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How to Survive in a Small Market

Kevin Thomas shares some station hacks. What are yours?

Kevin Thomas is the owner of WDKC(FM) “KC101 FM” in Pennsylvania’s Tioga County, a station where radio spots cost only a few dollars and the biggest community in the coverage area consists of a few thousand residents.

He’d like Radio World to share more tricks and “hacks” to help broadcasters in tiny markets.

“All small-market stations have unique inventions,” he said, and cited a few of his own.

“For example I have learned that if you offer a gas station $100 of free ads to ask every customer for a what station they’re listening to, you’ll get a sample size of more than 500 and a gas station owner who is not only going to run ads on your station but who understands that your audience is their customer.”

Kevin Thomas in the studio
Kevin Thomas in the studio (photo courtesy of WDKC)

WDKC also started bringing a portable MP3 recorder to its events and offering a free T-shirt to anyone who voices a listener liner. It now has a library of more than 400 local listeners on the station voicing liners.

“We also just started a new program where we interview the oldest residents of our county each Saturday morning about life in the 1930s and ’40s. I wish that I had thought of it years ago.”

WDKC can even operate its on-air equipment on golf cart batteries in a power outage if necessary.

[Read More Tech Tips Here]

“Maybe do a series of articles, each featuring a small-market station and their favorite hacks to survive in this world — like how to know when to raise your rates or how to price 60-second ads versus :30s. Where to find voice track talent and how to train them (we work with our local theater group). An introduction to mic processing, or comparing studio consoles that cost under $1,000.”

Let’s help Kevin. What tips or hacks have you used to succeed as a small-market broadcaster? Email [email protected] with “Station Hacks” in the subject line.