Dave Beasing: Sound That Brands
Updated: May 31
This week's guest is Dave Beasing. Dave is the CEO of Sound That BRANDS, an audio production and consultation company with a focus on creating brand-affiliated podcasts.
We talk with Dave about his career in media branding, the philosophy behind Sound That BRANDS, and what makes a good branded podcast compared to a lazy one. Of course, we also dig into all the services the company offers, such as free consultation, full documentaries, and the big one: end-to-end production. Sound That BRANDS will help establish a branding strategy, find you guests, and handle writing, editing, sound design and distribution. They're the full package, and Dave unpacks it with us in this episode.
They also have a blog to keep you up-to-date on all the biggest and freshest branded podcast news. Even if you're an independent podcaster, or just someone who's interested in the industry, it's still a great read- and totally free! Check it out here.
Tara Sands (VO) 00:00:01
The Soundoff Podcast. The podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill starts now.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:10
This week, Dave Beasing makes a return to the show. We spoke with him back in 2018, not long after the creation of his company, Sound That BRANDS. Today, that company makes some of the best branded podcasts. And I know you're saying to yourself, what is a branded podcast? Well, if it's a good one, it's a podcast that is commissioned by a brand and often you don't always know that there's a brand behind the show. Neat. The content is engaging and doesn't feature any pitching or pricing or anything like that. It's long form marketing. It's been over five years since Dave left 100.3 The Sound in Los Angeles. We documented that radio departure extensively back in episode 107. Right then, here we go. Dave Beasing joins me from his home in Los Angeles. Was your studio built before you jumped into Sound That BRANDS?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:01:01
No, it was not. It was something I worked on right after I left the radio station.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:07
I'm going to need a flashback here. Did that happen in 2017?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:01:11
It did, yeah. We shut down November something of 2017.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:15
It seemed so long ago. But then again, I just checked the calendar and it was so long ago.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:01:20
Yeah, exactly. It was so long ago. In today's world, that's a while.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:24
So the first time that I saw you was like, 2018. And I think could have been podcast movement, could have been the conclave, but either way, you were going to make the jump and you were going to jump into podcasting. You didn't tell me how. I think you were either keeping a secret or you didn't know. Which was it?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:01:38
It was probably I didn't know because because the way I blab, I probably would have told you. I knew for years that that was probably where I'd be headed. I could have probably stayed in Radio and got offered the opportunity to move to wonderful places like Sacramento or whatever. And a year after I turned things like that down, I realized that there have been two program directors in that seat since they offered it to me, and a new general manager has arrived. So it's like, no, I'm not moving my family for radio.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:08
Yeah, I was offered a job in 2018, a really, really good radio station, too. And, you know, it's one of those bucket list ones. And then I thought, you know, if I'm gone in three years, then I haven't moved.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:02:22
Yeah. No, I get it. It's tempting to try to put one of those on your resume, bucket list one, but I don't know if that really makes a difference in the world anymore beyond radio. So you'd be back at this. You're right.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:34
And you form Sound That BRANDS. How would you grade yourself? I give you an A, but you might grade yourself a little bit harder.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:02:41
Yeah, I'll give myself an A minus. I'm really pleased with how the company has grown, but I want it to grow faster. I guess that's every entrepreneur probably says that. What I didn't realize is the investment that should be made in sales. We do great work and most of it is referrals. Sometimes it's white labeling for studios, oftentimes it is because we don't have salespeople out there who are knocking on doors and trying to find brands to do this. We tried that, actually, and it didn't work that well. I think we were a little bit ahead of things at that point. Now it would probably be different, but I'm finding that a lot of new competitors that are out there in branded are companies started by salespeople. When you take a pitch from them, they tell you about how cool their platform is and how many people they hope you can reach and all of that. They don't talk that much about the quality of their podcasts or point to their podcasts. I guess, for people to listen to them and determine quality because they're trying to sell branded podcasts in a reach world, and it's not really a reach medium. But salespeople have turned out to be, I guess, as is the case in other industries as well. Salespeople are important alongside content people and I probably have had too much emphasis on great content and not enough on just knocking on doors.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:18
I would think that it'd be very, very hard to constantly be bringing in new clients all the time, and to scale a business up and up and up, because each branded podcast is high touch point. It is so particular, there's so much involved. I don't think there's enough hours in the day to make this thing as big as you want to make it.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:04:39
You're right, it is difficult to scale for that reason. Every project is very different. That's the nature of any creative art. If you're going to do a good job for somebody, it's going to be different for this brand than it is for that brand, because brands are different, goals are different, topics are obviously different, content is different. And then there is internally with every project, a very different set of clients with different expectations. Marshall Lewis, the head of content for Wandery, who, bless his heart, refers quite a bit of business to us. He has said to me, I don't know how you do it, and he's referring to the clients. And I don't mean to get in a bitch session. We love our clients, but it's an additional dimension to the creative process that can be very time consuming.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:29
I almost want to ask the question and break it down. What is a branded podcast? But why don't we talk a little bit about the evolution of them over the last, let's say, five years since you left radio, and this opportunity was there to get involved with branded podcasts. How have they evolved alongside your company?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:05:47
I think they've changed in a few ways. The number of branded podcasts that are out there has certainly exploded. There are many more than there were when we started. I think we were a little ahead of the curve when we went into it that way. The content is generally better in branded podcasts. There are a lot of smaller branded podcasts that are kind of vanity projects, and those are not necessarily better. But the big brands doing big podcasts, those are better. Sometimes they're more mass appeal than they used to be, and sometimes they're more targeted than they used to be. A great example being for National Geographic, a project we work on with Benstown and McVeigh Media as well. They are targeting Emmy voters, so that's a very narrow, specific audience. They're trying to get Emmy nominations and Emmys, so sometimes it's out on the long tail and other times they're trying to go more mass appeal. Measurement has changed. I think there's an increasing realization that it is not a reach medium to do branded podcasts, not for the most part. So they're doing more brand lift studies. They realize that they're doing more brand building and they're kind of thinking of branded podcasts as being in the same category as their other content marketing efforts, whether it's video and blogs, events, things of that nature, where they realize that they are not trying as they are with their ad insertion efforts, to get somebody to place an order today and get 20% off by putting Matt Kendall in the upper right hand box. So that has helped a lot because brands are getting into it for the right reasons instead of the wrong reasons. And then I'd also say that the number of producers out there as the branded podcasts have exploded in number, a lot more people are doing them now. Some of the studios that do other podcasts for ad insertion have a wing or certainly will take the money to do branded podcasts. That still happens to some degree. That was mostly who we competed with originally, but now there are more companies that are branded podcast specialists. And as I was saying before, those companies sometimes get great results for their clients. I'm sure they tend to have, in many cases, more of a sales emphasis. You can see that their internal structure is more salespeople than content creators, and they get results for people and they do more business, some of them, than we do. But we're content people. We came from content and we do content. That's our primary emphasis. When I was in radio, I just loved writing for my radio station. I didn't get into radio because of a love of music, as some people do. I got into it because I like to write. I like to create things that are written, and sometimes that was actual content on a spoken word basis, morning show or newstalk or what have you. But sometimes it was also just marketing. It was creating the positioning that made that brand feel different from another brand. And that's who we are and that's what we do. Branded podcasts have changed in that there's a lot more people doing them. But I don't know, sometimes I'm not sure all those podcasts are created to differentiate the way we used to try to differentiate radio back in my day.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:28
Do you miss writing imaging? Because I write it once a year now, and I now spend two weeks writing one page of imaging and then I spend like all day with a producer to make sure that the sound is right. And it used to be five pages a week and I just love my one page now per year.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:09:47
It's enough to keep you involved and happy. I'm kind of the same way. I still work with a few stations out there. It's just enough to kind of be a fun hobby, but it's not as consuming as it used to be. I do that's. My favorite part, though, is the imaging. And when imaging is done right, it became difficult in the PPM era to have imaging that was more than five words. But when you can get away with it, good imaging is content marketing. It's content in and of itself. So I do miss that sometimes. And I think writing radio imaging made me a more concise writer overall. To tell a story about how you two overcame a creative lull to come up with a song, one, during a recording studio, and tell that in radio form that you can get away with in Ppm requires a real economy of words to do that. And I think that has served me well. That pressure to be very concise has served me well as a writer overall. It's social media, too. God bless folks that I see are pouring their hearts out in five paragraphs on a Facebook post. Unless I am really close to that person, I'm not going to read it on social media. You've got to keep the text to a minimum if anybody's going to read it.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:14
You've heard some other branded podcasts out there. What's the most glaring obvious error that they're making?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:11:21
I think you can make a branded podcast too slick. I think there's authenticity that's needed, and the audience wants to hear something that is very genuine. Sometimes it's too raw and unedited and then sometimes it's too slick. Finding that happy medium where it's well edited but doesn't sound like it's edited, that's the trick. We refer to it as audio sculpting, the editing process that we go through because, you know, as who was it DA Vinci who said that what he does is he chips away at the rock, the stone to reveal the statue within? Or was it Michelangelo, one of those guys that's the way we look at the podcast is that we might record 3 hours to get a 20 minutes branded podcast and we're going to find those little human moments that nobody planned. We're going to find ways to explain it that are more colorful. If you're talking about nutrition labels on a product at a grocery store, you've got to find some really human ways to do that to make it interesting. And that doesn't happen from a lecture on nutrition labels.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:32
So you mentioned authenticity, which is really what you're looking for. And all I've been bombarded with so far this year is AI discussions. Whether it's the blogs, or voices, or now people, as it appears. And I am just not as flustered when it comes to anything AI, because I can- I don't know that AI is capable of authenticity.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:12:56
I think it's going to get there.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:58
Does that just buy me 2023?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:13:02
I think it's going to improve and evolve. There's going to be, as you know, a whole field. I mean, they're going to be whole college majors built around not just better writing, but about how to ask questions of AI in a better way to get better results. The AI engineering, and that isn't just for the people who do code. The AI engineering spreads to all of us. If you ask a question ten different ways, you're going to get ten different answers, as I understand it from my preliminary experimentation. So figuring out exactly how to ask those questions is going to be quite an art as well as a science, I think. But AI is here to stay. I'm with you, though, that I hope it doesn't replace, nor do I see it in the near future, replacing the human touch. I did do a blog the other day, and I bet you're hearing stories like this and have a few of your own. I did a blog for our website the other day that using Chat GPT probably reduced the writing time from an hour to 20 minutes because it gave me some great initial ideas and structure and that sort of a thing. And but I would have been embarrassed to post the Chat GPT as it first the original version. That just wouldn't have been right.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:14:25
I saw you and Jeff Fiddler from Signal Hill discussing research. What's some of the stuff that Jeff has really revealed to you over the last year or two and maybe even longer? And why is it that everybody is getting their podcast from YouTube?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:14:40
Why? I'm not sure they are, but you better be on YouTube. There's no doubt about that. Jeff has shared many interesting things. I think the highlight for me was being selfish and self centered as I am about branded podcasts, that six in ten people, after they hear a branded podcast, say that it has caused them to have a more favorable impression of the brand. Six in ten. In some ways, I guess you could say, why wouldn't it be eight or nine and ten? But people are tough when they answer research questions like that. Imagine if you had asked. And of course, this happens all the time too, in research. Listen to this. 62nd or 32nd ad from a brand, and if it's a typical 60 or 32nd ad, especially if it has a strong CTA, how many people are going to say, wow, that gave me a more favorable impression of that brand? Even if it did, they're not going to admit it. I think that's the biggest finding that Jeff was able to share with me, and that was derived from many studies that he does. Brand lift studies that he does. And on the topic of research, I'm loving the weekly insights that Edison research is putting out as well. I think that one of the stories in podcasting that has gotten some play but probably deserves more, is that Edison podcast metrics are now going to be sold into ad agencies by none other than Nielsen. And this is, as I understand it, the first time that Nielsen, the gold standard in media research, has agreed to sell a product that isn't a Nielsen in house generated product. That's how strongly they apparently feel about the Edison podcast metrics. Larry Rosen is brilliant guy who those of us in radio have worked with through the years as well. He's really positioned at us in the podcast space very smartly. While many other researchers have been able to make that transition, he's come up with a way to do what I believe will be the definitive podcast ratings and Nielsen's jumping on it.
Dervla Trainor 00:16:53
Transcription of the Sound Off Podcast is powered by the Podcast Super Friends, five podcast producers who get together to discuss podcasting. Sharpen your podcast and creation skills by following the show on the Sound Off Podcast's YouTube or Facebook page.
Mary Anne Ivison (VO) 00:16:53
This Podcast supports Podcasting 2.0. If you like this show or getting value from it, hit the boost button now. If you don't have a boost button, you can get one now at newpodcastapps.com.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:17:26
We touched on YouTube, just briefly. How do you handle YouTube or a video strategy for your branded podcasts you work with?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:17:33
I think video is important these days. I think screens are important. Maybe that's a better way to put it. Because if I'm going to buy a new A-l-e-x-a, I have to be careful. I'm going to have a screen on it. I think that especially younger generations want the option to look at something, even if it's a static image, they want the option to look at something. They've grown up with screens in their daily lives. We have two kids, and I hate to be- I hate it when people cite the observations they have of their own children and say, I have seen the future, and it's what my twelve year old does. And yet I'm about to do that. My twelve year old, she does everything with a screen handy, a screen nearby. I mean, she will walk to school, she'll take a bath with a screen propped on the side of the bathtub, her phone, she'll even- and I sound like a terrible parent, I guess, when I say this. You can judge if you like. She gets away with it a lot. She does her homework with a screen going, in the same way that I used to listen to music while doing my homework. And I don't think that she devotes any more attention to that screen and that YouTube video or whatever it is that she's supposedly watching while she's doing homework than the attention that I devoted to an album on a turntable or CD when I was doing my homework. But that generation is going to have screens on. So I think for podcasting, it's going to be important for us to at least have that static image up there as an option for some people to consume it that way. With the screen activated, there becomes a decision to make about how much resources to devote to the video. And some podcasts are going to find video very useful. The folks at Cast Media, most of their shows are video podcasts in addition to being audio podcasts. They set them up that way from the start and I think that they as a company did that very early on. They have video studios in their home office in Hollywood and they have some studios in the Valley too, here in LA. I think you can go to that extent or you might just do something that doesn't try very hard as far as the video is concerned. And I think you have to make a decision on whether you are going to try hard or whether you're not going to try hard. And you need to clearly be on one side of the fence or the other. If you put too much effort into a slideshow, there are those who will see that and say, wow, you're kind of trying to give me a video here, but my gosh, this is not much of a video. You're going to have to decide whether you're all in or not. Some sort of video, yes, but make it clear to those watching whether the video is meant as something that people should focus on or just a companion bit of graphics.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:34
So we could have done this on video. This is going to be on YouTube. It will be an image of you, there'll be some Headliner waves at the bottom and maybe somebody will be taking in the show this way. But we could have put this up on YouTube, but I'm not sure anybody would have found it very interesting to necessarily meet your dog or hear me ask a question multiple times because I screwed the question up. And, I mean, it would be a fairly clumsy experience and have nothing to do with the final audio portion, which this show is built for audio. I just don't know who would find our take one, take two, restart, or answer this a different way, kind of mumbo jumbo like I'm talking now, interesting.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:21:13
Agreed. You have to essentially decide whether the video or the audio is going to be primary, and stick to that. Audio is so much more fun to edit than video. And as I mentioned before, we do a ton of editing, and sometimes doing branded podcasts, you have the client listening in the background during the recording session and they start to freak out because they think all of this is going into the final product. They think, oh my gosh, this person, this guest is talking too much about their childhood and their background and their this and their that. And yeah, you know what, we're going to do a 20-30 minute podcast or whatever it is, but there's a lot of stuff coming out. We may start a sentence in one place and finish it someplace else.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:00
You mentioned screens, video, the Gen Z's are a group who are visual, and so your artwork matters.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:22:08
Yes, it really does. And that's probably someplace where podcast needs to do a better job. I think that we were just talking about research. There should be more effort put into things like that. When it comes to research, let's find out if people react better to this tile or that tile. I have a friend who works for Netflix and he knows because it's his job to know if they're posting a Mission Impossible movie on Netflix in this part of Eastern Europe, whether you should have a picture of Tom Cruise on the tile or a picture of a car wreck or whatever it is. They have researched that. Of course. They've got the data to know which gets more click throughs. It's a real science. And if we are going to market our podcasts effectively, we should have the graphics that will cause the listens. For sure.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:07
I just hired an art director. That's how serious this has gotten.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:23:12
Yeah, good. Awesome. I'm glad you did. And I may need to borrow that art director at some point.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:19
I can't afford her, but I made the purchase anyway.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:23:21
Good for you. That's smart. It's definitely needed. And for podcasts, like anything else, the graphics that are needed for podcast are different than any other kind of graphics. So in the same way that the marketing department at a brand shouldn't just order a couple of microphones and say, okay, now we're podcasters, I don't think that the graphics department should necessarily, at least without a lot of study and reflection and ramping up, suddenly decide that they are capable of producing great podcast tiles.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:23:54
How's the marketing different for a branded podcast against, let's say, my podcast, which is really a couple of audiograms, some social media, some Twitter, some LinkedIn, some Facebook, and just constant social media. And for a branded podcast, what's the approach?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:24:09
It's similar, and it depends somewhat on the internal resources that the brand can call into play. We work with one major brand that has they won't even tell me how many people who receive their emails. They also have a huge open rate that they won't share with me on those emails. You can guess which client that is. They have such a passionate customer base that their internal marketing really works to spread the word about the podcast. That's a huge factor for brands. Now, if they're going after orthodontists to listen to the podcast, then there are some highly targeted things that they probably need to do for branded. Sometimes it depends on, to some degree on whether you're trying to build a longterm podcast franchise for a brand or whether you're just trying to get some information out there in audio form that probably won't develop a long term following. Let's say you're doing podcast about buying municipal bonds. You could find it very effective to offer great podcasts that are informative about that topic advertised through digital ads next to articles about municipal bonds and how to trade them and when to know the markets going up versus down and so forth. That makes sense, but are you really going to build a podcast franchise with that? You might, depending on your KPIs, your key performance indicators, get some listeners and make some sales. And that's great. If you're going for more of a long term project, the best place to advertise a podcast is on another podcast to state the obvious. So if you can come up with the budget to advertise on other podcasts, go for it. For sure. Feed drops are awesome and I'm a fan, at least I think I am. I'm eager to start using it of what Pod Role is looking at doing, where they've created this idea of having creators, producers sign up their podcasts to accept an additional post role of another show so that there is a sample of a show coming, the original post role plays. And then the hosts of the show say, hey, if you're still listening, here's a podcast we think you might like. That makes a lot of sense to me. I think that that's and they're going to be able to ask a decent CPM rate on that. I like the ability of one podcast to expose another podcast as the best way to get people to listen.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:58
Podcast Evolutions is coming up. It's going to be in Las Vegas. I think you made the cut.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:27:05
It's amazing. There were times passed when I did not make the cut, and I understand that they are in the convention business, and it may be helping me make the cut that we are now big enough to write a check occasionally and support Podcast Movement. I'll just say that.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:23
Are you going to be appearing on stage in any sessions?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:27:26
Yes, we have a session on Friday at noon. I said, let's do a panel that is so good it'll close down the convention and that's what we're doing. We're the last session on Friday before you get in your Uber and go to the airport, I hope, although I would imagine there'll be some people who find a way to escape on Thursday night or early Friday. But for those that are still around, please come by. It'll be noon on Friday. We have Jonas Wuost from Bumper, we have the aforementioned Jeff Biddler from Signal Hill Insights. And I'm also excited to have a Brit among us. Aaron McIndo sprouty. I hope I pronounced that right. I've talked to her and called her Aaron many times. I got to find out how to pronounce her last name, aaron Mcindelle Sprouty. She's from Lower Street in London and she's a great branded podcast creator on that side of the pond, as they say. Where branded podcasts? We think they're exploding here. They're really exploding in Britain. In the UK, every brand has decided, after you get a website, you should probably do a podcast. So I'm interested to find out from her why it's exploding so much in the UK and in other parts of Europe as well, what their key performance indicators are, what brands are looking to achieve when they do a podcast with Lower Street. The name of the session is KPIs that CYA, as in Cover Your Ass, and it'll be fun to have everybody weigh in on that. I'm toying with the idea of maybe having a wheel of questions that clients ask about the goals of their branded podcast and just give it a spin and see which questions come up because there are so many. We'll have fun.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:16
Well, there's a lot of star power on that stage when it comes to branded podcasts, so I think this is a session that's going to be worth sticking around for.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:29:23
Well, thank you, Matt. I appreciate that endorsement. Are you headed to Vegas?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:27
I will not be. I'm headed to Spain.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:29:30
Oh, well, I'm jealous.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:32
I will be there for six weeks.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:29:35
Good for you! And you'll be able to work from there?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:29:37
I will. Hopefully they have internet.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:29:40
Yeah, I've heard they do. That's great. We can work from anywhere these days, obviously. And I'm jealous. When you ask me about changes that we've seen in the branded podcast space- tip of the hat to COVID. One of those things that COVID has provided us in the podcast world is the ability to work remotely. We've learned how to do it very, very well. People listening to this podcast no doubt think I'm in your living room kicking back with you here, and I am not, because we can have good microphones sent all over the world. We've sent them to everywhere from Uganda to a Syrian refugee camp, and we get our kits back, too. It's amazing. The shipping works on those both directions. We can do great quality audio remotely now. I built a studio when I started the company, thinking that I was going to be recording a lot of people in that studio. I have not, because the remote recording is something that COVID taught us to do.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:42
And that's the radio person in you that would not expect that microphone to come back.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:30:49
That's right. Because if you sent me a really nice Shure MV7, why I'm going to hang on to that thing.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:56
I'm holding up a headphone adapter right now. And the general rule is never lend this out, ever.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:31:03
You will not get it back. On that front, since we're geeking about equipment, the new Zoom- are they F1's? These lav mics that they've got that are self contained, so that your recorder- You know, most lavs are remote in that they transmit to a place where you collect the audio. These collect them right on your belt. If you click it on your belt, those are fantastic. And for touring different places during podcasts, or anytime you walk around, those have been fantastic. And then if you buy a little better lav mic to plug into it than the one that is standard issue, then you've really got something that's amazing.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:31:44
So all these years out of radio, it was 2017, as you mentioned off the top. I think you could probably turn on the radio and listen to it in a more objective way. What do you hear and what do you think radio needs to do to level itself out, to disrupt the disruption?
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:32:01
I say if you can't beat them, join them. Radio has to disrupt itself. It's the classic thing that Clayton Christensen, rest in peace, author, wrote about, that disruption is difficult to do to yourself. He tended to advocate putting the disruptor outside of the disruptee if it's within the same company or ownership. You've seen people like I heart do that to some degree. There are not that many radio people in the podcast division at Iheart, and they are structured perhaps to make the quarterly earnings reports the way they want them to look. But they have put broadcast in a different division of the company than podcast and other new media. I think that there was a golden opportunity a few years ago, and it may not be completely over, but there was a time when radio was still the only game in town, or much more so than today. And yet you could kind of see where this was headed when radio could have taken some of those big brands and made them something besides a radio station. I mean, if I'm in Seattle or, or Des Moines, maybe I wouldn't care about a radio station in Los Angeles, an alternative rock FM station in La. But what if CBS at the time had made the world famous K Rock truly world famous? Maybe it's not too late. I don't know. I think that you can build the content there with some creativity, and that's what radio must do. You can build the content to be not the typical radio content because people in Seattle or Des Moines do care about the artists in that format, the lifestyle, the trans, the fashion, the gossip, all of that stuff. And rather than just interview the artists when they come by and post that which has value and might be interesting in Des Moines, but let's get creative. Let's put those artists in the K Rock Collab house and start cranking out TikTok. Or let's do an online fashion runway event of what people are wearing at Coachella this year WFAN in New York. If you go to their website, you will see upper left hand corner, the WFAN logo, and it says underneath Sports Radio. And this is the New York Yankees flagship radio station franchise worth $6 billion with 8.2 million likes on Facebook. You're telling me that as the New York Yankees radio station, you couldn't make that website about something besides a radio station? There's so much you could do that would make a Bronx, somebody that grew up in the Bronx or grew up a Yankees fan anywhere, that now lives in Phoenix to make this their website, for podcasts, for app, for emails and news and so forth. And they're posting a lot of that stuff, but I think it's all in how you position it. I'm very interested in what Jeff Row is doing. Jeff is a brilliant guy, and he just recently became head of programming for KPCC FM here in Los Angeles, public Radio for Southern California. They went through a brand shift on the air to call themselves, other than the top of our legal ID, la IST. They had purchased a website a few years ago called LAist that was local pop culture and information and such, and they've already morphed that website into a great local news source. And so now the radio station refers to itself as LAist 89.3 on the air, and they're building something that is a brand that will facilitate putting that content out in so many different directions. I remember years ago, John Stewart in his Daily Show days, and somebody asked him about cable TV is going to face some tough times ahead. Are you worried? And I think his answer was something like, we just make the donuts. We don't drive the truck. And if we can stop thinking that, we drive trucks in radio and in all forms of media and create great content. That is the hub that is then distributed through all these different spokes, from podcast to broadcast to apps, newsletters, events, you name it. And that's what I sense they're doing with that brand shift, brand name shift on the air as well. At Southern California Public Radio, I think there's still an opportunity for commercial radio brands, more commercial radio brands to do that, and they're going to have to. They're just going to have to. It would have been easier ten years ago, but they still have to try to do it. And by the way, if you're not a big brand, or you can't make yourself somehow into a big brand that is capable of transcending an Am or an FM signal, then you're probably not a radio brand that's going to survive. If you're the third or fourth AC in a market, that's like being the 98th store at a mall that sits next to Nordstrom. It's Nordstrom at one end and Macy's or whatever at the other end, they're going to survive. They're changing the way they do business, too, but those second and third tier radio brands are not going to matter much at all in the future.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:37
Well said, Dave. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Dave Beasing (Guest) 00:37:41
Matt, I always enjoy checking in with you.
Tara Sands (VO) 00:37:43
The Sound Off podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Social Media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.