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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Paul Kaye: Radio Is No Walk In the Park

Updated: May 31, 2023

Paul Kaye is the VP of Music Brands and In House Production at Rogers. When he was hired in July of 2017, it was mentioned that his position is an evolving one. True to that statement - his position remains as fluid as ever given the accelerating change for the medium and for the content creators who work in it. The last time we had Paul on the show, it was December 2016 and he was fulfilling a role at Newcap Radio. We haven't felt the need to have him back because the episode was very evergreen and stood the test of time resiliently. However, with the pandemic - it is time for a catch up.

In this episode, we spoke about the differences between "Big Bits" and "Conversational". (Spoiler: The former is passe) We also debunked some of the truths and myths surrounding live and local, and how the pandemic will result in better radio content quality, even if the economic indictors do not reflect that right now. We also talked about the future of morning radio citing two recent changes in the Winnipeg market with the bringing Brock and Dalby to afternoons on 92.1 CITI, and transplanting Roz and Mocha into the morning show on 102.3 Kiss FM. Both are glimpses into the future for radio talent... and yes they should be excited about the possibilities.

And yes we did discuss what he looks for in demo. I'll even let you cut right to that part but you really shouldn't because there is so much other great stuff you'll likely need to know from the episode before you send him an mp3 or .mov of your work.

It's at [13:40] What goes into a great demo....



Amanda Logan (VO) 00:00:01

This is the podcast for broadcast. The Sound Off podcast with Matt Cundill.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:08

This week, a return visit with Paul Kaye. Paul is the VP of music brands and inhouse production at Rogers. Back in December 2016, we had him on this show when he was working with talent at what was then Newcap. In 2017, he left for Rogers, where he has been working with talent ever since. If you listen back to this series, we've often had discussions with very busy radio people while they're commuting by car. But this being 2020 and all, I caught up with Paul Kay while he's having a walk after about 14 hours of continuous Zoom meetings. So if you hear the sounds of nature, those are Canadian geese preparing for their migratory path south. We joined Paul on his walk through Vancouver. So your role has changed over the last number of years, and now you've got this great title, and it's VP of music brands and in house production. So what does your work day look like?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:01:05

We're still trying to figure it out, I think. Look, my work day hasn't really changed. The title may have changed, the portfolio may have changed a little bit. But ultimately my day is spent working with creative people, trying to solve creative challenges and build brands that mean something to audiences. And now I get to do that across our music radio brands and in house TV shows as well.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:31

So what are some of the TV shows that you're working on?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:01:33

This is fresh. So Breakfast Television Toronto and City Line would be two of them.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:38

Music brands is actually in your title, and you mentioned that you're steering your way through this. So what is the relationship really between the performers who are working over the air and the music they are playing?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:01:52

Well, look, I think anyone that's on the air, in a music radio station or on a music brand has to have some connection to the music that they're playing. I think that's one of the things that we've missed over the years where we've just cast great talent around music that doesn't necessarily fit their personality. And for me, a brand is the sum of all of the parts. So really the connection between the performer and the music that they're playing should be genuine and it should be complementary both ways. The music should complement the on air talent and feel right around them, and the talent should feel complementary to the music as well. So I see it all as, our job is to cast every element of a brand, to make the sum of all parts greater than any individual parts in a very simplistic, big picture view. That's the way I view it.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:45

And I asked the question not to say that there's anything that should change really with the talent, but people have a different relationship with the radio and the music that's on the radio than they did in the past, ergo, something is going to change for the content creators.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:02:59

Yeah. Fundamentally, I think everyone has a personal relationship with music that's never going to change. No matter what method music is delivered to people, it's always going to be deeply personal. I think our job as performers around the music is to reflect that passion and that love and that sense of connection that music can bring. So I don't think that's ever going to change. But I do think that actually one of the challenges that Music Radio face, as I mentioned, was for a long time we forgot that the talent had to fit the music and the music had to fit the talent. And now some of the best radio is when those two things are aligned. And I think that's not just radio in the terrestrial sense. I think when you look at things like what Apple have done with their radio products recently, like they've really married the talent of the music and vice versa. So it makes cohesive sense. So I think that's what we're talking about. When there's a connection between the talent and the music, it's got to feel genuine and it's got to be part of something bigger than either entity on its own.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:04

It feels really liberating when you say all that, by the way, because now you can go and get whatever talent you want and put them on whatever station you want.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:04:11

Well, that may be the trick.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:14

You mentioned this back in 2019, at the beginning of the year January, you came up with one of your great blogs and you mentioned that bits are out and conversations are in. Break that down now for anybody who's still doing bits and what they need to do to pivot.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:04:31

Yeah. Look, I think deep connection comes from conversation. If you think about humans generally and how we interact with one another, conversation is the exchange of opinions and ideas and thoughts, and that's what leads to connection. Long gone are the days where I think we got away with, okay, what are we doing at 710? Okay, it's the joke of the day, right? We'll do that. It's not really that authentic. It's just something that's taken off the shelf. We'll create that moment, put it there. Right. What are we doing at 720? Okay, it's Hollywood sleeves. That's another bit. And so you may inject a little bit of your opinion, but there's nothing deep there. So I think conversation for me was about okay. I think because there is so much competition now for people's attention, for people's time, we've got to focus on making really rich, deep connections. And that means you've got to have conversation. So that first of all means that it's really about finding things of interest to you, finding things of interest to your target audience and where those two meet, having a conversation. So where the interest that you have and the interest that the audience have overlaps. That's where you need to start having a conversation. But that doesn't mean you need 20 people on a morning show or two people on an afternoon show to have a conversation. Sometimes that conversation can happen one on one with you, the performer and the audience member. But I do think it's about moving beyond these pre planned stage set up little bits to get a reaction or create a smile and moving deeper into, okay, what is it that I'm going to say? What is the opinions, the thoughts, the perspectives that I want to share with the audience and also realizing that conversations are always contextual. So it's very unusual to suddenly break into a conversation that's completely out of left field with someone. If I'm meeting you for a coffee, we're going to sit down, we'll probably do some pleasantries, and I will bring something up that I think is going to be of interest to you, Matt, and we'll start talking about it, and we'll share our opinions and our thoughts. So there's always a contextual element to conversations, which there isn't with bits. The only context really with a bit is, oh, look, I want to do it at this time, and I think radio in particular has to double down on conversations. That humanistic connection between you and someone else. It doesn't mean the bits are completely irrelevant in all forms of entertainment. I mean, James Courtney has a really successful bit in carpool karaoke, but I think for meaningful, rich radio, we need to double down on conversation and move away from those stage bits that for many of us was the secret to winning back in the day. I remember producing morning shows, and all we really cared about was do we have all of the questions created for battle of the sexes? Do we have the impossible question of the day set up and the facts of the day ready to go and look, some of those still have merit for some shows, but really the driving force is how do we have conversations that really connect on an emotional level with our audience? And that actually isn't a new thing? I think that's always been part of the secret. But for a long time, with a lack of competition, with consumers having less options and less choice, we were able to get away and hide behind some of those bits. No one is going to spend a lot of time with your radio show just because you have the best fit. They're going to spend a lot of time with you as a performer because they like hanging out with you because of the conversations that you have and the fact that they can pick up your values and your beliefs and your opinions and find that connective tissue that brings you both together.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:59

Well, you mentioned the word hiding in there, and that's kind of where I was going to go. Is it fair to say that a two or a three person morning show could probably hide behind bits but will become completely exposed in conversation.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:08:14

Oh, yeah. Conversation is raw. I don't think too deeply about what I'm going to say to a friend. And there's a level of trust that neither of us are going to betray one another's confidence, and we're not going to go too far in performance setting when there's two or three of you on a show. Yeah, it can be a little bit scary. It can be a little bit intimidating to put your whole self out there knowing that today those words live on as they should. But it was much easier to hide behind a great bit and not have to put yourself out there, not have to set yourself up for judgment, not to have people make a decision about what kind of individual you are based on what you were saying. So, yeah, back in the day, it was much easier to do bits and be a bit inauthentic, authentic around the bits, but not authentically yourself on the radio. And look, I think the secret to any kind of content creation today is it all hinges on the unique perspective of the creator or the performer, and that requires us to find a deeper level of authenticity than we've ever seen before. And that comes through in conversation. So maybe it's really pissy to say bits are out, conversations are in. But the reality is what we're talking about is there is a really deep need for authenticity and performers today, deeper than we've ever seen in the past. And performers who can unlock and are willing to unlock their deep thoughts, feelings and opinions and share them with their audience are going to be far more successful than anyone else, I think.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:45

Well, that really changes what show prep is, because rather than trying to land on how you're going to make it all tidy in a neat bow, you actually have to do a whole 360 on the subject matter.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:09:56

Yeah. The hardest part of show prep, I think today or any performance today is developing your sense of self awareness. The more in touch you can become with your reactions to things, the easier it is to prep a show. So it's no longer about finding that story in the news that everyone's talking about it's understanding what your reaction to that story is the first time you read it or the first time you come across it. Do you feel sad about it and why do you feel happy about it and why? What are you embarrassed that you feel, and how are you going to bring that to life on the radio? Actually, the more you develop your self awareness, the easier it is to prep your show. But, yeah, it's no longer about. Well, it's no longer about going, okay, right. I'm going to start this break by saying X, then it's going to move to Y, and then it's going to move to Z. It's much more about going, okay, I know how I feel about this, and here are some of the things that I want to share, and then I'm just going to put myself out there and let it unravel in a really raw and natural way. Look, just saying that scares me, and that's probably why I was never very good on the other side of the microphone. That's a very vulnerable place to be.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:04

Well, you mentioned self awareness, and anybody who wants a little bit more self awareness just has to stop doing drugs and take yoga every day and you'll be on your way.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:11:16

Yeah, well, that's the secret then. No more show prep, more yoga classes.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:11:20

But that leads me to the question, can you teach authenticity?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:11:23

Look, I don't think you can teach authenticity the way you say it, because authenticity is who you are, not what you do. Do you know what I mean? It's not a skill. I think what you can teach is helping people see themselves in the way others do, help them get comfortable with understanding how to pull out their thoughts and opinions. The irony is authenticity comes so naturally to all of us in our everyday lives, right? Not many of us sit around and put on an act amongst our friends and family. We are just us. I think half of the job of teaching authenticity is really about helping people rediscover that level of comfort in amongst a really artificial environment. Sitting behind a microphone is a very artificial environment, and it takes some work to get yourself truly comfortable and at ease with being yourself behind a microphone, same as a TV camera. So authenticity and teaching it is really about helping people see past that artificial environment and getting back to expressing themselves in a way that they do with such ease around friends and family. It's kind of like we're never at ease when we go to a job interview. Right. And that's the same for most performers when they're in a radio studio or in front of a TV camera. We're not quite at ease. We're putting on a bit of a show. We're trying to portray ourselves in a way that may not be completely accurate. Like we're trying to play up the good sides of ourselves and maybe play down the bad sides when we're with our friends having a beer or having a coffee, although that seems like a lifetime ago these days. But when we are, we don't think about putting forward just our best selves. We put forward ourselves. So I think, yes, you can help people find their authentic voice or their authentic style or their authentic self if they're willing to do it. But it does mean that you have to be vulnerable. It does mean that you have to be totally comfortable with putting everything out there. And that's scary. And a lot of performers don't want to go that deep and don't want to expose themselves in that way. And therefore there are levels of authenticity, but they're never truly at the heart of showing them their whole self to the audience.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:13:30

I know some people are just going to download this episode and just listen to this one question, which is too bad because they've missed a really good show up until this point. What goes into a demo? Because I know you get demos all the time. There's a lot of people who know, well, I want to send a demo. I want to explore working with Rogers, and I'm going to send one to Mr. Paul K. And what is he expecting or looking for in that demo?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:13:54

Yeah, it's a great question. I get asked this a lot, and I wish I had the answer. The cliche is, you know, it when you hear it. And I've been thinking a lot about that recently. I've received quite a few demos over the last couple of months, and really what I'm looking for is a true sense of what makes you different really quickly. I really struggle to get through the demos to start with, reading me a line or spend a lot of time doing the back, selling a song, front, selling a song. So the first thing that I'm interested in is, who is this person? What do they sound like? What's their opinion? So anything that you can send me, whether it's a video or an audio demo, look, in the first 30 seconds, I want to get a picture of you. I want to decide as a human whether I like you or I dislike you. And the only way to do that is for you to put yourself out there and do something that I wasn't expecting. Do something good about yourself. I actually don't even need you to send me breaks. I got a great demo the other day from someone whose name I won't mention, but it was a 62nd audio introduction to who they are, what they like. And I could hear the genuine, heartfelt expression of themselves through this audio. And I was like, wow, I'm going to pick up the phone and speak to them. And we spoke a couple of days later, and I love their personalities. So when I was trying to fool my way into on air gigs, it was about, Can I make this demo sound really polished? Can I hide the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing? So I'll sell the music really well, read a liner really well, and put a caller on. I wouldn't get hired today because I was just a voice on a stick. There was no personality. I sounded the same as everyone else, maybe marginally better than some and worse than others. Today I want to get a sense of, who is this person? What do you stand for? Put yourself out there. And I think you can be as creative as you want, you know, if it's a good demo, because it won't start with the same thing everyone else can do if you're starting with the weather, probably not going to cut through.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:49

You know, when you hear it, which was a great way to sum it up, because back a few minutes ago, when we were talking about knowing yourself and self awareness, the people who are highly self aware, and some of my favorite performers, they know exactly who they are, and I know they know that because I can hear it. It's kind of like the old porn thing, right? I don't know what it is. I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:16:12

Yeah, look. Yeah, sure. For me, it all comes back. I wish it was more complicated than this. I think we over complicated it. But the reality is the reason it takes many months, many years to perfect being great at creating radio shows or content. It takes us a long time to learn how to just be ourselves. You know it when you hear it because people are comfortable in their own voice, they're comfortable in how they show up. That feeling is really the lack of inauthentic performance, having fun, being yourself. That's the secret. Now we're all different. Not one person has created the same as another. So it's our job in demos to start or in performance, to start showing ourselves, showing the audience or who we are, letting them get to know us. And it sounds so cliche, and it probably is. But the reality is that's what separates the good from the great or the great from the good is being truly comfortable with yourself. If you think about some of the greatest radio performers or performers generally, they're not really doing anything special, like really analyze the content. They may have a good idea every now and then, like late night talk shows are a great example. On TV, it's kind of the same act from everyone, but we gravitate to a favorite, whether it's Kimmel or James Corden, whoever your favorite is, it's because you identify the most or you feel connected the most. There's something that pulls you to that one individual. But it's never really the content. It's the individual. And the sooner you can find yourself, the better it becomes. And that's what it means. I think you know it when you hear it. They've really found comfort in who they are, and they're going for it. Once you're authentic, average content becomes good content. When you're inauthentic, good content becomes average in just a second.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:12

Paul and I go back in time to see how we progressed in terms of taking risks. What is the future of morning radio with all the changes the pandemic has brought? And I'll warn you, it's going to be weird to hear radio people talk about exciting changes to radio content and what it sounds like when there's a pandemic and we debunk some of the myths and truths of live and local. How should people be measuring themselves when they're on the radio? So if you're in a diary market, you get a report twice a year about how you're doing. Maybe you can send your tapes off or I said tapes, your MP3 is off.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:18:48

Thank you.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:50

And by the way, you and I are talking about back in the day when we were talking about that, we only mean a few years ago, we don't mean to go all yeah.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:18:55

Of course, we're young and springly.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:59

But if you're in a diary market and you only get feedback, numbered feedback twice a year, maybe you're sending off your material to other people to be air checked. And what are some of the measurements that we should be looking at when we're evaluating our content?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:19:15

Yeah, it's a good question. Well, the first thing I think you should do is if you're evaluating whether you're good or not based on ratings, then that's a really sad state of affairs. I think creating content is an art form, and an art form shouldn't be distilled down into bland analytical numbers. So the first thing I would say is I've heard some of the best radio never find an audience doesn't mean it was bad. It was actually really good. Radio just for whatever reason, didn't find an audience. It doesn't stop that art being good. And I've heard some really bad radio find an audience and rate. So I try and avoid ratings. And in fact, one of the things that I'm most passionate about is not judging first and foremost our success based on the numbers that we deliver. I think it's archaic and not the way that I get inspired. And I've yet to find anyone that got into radio, TV or any form of content creation that goes great once I've put myself out there, please judge me by those numbers in an Excel spreadsheet that will really get me fired up to keep creating. So for me, it all comes down to how would I judge successive content? What's the strategy? What were you trying to do and did you achieve it? What are you trying to do and did you get closer to it? So when we're working with radio stations or shows, we define what the mission is. What are we trying to achieve? Not from a numbers point of view. What do we want the audience to think about this? Where is the need that the audience has that we think we can sell and how we got to fill that need? And then we judge everything against whether we're getting closer or further away from that. And I think when you start thinking about things from a humanistic point of view, we can focus more on the art and less on the science. And that's really the job of the talent. It's the focus on the art and less on the science. So that's how we do it. That's how I believe in doing it. It's certainly as I navigate my newer role and start working with people on the TV side of the business, that's the first thing I've said is, look, I don't judge success based on the numbers. I judge it based on what is the brand values that we're going after, what is the need of the audience that we're trying to fulfill? Are we getting closer to that or are we getting further away from that? And I think even if you're in a small market doing a radio show, that would be my first question. If I walk through the door, who is this show for? What need are you trying to fulfill for them and how do we want to fulfill that need? Because sometimes that need maybe for escapism. Okay, so how are we trying to fulfill that need? Is it through comfort and sincerity and kindness, or is it through humor, whatever it is, and then we're just evaluating content against the need of the audience and then the brand values and the filters that we set in play.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:21:57

So you and I were talking back in 2017 about how we really shouldn't pay attention to the numbers and we should really be programming and not being so safe and taking some chances.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:22:10

I actually think Radio's biggest problem is programmers are scared about being replaced. And I think as a result of that, we program really safe.

Amanda Logan (VO) 00:22:19

We don't give the talent as much freedom as we would like or that we believe is necessary to win.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:22:24

And I think that's because of fear, this is maybe a controversial stance.

Amanda Logan (VO) 00:22:28

But I think maybe that's our problem, that the people in charge of creating the art of radio don't feel empowered enough to take the risks that they need to take in order to make great radio. So I think our newest resolution should be to empower our PDS to get back to directing artistic radio, and that will involve them giving more freedom and more control and allow more experimentation and more risk taking with their talent.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:57

Have we gotten any better in the three or four years since we spoke last? When it comes to programming.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:23:05

I think in pockets? No. It's really easy to say things very hard to then do them. I think since we've spoken on that subject, we certainly take in some progressive stances of trying to not hide the numbers from our teams, but take them out of the daily conversations. So none of our Ppm programmers get the daily numbers. They don't even get the weekly numbers. And the reason for that was to stop having the conversation about was yesterday a good or a bad day? Was our content good because of what numbers we got yesterday? And I would suggest that the radio stations that we have that are performing better now because they are now focused on trying things, creating things, playing around with their brands and trying to live into their brands and not judging themselves by their numbers. If I look at it as an industry, I go, look, I still think we're a slave in the numbers, but part of that is because that's the business we're in. The bigger the numbers, hopefully the more of the revenue that we control. I would like to see us be even braver and go, okay, we're going to be more focused on how engaged can we build an audience, no matter what size the audience is? And hopefully we can monetize that engaged audience. But as an industry, I would say we're still probably a slave to the numbers, which is a shame, but that is the world that we live in.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:23

We're in a pandemic. So much has changed since March 15. What are some of your thoughts when it comes to morning talent and morning radio? And I wrote this down. What do we do now?

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:24:35

Yeah, look, I think one of the things that I hope everyone has felt and seen is the radio has a level of creativity that I think was there but dormant before. One of the things that I worried about as we went into the pandemic is, wow, what is this industry going to do? Are we just going to go, oh, well, we don't have concert tickets to give away. We don't have promotions to give away. Lots of talent are set at home broadcasting from the bedroom. Are we just going to accept that as a reality and do very little? Because let's face it, there are times where the industry hasn't won awards for its creativity. But actually the opposite happened. And I was really excited by some of the ideas and the desire to keep that connection alive with our audiences, from small markets to big markets. Whether it was hosting happy hours on Zoom to doing weird and crazy concerts over Facebook Live, whatever it was, there was lots of things happening. Talent embracing the fact that they were broadcasting from their bedroom. I felt like radio came alive. There was people willing to take requests on the radio and throw the format. It was exciting. So I think one of my hopes for the future is we don't lose that creativity. The irony is every single idea that we had as an industry during the pandemic should have and probably needed to have been on the radio before we got to the pandemic. There was no reason why we weren't hosting happy hour sessions with our listeners on Zoom or whatever before the pandemic. It just took that disruption for us to realize that there was more we could do. So I hope that creativity doesn't go away. Look, we're going to be disrupted for a while longer in terms of listening behaviors and listening habits. I think that's going to mean that there's probably less people listening in the morning for a little while longer. Commutes aren't happening. But I think for morning talent, it's never been more important to double down on being great and really working at making every moment on your showcase. I think as people start returning to whatever the new normal is going to be, having their friend with them in the morning is going to be important. So I think the message is the same for morning shows as it's always been, other than you're going to have to win some audience back. When commutes do return whenever that is, to the levels they were before, it won't be as easy as just jumping in the car and hitting preset number one and going we'll pick up where we left off. People's expectations for connection and information is going to be even higher, so we have to work really hard at that. We're in no different place in terms of the long term trajectory for radio than we were at the beginning of the pandemic. Look, terrestrial media has to find ways of moving to an ever increasing digital footprint, so we're going to have to combat that. I think talent is always going to be our secret weapon. It's the IP that we own. Music is rented, talent is owned by us, and it's what makes talent incredibly valuable. So I think we're going to have to double down on that. And that means being more experimental. That means talent being more willing to build a connection with their audience outside of their radio show. Whatever we can do to amplify and build the awareness and profile of talent is going to be really important. And I think you'll see some companies double down and select some talent and try and raise their profile on a regional or national level. I think that's going to be really exciting. Look, as technology increases, legacy media will have to find new ways of competing and new ways of evolving. And that creativity that seems to have awoken during covert will lead us into new places if we embrace it and are willing to experiment and to go full circle. If we're going to be a slave to the ratings, then the future for radio is a bit bleak. If we're going to be slaves to creativity and experimentation and talent, then the future could be exciting if we're willing to create it.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:39

I'm fairly excited by this whole pandemic thing, not really, but I love watching it. The change to morning radio, though, does excite me, because what happens is there's no pressure to get people to go out the door, to get them from point A to point B to point C. Once you take away the traffic and the benchmarks and all the things that were there before, that just aren't really needed there anymore, because the day is starting 75 minutes later for so many people that some morning shows feel very exposed that they can't sort of walk outside that box while the very talented morning shows are thriving.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:29:15

Yeah, like my belief going into the pandemic. And certainly what was going to happen was morning shows that are built on chemistry and content kind of second. Chemistry first, content second would be still really important to people. They're the kind of shows that even when you're getting up an hour later and don't have to commute to the office, they're the ones that you still want to click on, whether it's on your computer or grab the app or ask your smart speaker to play them because they mean more to you than just that companionship on the commute. So I definitely think those big personality morning shows where chemistry comes first have fared better. We need to create more of those shows where we are less slaves to the format clock and content and more about that relationship people have with the individuals that are performing. If we can do that. And I think that stands beyond morning radio. I think that here's the wake up call. If we don't have great talent in everyday part, we're going to face some tough times ahead. But for morning radio. Yeah, if you rely on hey, my traffic happens at 20 past the hour and my headlines run at the bottom and the top of the hour. And I have to do a couple of weathers and a few funny games. Yeah, it's going to be really blue future. If you're the kind of talent that relies on great chemistry amongst yourselves as a team or yourself in the audience and you can choose great content, then the future looks really good.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:44

So Winnipeg has always been a bit of an experimental market for products and whatever they want to unleash upon planet Earth. But I noticed something, a couple of the moves that were made here in Winnipeg are kind of fascinate me because they both represent the future. And you were just talking about personalities, and here's Brock and Dolby who come in from Regina, and they're doing afternoons, hiring a team for afternoons that's not done in a lot of markets. And at the same time, Ros and Mocha coming in from Toronto to go and be a part of the Kiss brand in Winnipeg, there's a show that's being rolled out nationally and again, more big personalities, but this one on a national scale. Talk a little bit about those moves because I think they both represent the future well.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:31:30

Look, I think they both fall under the same umbrella, although the execution is different, like interesting people talking about interesting things and finding the right home for them. Rock and Dolby on 92, one city that felt like a great home for them. They feel complementary to what that product is. They're both interesting people. They've got a great chemistry, and it's us putting a flag in the ground saying, look, music alone won't win the battle anymore. We have to do more than that. People want to be entertained beyond the music, and they need escapism right now more than they've ever needed it. And that on those stations comes in the form of entertainment. So that's us finding talent and trying to enhance the brand with local talent. But it started with a desire to find entertaining people. And then the Rosamoka move was that's one hell of a morning show proven in Toronto does well, as indicated, repackage show in other markets. It was a question of look, we are competing against some really good morning shows in winter, Peg. I believe that great entertaining personalities talking about interesting things is always going to be the root of success, especially as a competition is no longer just geographical radio stations or geographically based radio stations. It's the global audio spectrum or it's the global content spectrum. So I think we have to double down on entertainment. Look, I believe local still remains increasingly valuable in all of our markets. I don't know if we need to do it in exactly the same way as before. If we kid ourselves that local equals sat in a studio in a market, then I think we're going to come into trouble. Now, if it's sat in a Mark in a studio in a market talking about things that are local, I'll buy that. But too many radio stations claim to be local, and then you listen to the talent that sat in that market and they're not talking about anything local. So again, you've got to prioritize entertainment first and find new and interesting ways to deliver local, or at least that's the hypothesis. This all goes full circle. Everything's an experiment. Some people will criticize that move. Some people will secretly applaud it, probably not publicly as a bit of experimentation, but it all comes back down to we are hell bent on finding entertaining talent and putting them on the radio in places where we think they'll be successful.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:52

Hey, I really like the idea of having national radio shows no matter what day part it is. I think a lot of people would just prefer relevant rather than local.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:34:00

100%. Yeah. Look, I know it comes up every time in research. Do you want a radio station that provides local information and local connection and it normally sits near the top, but the reality is I don't believe that's the primary driver not for music radio brands. Do you want the music that you like? Yes. Do you want to be entertained and to feel good? Yes. Do you want that to be locally relevant? Yes. But it doesn't mean necessarily that we have to forgo entertainment in order to have someone just delivering local. So we've got to think creatively about how we deliver content. And sometimes that may mean putting on a show that's not originating in that market and delivering local content in a different way. And other times it may mean doubling down and putting really interesting, entertaining people onto a radio brand where they originate in the same market that they're broadcasting to. There's never in the history of radio being one right route to success. And I think if we're naive enough to assume that there is now only one right route to success, we'll be in big trouble pretty quickly. So I'm with you. It's about relevance. It's about entertainment. It doesn't mean the locals not important. I just don't think it needs to be delivered in the way it's always been delivered.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:19

For a number of years, I would drive around and I would track my radio listening habits, and it turned out I listened the most and enjoyed the most were two performers, but they were coming out of Toronto and their show was voice tracked, and they were the best performers to my ear. And it was like that for a number of years.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:35:36

Yeah. This is another thing that we're going to have to battle with, live versus non live. We came up in an industry that point of difference was live and local. Now I'm not even convinced that life is essential. If the quality of the entertainment is great and it's relevant and it's delivered in a context that makes sense to me. And it's a higher quality than something that is live just for the sake of it, then it will win out, right? So, yeah, there's lots of things about radio that will hold true forever, and there's lots of things that I think we've held onto its best practices and haven't really played around with. And now I think it's the time to play around with them. Not all of them are going to be successful, but if we stop taking swings and stop trying things, then we're never going to create anything truly special. And that is exactly what's happened to every other business that is no longer in business. If you like to Blockbuster, if they've taken more swings and taking some risks, they may still be around. We've just got to stop being curious about what radio is and understand that our job is to create content that is entertaining, relevant, and that people deeply care about the method in which we deliver that or create that can be whatever we want it to be. As long as the audience find value in it and we can monetize that value, then that's our future. So I would file those moves in Winnipeg under the same bucket, find entertaining people, put them on the radio because we think that they will add value to an audience and that ultimately we can monetize it to very different delivery methods.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:37:15

Well, you've got me very excited for the future, Paul. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to jump back on the radio.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:37:23

Well, look, send me a demo. Remember, you've got to grab my attention really quickly. I'm excited about the future. There are days where I wake up panicked, going, wow, radio is a legacy media in a world that is being incredibly disrupted, that panics me. Like, we've got to fight quicker and harder to reinvent the future. We've got to think about how do we move our audio content into the digital space and then there are days where I can't sleep because I'm truly excited about discovering new talent and trying different ideas so that we can create that digital audio future for ourselves. No one is going to create that future for us unless we get out there and do it. There are many people that want to steal that space and we'll occupy that space if we don't get out there and start experimenting and creating so yeah, I'm excited about the future. It's going to be hard. I'm happy to go on record and say we will make more mistakes than we have successes but if we're not making mistakes then we definitely aren't going to have any success.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:24

Paul thanks so much for spending some time today on the podcast.

Paul Kaye (Guest) 00:38:27

During your walk as we obviously went by some Ducks and geese I was walking it was either speak to Matt and stay in the house for what would have been the 14th hour of the day or take a walk and talk to Matt.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:44

Well, we'll have to give a special guest credit to the Ducks and geese you walked by at one point.

Amanda Logan (VO) 00:38:49

Thanks for listening to the Sound Off Podcast. Find us online at and connect with us wherever great social Media is housed. The show is imaged using the sounds from Core Image Studios. Written and hosted by Matt Cundill. A production of The Soundoff Media Company.


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