Hello Mr/Mrs Radio Station Manager. You see the DJ sitting in that studio over there? Well he or she is, with every word, building their personal brand on the back of your station's reach.
It doesn't matter if every word is an over annunciated, mispronounced song title or time check. In fact, they've become that way because they aren't really being paid enough to generate great radio. They're being paid just enough to pitch up and build their own personal kingdom on the back of your station's reach because, let's face it, they get paid more gigging, appearing and MC'ing. They get those gigs because they're building their following on the back of your station's reach.
Social media audience
I know, that's how it is. There's an understanding: you pay them less and they get benefits from the megaphone that is radio. They build enormous social media followings on Facebook and Twitter too don't they? And when they walk out the door at the end of a show those followings go with them, to their appearances, to their dinners and to their bedside table when they go to sleep at night.
So what happens when they walk out that door for good? Those social media audiences go with them. But it's only digital audiences. It's not like they're taking your FM audiences with them, so there's nothing to worry about because the next DJ that comes along to fill the slot will begin to cultivate and build a mass following anew on the back of building their own brand on the back of your station's reach on the back of radio being a megaphone.
And then, one day, like property in America, the megaphone bubble that is radio will burst. Don't get me wrong, people will always be listening - they'll just be doing it on something other than FM and suddenly the megaphone's batteries will lose power. When that day comes, your station's back may break and so may its traditional FM reach and if you've done nothing to plug the digital dam wall holes through which your digital audiences are currently leaking like water, well then you'll be holding onto those last few DJs with white knuckles won't you?
The bubble will burst
Don't be surprised if the DJs that leave are one day sitting in the corporate journalism rooms of self-publishing brands, who have paid them executive communications salaries for them to continue broadcasting to the swathes of social media audiences they once built on the back of your radio station's reach.
Forewarned is forearmed. The bubble will burst. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But it will one day and if you have not prepared you will be left wondering, like the newspaper industry what you could have done to make it different.
If I were you I'd start with an audit of your total digital reach and then decide from there how to future proof this part of your business.