In Praise of Content Curators

Blessed are the Content Curators. There is way too much content out there on the Internet. Content Curators help us find the good stuff.

Back when I was on the air, the activity I loved most was the show prep.

Even before the Internet made it easy, I loved digging into backstories about the artists we featured. I scanned newspapers and magazines for show biz news and information about the things my audience was talking about.

Done right, the host’s role is to weave bits of curated cocktail conversation in between the other elements of the program, hopefully pulling together a seamless symphony of music, entertainment and information that would entice those ears to want to come back tomorrow for more.

We all know Content Curators. They seem to find fascinating stuff to share with us on our favorite social media platform. I’m not talking about the political memes and the negativity that often permeates these echo chambers. The people I still follow find things that both inform and inspire. Here’s one of my favorite Facebook curation outposts. Kudos to moderator Jeff Smith for the great job he does there.

In my own humble attempt to entertain you on Twitter in the mornings (, the biggest compliment I can get is when someone writes me to say, “I didn’t know that!

I have sources I trust to give me good stuff to pass on to you. And I’m totally focused on filtering through the noise to find nuggets of information that can enrich your own relationships. I don’t always hit the mark. I analyze the data to understand what things generate retweets and shares, what elicits a comment, and what is worth a run deeper down the rabbit hole.

The the most successful Content Curators this space also realize that your “air shift” in the Internet age never ends and the audience always changes. Just like radio, we have our Cumes, the number of different people who tune in to our feed for at least five minutes in an average week and Average Quarter Hour Persons, the average number of people checking in per quarter-hour. I translate that for social media to the average number of viewers per hour. Understanding this calculus tells you how often to post to get both reach and frequency.

You also must be careful not to overdo it. Too much perceived repetition can get you “unfollowed” in a heartbeat.

I love how my friends at Jacobs Media Stragegies repurpose the key message of the day across what we in the biz call “day parts”. It’s ends up enticing you to the same web page (that’s the goal, get em to your site), but with a little different spin each time. Like me, they are data nerds and I can imagine how they deconstruct each post to understand how and why it generated, or failed to generate the desired outcome.

Compare good Content Curators to how advertisers rotate commercial copy and test various offers until they find the sweet spot. The commonalities you find are the keywords that motivate action. The medium may be different, but the methodology is the same.

When I was learning the trade, I listened to the talent that resonated with me and tried to understand what it was that made them great. My first tentative moments behind the microphone were pretty much ad-libbed shots in the dark. In time, I learned to understand show prep, the science of content curation and the art of purposing my messaging in a way that clicked with a target audience.

As I look back, the drill today is still what it was then. Regardless of the platform, it’s content curation. In any medium, how well you do it determines the success you will enjoy.

Radio imitates life. It is a place where talent comes and goes. The boss never said that you were “yesterday’s fish” until you walked out of the studio for what you didn’t realize was your last show. Today, it’s not a program director or a format change that dictates your future. On social media, consumers rule.

I used to keep a small 3×5 card taped to the locker at work where I kept my headphones. On it was written my favorite Broadcasting Beatitude: Blessed are those who enlighten and entertain. For they shall live to do so another day.

Today in History:

1883: The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
1940: The Three Stooges film ‘You Nazty Spy!’ is released. It’s the first Hollywood film to spoof Hitler, shown in a time when the US was still “neutral”. (Video)
1955: The Millionaire TV program premieres on CBS. (Video)
1955 President Dwight D. Eisenhower holds the 1st presidential news conference filmed for TV.
1961: The 1st episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show is filmed. (Video)
1978: The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany leaves VW’s plant in Emden. Beetle production in Latin America would continue until 2003.
1993: Fleetwood Mac re-formed to perform at Bill Clinton‘s inauguration. The band’s Don’t Stop was used as the theme for his campaign. (Video)
2006: Soul legend Wilson Picket dies of a heart attack at age 64.
2007: Denny Doherty of the Mamas and the Papas dies at age 66.
2020: Barefootin singer Robert Parker dies at 89. (Video)

Today’s Birthdays:

1923: Jean Stapleton of All in the Family fame. d.2013
1935: Tippi Hedren, star of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Mom to Melanie Griffith.
1939: Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. d.2014
1943: Janis Joplin d.1970
1944: Shelley Fabares, Johnny Angel singer and Donna Reed daughter.
1946: Dolly Parton
1949: Robert Palmer d.2004
1951:Dewey Bunnell of America
1953: Desi Arnaz Jr.

Keener Number Ones This week in..

(1964) You Don’t Own Me, Lesley Gore
(1965) This Diamond Ring, Gary Lewis & the Playboys
(1966) Lightnin’ Strikes, Lou Christie
(1967) I’m a Believer/Steppin’ Stone, Monkees
(1968) Itchycoo Park, Small Faces
(1969) Touch Me, Doors
(1970) Venus, Shocking Blue
(1971) Knock Three Times, Dawn
(1972) American Pie, Don McLean

Today’s video hitVenus, from the Dutch band Shocking Blue. It was released in the Netherlands in July, 1969, spending five weeks at No. 1 on the Dutch Top 40 in July 1969. The opening guitar riff is a take off on The Who’s Pinball Wizard. Fans of the 2020 Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, will recognize Venus from the soundtrack of episode six, although the tune was released several years after the timeline in the series. It was number one in Detroit on this date in 1970.

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit