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Lessons from Neil Rogers

| August 23, 2017

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media


NEW YORK — There are notable entertaining, non-network, local talk hosts.  My favorites are: Mike Trivosonno and Bill Wills on WTAM, Cleveland; Jon Pole on CJAD, Montreal; John & Ken on KFI, Los Angeles; Mark Belling on WISN, Milwaukee; Jim Philips on WTKS-FM, Orlando; and Dom Giordonno on WPHT, Philadelphia.  If I should have mentioned you, I apologize.  This is an urgent, current story about a host who knows how to use social media: South Florida’s Neil Rogers.

Right now, one of the most active Facebook pages is the Neil Rogers show.  It has almost 3,000 members and today has featured a dozen posts from listeners.

His YouTube channel has 3,990 posts of videos and airchecks ALL posted by listeners not by him or the station.

The posts are unique in that they feel like gift offerings to Neil and his fan base.  Most of the posts present clips, articles, and news stories that should please Neil.  There are airchecks from 5, 10, 30 years ago — posted this week.

You can link to his entire sound effects board, no restrictions.

The passion of the posters is unmatched by any FB group I’ve seen, including Howard Stern’s.  And Howard really likes Neil.

What does Neil do?

I’ve paid attention to how Neil grows audience and what’s made him worth $ 1 million-plus per year.

  • Every phrase can be made into a promo.  Ever try to make a promo from an aircheck?  You search for the hot quote.  How long does it take?  With Neil any phrase is a promo.  He goes for “it” every time he opens his mouth.  No moment is wasted.
  • Beyond candor.  There is no filter.  He says whatever he wishes to say and the result is no barriers into the listener’s mind.  You WILL identify with a thought or feeling he expresses within the next few seconds and then you will be hooked.
  • The only reason he has ratings is his talent and candor because he says exactly what he should NOT say in South Florida: He mocks Hispanics, rednecks, senior citizens and he is openly and aggressively gay.  He is diabetic and eats ice cream on the air. He loves hockey — in South Florida. Made ya look.
  • Smokes? You bet. Cigars in the building — his own building, the one they built for him on the WQAM property so he could in fact smoke during his show.

This unbridled link to the listener’s mind results in his or her need to constantly be in contact with Rogers and fellow listeners.  The link can’t be broken — ever.  That’s why the Facebook page is hot, the website is well trafficked, and everything he says and does is studied and copied.

Off the air?  I’ve got stories but the only program director he has respected is WLS, Chicago’s Peter Bolger.  Ask Peter, he has the best stories.  Ok one.  His show ends at 2:00 pm.  He is home by 1:45, you won’t believe why. Go ahead ask me. Walter@sabomedia.com

It is worth your time, as a broadcaster, to listen to an hour of Neil.  It’s worth your time because Neil has a profound impact on his listeners and their social media habits today.  He passed away on December 24, 2010.

Walter Sabo is CEO of New York City-based consultation firm Sabo Media. He can be phoned at 347-380-1581 or emailed at walter@sabomedia.com.

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Category: Advice, Features, Opinions