Podcast Plan B is a blog series about four Montreal radio personalities that have begun independent podcasts over the past few months. It’s an expansion of a Gazette article I wrote on the topic, explained here.
- Name: Kelly Alexander
- Radio job: Afternoon traffic reporter for Astral Media radio stations in Montreal (CJAD, CHOM, CJFM), and host of The Jump with Kelly A, a Sunday show on CJFM.
- Podcast: The Kelly Alexander Show
- Podcast URL: http://kellyalexandershow.com/
Podcast feed URL: None yet
- Length: One hour, broken up in two half-hour segments
- Format: MP3
- Frequency: Weekly (Thursdays)
- Subject: Popular music, interviews and trivia
The Kelly Alexander Show differs from the other three I’ve profiled this week for two main reasons: it includes a lot of music (and popular music at that), and it’s the only one whose host I haven’t had an hour-long conversation with.
It’s like commercial radio, only not
If you’ve listened to Mix 96 or Q92 (or whatever they’re called now), you have an idea what commercial radio sounds like. It’s active. It pumps out hit music, it has a brand and throws it out between every song. When there is talk, it’s short, fluffy, non-threatening. And no matter what, it’s always happy.
That’s kind of what you get from the Kelly Alexander Show, for better or for worse. In fact, listening to it while I was out running errands, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t listening to the radio. It even has an 80s-90s retro segment similar to the old Mix 80s-90s Nooner and Virgin’s 80s 90s On Demand.
If you’re one of those people who think that commercial radio sucks, then the Kelly Alexander Show is definitely not for you.
But commercial radio and popular music have evolved into what they are precisely because they attract the largest audience possible without alienating too many people on the fringes of their target demographics.
Besides popular music (its first song was a heavily overplayed single by the Black Eyed Peas), the Kelly Alexander Show features interviews with people in the entertainment industry, sometimes people she already knows (like her publicist David Jones) or people who have had brushes with celebrity, even if they aren’t celebrities themselves. It also has a regular segment with Alexander’s mother (“Mummy Alexander”), who throws out rapid-fire “fast facts” trivia.
When it first launched on Oct. 16, the show also featured a rant by Murray Sherriffs, who had been pretty quiet since being dumped by CJFM in January. But a month later, Sherriffs joined CFQR as a morning host, and he hasn’t returned to Alexander’s show since.
It’s been a while since my byline was in the paper (as my mom keeps reminding me). My day … err, night job as a copy editor keeps me busy enough, so I haven’t had any need or much time to indulge in freelance writing. But I knew at some point a story would cross my desk RSS reader that was too interesting not to write.
It started with Peter Anthony Holder, who was fired from his job as overnight host at CJAD in August, a job he had for 20 years. A month later, partly at the suggestion of local marketing guru Mitch Joel, Holder began a weekly podcast talking about the same stuff as he did on his radio show.
Then, in October, other podcasts came on the local radar. Mitch Melnick (CKGM The Team 990) began Melnick Underground. Kelly Alexander (CJFM Virgin Radio 96) started up The Kelly Alexander Show, and David Tyler (formerly of CFQR the Q 92.5) began David Tyler Unleashed. All this in a month.
The formats were different, lengths were different, and circumstances were different (two were by fired radio personalities, but two are still on the air). One thing they all had in common was that they’re being independently produced. Astral Media, Corus Entertainment, CTVglobemedia, they have nothing to do with the financing or production of these shows. And the hosts are happy with that, because it offers them something they can’t get on local commercial radio: full editorial independence.
In Monday’s Your Business section today, I write a short piece (well, it’s long by newspaper article standards, but way shorter than I had material to write for) about three of these entrepreneurs and their podcasts, none of which is at the point where it’s making any serious money yet. It’s illustrated with a Dave Sidaway photo of Kelly Alexander in her home studio. (It was also posted to VancouverSun.com)
Because I had so much material (I spent an hour each on the phone with Holder and Tyler, an hour in person with Melnick, and had an email exchange with Alexander), I’m complementing the article with a series on this blog, one a day for the next four days.