July 29, 2018
How many consultants can say they were with one station for 38 years? We know of at least one…Bill Moyes. He consulted Jerry Lee and his team for nearly four decades, including three name changes. Moyes started working with the station in the 1980s when the call letters were still WDVR. On Thursday, we spoke to Moyes about his relationship with Jerry Lee and how he helped one radio station be so dominant for so long.
Radio Ink: Give us your thoughts on a stand-alone station trying to fight it out with clusters.
Bill: They are so rare. Jerry never wanted to get another station. He dabbled in a little AM. He just wanted to do everything well with one signal and give it his all. There was money for defense, and he was attacked many times. He wanted to be able to fight them. He didn’t want other stations in the city distracting him. We worked with a lot of people who had multiple stations in multiple markets but this was his thing. He was very proud of it and he should be. He did a hell of a job.
Radio Ink: You still have to have a good product. What was it, what is it about the WBEB product?
Bill: They observed the rules of defense from a warfare strategy perspective. There are four positions. There is defense which is the leader, and there are certain rules that govern if you are going to do a good job. Then there is offense, that’s the guy coming after the leader. There’s the flanker which is something totally different like classic rock to BEB’s position. And, there’s guerilla. He observed the seven rules of defense right to the end. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to defend that fort.
Radio Ink: Do enough stations follow that philosphy?
Bill: Some don’t have to because they own so many stations in a market. I think the kind of dedication he gave to it and use of warfare rules is really rare.
Radio Ink: Now that it is in a cluster, what do you think will happen to it?
Bill: It’s with a good group who I would imagine will continue to defend, not with the same heart that Jerry has, but they know they have a cash cow. They would be remiss if they didn’t keep defending it. Being on track with the music now is critical and they have a great program director. One of the best in the country.
Radio Ink: Do they play a lot of spots every hour? Radio has a big issue with that these days.
Bill: I would say compared to many other stations BEB is clean and maybe the new owners will enlarge that a little. The more they do, the more peril they take. MORE FM is about two things: more of the music you like, and more music/less talk. If they go against all that, they do so at their peril.
Radio Ink: You went through three name changes with WBEB. How do you do that with a station that’s been around so long?
Bill: With the name goes images. When I got there “beautiful music” images went along with our “name” – WDVR . When we changed it to AC we made it ‘EASY 101′ and that stayed competitive and positive for 10-13 years.In time that name developed images from the artists Easy played over the years who were no longer “cool”…the name developed a little “asterisk” that said “dated’. In 1993 we went to B101 and we had “Buzz-bee the Bee” as our mascot and that station name stayed fresh and usable for 13 years. So a few years ago we saw evidence in the research that “B-101” had acquired associations with artists that made the station susceptible to being considered pretty dated, and that made our fortress vulnerable to attack. Listeners- a lot of them – associated B-101 with artists and songs we had not played for 5 or 6 or 10 years! So we went to “MORE FM®”, and that move to change our name surprised a lot of people because our ratings were awesome, as they remain today. The idea is to remain vigilant in observing the guidelines of good defensive warfare strategy, and those rules of defense have served us well for almost 40 years of having huge ratings and great Miller-Kaplan results. The nice thing about the name MORE FM is that is is tied into why people come to that station, more music/less talk and more of the songs you really like.
Radio Ink: Did it ever falter in the ratings, or has it always been at the top?
Bill: When it was attacked it would go down a little. Over the years there were maybe four or five attacks. There was a time when there were two ACs and us and we were all kind of equal in the numbers. That’s when we changed to B101. It was a toss-up and we developed a strategy that put us way ahead and the other two finally gave up. When the three of us were fighting it out, clearly it was a problem, but after that time even when it was directly attacked it would lose a little but it has always been a monster and a cash cow.
Radio Ink: You guys were never afraid to out-market everybody?
Bill: I would say that, after a while, the fact that we would just kill anybody that attacked us was known and people didn’t even try. We weren’t spending that much in marketing for the last 10 to 15 years because everybody knew better.