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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Google Hangouts As A Conduit To Listeners


Earlier this week, Radio Ink reported on the departure of the morning team of 20 years from 97.3 - The Eagle in Hampton Roads. But there was another story at The Eagle. Max Media Operations Manager John Shomby did something different -- he took to Google Hangouts to talk with The Eagle's listeners about why the changes were made to the station. We're not completely sure, but it might just be a first for radio.

Shomby tells Radio Ink he got the idea to talk to listeners on Google Hangouts from a "Talk to the Boss" segment he used to do when he was a program director in Dallas. Shomby talked it over with the digital manager at the cluster, and she suggested he take the talk online using Google Hangouts.

Listen to the full interview below with Max Media Operations Manager John Shomby.

The first half hour, listeners did vent their frustration about the sudden departure of the morning team, but about halfway through the one-hour video, the listeners actually turned the tables. The Google Hangout participants wanted to know about what concerts the station had coming up, the station playlist, and more station-oriented talk. The video conversation turned into more of a dialogue with listeners and less about complaints, or the loss of the morning show.

Shomby does give the old "we just decided to change direction on the station" regarding the departure of the Jimmy Ray and Jen show during the video. It does come to light  in the Radio Ink interview that one of the directions that the manager felt needed change, was more emphasis on new and social media from their hosts. Shomby implies that digital engagement was a challenge for the old morning show.

Shomby says he will absolutely be doing more Google Hangouts with listeners in the future and may even bring in others from within management and the talent pool to interact with listeners on Hangouts.

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