Broadcast Dialogue – Community | Connection | Content | Dialogue

Shawn Smith | Publisher | Broadcast Dialogue

The following address was delivered at the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters 72nd Annual Conference (BCAB 2019) in Victoria, BC by Broadcast Dialogue Publisher Shawn Smith.

If you watched the Eagles documentary, you might have seen Joe Walsh describe life with the Eagles as chaotic as he was living it but in hindsight history seemed like a finely- crafted novel.

Such is my story with Broadcast Dialogue. But this talk won’t be as long as a novel!

Like many of you I began reading Broadcast Dialogue back when it rolled across the fax machine (in my case at 3 a.m. Atlantic time when I was working all-nights in Halifax).

With the founding of Broadcast Dialogue, Howard Christensen, with the assistance of Barry Hamelin and later his wife Ingrid Christensen, delivered critical content with uncompromising journalistic integrity and created a sense of connection for this industry, from coast to coast. A passionate community of which I was a part with all of you. We followed each other’s moves from gig-to-gig. We found triumph in our successes and remained united in our losses, sometimes even spending time on the beach. We watched as our friends and mentors signed off and we paid homage to their legacy. For more than 25 years. That’s an entire generation in sociology terms. That means there are Canadian broadcasters who have known and counted on Broadcast Dialogue their entire career.

Just as our industry evolved from analog to digital, so did Broadcast Dialogue. From fax to PDF, a magazine, then online and multi-platform — and now with video and audio in the form of a podcast.

I never took our community for granted and I sort of assumed it would always be there. That Broadcast Dialogue would not die. That is until that night in Toronto three years ago when Howard and Ingrid announced that it was time to retire and retire the publication. As our colleague Geoff Poulton described it: “The industry was apoplectic!”

Up until that point I had been a broadcaster, a B2B marketing agency owner, and had announced the launch of a syndication company. I was up to my neck, and not sure about a lot of things. But I was sure of one thing. Our connection to our community must not vanish.

So without thinking of the consequences, I picked up the phone. My pitch to Howard was simple and sincere. Deeper pockets will approach -and they did- but “no one will better honour the legacy of Broadcast Dialogue and all that you and Ingrid have built. We are community.” Howard was touched, for a minute, then he ground me for three months and up to the 11th hour, as he should have! I found out much later the deal was always ours to lose after that call.

So there we were, in the digital trade business. Our amazing team was confident but I wondered if the audience would follow. From the very first online Weekly Briefing, you were with us. Thank you.

About a year ago, we finally convinced Connie Thiessen to leave Halifax and join us – right back where she should be – in BC. Connie is no stranger to many of you having spent the better part of a decade in the newsrooms of CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver. Connie’s reporting and commitment to journalistic excellence is evident in Broadcast Dialogue every week.

According to our recent subscriber survey, Broadcast Dialogue enjoys 97% reader satisfaction. Our community of industry subscribers has grown by 17% which is quite a feat in the current industry climate. And contrary to popular belief, our readers are evenly distributed throughout the industry, from management, on-air, and programming, to sales and engineering. From reception to the C-suite.

Our most valued content:

Revolving door
Industry news
Career listings, and…
Sign-offs

A modern trade industry publication only exists if the industry embraces it. And it only stays in existence if the community supports it. So I ask you to think not what Broadcast Dialogue can do for you, but rather what you can do for our community.

1. Spread the Word – Encourage everyone in your organization to subscribe, especially young people, men and women.
2. Stay Connected – We are with you from college to your first job and on to your greatest achievements, to retirement, and into the sunset.
3. Contribute Content- Send your stories, milestones, even feature ideas, especially if you are forward thinking in your discipline.
4. Recruit with Us – We know the best and the brightest in the business. Post your career opportunities with us.
5. Support the Vendors – Thank you Burli, nLogic, vCreative, MusicMaster, Matrix, and many more who advertise with us. After all, they underwrite this wonderful resource for us all.
6. Join the Dialogue – ‘Like’ us across all the social channels, comment, and share, share, share.

Community. Connection. Content. Broadcast Dialogue.

Thank you for being along all these years with Howard and Ingrid, and now Connie, James, Christian, Kristy, Michael, and me – your BC-based Broadcast Dialogue crew!


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Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.

The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

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