Where “Local-ism” rubber meets the road

For all the talk in the radio business about “local-ism” few stations actually get it. Let me shill for one of my own stations for a minute.  I promise there’s benefits if you’re willing to listen.

KFOG gets local on many levels -from large to small.

Here’s an example of a small On-Air thing that won’t get the press releases our larger efforts warrant – but still deserves attention.

For well over 10 years – KFOG morning co-host Peter Finch has been producing a local weekly 3 minute audio program called FOGFILES featuring the COUNTLESS quirky, interesting and fascinating people and issues unique to the Bay Area.

Does it drive listener-ship in an Arbitron measurable way? (“move the needle”) Of course not. And that’s exactly why so few radio stations do things like this.We have Dave Matthews and U2 songs to deliver ratings (so does everyone else BTW) – but what Fogfiles does is even better in my view.

It delivers good-will and authenticity.

Fogfiles could not be produced anywhere BUT here. And only by someone like Peter who has a connection to the community and a sense of what’s going on here.

That’s authentic. By airing these programs it communicates that the station believes these people and issues are important.

Doing this has become part of the KFOG story. It’s a story listeners tell themselves and each other – and thus aides in deepening their connection with the station and our efforts.

It’s my view that radio “local-ism” is the sum of many many many small efforts – not just a few big ones like the yearly holiday charity concert.

Fogfiles is one of MANY small parts that contributes to a much larger story about KFOG’s local-ism. But it all starts with ACTUALLY CARING ABOUT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY.

As the late, Johnny Cochran might have said – If you don’t care -it won’t make it on air.

You can’t listen to a few FOGFILES episodes and not get that Peter cares.

Can you imagine pitching this kind of feature to stations these days?
The thing is – its not difficult for ANY station to do. But the difference here is that FOGFILES is Peter Finch’s baby.  He genuinely enjoys making it every week. Month after month. Year after Year.

It’s a part of how he expresses himself artistically.  In other words – he’s not executing a mandate handed down from management.

It’s authentic.
That’s tough to “copy” and that’s what makes it so powerful.


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