It’s almost impossible for me to believe that it’s been 6 months since I last wrote an article on LinkedIn. I’ve posted quick notes here and there. But for the most part, I went dark over the last 6 months and so much has been happening. So please allow me to share.
You might recall that I took off for Singapore from late November until early January. The plan at that time was to relocate to the other side of the world to be with my partner of 8 years. I had pretty much given up on my career here in the United States. Not because I couldn’t find a job, there were plenty of options. But most of the options presented weren’t appealing to me at this stage of my career given my prior track record. So Singapore was the plan… until the unthinkable happened.
As I was preparing for my big move to Singapore, I had a conversation with an old mentor of mine by the name of John McMullen. So a little backstory… John gave me one of my first big breaks in broadcasting back in 2003 at a then little-known company called Sirius Satellite Radio. He saw something in this precocious, confident 25-year-old that had done little more than small-market radio sports and news anchoring. I packed up from Danbury, Connecticut (then market #198) and headed off to New York City to work at Sirius. That opportunity turned into a lot of great things over the next 15 years. It all started with Sirius. And it all started with John’s confidence in me.
So why did I tell you about that story involving the history of John and me? The reason is simple. Over the last 16 years, John was the only person from this industry that I have remained in constant contact with. Through good times and bad, we’ve always kept in touch. Good friends in the media are hard to come by. Many people pretend to be friends while often having little to offer from either a personal or professional standpoint. Many only find the time to chat with you when times are good while forgetting you when times get tough. John was always an ear to listen no matter what stage my career was at. How many people can you honestly say that about when it comes to your own media career? I guarantee you the number is limited to one hand.
“Good friends in the media are hard to come by. Many people pretend to be friends while often having little to offer from either a personal or professional standpoint. Many only find the time to chat with you when times are good while forgetting you when times get tough.”
So back to January. John and I started talking in the middle of the month. I had a concept for a news-talk radio program that I really wanted to try out. In a time where most news-talk is heavily focused on politics and partisan politics at that, I wanted to do something different. Yes, my talk show would have some political stories and opinions scattered throughout, but I also wanted a show that accurately reflected the conversations you were having with your friends on a daily basis. I wanted a show that reflected the chats you had with co-workers or family. Nobody spends an entire meal or meeting/get together with their friends chatting about one topic, let alone politics. So I wanted to test drive this idea for a daily talk show. John was willing to give me a platform and a studio to try it out. That’s how “Jason Page… One Week Only” came to be.
I drove from Richmond to Palm Springs, California during the first week of February to see how it felt to do the national news-talk show I had always dreamed of doing. I had no expectations for what it would turn into. Best case scenario? One day the show would be nationally syndicated. Worst case? I got a week of sun in Palm Springs and got to say goodbye to radio on my own terms. What was the end result? That is still to be determined. But I feel it has the potential to be something much bigger than I had ever hoped.
During the week of experimental talk-show hosting, I was able to fine tune things a bit in terms of my content. John McMullen was instrumental in this. While I’d spent the previous 14 years doing mostly sports-talk, this was a different animal. There was definitely a bit of a learning curve. But the biggest thing I took away from doing this week of experimental radio was this… I still had the passion and drive for being on the air every day and doing a talk show. This was both exciting and scary. It was exciting because that love was something I thought I had put to bed. It was scary for the same reason. And it also meant that I had to explain to my partner Chang (who lives in Singapore, where we own a home) that I wasn’t moving there as we had originally planned. I had to flush out this idea and see if this was something viable. While he wasn’t thrilled, he understood what I was going through and is supporting me in my decisions. I’m lucky to have him in my life.
“Jason Page… One Week Only”turned into a 6-week test run of me hosting daily news-talk shows for the digital operation known as iHub Radio. Each day brought its challenges as I continued to tweak my news-talk formatting. Some days felt better than others but the signs were there pointing towards this being something I could do with a high level of success. After sitting down with John and radio consultant/mastermind David G Hall, I felt as confident as ever that I had a shot to take this as far as I wanted to. Still, it was a big move to leave the comfort of sports-talk for a different format that may or may not ultimately embrace me. There was only one way to find out. I was moving to Palm Springs.
After much deliberation, I made the decision to move to Palm Springs to launch “The Intersection with Jason Page.” on iHub Radio via the TuneIn Radio app. While many will ask what I had to gain by launching a local talk show in Palm Springs (on a digital platform no less), there was a much bigger picture I was looking at. This was never a local play for me. This was about finding a place to get the reps doing a daily three-hour news-talk show in order to make myself a better host. Plain and simple. It was Spring Training for radio. I wanted to get my swing down to be ready for the big leagues. Now, I feel like I’ve hit my stride as a news-talk host and ready to take things to the next level. I’ll be sharing more about that in the days ahead. And while local radio wasn’t initially in the cards, I’m now working on a way to incorporate something for a local audience in Palm Springs. If I’m going to make this the base for my operation, then why not give some great local talk to the masses here?
While most news-talk shows generally focus on a limited number of topics (mostly circulating around politics), “The Intersection” usually has no less than 16 topics in the course of a three-hour show. Politics, current events, entertainment, and even a little sports can wind up in this show. I have opinions on everything. Don’t you? All these topics intersect in our daily lives. that’s why I gave this show the name it has. While we obviously want every demo to be listening, it is a show geared towards Millenials and Gen-Z’ers as much as anyone else. If you don’t like something we are talking about, hang around for 10 minutes, we’re likely to move on to something that does pertain to you. Will radio stations around the country gravitate towards a format like this? Time will tell. But I am willing to wait and find out.
“While most news-talk shows generally focus on a limited number of topics (mostly circulating around politics), “The Intersection” usually has no less than 16 topics in the course of a three-hour show.”
While the original goal was to eventually bring a radio product to the masses via syndication, I’ve started to go in a different direction with “The Intersection.” Yes, syndicating the show is still a goal, but it’s just one piece of a much larger puzzle. I’ve made the decision to create my own media brand with “The Intersection” at the center of that brand. The name of the company has already been decided and the wheels are in motion to bring that company to life over the next few weeks. This brand will soon become something I have long dreamed of… a means of controlling my destiny with creative freedom and control that is hard to come by in an industry that frowns upon such things. Others have done it. Why couldn’t I? It won’t be easy and there are lots of hurdles to still overcome. But the vision for success is there. I’m willing to put in the immense amounts of work necessary to turn this into a reality. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.
A daily radio show, video streaming of the show with listener and viewer interaction, a daily podcast and many other things are a part of this new brand. As I’ve said, further details on all of this will be coming in the days ahead. The radio show is already in its third month on the TuneIn Radio app. The rest of the pieces will be moving into place shortly. I can’t wait to share them with you. I want to thank all of you that have reached out with messages of support in recent months. Part of the reason I am still in this game is because of you and your words of encouragement. It means way more than you will ever know. This is a long-term play. I will keep you all updated on what is happening with this new brand (that is soon to be announced) and I hope you’ll support it as well as you’ve supported me.
That’s all for now. We’ll chat again soon.