Author Joe Pags is host of “The Joe Pags Show.”
I began my broadcasting career 31 years ago, working in local radio. My career took a detour into television when I became the main news anchor at the local NBC affiliate in Saginaw, Mich. I stopped doing radio for a while and did television news anchoring for about 13 years.
But radio is my first love, and I especially love talk radio. So I found a way to get back into it — first in Albany, N.Y., then on a morning show in San Antonio, at WOAI(AM) 1200 kHz. I took a big pay cut, but I did it because I love radio.
I’ve been there for 15 years now, and in that time, I’ve been able to shape the show into something that felt right for me. We shifted to an afternoon spot and more toward talk radio, and we started syndicating. “The Joe Pags Show” (www.joepags.com) is now heard on 130 stations through Compass Media Networks.
People love our show because we don’t fit into a traditional talk show mold. I’m in this industry because I’m an entertainer, so we focus on that first and foremost. We integrate music and other segments to maintain a lighthearted tone but also bring straight news and information expected by our core listeners. We offer a morning show feel in the afternoon, one that appeals to people in demographics that aren’t typically consumers of talk radio.
About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to get back to work as quickly as possible, so I began building out my own studio, which is closer to my home. Since then, I’ve been doing the show primarily from my studio.
For about nine years now I connect to WOAI by using my Comrex BRIC-Link codec. So much of my career has depended on me being able to connect quickly to affiliate stations or for doing fill-in spots for other nationally syndicated hosts, and BRIC-Link has made this possible. In the last several years, I’ve only had to set foot in the WOAI facility a handful of times.
I’ve always believed it was possible to be a broadcaster, in the truest sense of the term. I’ve never been a TV guy or a radio guy or an internet guy — I’m a guy who wants to broadly cast what I do. I think that all of broadcasting can be utilized in one show. Given that belief (and my experience in television), I’ve always wanted to incorporate a visual element into our show. I want people to have the option to listen to “The Joe Pags Show” live and also as a podcast, and to make it possible for them to watch it as a live video stream. Letting people see the inner workings of the radio station while I’m doing the show is pretty cool.
Several years ago, I purchased a Comrex LiveShot to do live video broadcasts with NewsMax TV. It has worked very well for us — we experienced very little delay and found the video quality to be amazing. It was easy to set up. Granted, I am a technical person, so I more or less know what I’m doing, but I think LiveShot would be easy for someone with less experience too. There’s a video/audio input, an output, and once it’s connected, that’s it — you’re ready to go. Plus, the LiveShot Control App has made it easy for me to monitor connections from my smartphone, so I could make adjustments without fuss.
We did a show from the studio with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as a guest, and I found it to be startlingly easy to use. We were live on the radio, and also connected with live video to NewsMax TV. I hooked up two cameras — one for me, and one for the two-shot. The broadcast went off without a hitch.
I think it’s vital that we, as radio broadcasters, don’t lock ourselves into one format, because we’ll be left behind by technology if we do. We have to be thinking about how to play to a new, younger audience — a more diverse audience than we traditionally expect to have. How do you keep them connected? Fifteen year-old kids spend much of their time on TikTok and Snapchat, which are heavily video-based. There’s constant visual stimulus, and I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t provide that also. I appreciate that Comrex technology has given me the flexibility to work from home and explore more of these avenues.
For information, contact Chris Crump at Comrex in Massachusetts at 1-978-784-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.