By Tom Becka
Talk Show Host
OMAHA — I know that every consultant and general manager in the country would look at my broadcast from the grassy knoll on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK as an unnecessary expense and programming that only interests listeners over the age of 60.
I disagree on both accounts and let me explain why…
We are in the process of trying to rebuild KOIL radio as a viable radio station. After years of being nothing but syndicated programming we are now working to have a local presence. The time spent listening during my show has been great but the cume is not what it should be.
By spending $1,000 on air fare, hotel, and rent-a-car we got $100,000 of word-of-mouth advertising. We also increased our credibility which will increase our visibility which will increase our cume and our positive image in the community.
As far as why it was good programming allow me to use an analogy…
I have a 30-year-old friend that loves Dean Martin. Now she doesn’t love Dean Martin every day or would listen to a radio station that plays Dean Martin on a regular basis, but if there’s a wedding or a special family event, she can’t get enough of Dean.
The 50th Anniversary of JFK was that special event for our 50 and under listeners. I didn’t do the typical, “Where were you when you heard JFK was dead?” I went to Dallas and asked that of people who were actually there that day. I interviewed a man who was in the high school marching band that played “Hail to the Chief” the last time JFK heard it. I interviewed a former congressman who was on the house select committee of assassinations. I interviewed a few conspiracy theorists. I gave a different perspective direct from the grassy knoll. I was just a few feet from where many say a second gunman stood.
It was theater of the mind. Our P1s loved it and our competition criticized it. No such thing as bad publicity.
A lot has changed in the last 50 years. But what hasn’t changed is the need for radio to promote, to connect with its audience, to take some chances from time to time.
Our sales department didn’t get rich from the one-day broadcast. The benefits to this are in the months and years to come. We’re looking at this as a long term investment. Something that is far too rare in radio today.
Tom Becka is afternoon drive personality on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. He can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.