Up on the Digital Farm (team)
So often radio people lament the long gone night and weekend jocks who were radio’s farm team. Through budget cuts, attrition and the difficulties of finding and investing time to train and nurture talent, there are legitimate questions about where the next generation of radio talent will come from.
And then there is this.......
Last week, ESPN announced that one of their podcast-only shows, Jalen and Jacoby is moving to nights on ESPN’s radio network. ESPN/Grantland’s David Jacoby and NBA analyst Jalen Rose teamed up for the podcast in 2011.
"I produce all of the podcasts at Grantland, so when I first spoke to Jalen about his potential podcast, I detailed to him how important it was that he have good chemistry with his partner," said Jacoby, a Grantland writer, podcaster and senior producer. "I asked him if there was someone he had in mind, someone he played with or someone he grew up with, he responded, 'What? You don't want to do it?' Now here we are four years later with a national radio show."
Previously, young air talent would pack up the U-Haul and end up in a small or medium market like Lacrosse, Wisconsin to work things out. But technology has enabled a changed process for a former intern of the nationally syndicated Elvis Duran morning show and a WKTU promotions team member. Carla Marie and Anthony graduated into full-time staff positions with the Elvis Duran show. With a large crew, however, getting mic time can be rough and they were yearning to be on the air more often. Under the guidance of Elvis and iHeart Media master talent coach Dennis Clark, the “My Day Friday” podcast was born.
Each week these two energetic staffers deliver a fresh point-of-view and millennial focused content. Anthony says: “We were at a Friday brunch which turned to dinner and we had so much fun, we thought it could be a show. It started as a 'screw the work week' sort of thing but has evolved.” Carla Marie says, “we want it to feel like Friday happy hour.”
As is often the case, the chemistry, took some time.
“We did 30 shows before we had any cross-promotion. We knew we had to get better,” Carla Marie commented.
Indeed they must be getting better. iHeart has put a sales effort behind the duo. Last week, they were on scene at iHeart's music festival in Las Vegas. With sales coordination, they have also done programs from Taiwan and Mexico.
Anthony edits the show and creates rich custom production elements. Carla Marie is focused on graphics and much of the social media for the 30-40 minute weekly program. The show has its own Facebook and Twitter fans and both have strong personal social media followings. Carla’s main account on Twitter has a remarkable 130,000 followers.
One day, they hope to be doing their own show full-time, but for now the podcast has given them a previously unimaginable stage with which to develop their craft.
ESPN's "Jalen & Jacoby" and iHeart's “My Day Friday” are both magnificent stories about successful use of podcast technology as a laboratory for talent development. The farm team is there, and may already be on staff.
Commercial radio must commit the time and resources in developing its future. Podcasts are a great tool.