Venture Outside the Ivory Tower

Posted on June 1, 2011


Let’s go back to Grand Rapids for another discussion of radio.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned not recognizing any local celebrities in the very cool Grand Rapids lip dub.

However, my in-laws live in Grand Rapids and I was there this past weekend visiting. At loose ends on Saturday night we decided to catch a movie and stopped at a theater I’d never been to before.

As it turns out, in addition to the 10 foot tall promotional Thor hammer that I couldn’t figure out how to steal, this theater had a unique layout. 

First I noticed that it is attached directly to a Cold Stone Creamery so people could take their unique ice cream concoctions into the theaters.

Then something else caught my eye, a familiar radio logo. Curious, I wandered toward it and discovered a radio studio. Nothing big. A board, three or four mics on stands and a few stools inside of a glass booth.

I wish I’d taken a picture because I’m having a hard time figuring out what station it belongs to. I think there was a Clear Channel “KISS” logo but I can’t find a station in the Grand Rapids area that matches.

But that’s irrelevant.

Seeing the remote studio located where there will almost always be a built-in crowd got me thinking about how rarely we come down from the ivory tower (our studios) and mingle with the common folk (our listeners). 

As usual, I’m not talking about an appearance at a cellular store or car dealership. I’m talking about broadcasting live from where the listeners are hanging out; like, for instance, a busy movie theater on a Saturday night.  

It’s too easy to stay hidden in our safe little broadcast facilities.

Take a chance. Pick a busy place and broadcast your show from out amongst your listeners and, more importantly, your potential listeners.

Tell the world where you are going or just show up and surprise everyone. Both can be fun.

While you are on-site, make the crowd the stars. Put people on the air and have fun with them. Just remember to entertain both audiences, the crowd you can see and the listeners you can’t.

For the people on location it’s a fun story to tell friends, family and co-workers. For the listeners who aren’t there it can be a unique, lively show that is something different and fun to listen to.

While you are out there, don’t forget to capture pictures and video for Facebook and the Web site.

And, of course, if you don’t like going outside the studio or are nervous about entertaining both audiences, I know a good mechanic that can help you out.