Tuesday, July 08, 2008

WTJU -- wave of the future, or waving from the sidelines?

Jerry Del Colliano recently had a couple of interesting posts in his "Inside Music Media" blog. Now, Mr. Del Colliano's professional broadcasting credentials are impeccable, both as an on-air professional and as a major force in the industry. So let's assume his opinions have some weight. And what does he think radio needs to succeed with current and future audiences?

In one post he lists as a top priority:
Djs who play their own music -- not corporate or station playlists (I know, I know -- it won't work. It never does. Tight playlists and repetition win out in the end. Bla Bla Bla). No, this Gen Y audience means it.
In a post about Bob Dylan's "Theme Time Radio" program, he goes into a little more detail about what contemporary audiences are hungry for:
1. Someone knowledgeable about the music. In local markets that obviously can't afford a Bob Dylan, who is the guy or gal who is the most knowledgeable and put them on the air?

2. They want the dj expert to play their own records.

3. A sense of adventure. When was the last time a listener got a sense of adventure when listening to the radio? Duh! They didn't.

4. Unpredictability. It doesn't take a PD to know what the second half hour of a radio station is going to sound like -- the first half hour!
[This is just an excerpt. I highly recommend reading the whole post.]

Now here's the thing. This is exactly what I, and all the other volunteer announcers, do at WTJU every day. As the programmer/host, I love it. And from the comments I've received both over the phone and in person, the listeners do, too. I've done commercial radio the corporate way, and compared to that experience, this is much more rewarding for listener and announcer alike!

So here's the question. If Del Colliano is right, and this is what people want, why isn't WTJU the top station in the Charlottesville, Virginia radio market?

Well, there's several reasons. WTJU does block programming, which tends to lower audience size (and we don't do it very well, either). And there's the whole issue of marketing and promotion -- which I'll discuss in detail in a future post.

Suffice it to say, Jerry Del Colliano's model station is alive and well and broadcasting in Central Virginia. And it's managed to keep itself the best-kept secret in the area.

We've built it at WTJU, but we don't understand that people need to know about it before they'll come.

- Ralph

Day 24 of the WJMA Web Watch.

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