​It never gets old

Rex Morris on “new” talent and “old” media

I am fortunate to work with many talented people, and in the case of new talent coming into radio, I’m often inclined to gather insights on what attracted “new talent” to our so called “old media” in the first place.

I have recently been working with Sandy Choi. Sandy is Korean by birth, raised in New York, and has called the Big Island of Hawaii home for the past five years.

Sandy’s career in radio is barely three months old, but she’s tackling content and story arcs on the Sandy and Kapena breakfast show on The Wave @ 92FM on Hawaii’s Big Island, that most talent with ten times her experience still couldn’t think to execute.

What attracted Sandy to radio and what was my motivation to find out?

With a background in stand up comedy, a sizeable social media following by regional standards, and gigs as a musician under her belt, it’s safe to say that this, media savvy, “thirty-something” with a truckload of life experience, already had an established number of ways to reach an audience she’d developed herself. 

After all, digital for her generation isn’t the additional entertainment and communication option it is for Boomers and Gen X.  It’s rapidly becoming the primary source for both.

Actually, to get to the answer, I took it back a step with her on a recent visit. I discovered that she was no stranger to radio, actually, she’d worshiped radio as a teenager, and this was no passive experience, she was a prize winner, who’d totally bought into the medium, lock, stock and two smoking speakers.

Her love for music radio eventually shifted to the personalities that fired her imagination, Opie and Anthony, along with Howard Stern were on her list of favourites.

In the late 90’s she recalls being driven away from radio in the U.S by stunts that went to the edge, and then over it, repeatedly. “It seemed like a contest of who could be meaner,” she recalls.

The next step, by her own admission, “was to go stampeding to the internet,” along with everyone else her age.

So what about now? Could she explain to me why radio was not only relevant, but now a major part in her life?

Initially, I was worried we’d never get beyond….“I don’t know, I just think that there is something about radio that is really exciting right now.”

But in the next instant, and in a thoughtful tone that suggested that at that moment she’d just decoded the answer, she said,
“I love the way radio deals with my honesty. The interaction and feedback I get from it is matched by nothing else.”

What about stand up? I offered. Surely a lot of your material would be “honesty magnified?”

“Maybe” she said, “but keep in mind it’s a one way conversation.” 

What about new media? Social media?

“You know, there are mornings I have turned up to the radio studio, and really it’s two people talking into two microphones in a box, and you think, wow, this is really isolated.

“But then I think, hang on, social media in most cases, is an individual pushing one message from a device. Now that’s truly isolated!

“At least from our box with microphones, the conversation is going both ways on a number of platforms on a whole range of issues from the good to the bad,” she says.

Sandy’s journey has only just started in radio.

She feels that it’s a privileged position, driven by the awareness she’s become a part of listener’s routines, and their lives.

Sandy is creating content and opportunity from a position of vulnerability that makes her unique, endearing and funny.

Very few people possess the bravery and spirt to do this, and only one medium stands above all others in its communication of human emotion, and it never gets old.

About the Author

Rex Morris is an award winning content director, with a radio career that spans more than 30 years.

He has been an announcer, show producer, mentor and senior executive with Australia’s largest commercial radio company SCA.

In 2008 he co-founded Resonate Broadcasting. The company owns radio stations in regional Queensland, and on Hawaii’s Big Island.

He has been a consultant to Malaysia’s largest radio company, Astro, for 6 years, and is now available for consultancy work though the Resonate Project Group.

You may contact Rex at [email protected] or at resonatepg.com.au

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