Strong focus on local service is goal of collaborative effort

Gary Wood, publisher of the Broadcaster Press and Vermillion Plain Talk, and Simon Fuller, sales manager of Classic Hits 106.3 KVHT-FM and ESPN Radio 1570 KVTK-AM, announce plans to launch a collaborative effort to provide the best service possible to local readers, listeners and advertisers. (Photo by David Lias)

Gary Wood, publisher of the Broadcaster Press and Vermillion Plain Talk, and Simon Fuller, sales manager of Classic Hits 106.3 KVHT-FM and ESPN Radio 1570 KVTK-AM, announce plans to launch a collaborative effort to provide the best service possible to local readers, listeners and advertisers. (Photo by David Lias)

Classic Hits 106.3 KVHT-FM, ESPN Radio 1570 KVTK-AM, join forces with Broadcaster Press, Vermillion Plain Talk

By David Lias

5 Star Communications, owner of Classic Hits 106.3 KVHT-FM and ESPN Radio 1570 KVTK-AM of Yankton, are joining forces with Broadcaster Press and Vermillion Plain Talk with one goal in mind: to provide the best service possible to local readers, local listeners and local advertisers.

“The Broadcaster Press’ and Vermillion Plain Talk’s commitment to the local community is very similar to the commitment put forth by the radio stations,” said Simon Fuller, the two station’s sales manager.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is serving the Vermillion community and surrounding communities with good, local information, which includes the only local print news source, and the only local licensed radio station in Vermillion,” said Gary Wood, publisher of the Broadcaster Press and the Vermillion Plain Talk. “We’re here to serve; we’re here to do what’s best for our readers and advertisers by partnering like this with KVHT FM and ESPN Radio 1570 AM.”

Making this collaborative effort possible is a stronger presence and the radio station’s strengthening presence in the Vermillion community.

“We’ve never left Vermillion, but the physical presence was gone. When we (5 Star Communications) purchased the stations a couple years back, one of our goals was to continue our commitment to local broadcasting,” Fuller said. “The second goal was to get the University of South Dakota back on our stations, and that happened, and the third was to get back here physically.”

KVHT and KVTK now have a presence in Vermillion, with plans to broadcast from a small studio location at 16 E. Main Street in the heart of downtown.

Beginning April 1, radio personalities Joe Van Goor and Randy Hammer will be broadcasting a show from Vermillion. Van Goor will likely man the Vermillion location from 8 to 10 a.m. each weekday morning, and both he and Hammer, from the Yankton studio, will focus on news and information of interest to Vermillion listeners.

Plans also call for Hammer, along with radio staffers Sammie Ginsbach and Andrea White, to man the Vermillion station from 3 to 5 p.m. each weekday afternoon.

“They will be talking about Vermillion happenings, bringing in guests, such as the city manager or Ann from the Chamber, or other people who can talk about important happenings in the Vermillion community,” Fuller said. “Representatives of different non-profit organizations that are having events and festivities can join us in the studio which will be linked up with our Yankton location.”

This arrangement also provides the opportunity for the radio stations and Vermillion’s community-produced print products – the Broadcaster Press and the Plain Talk – to cooperatively provide information to listeners and new marketing opportunities for local businesses.

“The Plain Talk and the Broadcaster Press strive to provide the local information that is relevant to the people in the area and the greater community,” Fuller said, adding that the Classic Hits 106.3 FM and ESPN Radio 1570 share those goals.

“There are a lot of different media and outlets where you can get information and media and music, but nobody can do it as well as we can in terms of getting the local stuff that is really pertinent to our everyday lives,” he said. “We’re now able to offer our businesses a two-tiered platform of promotion that includes print and broadcast.”

“We provide a marketing package to advertisers, to businesses in the local region that is unparalleled. There is no better combination than what we provide because of the way the print and broadcast media is mixed,” Wood said, “and because of the promotions we’ll have, because of the tie between the print and radio. The goal is to help grow the local economy, because as the local economy grows, we grow, and that’s important to us.”

Examples of new marketing opportunities available to local advertisers include features that include both print and on-air promotions.

“One idea is a one-week feature on a business where we’re giving them some print, we’re giving them some radio, we’re going to play a game with it so that it is interactive to the reader and the listener and we’ll encourage people to seek out the business’ ad, and answer questions about the ad to win prizes,” Fuller said. “It puts the interest on these ads and on our local businesses and advertisers. The hope is that people will spend more money locally.

“The more attention we can draw to local stuff, the better odds we have of those local dollars staying local. If local businesses succeed, we succeed,” he said. “The more we can share our resources and focus on local, it will make sense for everyone involved.”

“What we’re providing together is more of an advertising agency marketing approach. It’s a combination of media that will get the best results for the advertiser,” Wood said, speaking of the cooperative efforts being planned by Vermillion’s local radio and print communications businesses. “This combination of media is perfect, because we are two of the premiere local media sources, and the only two who provide good, consistent, local news, sports and marketing information. There is no better combination than what we provide.”

“Consistency is one of the major elements of marketing. Business owners are trying to run their enterprises, and we’re marketers,” Fuller said. With the combination of local broadcast and print media, “we can be a little bit more on the same page by having meetings and interactions and our sales people hitting the streets together and talking to clients together.

“We can take stress off our clients and help their campaigns be more successful. It just really makes a lot of sense for businesses because we both provide viable information for our readers and listeners,” he said of the cooperative effort of KVHT-FM and ESPN Radio 1570 KVTK-AM, and the Broadcaster Press and Vermillion Plain Talk. “Therefore, we’ve got subscribers and ears, and that’s what our advertisers need in order to talk to community members to convince them to buy local. If we can get more people sharing in commerce in the area, even if it’s only 1 percent more over the course of the year, that’s a big number.”

In April, when radio broadcasts begin from downtown Vermillion, the stations may take a page, literally, from the Broadcaster Press, which features local individuals each week in its “One in a VerMillion” and “Spotlight on USD” stories.

“Those are a couple great features in the Broadcaster Press, and it certainly gives us the opportunity to interview these people on the radio,” Fuller said. “Our stations and the Broadcaster Press and Plain Talk will also be able to help each other by sharing information and being a source for one another because we understand the value of local. That is important to readers and the listeners, and therefore that benefits local advertisers.”

The radio stations’ new presence in downtown Vermillion “gives an opportunity for our valued clients to be able to produce their commercials here without having to travel, and we’ll have a lot of prize giveaways that we can have at the studio here,” Fuller said. “There will be a lot of changes over this next year as we continue to grow and establish this new physical place.”

“The purpose of this, besides being here physically, is to be able to broadcast from Vermillion in conjunction with our Yankton studios, and we’re going to have Joe Van Goor doing a feature with Randy Hammer most weekday mornings,” he said. “There will be different individuals who will join Joe and we’ll have an extra Vermillion spotlight on our station.”

Both Wood and Fuller emphasized the collaborative effort involving their businesses will focus entirely on providing the utmost in local service to the community’s advertisers, readers and listeners.

Fuller noted that the Vermillion Now! Initiative, which has proven to be quite successful in helping the community reach its economic development goals, serves as a good example of how collaborative efforts can be successful.

“We have been a Gold level partner with the Vermillion Now! campaign. Local is very important. Vermillion Now! is a campaign dedicated to growing local, and anything we can do to help that, we’re going to try to do,” Fuller said. “We want to have an open invite to help the Vermillion community. We are a public servant, a public trustee and we’re going to use the Vermillion studio in that role.”

Both Wood and Fuller noted that their print and broadcast businesses are not competitors.

“We’re really in the same fight together,” Fuller said. “When you think of the Vermillion Now! campaign, the purpose of that is to grow commerce in Vermillion, to increase the tax base and therefore decrease the tax burden on each individual person. We’re really in this fight together; we all want to play in the sandbox together, and we all want the same result.

“There are going to be a lot of things in the future that we’re going to be partnering on,” he added. “We’ve had a lot of exciting discussions, and there are going to be a lot of things coming. It’s going to be a multi-platformed approach, and there’s going to be a lot of fun things ahead. I’m really excited about what’s about to come next.”

“This is really an extraordinary opportunity to partner so that advertisers have the chance to get that shared media mix,” Wood said.

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