Wednesday, April 5, 2017


KVMR, the spunky community station in northern California that also competes in the Reno, has found the perfect tool for listener engagement: beer. The Beer Show debuted as a one time special on KVMR for St. Patrick's Day complete with Irish humor and tastings of craft beer.

The Beer Show [link] focuses on the ever-expanding craft beer industry locally and around the globe. The hosts of the show, Tom Dalldorf and Wesley Robertson, know what they are talking about. Dalldorf is editor and publisher of Celebrator Beer News magazine, and Robertson is an experienced radio pro who has downed more than few brews.

The St. Patty’s Day show featured The Brewery of the Month, news about beer tastings and events, plus a segment called "Your Foamy Future," the hosts interpreted astrological signs as they relate to the beer palate.

"Pisces tend to like lighter, fruitier beers," explained Dalldorf.

"Suds Buds" Tom Dalldorf and Wesley Robertson
Then Dalldorf and Robertson, both are musicians, performed a parody song "Hop This Town," a spoof of the Stray Cats' "Rock this Town."

The inspiration for The Beer Show was Car Talk. Dalldorf loved the banter between the Tappet brothers and sought to take it to the next level:

"If they can make an hour show talking about cars, imagine how much fun we can have talking about beer."

Dalldorf and Robertson were two self-proclaimed "Suds Buds" when they first met at a social function. When Robertson mentioned his ties to KVMR, Dalldorf said “I want to talk to you about doing a beer show.” By the end of the conversation, they had a plan for what became The Beer Show.

When asked about his qualifications, Dalldorf replied: “I have a face for radio, a mind for beer.”

The Beer Show’s St. Patrick’s Day special is available as a podcast online [link].

Moving forward, Dalldorf and Robertson are contemplating doing monthly specials. KVMR Program Director Steve Baker is encouraging them.  Baker told local media:

"After all the excitement over the first show, we want to see if they can pull off another one. I'm pretty certain they can do it. We thought the first show was a hoot, but we want to make them sweat a little."


Neil Sargent
When I opened the newsletter Tom Taylor NOW [link] on Tuesday morning I saw the kind of news you hate to see: The death of a friend and mentor to whom I owe much my success: Neil Sargent.

Neil passed away in Phoenix at the age of 85.  To no one’s surprise, he died from complications of lung cancer.

Almost exactly thirty years ago today Neil hired me as a Regional Affiliations Manager at Transtar Radio Network. I told Neil that I had recently earned my Master’s Degree at Arizona State University. “Well, you are about to earn a doctorate in radio.” This turned out to be an understatement.

Transtar was one of two big radio networks specializing in 24/7 satellite-delivered radio programming. (The other network was ABC’s Satellite Music Network.) The pitch to commercial station managers was: Lower your expenses, have quality programming, and bank on dependable satellite delivery while you make money.  Hundreds of stations did exactly that.

Transtar had two hubs: Colorado Springs for sales and clearances; Sunset Boulevard in LA for programming. At it’s peak, Transtar distributed eight full time music formats, CNN Radio News and several weekly specials. The “star” format was soft-rock Format 41 which replaced “Beautiful music” on many top market stations.

The Transtar “USP” was music research by Bill Moyes, the guy who many observers say invented call-out and auditorium music testing. Transtar’s internal secret was that client stations were required to air hourly commercials in exchange for the programming.  Because Transtar’s programming aired on stations with many, many listeners, the revenue generated by the commercials was amazing.

That was the environment when I started working for Neil: High pressure, deals to be done and constant urgency to Do It Now. The sales commissions for people like me were incredible.

Neil added knowledge, intuitive feeling for making a “deal” and fun. From Neil I learned the basics of broadcast syndication, the fundamentals of sales and corporate survival skills. These are lessons I still use everyday.

Sargent’s wisdom and friendship was a gift to me for which I am truly grateful.

Want to see what it was like at Transtar? While doing research for this story I came across YouTube home movies of Transtar’s studios on Sunset Boulevard: 

No comments:

Post a Comment