The reality in the news media today is that the days of people like Frank Boal and Jack Harry having TV careers of 30 and 40 years respectively will likely never happen again (Link).
With the cutbacks almost weekly at the Kansas City Star and area radio stations, media folks had better be prepared to get into other lines of work when given a pink slip.
The old TV/Radio joke is that “Everyone will get fired. It’s just a matter of when…” is more true today than ever before.
When the word came down his services in radio were no longer needed at his radio station Dan Holiday was prepared.
His long career in radio came to a sudden halt when he was let go (along with Mary McKenna) last March after seven years with KFKF-FM. Holiday had been the afternoon host from 2-7 p.m. at the Wilks-owned station since 2004.
Holiday always had a love of radio and weather and formed a company called The Storm Report (Link) in 2005. In 2006, he had the foresight to get his certification as a Broadcast Meteorologist through Mississippi State University. He then became a member of the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society.
“We started The Storm Report Radio Network in March of 2005,” Holiday told Bottom Line. “Originally, it was done out of a labor of love for radio and weather. The first radio product we launched was The Storm Report Minute; a synopsis of extreme weather for the day. Within a couple of years, radio stations were interested in having us do more, including daily forecasts and severe weather coverage.”
Holiday says his goal was to combine forecasters and radio personalities in a model that would use technology while also saving stations money.
“Our mission was to utilize meteorologists and forecasters who were also radio personalities,” he says. “The conversational style set us a part and helped us grow. KFKF was wonderful to me and we still provide severe weather coverage for them today.
“It seemed to me with less people, someone still needed to produce and provide content. That became my focus while at the station and afterwards. As radio continues to evolve, everything from imaging to news to weather may be outsourced and that is where we fit in to many station business models,” he adds.
Holiday’s Storm Report has flourished by being relatively low-key.
Radio stations use his meteorologists based all over the country to deliver local forecasts. Most listeners assume they are staffers at the stations and they are branded that way.
As an example, a familiar voice on KC radio stations, Jennifer Narramore, delivers reports for the Kansas City area while based in Atlanta.
“We differentiate also by branding ourselves as the station’s staff meteorologists rather than using our own brand name,” he says. “To become a real part of the station’s team is more valuable than to us than promote the name The Storm Report. Our long term plan is to continue growing the business, but never hurt the quality of the product just to make more money.”
So far The Storm Report is doing quite well, and Holiday’s preparation for life after radio is paying off. (The same is true of former radio talker George Woods, who left radio to create the highly successful “Radio George” group of Internet stations (Link).)
In fact, in 2010 and 2011, The Storm Report Radio Network in partnership with affiliates KSAL and KKDT won broadcast awards for “Best Severe Weather Coverage.”
Yes, there is life after radio…