Radio station KGO shuts down, but Mark Thompson's show lives on as a livestream
Yes, it's that easy to broadcast live online
Mark Thompson, whose popular morning show was a fixture on KGO for several years, didn’t miss a beat. He responded by putting his show online, exactly as listeners were used to hearing it, complete with producer John Daly and newscaster Kim McCallister, as a Monday-Friday YouTube livestream. I’m thrilled for Mark that he’s already attracting large audience numbers in just a few weeks.
Take that, KGO!
I found this process of how Mark made the move into the future so quickly fascinating, as just a few weeks ago I did a post here about how livestreaming was easier than ever. The post was widely read, so I thought you’d all appreciate hearing about how Mark did it.
(Do know that I’m a frequent guest to the his show. But I’d find this interesting even if I’d never been invited to be on with Mark.)
Think about this: all Mark needed to pull off the transition was a microphone, laptop, camera and good internet connection.
I’m a child of someone who worked for years in radio. I watched my father Jerry build a station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He had to apply to the FCC for a broadcasting license, which dictated how many hours he could broadcast. He erected a tower for a signal that only covered a portion of the metro area. In 1971 he bought turntables, microphones, reel to reel recorders, a mixing board, desks, typewriters, office space, you name it, to begin operations.
What a difference a few decades make.
Now, just connect to the Internet, from anywhere, and you have a worldwide audience.
Mark is a longtime industry veteran who is probably best known as the longtime weatherman for KTTV in Los Angeles and TV announcer for shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. When he started in broadcasting, the idea of putting your own show on the airwaves without a corporate backer would have been unheard of.
But after everyone was fired at KGO, Mark wasn’t given the opportunity to say goodbye to his audience. And he wasn’t ready to give them up.
“I felt we had something there,” he says. “We spent a lot of time building up the show, and I just wasn’t ready to walk away from what we’d done.” Instead, he vowed to “just move it to another platform.”
To pull it off, Thompson hired a friend to help him set up a Logitech webcam in his home studio, where he’d been recording the KGO show anyway, and got a subscription to StreamYard, a popular Internet program that lets you stream to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, as well as bring in guests remotely to interview. (They connect, like on Zoom, via a webcam.)
Old way: guests picked up the phone and called into the station to participate. The new way: we accept invites to connect our webcams to programs like StreamYard, ECAMM Live Zoom, and we’re on the air.
Mark set up a Patreon page, asking longtime listeners to support him and the staff with donations, and is using YouTube perks like “Super Chat” and stickers to bring in a few additional dollars. People use the SuperChat feature, paying $10 or more, to ensure that their comments are read on the air. Mark hawks merch. A longtime advertiser, Steve Moskowitz, agreed to sponsor the show on YouTube, which is helping pay some of the employee costs.
One big change from radio: listeners can talk to one another, via the live chat function, which they never could do on air. “We’ve more connected than we ever were,” Mark says.
The radio show averaged around 10,000 daily listeners, and he’s already seeing viewership of 5,000 to 10,000 on some episodes, in just a few weeks, with little promotion.
So how does he feel?
“I’ve never worked so hard, hustled so hard, in my life,” he says. “But I’m loving it, and committed to making this work.”
Congratulations Mark—and good luck with the show.
A word from our sponsor
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Mylio CEO David Vaskevitch gives us a deep dive on his baby on the latest edition of the iPhone Photo Show podcast. I’ll be back at you in a few weeks with my thoughts on how to set up and use Mylio effectively.
Tech news briefs
A lot happened this week, with the biggest headline concerning Elon Musk’s bold takeover of Twitter, and immediately firing the top execs. Maybe Musk is smarter than some of us think, and has a plan for us to start paying for Twitter, instead of having it be ad-supported. Would you pay for Twitter? I’ll pass.
Which brings us back to Musk’s call for less content moderation on the service. This seems doomed for failure. I don’t see how he attracts more advertisers into a hostile environment, at a time when the ad market is softening. Will Twitter as we know it still be around a year from now? Call me skeptical.
Apple had the rare good news earnings call, with higher revenues and profits than a year ago. Despite many reviews calling the new iPhone 14 line-up good, but no mandatory upgrade, Apple sold more iPhones in this quarter than the year-ago quarter, $42.6 billion vs. $38.8 billion. Never doubt the power of the iPhone.
Meta: The company formerly known as Facebook had a terrible quarter, due to the softening ad market, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s idiotic idea of transforming the company into a virtual reality. Let’s see, Facebook became popular because it figured out how to connect people really well, something that despite all the various issues that have dogged Facebook, it still does really well. My free advice: double down on friends, Groups, forums and the social network will return to growth.
Photo of the week
You all know how I feel about the magic of the mornings. Thank you Manhattan Beach.
Kanye & the Jews
After a week in which the rapper formerly known as Kanye West inspired Nazi salutes in Los Angeles and then had the audacity to stop into my town, Manhattan Beach, and visit, of all places, our beloved local bagel shop, I felt inspired to play some Jewish melodies for you.
This is a medley of two different takes on “Oseh Shalom,” which means praying for peace. Amen to that.
Thanks for reading, watching and listening. I’ll be back at you tomorrow with the verdict on my laptop and the visit to France. To take it or not? Stay tuned.