If you've ever wondered what our show might look like if it was built by a millennial, look no further than The Radio Fam. It's a YouTube-first podcast that's not unlike this one, and today's guest is its owner and creator, Marie.
The Radio Fam's mission statement is to break the mold of mainstream radio stations' crappy social media integration. All the way back in 2009, Marie was aware that most stations weren't doing enough to build their brands through the internet, which was where the idea for The Radio Fam began. It didn't come to fruition until 2017, but thankfully for Marie (and unfortunately for the rest of the industry), most radio stations were still just as behind then as they were 8 years before.
Nowadays, it's a place for people to connect with one another, and in their own words from TheRadioFam.com, it's "a resource for those that are looking to the future of radio," which is no doubt something more people in the radio business need to do.
In this episode, Marie tells us about her lifelong passion for radio, from growing up listening to the stations in and around Seattle, to volunteering for their street teams in her free time, and eventually landing proper paid roles in marketing and promotions. She also talks to us about her eventual shift to podcasting, and goes deeper on what inspired her to start The Radio Fam.
If you like what you hear from Marie in this episode, you should definitely check out The Radio Fam on YouTube, as well as dropping them a follow on all the usual social media, which can be found at the bottom of their website.
A thanks to the people who support the show each week and allow it arrive on your phones for free.
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Tara Sands (VO) 00:00:01
The Sound Off Podcast. The podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill starts now.Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:11
There's another show that's like this one, that set out on a journey to find ways for people in radio to connect, share ideas, and get better at what they do. It's called The Radio Fam. It's Millennial, YouTube-firs,t and features more personalities and marketing people. After all, they are on the front lines. Marie started the show a few years ago, but it has grown into so much more, including merchandise. Give The Radio Fam a subscribe on YouTube right now. It's worth it. Here we go. Marie joins me from Tacoma, Washington. When did you become such a big fan of radio?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:00:48
I mean, probably when I was a kid. I would always kind of listen, but I think really what I wanted to work in, it was more like 2006 after a station launched the Seattle area that I wanted to be a part of.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:59
What are your first radio memories?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:01:01
My first memories are honestly, like, my parents listening to radio. So they would listen to this guy, T-Man in the morning, and he was on Q93 out in Seattle. And so I would just hear just kind of how morning shows work. He would also make fun of the morning show hosts on the AC station. So he was kind of a shock jock. My parents would go to some of their events they would do, because they were that age at the time. And so that was my very first memories of kind of knowing what- that there was DJs and stuff like that involved.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:01:29
And when did you know you wanted to be involved with radio?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:01:32
So the station that I liked, this country station, I was, like, super into country. And there was this new station that had launched called The Wolf, and they were coming out in a very top 40 sort of way and just coming out just with a bang, really. And I love marketing. So the promotion that they started with was something called The Quest for a Million Listeners. So people would call in and say, hey, I pledged to listen to The Wolf now, so add me to the list, sort of thing. But then they would encourage people to switch your friends over, and your family. So you'd call in and say, hey, I got my brother to start listening with my mom and myself. So I want to pledge three people to the million, so Theater of the Mind. They had sound effects and everything going on, and I'm like 20 at the time, and it sounds like they have volunteer- They're talking about that they have volunteers answering calls, taking these pledges down. And it just sounded so fun, and I just wanted to be a part of it. So I asked the night Jock like, hey, can I be one of the volunteers? And I think he didn't want to give it away because he never really gave me a clear answer other than, no, you've can't. So then I just sort of took it into my own hands, I guess. And I liked to mess around. We have sort of like a Photoshop program, I guess. And I made a flyer to hang on my pickup truck, and it just said, honk if you pledged to listen to 100.7 the Wolf. And then I hung it on my truck, and then I would go roll my windows down, just drive around Seattle/Tacoma area, tallying honks. So then I would call and be like, so five people honked, and yeah, and that's really where the interests started, was kind of forcing myself into the promotion that I wasn't a part of.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:58
Well, you're a promotion and marketing department's absolute dream, when you can get the listeners to go out and do the work for them.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:03:08
Right? Yeah, exactly.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:10
So no surprise you went in to go and answer phones and take pledges.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:03:14
Yeah, well, actually and during, while I was taking the Callies and calling them and forcing this information in on them, they were doing a remote in my area, and I wanted to win tickets to whatever they were giving away. But since the promotion was still going on, the sign was still on my truck. So when I pulled up, their promotion team was actually like- first of all, they gave me a free T shirt because they liked my spirit on the truck. And then they were like, you should apply to work in our promotions department. And I was like, okay. And I didn't think I'd get it because, again, I lived in Tacoma, and this is in Seattle. It's 40 minutes away, no traffic, and they liked my stuff. And then so then they hired me on that summer of 2006, and I turned 21 that summer and really got to dive into the radio marketing side.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:03:54
How did you cope with that 40 minutes drive?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:03:56
It was fine because I loved it at the time, especially, I'm, like, young, and I loved not being home, so I would just drive around in my car. Plus, I had a full time job too, so it was just like a grind. I was working my full time job, which was a manager at a movie theater. And with any free time I had, I would volunteer to go work at the station. Because sometimes they'd have people just come in and do, like, admin work. We just need help in the office. So I'd volunteer just so I would be in their face, I guess.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:22
You're entering radio at this incredible time, because the next year, 2007, which is really the beginning of the age of acceleration, along comes this thing called Facebook, and now something called Twitter started, and we start to gear up into this full millennial mode. And you're at the center of it because you're full on millennial.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:04:45
Yes. I was on MySpace. I was one of the people that was actually trying to create- I created a MySpace for the movie theater I worked for, and the corporate told me to take it down right away. But it's just kind of funny because that's what people started doing later, was creating these social media pages for their actual businesses.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:01
Do you still have the MySpace page?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:05:03
No. I wish I did, because they made me delete it. But if I would have known what I know now, I would've. I'm so mad. I didn't keep it, but it had information about the movie theater was like when we opened, when our times were, and I put pictures from the employee- like, I used to take my digital camera around, so I had pictures of the employees. We were just living a movie theater life and just put it there. But it lasted maybe three months before they made me delete it.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:05:25
What was your next job in radio?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:05:27
That one was- so then I did that for three months, and then I moved to Colorado Springs. I was visiting a friend out there over that summer of 2006, and I had noticed that they had a brand new country station that started, and it was so new that it didn't have any jocks on it. So by the time I had decided to actually move out to Colorado, I was like, well, I know it's a new station. I'm going to go reach out. So I moved there in 2000- or in October of 2006. And then, yeah, I called the program director, I think, and left him a voicemail and just basically said that, hey, I worked in promotions in Seattle for 100.7 the Wolf. Do you guys have any need for promo help? And they did. It took a few months to actually get me on. They brought me on as like a promotions- I'm producing remotes for the country station, but then I kind of evolved into promotions coordinator. So I was doing a lot of the scheduling of the remotes for our Top 40 station, country station and Rock station. Plus I was also working the remotes. So I'd be like, at one bar that was like a country bar. And then later I'd have to go work the nightclub that night or something and kind of was all over the place.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:06:25
So the two things that have really struck me the most about you so far is that you're really into marketing, and you're really into radio. And you're telling this and I'm thinking, she's drinking from the hose now. I'm not sure if I should use the Gen X expression here, but you're full on here with a rock station and a country station.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:06:45
Yeah. I was worried to even work in Top 40 because I didn't know- because I worked just in country for so long. But then I got into it and kind of just learned- really, I liked how the stuff was formatted more fast paced, being on site to do things because there was no reason, especially why country stations can't do the same thing. And I think really the marketing arm that excited me is because of all the social media that started happening. I was kind of like, wow, not only can we do this stuff on the street, because really the big thing in Seattle was they were very big on like, your logo has to be everywhere. Like, if we'd go banner something, it would have to be the entire city of Seattle. You wanted to look and just see our logo everywhere. So once Facebook and Instagram started to be a thing, I was like, oh, well, there's just another place we can just have our logo. And I was really big on digital marketing at that point.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:07:33
You're one of the early adopters to the digital marketing, but you've got some people in the offices who may not be. And I mentioned sort of 2007, the age of acceleration, and I think there were radio people who didn't really know what to do with social media platforms.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:07:49
No, they didn't. And it really made me second guess what I- because there was stuff I saw, and so I would say it, and it was like, that never got any backing, or it'd be like, no, that's not... and then I was like, okay, well, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. I was like, maybe I just don't understand radio sales marketing. But then kind of the more I got confidence in myself into just starting things on my own and realizing how they worked, made me start to get a little more into that, and that kind of really- I really took a chance on that. I'd say, first of all, I was in Colorado Springs, that job, for four years. But then I got a job, I went to Denver, and I did that because at this time, I don't know if people started to have the pages where you could actually like, because you could friend the personality, but then we could actually make the business pages. And so I was ready to move into a different market. So I wanted to show program directors, I guess, and marketing people that I could also have valuable social media. So I created a separate Facebook page, and I would- if we were going out and I was working a remote with this jock, I would post it as the same thing, you know, hey, we're going to be out at Gasoline Alley from seven to nine. We're giving away tickets to this, come meet the jock and myself. And it was just kind of like wanting to get people's attention. And I was trying to friend a bunch of people in radio, too, and then it eventually worked because then I was trying to look out of state, but up in Denver, up in Denver, when I was in Colorado Springs, a program director reached out and was kind of like, hey, I like what you're doing. I see what you're doing. Are you ever interested in coming up to Denver? So then I did, and that was in 2011, but it was really the end of 2012, 2013, where I said, I'm just going to take this Instagram thing, and I created an Instagram for that radio station. And they weren't against me doing it. They just weren't supporting it at all. They weren't telling people about it on the air. They weren't pushing people. It was all me doing it. When I saw that start to grow, and the fact that I could see it growing without any support, I think that's when it really clicked for me. Like, wait a second, we're really missing out on this social media stuff.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:09:44
As I think back, and I always wanted to try every toy in the box when it came to social media. I'm the program director and I can't tell you how many radio station social media accounts that I started and I'm like, why am I doing this? How come it's on me to do this? You must have started a few and there might even be some popular call letters that you started the account for.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:10:05
Yeah, actually there were kind of some randoms, like there was like the radio stations like that. There was actually a couple of secretive ones. But then, yes, some kind of just random when I was trying to find my spot. I do art, so I had like an art one, but none of them were really taking off the way I think- again, since I have the passion behind the radio, is I think why those took off a little more.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:25
How many times did you approach an on air personality, and you would tell them about the Facebook or the Instagram page. They would have one foot up on the console, sitting back in their chairs saying, yeah, it's not going to be anything.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:10:36
I think at that point it was just a tone. So I can't really say, oh, I remember this conversation, or remember it was just kind of like a- I mean, I think I've always had that too, just kind of being a young female also in the industry, as people kind of just look at me as, oh, the intern, that's cute, what you're you're working on. And so I would really just have to do stuff by demonstrating. It just more like, it wasn't really at that point really getting dismissed. It was just like cute little project that you're working on. And actually it was just that. February 14 was a ten year anniversary, I guess of it was, because the Instagram, I just started it, and I saw early on too, that the thing with Instagram and social media, people really liked props and photo opportunities and stuff that they could share. And I thought like, wow, again, what a great way to tie in on site promotions into marketing. So I had, like, a $15 budget. And Carrie Underwood and Hunter Hayes were playing a show for Valentine's Day. So I just went to the craft store because again, I make crafts, and I made this giant valentine's, essentially. So one said, Hunter, be mine. And then the other one said, Carrie, I love you, or something like that. And then I made one with like our has stationed hashtag on it, and we happened to have a step and repeat. So it's like I brought out a step and repeat and we had this cardboard cut out of Carrie. It wasn't quite life size, but almost. And I was like, you know what, it's props. People like to take pictures with stuff. But it was just me and my intern. Like, we're the only people that were behind it. So we set up the step and repeat. I was posting on Instagram, hey, come see us out at our photo booth. There wasn't a ton of people that came by, but enough people were excited. It was cold. We didn't have a ring light at the time, so it was just like one of those crappy industrial lights, so it's all yellow, shining on everybody. But that was really, again, one of those things like, this is where we can tie it in. But it was just me and this intern doing it. Our station wasn't behind it or anything.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:18
You said something that was quite poignant, that gave me a cause to flashback. That when you have to show something to teach them. It really is about showing and demonstrating what it can do, and walking people through step by step. At what point did you get into the analytics? Because I found that when I could show some analytics to a personality, they got a little bit interested that we could reach 15,000 people with a particular post.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:12:43
Yeah. So it's kind of interesting, because right at that time, because again, this was 2013, so right at that time, again, because I had already been working there for about two years and I'm in promotions and with how everything was going again, the industry and how everything's changing. I started to realize that being a promotions director just at some station isn't going to be the thing- It's not going to pay the bills, and they're usually the first to go when we need to save money. So I had reached out somewhere, basically to a regular placement company, and said, here's my skills. I need a full time job, because I was working full time at the station. But it was like the full time where they keep me just under, where I can't get benefits and stuff like that. And then being paid very little and being everything on my shoulders, it was too much pressure. So I had them place me at just like a regular job with how normal people have a desk job. But then I asked the radio station if I could still stay on and do remotes, and then also still mess with the Instagram. So the instagram I would still do. The example I always use is Red Rocks, which is a big nice venue out in Colorado. Eric Church was playing there one time and I was on my couch the whole time. I never set foot out there, and just by crowdsourcing, by using other people that were not professional photographers, but they're in the front row maybe. I picked up on the fact that people liked- those would get more engagement of live shots of people. So I would just ask them, hey, can I use your photo for our thing? And they would always be happy about it or something. Sometimes I would just use it and tag them in it and they're just like, oh my God, the station used my... So it's like, so at the time I wasn't really seeing numbers per se yet, but I was seeing the just again, the action, the engagement people getting. If I just liked people's photos, they would get excited. So at Red Rocks I would go see who was checking in there and just like and like and just like photos because people would see KYGO liked my photo and they'd go, whoa, that's really cool. I would do it to like local bars. Like if I know the country bars that people frequent, I would do the same thing just on account and just build the following that way. But then they had a new promotions director come in. So I think they started to see the following build and all that. So they eventually took it back over, which was fine because I was kind of done with it at that point. I think maybe this was 2015. So they kind of just started doing their own thing with it. And I guess to really like you said, to set the example of how you do something, how you can watch it grow, was then really why I started to- started The Radio Fam thing was because again, I'm playing with all these Instagrams and I'm not really playing with the radio station one anymore. But I said, okay, well, maybe I can start some kind of radio one, and if I can monetize it enough to where I can show somebody that I could sell a post for $50 or something, then right, maybe they'll listen to me and see that this is valuable, that you can make money here. And then it just sort of evolved into its own thing and now it's kind of become this whole brand on its own.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:28
Well, it's amazing. You started The Radio Fam, and it's got a very similar attitude to the company that I have, which is it can be a collective, and you're growing community more than anything. And I think that's probably one of the legacies about millennials in media is that they really discovered how to build community, whether it was through Instagram or newsletters and most of the tools that radio stations and my company will use to promote our wares more than anything. So here you go. You come out in 2015 with The Radio Fam, and I'm going to build a community. And what did you do next?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:16:02
Well, actually that's when it started to kind of- the ideas I was playing around. But I'd say it really started in 2017, the summer of 2017. I originally it wasn't called The Radio Fam at first. It was actually called Radio in the streets, I think, because at the time, because I just did marketing. So I was like, I thought like, okay, well I know being on the streets doing the remotes and everything, so I'm just going to highlight that stuff. But again, since we're still pretty early on Ish and Instagram, there was not a lot of other promo people and stuff like that that were easy to find. So then I was like, well, I need to start maybe featuring, again, people that are more into the ego thing. I need to go right for the radio jocks and feature them on my page. And then that's what I started to do. So maybe at the beginning of 2018, and this is when I switched to the name to The Radio Fam. And then I just started tagging jocks. And that's really how it really started to build, was that they just liked being featured somewhere. And all I would do, it would just be a picture of them. And I always- stuff had good lighting. I would saturate the colors more, make it bright, and I would just say where they were at, what's- tag the station, tag them and tag the location that they were at. And people just really liked that and they would reshare it. And then as stories started to become a thing, I almost like trained them to start tagging me in stuff because people love the behind the scenes. They love just that instant, I guess, instantness of stories. So if they would put up a video, I would screen record it on my phone and then crop it down and then I would share it into my story and then tag them in it so then they would share it. So then they started to kind of build the habit themselves of starting to just tag me and stuff. So then that was easier. I could just reshare it just by hitting one button. So I think it was once all that started to happen, that's when I started to realize the community side. It's like I didn't go in with the intention of, oh, I'm building this community, I just started to see it. And then I would start getting messages of people being like, hey, this is really cool, especially because I'm sharing positive things and wow, I didn't know that stations do this kind of stuff. Or I'm learning something from this person across the country that I didn't realize. Thanks for being a place for that. So I think as that started to come together, I'm like, oh shit. Like, I'm building a little community now. I think I'm going to go a different direction.
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Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:36
If you had a nickel for every time you were told, but we've always done it this way, how much money would you have?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:18:44
I would be so rich. I literally have one of my t shirts on the website and a graphic I've used before. It says, we've always done it this way. And it's just crossed out. It's just like we're done.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:55
Why do you think radio is the one place where they really rely on that? And possibly newspapers as well, when it was a thing?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:19:03
I don't know. I feel that they felt that if they invested in these other things, especially like podcasting, I feel like podcasting so early on. I mean, I remember people talking about it in 2009 and people in radio would laugh about it. It would be like, oh, that's where the failed radio people go, podcasting. And it was kind of they're making fun of it. And I feel like that they were afraid that if they embraced any of that stuff, that they would lose the other side, or they wouldn't really be radio anymore, or they're taking away from the art of that. And it's like, right, I see sort of what you're saying. But I always like to use the blockbuster analogy too, though, because it's like, well, they can rent videos better, you can do radio better. But if you're not acknowledging that technology is changing and that overall, this is a brand that can encompass all these things underneath it social podcasting and all these things, it should all just work. But I think they were just threatened by it. And then now it's a thousand times worse, I think, for these companies to now say, okay, well, now we're this podcast network and now we're going to buy up this one, and we're going to do this. And I'm like, but they still don't know how to do anything with it. So just acquiring all these extra things that you don't know how to market correctly, again, it was just a big missed opportunity. There's no reason why radio shouldn't have been dominating the podcasting space.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:16
Yeah, and at the same time, some of those things that they bought up are now back for sale.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:20:21
Right. Yes, exactly. It's so true.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:20:24
When did you decide to do a podcast?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:20:28
That was at the end of 2020, I started to see- I'm big on video. I learn better from video. I love visual. And I was like, okay, there's little points that I want to make about radio, and I don't really want to just record myself talking about them. I was like, but I know some of my friends, I know that certain topics they can talk with me about, and I'm sure that I can clip some good enough stuff to start putting out online, I guess, and just knowledge sharing. And so the first couple of episodes were just that- were just me sitting down for an hour and a half or so, just talking with somebody and then putting it together in a smaller, about like an hour long episode. And it was just kind of random. Like, it wasn't really- it was just a YouTube video. But then it was, I'd say, like a few months later that I was like, I think again, in talking to people about how recycling content, and where all the different areas you can put one piece of content and repackage it, I was like, well, I know a lot of people listen to podcasts. Like, I personally am not a big podcast listener myself, but so many people do. I was like, why don't I just rip the audio off of these videos and just throw it on a podcast? And then that started to just kind of develop more. I think it gave me some discipline now too, that okay. Now we have this weekly thing that's coming out. And then I got better too, just in general, just by talking, because I also am an awkward introverted person and I wasn't doing Radio, so I don't know how to interview people. I don't know how. So I'm just like, winging it. And I don't know how to edit audio either. So I'm going back editing my audio and video and then I'm learning things about myself like, oh, like, okay, I shouldn't talk here, or like, I should. It's like I was learning how to be a better conversationalist and interviewer. So then as that started to go, I was like, okay, maybe I actually just call it branded as the podcast. Sometime within 2021 is when it started to kind of have more of a structure to that. And now it's like, now I have a graphics person that actually makes me a graphic for each episode and those kind of things.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:26
Isn't it amazing how a podcast or a YouTube show will alter your brand and turn it into something?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:22:33
Yeah, especially after it being a podcast more intentionally. And then now clipping the little viral, I guess, clips that I put out just on social to promote the podcast. That really is what- all of a sudden, really people were paying attention to what the brand is, I guess, because the clips sometimes go viral within the radio people, and they're like, what's this? I want to be a part of it.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:54
One of the things that I find is a tremendous relief compared to the show that I do is- younger, lots of personalities. There's a lot of good looking people who appear on the video and on your show. They really bring their tools and share their ideas on the show. So when you're thinking about who you're going to recruit for a guest, what are you looking for?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:23:14
I'm big on watching people on social media. How they're interacting or what they're doing, I don't know. It's like I'm creeping on them subtly and it's like something just kind of has to stand out. For example, someone like Chris Cruz, I saw that he puts out a lot of video helping people, and sits down and knows how to craft those things or has a YouTube channel. At the time too, he's specifically done this whole home studio series. So I was like, oh, that's great. He can be like this home studio expert, but he's also a face. Like, he's used to being on camera, so clearly he can do this with me. And then just in learning about other people, like, something would just be interesting to me that they're doing. Like I would see one- this girl, Erin Cooper, I had just seen, she was younger and she was somebody that went ahead and bought her LLC pretty early on and kind of acknowledges that she's her own little content brand herself. And I just was like, wow, she's so young. And being able to realize that, because that's what I think people should really- that's how I think radio has kind of changed, so I want to know her story. It's usually kind of something on social media that's gotten my attention, or they're just a friend of mine that I know of, a background. I have a friend that just he's now up in like kind of upper management now, and I've kind of known him since he was a part timer, so it was interesting to hear now- his episode comes out next week, but to have him do management different, he's a millennial and he's the big point across that we talk about in there is that he wants to be the manager that he wanted to work for when he was younger. And I've noticed that pattern too. And a lot of the people that I bring on unintentionally, they all have the desire to give back in like a more positive way based on either what they were inspired by a positive person or they were saying, I don't want to be managed like that. I want to do it better. I don't want to close my doors to the interns.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:24:54
Yeah, I think that's fascinating. And one of the differences I was going to point out is that I've got a lot more consultants and managers who will come on to this show, but I see you're actually going to have one as well and I look forward to hearing that episode, by the way.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:25:07
That's another thing too, is I like pulling out people, because I felt like a lot of the podcasts that I was kind of seeing or when people would tap into, I don't know, collabing with other people, they're always kind of going for the top well known names. And I get it, because people listen like, oh, what Elvis is going to be on that? I'm going to listen. Or if that person shares it, they're going to have more people just exposed to it. But as I was- even me being like- my credentials, I felt like if you looked on my resume, it's not like- I never thought that it blew anybody away, but I know that I have the right knowledge. So I was noticing that and other people too, that just because they're not in LA, or this top ten market, there's people in market 200-something that can speak to it just fine. They know exactly what they're talking about. So I like kind of bringing in those names too, that people go, I've never heard of this person. Like, who is this? What are their credentials? But all you have to do is hear them talk. First of all, people's jobs change so much. But I don't sit here and say, here's this person that we have on from this thing. And they're doing this because in a few months they're probably doing something completely different.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:26:07
One of the things I really like is you're bringing people on who are local, but they also do the social and they share the social techniques, because so many radio companies put this pressure on personalities to come up with X amount of this, that, and the other thing, whether it's likes or hits or impressions. So one week you'll have somebody who comes on to talk about TikTok, and somebody who's actually mastered Twitch. Did you deliberately make the show about growing your social through radio?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:26:36
No, I think I started- like, I think that was kind of the intention a little bit kind of early on, like, oh, we'll just have an expert for each person. But I feel what I'm kind of learning I think is more interesting, is kind of the story- like everybody's different story, first of all, how they first learned about radio and what made them interested and how they got in. Because some people- They're all just so different and sometimes so creative. And I feel like sometimes that makes it too relatable. If somebody hears that, well, they didn't just know, they're not just that person's relative or whatever. It's like, wow, this is how they got creative, or this is how they were able to navigate the troubles, I guess, that the industry brought them. And also what I learned too is that I started bringing people on with that intention too, of having talking about a certain topic, but then in the conversation, something else would be a lot more interesting. So then we'd end up going down that instead. So now I just kind of have questions I want to ask, but I'm not so into that. Try to just kind of make it a regular conversation, and then I just kind of pull out the pieces that kind of resonate more or that I think the audience will like.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:34
One of the things that's really nice if you have a podcast, is do you have something to sell? And you've got a lot to sell because you've got some excellent merch. Tell me about the merch.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:27:44
Yeah, and that actually kind of came first. That was really, I guess, what made me say that this was a company, I guess, full on company/brand, because again, it was just an Instagram account and Twitter and a few other things. And I have a logo. I had a logo at the time, but no, it wasn't colored yet. I hadn't picked a color for it. So the people that have the OG stickers, it's a gray logo, so I give people stickers for free. That's how it kind of started. I was just like, hey, if you're interested. And I didn't think people would be, but I was like, Send me a DM with your address, and I'll send you a free sticker. And a lot of people were actually interested in it. So then seeing people- then when they were sharing the sticker, they put it on their laptop or their guitar case and stuff like that, and I'm like, wow, that's really cool to see my brand, and especially some people in different countries wanted it, and so I'd send it out there, too. So to see my sticker showing up across the world, I was like, that's really bizarre. Then, honestly, it was because of the pandemic. I went down a YouTube rabbit hole of people, how they make money, or just how they build these brands. And after just going down a few of them, I was like, okay, because I always wanted to have T shirts and wanted to have stuff like that, but I didn't know that you could do stuff like print on demand and things like that. I always felt like, I don't have a warehouse. I don't have the money to buy this stuff up front and hope to sell it. So it just didn't even think- I didn't think that it was anything I would ever be able to do. But then once I learned that people can do this, and I also like that it being less wasteful in that regard, that people it's only printed when people buy it, and you get less of a return on each shirt, but it's fine. It's more just interesting to learn and see what people like. So then over the pandemic, I started to create just T shirts with, like, funny sayings or just very basic one. I'm just kind of copying what I see other people do. Eat, sleep, radio, repeat those kinds of things. So there's that element to it. Or finding things like headphone adapters. I sell things like that too. But what I would love to start getting into more is, I have a love for vintage. I love vintage just in general. And I love as a marketing person too. I love vintage, like, swag too. So old T shirts or old. And actually I think next to it is like a ten-ten wins clock right there. So I like the stuff for myself, but I also can't pour it all. So I like to resell the stuff too, because also it gives it like I know it's going to like a good home. So if there's an old T shirt, like from Goodwill or something like that, it's like, yeah. Will a radio person actually appreciate that more? Or even maybe not a radio person, maybe somebody that just has nostalgia for that certain thing and buys it. And I noticed there wasn't another place that was doing that quite like me, that has just a very modern store that you can go on and say, I want that old radio and I'm going to buy that one. Or I want that cool ten-ten wins clock. And some of it's just old radio, like shaped things. Like one I have an Old Navy, like, toy radio. It just looks neat. It's not necessarily that old or vintage or antique or anything, but it's something that's radio related.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:41
Do you feel like the show or your company is an agent for change?
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:30:46
Yeah, definitely. And I think at first I wanted to go in with it and kind of teach radio stations how to change and do that. But it's such a big beast, and you have to have so many of the right things aligned that I kind of instead changed the mission of The Radio Fam to really focus on people themselves. Because I see also how like, their self esteem can sometimes be knocked down because of what this radio station is telling them or what they learned. I don't think they realize how many talents they have, especially now with how technology is. It's really helpful that these people know how to edit audio, and edit video, and those things because how many podcasts or how many companies have that? And they don't know what they're doing, they just plug a microphone into the thing. But radio people really have just like a one up on all that stuff. So it's like almost now I try to use it as a change for people to kind of look at themselves a different way. So don't just tie your worth to the radio station. Like build something outside of it and try to demonstrate to them how it can help them. Or realizing that now if they lose their radio job that you're not done for, there's all these different outlets like podcasting, Twitch, all these kind of things where people can get on and still be a personality and still let their voice be heard and even sometimes do it better. Or again, I think into the confidence thing. So I have this other friend who she had gone and gotten let go from iHeart, and she had a podcast too, that I think she had to wait to start even after her non compete was up, but she just decided locally, I've always wanted to do this with a station. I've always wanted to raise money for the local women's shelter here and do like a little Galentine's Day gift basket sort of thing with hygiene and that kind of thing and not people not really getting behind it. But when she didn't have a job, she's like, okay, well, I've got my podcast and I'm going to take it to social media. She's a likable person and good on social and was just saying, hey, I'm raising money to do this. Who wants to help me out? And I know last year she had, I think, doubled her goal. I know she ran over $1,000 for it and was able to make like 25, like, really nice, like, baskets, and to have people over at her house and to stuff them, and then her herself to go take them to the shelter. And so she got this, like, confidence, like, wow, look what I could just do by myself. If I can raise over $1,000, just me, imagine what a radio station could do with this, you know? So I know she's still not employed full time at a radio station, but she was just did it again this year, you know, and people again, they get excited to want to contribute to something again. You know, they can see it's a more mini community, you know, you see, like, wow, my dollar. I contribute $25 to that. And I get to see the baskets that made, and I get to see my friend Nina go take it, you know, and drop it off to these people. So, yeah. So the focus I think now is just really, how can I help people change their perception about themselves in navigating the radio and entertainment industry?
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:33:33
That is so well said. And I started this podcast in 2016, and I thought enough radio people might listen to it, that they go, yeah, you know what, we are doing things wrong. And it turns out that's not what happened. It was the personalities who came and would listen to the show and they would listen to the experts and then realize, I need to learn that. I need to pick that up. It is changing. I'm going to need to pick up one more little skill along the way. And a few of them have come up to me now and said, hey, thanks for that. Thanks for teaching me that, because now I'm going to be doing this particular thing. And they didn't necessarily leave radio. In some cases, they picked up the skills and they managed to stay a little bit longer in radio because they managed to pick up some skills.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:34:20
Exactly. Very fulfilling.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:22
All I have to say is, keep doing what you're doing.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:34:25
Thank you. We're helping the radio industry one person at a time.
Matt Cundill (Host) 00:34:29
Marie, thanks so much for being on the show. I appreciate it.
Marie (The Radio Fam) 00:34:31
Yeah, thank you for having me.
Tara Sands (VO) 00:34:33
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 Soundoff Media Company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.