The recently launched an online radio show, inviting local business owners to get on the air and chat about their respective industries.
Chamber president and CEO Maureen Whalen said the local organization was looking for “creative ways to increase membership and increase value for its members.” That's when the chamber teamed up with Porter Ranch-based member Big Media USA.
Tony DeMaio, the company’s founder and CEO, started the platform in 2005.
“In our model we give [non-profits] a radio show and we let them sell the individual interviews to local businesses, so it’s a great way for local businesses to get a lot of exposure and a sound bite about their business, and it draws traffic into the chamber,” DeMaio said.
David Randal Smith of Keller Williams Realty is one such member who has taken advantage of the April member special of $99 for a 30-minute radio show.
Whalen interviewed Smith about “the entire gamut of who I am, what I do,” and current trends and issues in the real estate market, he said. He was also eager to inform listeners that he donates 15 percent of his sales proceeds to a school of the client’s choice or the Loving Home Hospice for terminally ill children.
Other recent episodes include interviews with Dr. Poolak Zand, a dentist in Woodland Hills and Michelle Paquette of All Ways Consulting.
Interested member and non-member businesses alike can buy a slot and submit questions for Whalen to ask them during a recorded phone interview “so we have direction as to what they want to talk about,” DeMaio said. “All they need to do is know how to talk on the phone. We do everything else for them.”
Whalen was “pleasantly surprised” at how easy the process was.
“It was as if we were just talking on the phone, and I think it will come across that way to the listeners,” she said. “We were able to integrate those questions in a conversational way.”
Smith, for instance, talked about his background, discussed where the real estate market is headed, defined short sales and answered the commonly asked question of whether more foreclosures will hit the market.
Whereas print ads consist of a “picture and a tagline,” radio, DeMaio said, “lets people tell their story.”
Big Media USA sees some 500,000 log-ons a month since migrating to its new platform, and enjoys a more “professional demographic,” DeMaio said. The site boasts between 1,000 and 2,000 interviews.
“People channel surf, and they find content that interests them,” he added.
All content is free for listeners.
“It’s something new, dealing with social media, and I want to do more of that as it seems there’s a lot of business coming from that area,” Smith said. “It was a good chance for me to get out there and hopefully introduce my business to more people.”
In addition, the chamber will use the radio station to promote events such as an upcoming wine-tasting and the Pumpkin Festival.
In an upcoming episode, Whalen will interview Victor Grenner, owner of Maddy’s Market.