The man on the radio

When it comes to the talk radio, some people feel that it’s a genre that has gone the way of the compact disc, one that’s listened to only while driving long distances in the car, but one show on CBC is redefining what it means to be on the radio — and its host is Jian Ghomeshi.

Ghomeshi hosts Q, one of the CBC’s most popular talk radio shows. He says that the key to the show’s success is its valuable content and ready availability through a number of different mediums.

When I spoke with Ghomeshi on the phone, he explained that when Q became a multi-platform package he wanted to do it right, and that means doing more than just putting the radio show on the web.

“I still do believe that content is king,” said Ghomeshi. “People still want strong content, so giving it to people on other platforms doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be any less interesting, provocative or comprehensive.”

“We are about long form and extensive content, and we offer that to people on other platforms,” he said.

Ghomeshi explained that every aspect of Q — from the pod-cast, the website, Q video online or the TV show on CBC’s Bold — is specifically fitted for each unique medium.

“I think there is a mistake to be made by just taking what one does then just throwing it up everywhere in a passive way and hoping that the other mediums are as successful,” he said.

Ghomeshi and Q have been host to legendary interviews and have become known widely across Canada, especially with a younger demographic. Now in 2011, we can see how Q has truly exploded, but Ghomeshi explained the show never really had a target demographic.

“To me, it’s not really about catering to a younger demographic,” said Ghomeshi. “We have never explicitly done anything with a demographic in mind. Part of is it in the tone and the story selection.”

“I consciously do a smart show, and I think people still want and respect depth.”
Along side mastering and maintaining a strong, smart multimedia presence in Canada and the United States, Q has also maintained a reputation that enables the show to take a close look and be a part of Canada’s national conversation.

“We’ve noticed that we do things sometimes on this program that then become a story that a lot of people pick up on,” he added. “We definitely bring things into the conversation and into the national dialogue.”

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in the United States explains that the purpose of the NAB industry and service award is to “recognize radio and television stations, personalities and programs that exemplify commitment to community and excellence in broadcasting.”

Even though this award is designed for broadcasters in the States, it’s actually a solid description of what makes good radio. It seems like good radio is radio that’s committed to community and their audience. If that’s the case, then Q is probably some of the best Canadian radio on international airwaves.

This idea is solidified by the numbers alone. According to Q’s website, the show is one of the highest ranking morning shows of all time and Q’s YouTube channel has over 30 million views. Now all this is impressive, but what these numbers are really saying is that Q is undeniable truth that Canadians and Americans want smart radio.

In my opinion, other broadcasters should take note, because the waves of time break fast on those who can’t adapt.

“I’m really proud of what we have done one this program,” said Ghomeshi. “I think it’s changed the broadcasting landscape to a certain extent. Even five years ago it would have been unheard of for Jay-Z to be on CBC, [ . . . ] and we’ve done that and so much more.”

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