Infotainment for women (and smart men) on local radio WXCT
By Lynn Woike
Southington Life, JUN 06, Vol. 3, Issue 2
Be among the first in the nation to wake up weekdays with the Radio Ritas, now on WXCT-AM 900. The new show, featuring three comedians, is the latest addition to a lineup that caters to what the talk radio market considers a long-ignored group, women ages 25-54.
"We've gotten very positive reactions. People are loving it," said General Manager Charles Bosworth.
"Infotainment" is the word he uses to describe the programming that has media personalities delivering a combination of information (news, current events) and entertainment (celebrity interviews and human interest).
"In order for the station to really do well, we had to find a niche," he said.
"We were going to have Dr. Laura back. There was talk of doing a shopping show where you could buy gift certificates at a discount. So the concept came to me...make the whole format talk radio for women, because nobody else is doing it" in the area.
There are only four other radio stations in the entire country that have made women - and smart men - their niche, according to Mr. Bosworth.
"Political talk has been dominating the talk radio format, but there is more to life than just politics," he said.
If you look at the radio landscape in central Connecticut, "there are programs with female hosts that cover female interests. They're just here and there. It's not something you can turn on at any time and get all the time, until now," said Mr. Bosworth.
"We saw the opportunity and realized there is a huge hole in Connecticut for this."
Introducing the newest show, he said, "the Radio Ritas are family safe, fun and entertaining. The focus is non-political, real-life talk. You won't find an over-opinionated host and you won't find the barrage of sexual references and innuendo on most morning shows."
Maureen Langan, Cory Kahaney and Nelsie Spencer are the Radio Ritas - three stand-up comics, authors, veteran broadcasters and best friends who bring news, views and advice as they share their own takes on contemporary life from 6 to 9 a.m.
The show is produced by GreenStone Media LLC, a new talk network for women. Formed to meet the unserved need for innovative, topical, relevant and entertaining programming on radio, GreenStone is backed by such successful business women as Gloria Steinem, Rosie O'Donnell and Jane Fonda.
"We're thrilled to have Talk Radio 990 as our first affiliate," said Jim LaMarca, GreenStone vice president of operations.
Also new is the one-hour show "Good Stuff" hosted by "Colleen and Taylor." They are friends, mothers and wives and they share experiences, opinions, gossip and hard facts on everything from parenting and eating disorders to press on lipstick and the women who hide receipts.
The Davidson Media Group owns the station. Its studios are located in a 1,200-square-foot cinderblock building on Old Turnpike Road.
With the new morning show came a new look on the station's website. There is lots of purple and a logo that works the medical symbol for female into the call letters. There's a listener's blog, polls, links and podcasts of shows, with more features to come.
During Women's History Month in March, the station produced 30-second features on various women. The program was so successful, the station decided to celebrate women in history every day.
Reaching out to women are two chiropractors: Dr. Steven Jedson of Newington and Dr. Robert Shaw of 1783 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike in Milldale. Their show, "Takin' It to the Streets," has been on the air for six months. It aims to get out the chiropractic message of drug-free natural health care.
"Women," said Dr. Shaw, "are the number-one health care decision makers in the family."
This station has been a way to reach them.
"Business Solutions" began in April, hosted by Michelle Y. Drake. She is an internationally known professional speaker, business strategist and life skills coach with more than 20 years of experience as a catalyst for change and growth.
As president and co-founder of the management consulting firm the Cove Group, Inc., she specialized in motivational programs, keynote addresses, seminars, training modules and panel discussions.
Her show, which focuses on helping women go into business for themselves, airs from 9 to 10 a.m. on Thursdays. She drives here from her home in Mystic to do the show.
"We want our women business owners to be successful and powerful," Ms. Drake said.
While the information is more generic than what an individual client would receive, "I can reach a lot more people (on the radio), people who can't afford a coach or travel to a seminar," she said.
Having been a teacher before she was a business person, she new the value of hand-outs as a teaching tool. Transcripts of the show are available, along with lists of tips.
"There's a new packet each week," she said, that's available from her website michelleydrake.com.
"Focusing on the women as a market is so important. Women are predominately the ones who make purchasing decisions...(and) almost all women work outside the home," said Central Connecticut Women's Forum (CCWF) President Shirley Bloethe.
CCWF made its radio debut in December with a one-hour talk show, hosted by Ms. Bloethe, featuring area businesses, most of which are in town. The show can be heard Tuesday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m.
Two businesses are highlighted each week with a half-hour segment, much like a radio version of a television infomercial. It goes into depth about the business, its products and services, and its owners. Many, but not all of them, are owned by women.
"it's very exciting that the radio station wants to promote women in business, focus on women as a market and...promote Southington businesses," said Ms. Bloethe, who is working with the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce to get more businesses on the show.
The station wants to get involved with women's organizations. It has reached out to Race in the Park and Relay for Life, two events which raise money to fight cancer.
"Don't wait for us to call you, call us," Mr. Bosworth said.
The program lineup is still being tinkered with and it is still possible that you could be in that mix. He is looking for "local business owners, people with something to says that's entertaining and not politically driven.
"We still have Italian programming on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's been here forever," even when the station had a Spanish format, said Mr. Bosworth. In addition to "Italian melodies and Memories" hosted by Rocco Cipriano, another program which has been around long enough to become a local institution is "Patti Ann's Polka Happiness Show."
Being on the radio is what Mr. Bosworth has always wanted to do.
"I got bit about 10. I remember listening to the radio and thinking how cool it would be to talk to so many people and have some influence on them," he said.
"Once you've been bit, you're hooked. People will leave, but they'll always come back," said the 15-year radio veteran. "It's because of the addition to the radiation."
Known on the air as Charlie Profit, he has worked for several major radio groups and in such markets as Salt Lake City and Hartford. He's been a board operator, production manager, program director and a talk show host.
Mr. Bosworth, 35 and a Southington resident, became the general manager and operations manager for WNTY (later changed to WXCT) in 2001.
"My entrepreneurial spirit led me to rebuild the station into something more competitive for the market," he said.
In early 2002, he changed the time-brokered format to news/talk using national talent such as Dr. Laura, Neal Boortz, Michael Reagan and Rusty Humphries. To add a local element, he began hosting his own daily two-hour talk show, discussing local politics and current events with politicians, best-selling authors, famous and not-so-famous celebrities and call-ins.
He gained national attention as the guest host for the "Midas Report" on the Genesis Communication Network. Over the course of two and a half years, he involved the station in local charitable, entertainment and political events as he rebuilt it into a community-oriented operation.
In May 2004, as the momentum was the greatest, the station was sold. The new owners changed the format to Spanish and brokered the time for 18 months.
Mr. Bosworth left in February 2005 to focus his efforts on creating the website SouthingtonScene.com, an online community, among other ventures.
But seven months later, he was asked to return as general manager to bring talk radio back to the airwaves. Central Connecticut's talk radio for women (and smart men) began in October.
His other activities include serving on the board for the Commission on Disabilities and applying to be a volunteer firefighter.
He supervises a staff of three full-time and three part-time employees who work out of the office weekdays during normal business hours. The rest of the time, a computer runs the syndicated programs, which comprises the majority of the lineup. None of the programming is paid.
The 2,500-watt daytime signal reaches from New Have to Enfield, and from East Hartford to Danbury. It drops to 80 watts at night at times determined each month according to when the sun sets and rises. Sol.
WXCT-AM 990 is at 440 Old Turnpike Road in Plantsville. Call 621-1754 or visit its website at www.talkradio990.com Visit Charles Bosworth's personal website and weblog at www.charlieprofit.com.