate. When you get to #1, stay focused on staying there and keep running.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Episode #037:
Dave Van Dyke
Founder/President, Bridge Ratings
Bridging the Audience Gap

Dave Van Dyke
Is your audience moving away from you?

The attacks are not just online anymore.  Media reseach sherpa Dave Van Dyke offers a look at the ‘audience gap’ between listener usage pattenrs, where radio is and where it needs to go to remain competitive, if not dominant. Dave was raised in radio, showcasing talents on-air, in programming, sales, marketing and research. After over two decades with posts including VP /GM at KCBS/Los Angeles along with senior management positions at Westinghouse, Viacom, Infinity and the ABC Radio Networks, he started Bridge Ratings and Research.

Now he’s focused on every facet of radio, audio and Internet audience engagement and is widely recognized for his ability to forecast and gauge media Bridge Ratings conducts several studies annually to determine the impact of a variety of media which compete for consumers' time.  

All of this data is rolled into the annual “Bridge Ratings New Media Gauntlet” which we link to below.

This episode will help you bridge the growing audience gap, for survival of your station brand ─ and your career!

Dave's LinkedIn profile

Click HERE for the 
2017 Bridge Media Guantlet report

Bonus Content:

Video:  Is JohnJay Spiderman?

A great 'real life' moment gives the audience of previous Brandwidth guests
JohnJay and Rich 
an inside look at the show in action, and generates great multi-platform exposure.

by David Martin


Here’s a powerful trade secret. Keep in mind, it only works 100% of the time. Every market has its own unique characteristics. While it may be said that all markets adopt and integrate many of the same national brands (e.g., McDonalds, Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy), it is also true each market has its homegrown favorites. Having lived in Portland I still thirst for the taste of Burgerville product.

One audio trait homegrown in each market is the local accent, the local vernacular. In Dallas and Atlanta it’s common to hear “Y’all” used on everyday conversation. You won’t hear that in New York. In New York people stand not “in” line but “on” line. There have been national studies by beverage brands to determine what category their liquid competes in. Is it “soda” or “pop” or “cola”? You get the idea. Every market has a “sound.”

Allow me to dare a guess that you have been told more than once “You have a radio voice.” It’s because having worked in audio you have developed a certain discipline in your speech. You have likely reached the point that you no longer notice your practiced pronunciations. You have, in fact, created a professional voice which is different from the voices people normally hear in their conversations.

Radio stations are heavy with professional voices. From the on-air talent, to promos and commercials smooth and often remarkably distinct voices fill the air. What is usually not heard are everyday voices of the locals. On the listener side of the radio these voices “pop” or jump out when they hit the air. The listener ear detects or notices these voices, a degree of dissonance is created.

Getting the sound of your market on your air should always be a priority. Beyond your use of local vernacular, find creative ways to get the voices of locals on your air. It’s no accident that many successful talk shows and morning shows on music stations have a “cast” of contributing listeners. The legendary Fred Winston had a great ear for finding colorful listeners, including ones with the strong Chicago “dese, dem and dose” accents, via the request lines. He would often record them asking an obvious question to set up a set element “Hey, Fred are you ever gonna tell us if it’s going to snow today or not, jeeeze?”

Does your station have an accent (or three)? It needs to and should.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Episode #036:
JASON CAGE, Mix 96.5/Houston
Serious FUN = Serious Success!

Jason Cage
Admittedly, radio isn’t always fun. But Jason Cage proves that a big part of it is how you deal with situations that come your way.  And for him, more often than not, that’s been FUN!

After exiting CBS Radio at the end of 2016 when CHR “96.5 Amp Radio” WZMP Philadelphia changed formats, Jason rejoined the company to host afternoon drive at Adult CHR Mix 96.5/KHMX Houston.

From his hometown station in Huntsville, AL, to Chicago (B96-FM), to Philly, and now Houston, Jason has learned the secret to having fun along the way, and sharing it with his audience.  All while maintaining some semblance of family life (as you'll hear!)

Not only is he a prominent major market host, but Jason has also been a devotee to all aspects of online engagement, too. (Please see links below).

In this episode, he offers tips on getting to know a new market and the realities of working every virtually every daypart.

He also shares some compelling advice for those who’d like to follow in his footsteps along with things he knows NOW that he WISHES he’d known ‘back then’.


(click for video)

MORE good thoughts from Jason:

- - - - - -


To give yourself the best chance of achieving success you need a plan. Having a plan not only improves your odds it also provides focus. Here’s a popular framework which you can use to create a solid plan. SMART is an mnemonic acronym for the framework.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

Putting your plan in writing is an important part of the process. Behavioral scientists involved in the study of cognition have proven there are real and significant advantages in putting your thoughts in writing.

Keep in mind, planning is a process not an event. All plans become obsolete when they meet the real world. Effective plans are “live” - informed by real-time feedback, study and reflection. The most productive plans are fine-tuned, changed up, adjusted as circumstances demand and opportunities present.

I’m not a fan of having a plan B. Having a killer plan A and tweaking it as needed has delivered the goods for the teams I’ve played on.

Beware: don’t confuse activity with progress. It’s very important to measure impact. Activity which is not measured can be a resource and time wasting trap.

In my experience, every successful plan includes serious consideration of contingencies. After you’ve developed your plan ask “What could go wrong?” Next, develop your responses. If X happens our best options are Y and Z. The $100 name for this is scenario planning. No matter what you call it – it works. You want to think through issues and responses before you become influenced by the emotions usually present in the moment things go wrong.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Episode #035:

Chio in the Morning
Proves Perseverance Pays!

CHIO IN THE MORNING is a Philly radio legend, and proof positive that perseverance DOES pay off. He’s been part of winning stations LITERALLY from coast to coast (Z100/New York to KHTS and XHRM/San Diego). Through all of that, Chio is marking over 16 years hosting mornings in America’s 9th largest market, at stations like Q102, WIRED 96.5, and now at IHeart’s MIX 106-1.
There he starts Philly’s day with fun games and benchmark features like “Battle of the Sexes, “Truth or Trash” and “Chi-aoke”, his version of “karaoke” on the radio. He’s also known for helping local families in need with charities like the “Yo Cuz” foundation, “Big Brothers and Sisters of the Independence Region” the “Philadelphia Sunday Love Project” which helps feed the homeless.

Never shy about unveiling his personal life on the air, he is a proud Dad of four children, and recently got re-married to his ex-wife, live on local TV! 

By David Martin


Thanks to some incredible mentors my career and life have been changed for the better. Truth be told, I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time a great number of times.
Allow me to share a few lessons from one of those mentors. He was a musician turned band leader and concert promoter which is to say he was an entrepreneur. At the top of his game he left it all behind for a job in radio. Starting as a disc jockey he went on to become a successful bigger-than-life music radio personality. He was an original, a nonconformist, a great showman and my dad.

Have fun.

When leaving for work he was fond of saying “It’s time to go play radio.” Like many, I had a bedroom radio station growing up and enjoyed playing radio. Dad taught me a job wasn’t worth doing if you didn’t have fun. He truly did have fun playing radio. Many who worked with him later told me it was infectious.

People tune in to be entertained or informed.

He preached - when you crack the mic it’s showtime. No matter what kind of day you’re having or the week you’ve had the show must go on. The audience expects something added to their day, they expect a performance and you’re paid to deliver one. Be positive, cheerful and enthusiastic. Make a difference in their day.

Long after people have forgotten what you said they’ll remember how you made them feel.

He became known as a companion and he suggested it was an important role to play. He often said audio has a magic power to stir the emotions. Radio is a personal medium, use it to communicate and relate in a personal (i.e., one-on-one) way. Make listeners feel they made a good choice listening to you.

Understand it’s a business of shows.

As a guy who started his professional life singing for his supper he was always acutely sensitive to the business success of the show.  His advice was get involved; make meaningful and memorable contributions to the sales process. Go out of your way to create a killer commercial experience for the client, the listener and the sales person.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Episode #034:

Skip Mahaffey: All Radio Needs is (K)Love
Morning Host, EFM's K-LOVE Stations

Skip Mahaffey
     Whenever you mention ‘great radio people’, invariably the name Skip Mahaffey comes up.

     After decades as a morning ratings magnet, his CMA and Billboard Award-Winning “Skip Show” has been dominent for decades, winning in markets from Tulsa to Phoenix, St. Louis to San Diego, Los Angeles, Tampa and Dallas.

Now Skip captains mornings on one of the most innovative plays in radio, EFM’s K-LOVE stations whose approach to ownership, quality programming and business model are changing both the complexion of branded audio content and the lives of listener's they serve.

Click to Learn more about this innovative media concept

Check out Skip's book

Follow Skip on Twitter

Friend Skip on Facebook

(Hear the EXPANDED PLAY of this interview)

by David Martin

Announcer, DJ, Personality. Three of the audio talent types which we’ll focus on in this piece. We acknowledge there are others including voice actor, raconteur, host, interviewer, narrator, anchor, storyteller and reporter. All deserve respect.

Announcers are most often readers. They’re the professionals engaged to deliver the words of others. The highest paid in this group are the commercial voice over announcers.

DJs have played a role in radio since radio started playing records. Today the DJ involvement in music radio ranges from high profile to low key depending on the station, the format and the daypart. The highest paid “DJs” are not working on the air at all but in clubs and at events on the EDM circuit. They’re not voices or DJs in the traditional sense. Their skill set involves reading the crowd and mixing the music to create a moment. Calvin Harris was last year’s biggest earner at over $30 million. There are radio DJs that make a very good living working in markets of all sizes. Pro tip: DJs who also do other work (e.g., commercial voice over, imaging work, copy writing or become known as the go-to MC for local community events) do exceptionally well.

Personalities are the rarest breed of voices. They are the show, no matter their particular style. Whether they be crazy bigger-than-life characters or serious soft-spoken intellectuals, personalities connect with listeners and create a habit forming relationship. Personalities have the unique ability to become part of a listener’s daily routine, they become family. The highest paid personalities generally work in major markets however there are many working outside the majors.

One of the questions I often get from radio talent is “How do you get ahead and become successful in this industry today?” My response has remained the same over the years. First, hustle. Today is not a dress rehearsal, make something happen. Get serious about your craft and dedicate yourself to doing what it takes to reach your potential. Never give up. Get out there and connect, engage with others. You’re only as good as your network.

Let me add two more from Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Try not to suck. Do simple better.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Episode #033:

In Search of Radio Excellence
Jeff McCarthy, VPP/Midwest Communications

Jeff McCarthy, VPP
Midwest Communications
You may not see Jeff McCarthy hoarding headlines, mainly because he’s been too busy… quietly and consistently helping build Midwest Communications into one of America’s fastest growing, privately held radio powerhouses.  

For over 30 years, he’s been Vice President of Programming for a company that Wisconsin Radio Hall of Famer and Rockwell Award recipient Duke Wright started as an AM/FM combo in Wausau, Wisconsin, then added another 100,000 watt FM and leading AM in Green Bay.  Now the company has over 70 stations in 7 states, with recent acquisitions in Nashville, Evansville and Michigan, to name a few. Impressively, Jeff has managed to raise his family in the same town all those years.

One key to all his successes: EXCELLENCE.  In this episode, he reveals some of the approaches, tips and techniques that helps him achieve, maintain, and increase standards an ever-growing group of quality stations. 

As a veteran broadcaster, market dominating PD, and now VP overseeing product for one of America’s fastest growing groups, Jeff shares advice for ANYONE wanting to advance in the industry today?

He reveals the traits he looks for in a prospective air talent or PD, and explains what makes one candidate stand out over another.  He also has JOB SURVIVAL TIPS for people who
wants to make themselves INDISPENSABLE and prepare to move up through the ranks at a good company like Midwest Communications.

by David Martin


What’s in a name? That is the key issue at the heart of any discussion of brand. It also happens to be the title of an influential book from the last century by the brilliant advertising scholar, John Philip Jones.

My thought is it’s possible and practical to reduce the concept of brand to the unvarnished answers for a couple of urgently important questions. What’s in your name? What do you stand for?

Here’s a pragmatic exercise which will help you to prepare for those two questions.

Provide the following questionnaire to every performer. Leave spaces for their written response. Let them know their answers will be kept confidential. Ask them to be honest and share their true feelings. Give them three days to think about it and return it completed.

What’s unique about your show (station) compared to all of the other shows (stations) in our market?
Why do people listen to your show (station)?
When people tune in to your show (station) what do they expect to hear?
How would one of your listeners describe your show (station) to a friend?

Provide another questionnaire to every associate not on the air adjusting the questions as follows and leaving spaces for written response. Provide the same instructions as above. Pro tip: we’ve used other versions of this questionnaire in LAB sessions and via listener email polls for decades and gained valuable insights.

What’s unique about NAME OF TALENT compared to all of the other talent in our market?
What’s special about CALL LETTERS compared to all the other stations in our market?
Why do people listen to CALL LETTERS?
When people tune in to CALL LETTERS what do they expect to hear?
How would your friends describe CALL LETTERS?

This isn’t a scientifically valid poll and there are no right or wrong responses however you should look for patterns. Remember to look for what’s not there. Anything missing?

Let me suggest your participants are now ready for an all hands session with one purpose – an open discussion of those two urgently important questions. What’s in our name? What do we stand for?

Developing and building a brand involves complex calculus rather than simple arithmetic. The fundamental moving parts include attitudes, perceptions, values and feelings. Getting everyone in your organization on the same page is always a smart place to start. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.