WOEZ To Switch To Nature Sounds Overnights

Easy 93.7 EZ WOEZ Burton Beaufort Hilton HeadOn the company’s quarterly earnings call yesterday, Saga Communications Chairman/CEO/President Ed Christian revealed a new programming initiative it intends to launch on Soft AC “Easy 93.7” WOEZ Burton/Hilton Head Island SC in the next week or so.

WOEZ will be the prototype for an initiative created by Christian to try to bring listening back to overnights. Christian states that WOEZ will begin airing sounds of rain and thunder in the background to help listeners fall asleep from either 11pm or 12am until 5am. The company intends to sell short sponsorships twice an hour to monetize the programming.

Christian explained the thought behind the programming on the call:

Okay. And it occurred to me several weeks ago that one of the big problems — I was reading an article, and one of the big problems that it talked about is that more and more Americans are having problems going to sleep and falling asleep. And it goes through talking about this and what it’s doing to the person’s health well-being and everything else like that by being restless at night.

One of the things that has happened to radio today is that we have lost a lot of listening, any overnight areas. Overnight radio used to be a relatively big thing. Right now, couple of major shows that are syndicated for overnight talk shows that are good. But in terms of the music area and music formats for overnight, a lot of it has now been automated and produced right off the machines and with nobody in a facility to speak of or nobody at all in the facility.

So I came up with an idea of, okay, so why don’t we do something that’s totally different and totally unique to radio itself, commercial over-the-air radio. And so we’ve been working on perfecting the idea that we’re doing. And we’re taking it as a prototype extra air station in Boston Hilton Head. And one of the stations there, we have 4 radio stations in the market. One of them was easy favorites.

We’ve been on the air for several years now, and it’s doing quite well for us. But we decided that there really isn’t an overnight listening audience to it. And so we’re going to be running, I guess, we call it deep sleep music overnight, but it’s not music, it’s sounds. And so from — you’re going to think I’m probably a little nutty here, but that’s okay. 11 O’ clock at midnight until 5 in the morning will be just the sounds of rain and thunder in the background to provide a sleep audience. And you’re going, why do you make any sense out of that?

We’ll be selling very short spots going to be brought to you by spots like mattress doors, that type of product category with only 2 mentions an hour during — from 11 till 5 or mid-night till 5. We have an extra hour so we’re going to do it.

But again, let’s try and take from lemons, which is kind of the overnight hours and turn them into a lemonade and at least monetize that and sell them in 26- or 52-week schedules on the station and break it into 2 break an hour, which is what we’re doing. So it won’t be commercialized as it will be basically — that would be defeating the idea of trying to put people to sleep, but there will be mentions all the time like that.

And that’s a product that we can do, and it’s something that we can do for revenue producing and have money coming in on the overnight thing. And at the same time, providing a service to a lot of listeners. So we’ll see what happens on that. Trying not to ramble on today on this. But I think that’s what radio needs is some different thinking, a different way of looking at the problems.

And if we strike out, we strike out on something and we invent something else and have to have the forward momentum.

This story first appeared on radioinsight.com