There are lots of examples of companies altering their creative messaging in this current COVID-19 environment. Here is one of the best pieces of creative I have come accross in the past few days.
This will pass and when it does people will want to reconnect with friends, family and loved ones. They will want to go to local bars, restaurants and entertainment. The brands that think outside the box, truly connect with listeners and remain top of mind will be the brands then benefit.
Local radio can do that more effectively than any other medium. Get your sellers and your creative people together and come up with creative that cuts through.
by Chris Byrnes
As I write this, a state of emergency has just been declared in Ontario. Things are changing by the hour across the country and around the world as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread at an alarming rate.
In these uncertain times, more listeners than ever before will be tuning to their favourite radio station to get he latest news and local information. Many people are being asked to work form home, so you’ll notice the roads are less busy and of course lots of businesses are closed or operating on limited hours. Concerts and events have been cancelled and movie theatres are closed, and the pubs are also closed. This means more people will have more time on their hands and perhaps will tune to their local radio station to find out what is happening and stay up to date. We are encouraging our radio clients to do all they can to ensure they sound the best they ever have sounded, given the number of listeners who will be tuning in.
This is a great time for local radio to shine. Become even more hyper local and get the relevant local information on the air in a timely manner. Add additional newscasts or information updates and consider going to a top of the hour update for as many hours of the day as you can reasonably handle. This will create appointment tuning and given how quickly things are changing there will be plenty of content to deliver.
Be sure you have your newsmakers on the air. Reach out to the Mayor, the Police Chief, your MPP and health professionals on a regular basis who will most likely be happy to provide the local angle.
Get the latest information on your website, and update that page regularly. If the content is updated regularly, people will come back to the site multiple times. You might also add the opportunity for listeners up upload photos showing how they are passing the time at home and encourage them to leave some comments. It might spark ideas and help others also pass the time. Read some of the comments on the air to help create that sense of community. You might also create a “cancellations page” and keep that updated.
The other opportunity for radio is to help the retail community in your area. Consider running a promo on the air along the lines of the script the team at Heart FM wrote today:
Hi this is Scott Lunn, General Manager of Heart FM. Things are changing rapidly in our province and we are working hard to keep you informed on both local and national levels. We also want to help local businesses get the word out to consumers. If you are a business in Oxford County and you are open, changed your hours or have much needed supplies – let us know and we will get the word out to our listeners. Simply call 519.537.8400 Or email me at GM@1047.ca. If you let us know at Heart FM – our on-air team will let listeners know. Information is key during these times of uncertainty and we can help. And please stay safe.
This is a simple but tangible way that your radio station can help, and yes it might cost you some revenue in the short term, but it will be worth it because it will help local business in these changing times. Announcers give a shout out to local businesses and let the public know what is open, and anything special that is going on. When supplies are short listeners want to know that there is toilet paper at the local supermarket!
Offering this free service may save some local business from going under and keep more locals in jobs. Perhaps down the road these businesses will recognise the value that local radio has in their community.
Radio is the original one-to-many medium and this is a great time to be using the power of your transmitter and the reach of your social media platforms to inform and entertain. If you are doing something to help your community and make a difference in your local area in this time of crisis, please reach me at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to add it to this article which will be updated.
The Ontario Association of Broadcasters has announced the winners of their Pro Radio Creative Contest. The winners, in three categories, are:
1 – The Power of Radio During in an Emergency (large scale emergencies or amber alerts) tied for the win are:
Byrnes Communications Inc.
for OAB Emergency
Durham Radio Inc.
for Power of Radio – Amber Alert
2 – The Power of Advertising on Radio (for business owners):
for The Power of Advertising on Radio
3 – The Power of Local Radio (listener & community benefits) tied for the win are:
Byrnes Communications Inc.
for OAB Local Radio
Writer: RJ Lowe, Producer: Ethan Ralph
Voice Talent: Vanda Di Michele & Abe Peters
for Local Radio 5
I recently spent a day with broadcast students who are about to graduate from one of several Ontario colleges and who will be looking to land their first job. Over 300 students descended on the Corus facility at Dockside on Monday, March 2nd for the 15th annual Career Day, which is a forum to meet with professionals in their field to talk candidly and ask questions. This allows them a level of access they would not normally have.
There were 40 broadcast professionals who came to answer questions and offer advice to these young broadcasters. It was impressive to meet some of the stars of tomorrow, to learn about their journey and to hear how passionate they are about this business. Kudos to the Ontario Association of Broadcasters for putting this on event each year and a shout out to the sponsors who enable this event to happen at no cost to individual students. You can learn more about the OAB Career Day at OAB.ca
This year’s panel discussion, entitled “Big Dreams, Small Steps” included Alan Carter, News Anchor, Global News; Josie Dye, Morning Show Co-host, INDIE 88; Jamie Johnston, Morning Show Co-host, Rogers Sudbury; Rishma Govani, Senior Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Global News; and Paul Thomas, Program & Music Director, MZ Media.
Next came the Q&A sessions and there were about 20 round tables which accommodated about 10 students at a time, with each table specializing in one aspect of radio or television. Students had 30 minutes to talk to industry professionals and ask as many questions as time allowed. After 30 minutes they moved to another table and met other broadcasters who specialized in another area. I had the pleasure of sharing a table with the very talented Shemar Moore, Producer of the Roz & Mocha show on Kiss 92.5, and Jenn McKay who does the morning show at Cool 100 in Bellville. This was one of two “on air” tables, and I was invited because I coach on air talent across Canada which includes lots of young people who are in their first full time job. Over several hours, I think we got to speak to most of the students who attended, and here are some of the most common questions we were asked, along with our answers;
How do I get my first high paying job at a Toronto radio station? Yes, we were asked that question! While Sham had managed to do just that a few years ago, our advice was to look at a smaller market and work your way up. More on that later. Sham, by the way, went to Kiss in Toronto to interview for a promotions job. He was a fan of the station, knew all the personalities and it was the station he listened to most. After the interview he was leaving the building and noticed Dave Blizzard who was the night jock at the time. Sham seized the opportunity and introduced himself to Dave and told him how much he loved listening to his night show. That led to the offer of an unpaid internship which Sham took, over the paying job that he had originally interviewed for, because he knew he wanted to be on the air. Sham told us that Dave treated him well and Sham worked hard which, in time, led to him getting some breaks on the air with Dave. That lead to solo overnights, weekends and more. Today he produces the morning show and appears on Rogers TV. There are others who have also managed to get their start on a Toronto radio station, so it is not impossible. Often it starts with working as part of the station street team. If you work hard and impress people, that may lead to a full-time position. By the way, this is the time of the year that lots of radio station in Toronto and beyond are looking for street team members for this summer.
Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against trying to land your first job in Toronto, but Toronto is an expensive city in every aspect, including transport, food and accommodation and starting wages in Toronto for a young broadcaster usually do not cover these expenses. This is also the most competitive market in the country where the stakes are high, so it may not be the market to start out in making the inevitable mistakes that many young broadcasters make. The other benefit of starting out in a smaller market is you will get to learn lots, do things in a smaller market that you won’t get to do in a larger market.
How do you go about landing your first job? We each had a different answer to this question, but my advice was as follows: Get a map of Canada and circle the 5 small cities/towns that have radio stations that you are prepared to move to and work in for 24 months. Next, listen to these stations online and find out as much as you can about them. Check out their websites and social media feeds, and also, find the name and contact details of the Program Director and General Manager. Next, find out as much as you can about the town or city and why you might enjoy living there. Establish the cost of rental accommodation, the cost of living and the benefits that town offers. Send a letter to the PD and GM, making sure you spell their names correctly, and tell them what you like about their radio station and why you want to come and work for them. Include your resume in the letter.
If you do not hear back in 2 weeks, then pick up the phone and call them to introduce yourself, and tell them again why you want to start your career at their station. This may lead to a telephone interview and/or they may ask you to come to the station for an interview. Sure, it might cost you a return airfare or train ticket or the cost of your gas if you have a vehicle, but that is a small cost to get you in front of a potential employer, so you can impress them in person and hopefully land that first job.
Why 24 months? In the first 12 months you are experiencing everything in that market for the first time. This includes the station events, and major events that happen in the city or area and it may be very different from what you have experienced in the city where you grew up. In the second year, you know what is going on and have already experienced all four seasons and all the events that happen in this market. This means you can now speak from experience and you can really be of value to your employer. All along, you will be growing your skills and over time you may figure out what you really want to do as a career.
What happens next? If you spend 24 months in a small market learning lots and improving your skills, then you should be ready to move to a bigger market. Update your resume and audio and start looking for that next opportunity. Go through the same process of learning about the market and the stations in that market you really want to work for. Contact the station and tell them why you want to work there and keep an eye out for jobs advertised in similar sized markets. Once you land in that larger market you will find the competition is greater, the bar will be set higher, and more will be expected of you, but you will have the skills and knowledge to be successful in that larger market. It may take you two or three more moves before you land in the major market of your dreams, but you are young, so you have the time, plus along the way you may have figured out who you are, what your strengths are, and perhaps have found your “voice.”
What about audio? Put your best material first and make the audio demo less than 3 minutes long. If you want to include links to other audio that’s fine but remember, this initial audio will determine if you make the next stage of the employment process. Most PD’s will decide in the first 60 seconds if it is worth investing more time listening to the demo. Also, if possible, make the demo specific to the format of the station you are applying to. If you are applying to a country station, starting the demo by back announcing a Celine Dion song will not help you. Where possible, demonstrate that you know and love the format. Make it easy for the PD to hear your audio via Sound Cloud or other platforms and check that the links work. If the PD likes what he or she hears then they will look at you closer. If you have a podcast or you work a regular air shift on a radio station, include that information, as chances are, the PD will listen in and see how you really sound. They get that you always put the best breaks on a demo, but not every break will be that good.
What should I not do? This was a great question and the most common answer I heard was, “Don’t ever say to someone who has been working in the broadcast business for many years that they are doing it wrong and it was not the way you were taught at broadcast school.” The reality is that the way you were taught might in fact be a better way. But the smarter question to ask is, “Tell me why you do it this way?” Telling someone who has worked in the business for 25 years that they are doing it all wrong is not a great way to endear yourself to them.
Other Advice: Do not walk into your first job thinking you know it all. Yes, you need to be confident, but remember that you were born with two eyes, two ears and one mouth, so perhaps listen and watch more than you speak in the first few months. Some students who are so eager to impress will talk way too much and not listen. Do not go into your first job thinking you know it all.
Get your Driver’s License: This was a great suggestion from Jenn McKay who commented that so many students applying to radio stations do not have their driver’s license. Chances are, your first job might be a street team or summer cruiser position. You need a driver’s license for this.
Social Media: Be sure to check your social media pages and clean them up. You are a brand and your brand should not be a turnoff for the radio station you are hoping to work for. While it might be fun to have photos of you drunk out of your mind and doing stupid stuff posted on Facebook, it might be the one thing that causes that potential employer to deep six your application.
Say “Yes”: There will be lots of opportunities to do a little extra around the radio station. If you have done your job and you have time left in the day ask others what you can do to help. Be the person who volunteers to get involved in station and community events. It’s a great way to experience new and different things and it shows you are eager to get involved.
Get involved: When you first move to a new strange town it can be very easy to fall into the trap of hanging around with only your work colleagues. It’s great to do that, but you should also challenge yourself to get involved in activities outside the radio station. Perhaps take up a new sport or get involved with a service organisation. This is a great way to meet new people and experience new things.
Develop your networking skills: This came up time and time again as we talked to students. Get business cards, follow up and be sure to send a thank you note to anyone who you have met who might be able to get you that first job. It was also mentioned that students should try and get into as many radio stations as possible and take the tour. There may not be a job going at one radio station, but if you impress someone, they might mention your name to someone in another market who has an opening. The radio and television businesses is a tight knit community and most people know lots of others in the industry. Canada Music Week is coming up and they will be looking for volunteers. If that is not an option for you, how about going to the event and trying to meet as many broadcasters as possible. If you can afford the ticket, then get to as many sessions as possible so you can learn lots and meet other broadcasters.
I came away so impressed by some of these young broadcasters and I cannot wait to meet them in jobs and coming up through the ranks in the coming years. If you have questions or suggestions to add to this list to make it even better please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-332-1331 and let’s talk.
The R1 survey of 2020 is out and CHFI got their usual “All Christmas” spike and remain the top commercial radio station in Toronto. This is the one book that should be compared to the same measurement period in the previous year for a fair comparison. The stations that grew audiences included Indie 88 (up 42%), Z1035 (up 39%), Virgin Radio (up 27%), Q107 (up 25%) and Kiss (up 21%). Stations that lost audience share included Boom 973 (-8%) Global 640 (-45%), G98.7 (-29%), Zoomer Radio (-42%).
Here is how things stacked up all people 12+ & 24-54 (Monday to Sunday 5am to 1am audience share %)
|Station||12+ Share% R1’19||12+ Share% R1’20||25-54 share% R1’19||25-54 share% R1’20|
|590 The Fan||1.4%||1.2%||1.6%||1.6%|
Toronto, March 1, 2020. – Evanov Communications Inc. is deeply saddened to announce that Vasil William (Bill) Evanov, the company’s founder and President, passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 28th, 2020.
Born in 1942, Bill was the son of Bulgarian immigrant parents. From incredibly humble beginnings, to his tenure with CHIN Radio working with the legendary Johnny Lombardi, Bill learned radio from the ground up. In 1984, he began his own radio ownership career. Thirty-six years later, the company is a model success story that operates 19 Stations across the country. Evanov Communications is one of the very few independent broadcasters that has persevered and prospered among multi-media, multi-platform competitors. It employs several hundred persons who will miss Bill’s sense of humour, dedication to his craft and example of discipline and passion for radio. He is survived by his children Paul and Kristina, who will continue to grow the company in his tradition.
Bill’s accomplishments were numerous and impactful. He created several unique radio formats including Energy 108 and Z103.5, the company’s flagship station which broadcasts from the company’s headquarters in Etobicoke. Among the company’s other current formats are: multilingual ethnic radio stations that broadcast in over 40 languages; The Jewel, which offers light adult contemporary music over eight stations across the country; Toronto-based PROUD FM, the world’s first LGBTQ radio station; a Christian station; a French-language station; and country music stations.
Bill won many prestigious awards throughout his career, a testament to the respect he received from his peers and the industry as a whole. This includes his induction into the Canadian Music and Broadcasting Industry Hall of Fame in 2011.
Bill’s life will be celebrated in a service at Toronto’s Sts. Cyril and Methody Macedonian-Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church, 237 Sackville St, Toronto on Monday March 9th, 2020 at 11:00 am.
Visitation is at Mount Pleasant Cemetery Cremation & Funeral Centres: 375 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, Thursday March 5th from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 pm and Friday March 6th, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm.
The Office of the President, at email@example.com or 416 213 1035.