Hello Syracuse

28 Jul

The plan was to fly into Syracuse, spend a night with my son and his family and then drive to Canada for a meeting.

Then the flu wrestled me to the mat and changed all that.

I spent the next couple of days in bed asking the ghost to bring a cold ginger ale up from the kitchen.

The house I was staying in is 150+ years old and quite haunted.

There are all kinds of stories of strange happenings in the house. Fans and lights turn on at will and thermostat settings do what they want.

The ghost was either stubborn or lazy because the ginger ale I ordered never arrived.

Syracuse is one of my favorite towns. We lived there for a few years in the 90s. It’s probably not a place I could go back to (is 200 inches of snow per year the reason perhaps?), and yet we have more friends there than anywhere in the world.

Syracuse is a as close to stepping into a time machine as it gets.

For example, the same people are anchoring the news on TV that were there in 1993.

The same people are on the radio.

Some of the stations even sound pretty much like they did then with jock shouts and jingles.

Advertisers use the same tired jingles on their TV and Radio ads they’ve used for decades.

Every promotion this weekend was a look backward. It was a reunion this or a reunion that.

There was a Classic Car Reunion the Disco Reunion and some other reunion.

No wonder I felt like I was traveling in the Wayback Machine.

Ok, I admit I always stop at Heid’s in Liverpool for a hot dog and shake, that’s as retro as you can get.

The ‘Cuse could use a little fresh thinking and so can many other towns.

I don’t care if you’re in Lubbock or Green Bay as a PD it is up to you to pay attention to things around you. Really listen to your station and the competition and find ways to make your station sound fresh.

People inside the stations can be as resistant to change as those outside. Keep fighting for it.

It can be very difficult if your market is somewhat isolated and you can’t hear radio from bigger markets. How can your talent learn?

I strongly suggest you take time to listen to your entire market, here are some suggestions.

  • Look for tired promotions and dump them
  • Kill tired language
  • Promotions that are being over done by all of the stations, like ‘reunions’
  • Look for places that people go that have been ignored by the stations
  • Brainstorm a list of new ideas
  • Find fresh events to participate in
  • Buy a WIFI Radio and listen to other markets
  • Or listen on line to stations that stream
  • Network with PDs outside or your market
  • Get your station staff to listen to big market stations
  • Look at websites for ideas

Look at all of the elements, the language you use, the promotions, and especially the ‘sacred cows’.

Sacred Cows make great burgers.

Think fresh.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 28, 2008 in Radio programming


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One response to “Hello Syracuse

  1. Simone Rowson-Green

    August 5, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    You are right, I must have been in town the same week as you were, I heard promo’s for some of the same events you did! As a former on air personality who started their career there, it gives me some conflicting feelings when I listen to the radio in Syracuse-feelings of comfort (since that is where I grew up) and sheer curiosity as to how a town can stay and sound the same for so long-it then reminds me of why I left!
    It seems as though mediocrity shifts from station to station, and back again. For a business that is constantly evolving, time has forgotten this once great radio market. I grew up with WOLF, WFBL 95x, 104.7 KIX FM, and 94 Rock- Got my start in the business when Y94 and 93Q were battling it out on the streets-what a great time that was. Now it is such a sleepy scan thru the dial. I did enjoy Movin 100 though- Afterall, I am in the demo. I suppose that for long periods, the tight playlist would lose me, but for a quick visit-I found it refreshing for a station playing mainly oldermusic with a few currents..Stuff from the Suburban Park days!

    I Have to hand it to guys like Ron Bee who are still great Personalities (and he mentored me at my first radio gig, WSEN..which I will never forget)-

    I don’t mean to sound as though I am generalizing and bashing everyone in Syracuse radio because there is some good talent in town, but lets get into this decade and RELATE to todays listener’s-anyone can just “play the hits”-


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