Nerdy Stuff, Social Media

1560 The Game’s Sean Pendergast at SchipulCon on creating loyal fans

I saw a lot of great speakers at SchipulCon this year, which wrapped on Friday. One case study I can’t get out of my head is Sean Pendergast from Houston’s sports talk radio station 1560 The Game.

Maybe it’s because my boyfriend practically lived in the student radio station in college, or because my dad works on hardware that transmits radio commercials – but radio seems to be a big part of my life. So Sean definitely had my attention. Add to that the fact that the success they found by using the internet to build a community is what social media is all about – and the kind of thing I can totally geek out for. I think I took 4 pages of notes in the 45 minutes presentation!

Some of Sean’s advice applies specifically to radio, but for the most part it applies to all businesses. All businesses want (need!) to differentiate, and for many there is an opportunity to do that by building online community.

Sean Pendergast of 1560 The Game at SchipulCon

Here is my recap of the presentation – I’ve tried to break it up based on theme, and used quotes when I could. It’s really, really great stuff!

It’s All About Differentiation

  • Houston has 4 sports radio stations (there is only one other market in the country with that many)
  • 1560 The Game is the only independently owned of the 4
  • How to succeed in a crowded market? “the way to do that is to differentiate yourself”
  • The average listener of 1560 the Game listens for 8 hours a week (that’s more than the other 3 stations’ average listening times put together)
  • Sean says this because of compelling programming – even the commercials are entertaining
  • “Instead of creating a radio station, we were creating a radio community”

Content is everywhere

  • You can talk about anything your audience cares about
  • For 1560, listeners have interests outside of sports
  • Their method: throw 3 ideas on the wall, 1 sticks
  • Sean doesn’t come from a radio background – “I’ve been a listener all my life”
  • He thinks about things he would want to listen to
  • Throwing in personal information adds dimension to those people so listeners can relate to them
  • Who we are on the air is us with the volume turned up – we are building a character

Have a Social Media Strategy

  • Everyone uses social media differently – 1560 uses it as an extension of the show
  • i.e. Tweet observations about games during the TV broadcast, post Facebook pictures of events so people feel like they’re part of it
  • Twitter humanizes the station
  • Play to your strengths “we have a lot of creative people”

What’s Next?

  • “Our business is changing just like everyone else’s”
  • Even if the tools change, the goal is the same
  • “We’re using it to our advantage and like everyone else we’re figuring it out – but we’re not afraid of it”
  • Houston people will always want to hear Houston stuff – and it’s good to have content that  everyone cares about
  • With so many choices, it’s never been so Darwinian
  • Positioning the station for online content – that’s what’s next

Sean was absolutely fantastic and definitely one of my high points of SchipulCon. Spread the love and follow @1560theGame and @SeanCablinasion on Twitter!!

@1560thegame on twitter

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