10 Questions with ... Marc Orem "Marco"
September 2, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
After dropping out of College, I joined VerStandig Broadcasting in Harrisonburg, VA. My next jump was on to Nashville, TN with The Cromwell Group for PM drive and eventually, AM drive. In 2004, I was fortunate to team up with Emmis Communications in Indianapolis, working with some of the best media minds like Chris Edge, David Edgar, Tom Severino, Steve Reynolds and several others. It was a successful 5 years before going to Atlanta to host AM drive with Lincoln Financial Media. It was there I hooked up with Cumulus Media. That's been 5 years, and I'm fortunate to be back in my hometown of Washington, DC with WRQX. Hail To The Redskins!
1) Congratulations on a killer Twitter promotion. Where did the idea come from?
I was in a convo with my boss. We were discussing social media, specifically the expectations of millennials toward social. My thought was (still is) you can't be "radio" among social media... the expectations are different. When was the last time a 'radio break' was trending? The social audience added in some generosity and the earned media took off from there. Mixing mystery, generosity, some cleverness along with being completely unpredictable were the major ingredients.
2) How much of your own money have you spent on this so far?
Around 2k... and still going. I've added the Social Media Scavenger Hunts, which allow more people to get involved with the project.
3) What social media lessons have been gained from the experience?
We are truly living in an "economy of medias"... If you look at the Internet in its current form, streaming video, live events, on-demand access... it's only 12-14 years old. The Internet hasn't had a cocktail yet, maybe not even sex yet... right now is the opportunity to pioneer new adventures. Social Media creates it's own rock stars now, your audience has it's own fans. "Broadcasting" to a social media audience is a common mistake. The platform is far more rewarding if you approach a social audience where everyone is a celebrity, because among their own audience, they are.
4) How would you describe your first radio gig?
Everything it should have been. Low pay, but high on opportunity and experiences. I asked a million questions.
5) How would you describe the radio landscape in your market?
Washington has a top 10 population, but acts like a smaller city. The 'Downtown' is primarily utilized by federal government employees and tourists. Much of the market is more active in Maryland and Virginia. It's a top-tier commute city, which offers a sincere opportunity to radio. Average commutes are over an hour, and service-based formats/features are heavily consumed.
6) Are you wearing more "hats" than you have in the past?
Cumulus has fully staffed the operation, which allows for creative focus. The opportunity to be fully immersed in content creation, etc., is a unique one. That said, content creators shouldn't shy away from giving themselves a new "hat" to wear. It seems smart to approach your show like an entrepreneur. Relentlessly pursue new adventures and understand that playing it safe has a short shelf life. Audience and Advertisers have made it clear that they want the bar raised.
7) What else are you doing social media-wise?
It's a long answer with a million sub-answers. Here are a few stupid things I see on social from radio.
*Our new morning show wants you to get to know them... follow us!!!
-REALLY?! So, that was your point of entry? You asked first, instead of gave. BIG problem. Find the "give" in any initial social interaction. The "ASK" should be way later!
*We are 10 followers away from 5,000... who's gonna be the one?
-Awful. Your already "followers" are getting spammed with that nonsense. Zero value shouting is social media litter.
Also, unless you have a special talent at the Promotions Director job, I'd keep them out of social. The WORST social strategies (in radio) that I've seen have come from Promotions. Think about it. Hang a banner, sign some people up for prizes and try to get a few pics for the sales department. That won't fly on social. "Scheduling" tweets and posts is lazy, and non-human too. This is a special situation for special talent.
8) "Local local local" has always been radio's mantra. How do you keep your station visible and involved in the community?
"Local Local Local" is also what hoodwinked many broadcasters into believing that parking the van at the local fair and giving out free hot dogs was more important than creating Facebook, or developing online channels for new music/artist discovery . The idea that being "seen" in your market will translate into success is a fantasy. We live in a one accessory society. For Westerners, that's a phone/tablet. The phone is now local. Content that the audience doesn't just consume, but can respond to, is now "Local." The common question is, "but what's the ROI on social media content?" A fair response is "What was the ROI on that free hot dog?"
9) What is your favorite part of the job?
All the change. The infusion of the delivery devices, coupled with the platforms... it's just awesome. Every day you could create a new content/revenue platform with all that's available. It's fun to throw yourself into that world.
10) What is the most challenging part of the job?
The Resistance. They come in all ages, and pay grades. The "play-it-safers" are more frustrating than the "don't-knowers." Social has given broadcasters a new and different reach potential, but not by mass audience sourcing. It's the niche option that I find more valuable.
What's the best sweeper/liner you've ever heard?
"Here comes more Christmas Music on 93.1." It was October.
What was your last non-industry job?
I have 4 children, ages 1,2,3 and 7. That non-industry job starts every night when I get home... it's also the best job in The World.