MANSFIELD -- A day in the life of a radio broadcaster, is busy, fast paced and constantly changing. As Matt Windingo, the morning host on Bigfoot Country noted, to be successful in the radio industry people need to be a jack-of-all-trades. “A lot of people think, it’s our show. It’s four and out the door and that’s it. We come in and do our show and that’s the only responsibility we have,” Windingo said. But that is far from true.
The day begins early at Bigfoot Country. Windingo gets into the office around 5:15 a.m. to prepare for the day. For Windingo, the day starts even earlier than that. He wakes up at 2:30 a.m. and does a show in Elmira before he begins the day in Tioga County.
“When I get here, I make sure both of my stations are on air and then I go through and get our weather reports and mix those down and listen to it so I know what to talk about if there is going to be any bad weather,” Windingo said.
As far as the actual on-air show, much of that is prepped ahead of time. Windingo finds different talking points or stories to keep the listeners entertained and then he compiles those stories in a stack on his desk, ready to be used when he needs them. Having talking points already laid out enables Windingo to go live and know exactly what he is going to say without having to stop and think about it.
“I have it set up pretty much the day before so I can plan it out and I’m not randomly trying to follow along with music. I like to be prepared. I like to pick stories that are going to be geared toward my crowd. If there is a big news story in Mansfield or Wellsboro area, that is going to take precedent over anything else. Then, I like to mix in a little bit of the bigger stories, like the Super Bowl the other weekend. Mainly we like to keep it as informative and geared toward the residents of this area as we can. It’s the difference between us and a nationally syndicated show. We can provide that live, local information for people,” Windingo said.
In addition to running the morning show Monday through Friday, Windingo is the operations manager for both Bigfoot and WOGA, which means he spins the music logs for both stations, and helps with production aspects like commercials and events. On top of the daily responsibilities, there are always upcoming events that need to be announced and covered. Recently, the radio station held Bigfoot’s Affair to Remember, which was a $14,000 wedding giveaway. During the mornings when voting was going on, Windingo would have to check the voter rolls and make sure everything was working on the website.
Online presence is important even when there aren’t giveaways happening. Windingo said, when he is on-air he is trying to respond to Facebook messages and emails as quickly as possible.
As Windingo’s on-air show winds down at 10 a.m. Christie Yeti takes over to run the midday show. While she is running the local Bigfoot station, she is also running a another live show for one of the affiliated stations further south. As well as running two radio shows, Yeti is the production director and takes care of all the commercials for the station. Yeti said last year the station did more than 1,300 commercials, which is more than 100 a month that need to be produced and put on the air.
Much of the work involved with creating those commercials involves using production programs to get the sound just right. As Yeti noted, though there is a script for each commercial it is not read verbatim. On-air talents, both in studio and affiliated with Bigfoot, will record commercials and Yeti will go through and edit the commercials until they are exactly what the client wants. She said that with the programs she uses, she has the ability to change even the smallest inconsistencies.
“They could say blankets, but the script is supposed to say blanket, I can cut off that little ‘s,’” Yeti said. “I can make someone sound like an elf, just by tweaking it. They don’t have to do that voice, I can stretch and pull on those vocals to make a whole different sound.”
While Bigfoot Country staff is broadcasting their channel throughout the day, the smaller WOGA station is also being broadcast from the same building. Ryan Dalton, who has been with the station for 15 years dating back to when it was still known as the Buzz, said, time management is important.
As morning turns to afternoon and then evening, there is always something going on at the station. It makes for a busy day, but never a dull one.