Episode 163

Published on:

19th Mar 2022

John Sebastian: Putting the "WOW" Back into Radio!

When it comes to radio innovation and turnarounds, there are few in the industry that can match JOHN SEBASTIAN. His name has become synonymous with turning around radio stations that are in dire competitive situations. He holds records for some of the best ratings turnarounds in history for every format that matters, and John has been acknowledged as an innovator, and at times a contrarian when it comes to radio programming.

John redefined Country, virtually created New Age and Jazz, and introduced several incarnations of rock and Top 40. His ratings impact has been felt in markets like Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, DC, Minneapolis, Seattle, and others.

Now he’s back in Phoenix…and this time it’s not just a radio station, but perhaps the entire industry that is searching for a reboot. Younger people are gravitating away from 'radio' as a technology. Most formats don't want listeners over the age of 54. Yet one of the biggest, wealthiest audience segments is Adults 45+, who have time, money, and still choose 'radio' as a device.

Listeners to this format and say "WOW". John explains how he came up with the "WOW FACTOR" and why it's leading to continuous #1 ratings in the target demo!

Key Takeaways:

(02:04) John reveals what he felt was missing when listening to pre-pandemic radio right before 2020.

(09:52) John’s “WOW Factor” went on the air with the mission to play the best testing songs–drilling down on the 60s and 70s from every format covering the past 60 years. Clearly, the ratings speak for themselves, and John explains how the execution is playing out as the station evolves and where it can go next.

(10:51) John illustrates his unique approach to on-air delivery, and details exactly what WOW is doing differently to be hyper-local and relevant to target listeners.

(12:35) We hear reasons why “25-54” was never a great idea for radio, and why he’s upgraded the concept of WHO he wants to reach, and WHY.

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About the Podcast

Brandwidth On Demand
The 15 Minute Podcast About Making Great Radio
Every episode, radio's top hosts, PD's and media thought leaders share tips, tools, and tradecraft secrets on remaining relevant in our ever-evolving mediascape. Hosted by veteran manager and 2nd generation broadcaster David Martin and recovering radio programmer and author of "Brandwidth, America's Digital Branding Coach " Kipper McGee.

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Kipper McGee