Last week, BIA/Kelsey released data on the highest billing stations in America, and once again WTOP, Washington was deservedly at the top of the heap. Without question, one of the prime architects of WTOP was Jim Farley, its 17 year Vice President of News and Programming. Jim is now retired but actively consulting WTOP and other radio stations, and he remains one of the thought leaders in the talk radio business.
Jim came up to me recently at Talk Show Bootcamp after a presentation about podcasting I did with Westwood One CMO Pierre Bouvard. What he told me blew me away. Jim said he walked into the room a non-believer about radio's prospects with podcasting and left convinced that radio was missing a golden opportunity to further expose its content. Jim said, "so much of the great content created by WTOP is missed by over 90% of the audience" and with podcasting, WTOP and for that matter, all radio stations, now have a method to expose their content to a larger audience.
Bingo. One of the pioneers and leading voices in news-talk is on board.
Jim talked about the "fitness, foodie, gardening and astronomer features that are low hanging fruit on WTOP." He also talked about the potential of "cross-promoting extended interviews."
Jim said; "this is a slam dunk. It dawned on me that this is another distribution channel."
His concern prior to the session had been a radio station's ability to create and monetize podcast-only content. While the session may not have alleviated all of those concerns, the ability to time-shift content as radio experiences "new threats and challenges" seems a natural extension.
While WTOP does "put some audio on a web page," Farley said, "it needs to be easier to find and consume."
Jim went into the session a skeptic and left an advocate. That made my trip.
Jim told me "I started in 1966 and I'm still learning new stuff." Ain't that the truth. Aren't we all.
Steve Goldstein is CEO of Amplifi Media.