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Displaying items by tag: Gail Veitch

Friday, 08 August 2014 08:57

Keepin’ It Country

Kevin Richards Lands On His Feet—Like A Cat!

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS— This is a story with a happy ending. “I feel better now than when I won a CMA (Country Music Award),” said Kevin Richards, a pre-eminent radio personality, as juxtaposed to a Country music DJ, in this market for nearly two decades. 

 

What is not surprising is that a happy ending occurred for the likeable Mr. Richards, for talent eventually rises to the top. But the speed in which the happy ending occurred – and that it was able to happen in this market, was stunning to many, including Kevin himself. “I really was afraid that I was going to have to leave,” Kevin said. “But not 20 minutes after it was announced that I was let go, I was on the phone, and my first interview was about three hours later.”  

 

Well, you don’t have to be a Country music fan to pick up this buzz: Kevin Richards is staying home, moving only up the dial from the mammoth giant WGNA that he helped build over 19 years behind the mic and 19 years of appearances “a lot of church suppers,” he says with a smile, conveying the good will that the Country genre engenders, making friends all over this market – and all the way to Nashville and back. 

 

So the short course is that you can hear Kevin Richards and his music, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. live, and also his popular “Hall of Fame” Show, which airs Sunday from 6 to 9 a.m. on Albany Broadcasting’s 100.9 The Cat.

 

We grabbed a bite recently to chat about the whirlwind of activity that brought about this move, and the support he received; the outpouring of outrage from loyal fans starting the day he was downsized. Support came from all over the Country music world. One e-mail Kevin received reads:

 

Hi Kevin:

One of your listeners… just wrote and told me about your parting of the ways with WGNA.

I was surprised and saddened. But I guess in today¹s corporate world nothing should shock any of us.

Anyhow, I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you and wishing you the best. You’ve always been a pleasure to work with, and I appreciate all you have done for my career and me down through the years. You’ll land on your feet, and I hope when you do that you’ll be in touch.

All my best,

Bill

(Whisperin’ Bill Anderson from the Grand Ole Opry.)

 

But even more impressive were the exactly 4,026 (as of Tuesday) ‘likes’ a page on Facebook called “Bring Back Kevin Richards” received in about a week that it took to iron out the Cat deal. During that time, the page was viewed over 60,000 times. 

 

“Kevin is an amazing local on-air personality and we are extremely lucky to have him on our brand. Kevin’s arrival at The New 100.9 The Cat has made an immediate impact!” 

Jon Reilly 

Program Director

 

That impact will take many forms. The biggest impact will be the next few quarterly ratings books. Prior to it’s downsizing and going to more syndicated (and less, live local) programming, Townsquare Media-owned (with headquarters in Greenwich, CT) WGNA had the overwhelming majority of the Country music market listenership and was often the highest-rated station in the entire Albany-Schenectady-Troy ADI (Area of Demographic Influence – which includes Saratoga County.)

 

One impact that has already been felt, however, is in the area of social media. For the first time in it’s history, Albany Broadcasting’s The Cat’s Facebook page ‘likes’ have eclipsed WGNA’s. As of Tuesday, they were ahead by nearly 10,000 – 72,614 to 63,281. 

 

Another impact that will be played out over the next few months is in the area of promotions and personal appearances – the ‘bread and butter’ of local radio stations. 

 

“I’m gratified to say that 2 major sponsors – Vapor Nite Club and Budweiser – have followed me over to The Cat.” Kevin said. “One of the questions I receive often is whether we will still be doing Country Nights at Vapor, and the answer is yes.” 

 

“And, in fact,” he continued, “beginning next month, we’ll be increasing them to three a month – our usual Thursday, but also for the first time, two Saturday nights. I’m real excited about that.”

 

Kevin and I became acquainted a few months ago (see Saratoga TODAY June 20, 2014) when he asked me to be a judge at this year’s finals of a popular Vapor event he MC/DJ’s: ‘Country Idol.’ So, naturally, I was wondering…

 

“That’s coming back, too!” He said. “Look for the prelim rounds to start back up in the winter.” 

 

For those who don’t want to wait that long, Kevin will be back at Vapor on Thursday, August 21, for an event to benefit the Saratoga County 4H. Several finalists from this year’s Country Idol have been invited back, as well as 2013 winner Kayla Sarro. 

 

Of course, those of you in the hinterlands are not forgotten. Next Saturday, August 15, the Corinth Barn will have its ‘Community Country’ night. Want to guess who’ll be the MC? 

 

“These are fun things to do.” Kevin says. “I cut my teeth on events like this.”

 

Kevin also solidifies a weekday lineup for The Cat that is rapidly becoming a rarity in the world of corporate radio: They are live and local from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. He is preceded by the Jake and Dana show. Following Kevin at 3 p.m. is Program Director John Reilly and then Ben Ryan takes over at 7 p.m. 

 

“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in radio going forward.” Kevin stated. “Sure, syndicated programming is cheaper to put on, but you can get that type of thing on Pandora and a million digital ways. I think people gravitate to local media because they can hear about themselves – their neighborhoods, their bake sales.” 

 

“I give all the credit in the world to Owner Jim Morrell and everyone at Albany Broadcasting for making that commitment. To me, but to more than me – to the community.”

 

The admiration is mutual. 

“Kevin is an exceptional individual! We couldn’t be happier to have him.” 

- Robert Furlong

  EVP Albany Broadcasting

 

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