South Florida needs to grow from within.
We're a top 15 media market in the U.S. yet we're even bigger than the numbers.
Unlike larger markets, like Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, D.C. or Chicago, we are a city on the rise. Our landscape is not littered with wrecking balls but construction cranes. It should be paramount for our pride, identity and development to foster our talent because it's here. Even though we lose talent to New York and L.A., many are still dedicated to our cultural revolution, and more are coming.
Broadcasting programs in radio and television that cover culture should find a way to incorporate more local talent onto their airwaves. This is a direct call to deejays and television hosts, producers and program directors, you are the media elite in this market, do more for our talent. Help us grow more from within. The audience will enjoy the local angle, people won't tune away because we are proud, the programming will be original and entertaining, and you're contributing to our growth from within rather than catering to a corporate definition of celebrity and fame.
The quest lies in finding funny, articulate, engaging characters who can improvise. And if we're talking about characters, we know they're already here in South Florida.
Have you ever heard of music promoter Nassie Shahoulian? His personality lies somewhere between Rodney Dangerfield and Pee-Wee Herman. Dude's hilarious.
What about local crooner Brendan O'Hara? He's charming, quick witted and not too bad on the eyes. Plus, he'll whip out a guitar and remind you of Philly's G-Love.
How about Broward New Times music editor Liz Tracy? Liz is so engaging, neurotic, and quick witted; she's a cross-breed between Tracy Ullman and Liz Lemmon.
Give any of those three a microphone and you won't regret it.
But when it comes to finding polished personalities born to own a microphone, all you have to do is scour our comedy scene. Comedy makes for great radio and a little on television goes a long way. Broadcasters regularly interview comedians who are in town for some big gig, and the segments are entertaining and successful, but why not interview the locals that Feature or open-up for the out-of-towners? They are professionals in their craft and are often just as funny as the headliner. They are headliners themselves in smaller media markets. We're talking talent like Ricky Cruz, John Wynn or Lisa Corrao, all headlining caliber comedians that live here because of family obligations. And others like Yannis Pappas, David Stebbins, or John Vargas: give them airtime and see if the program director regrets it. It won't happen.
There's a monthly comedy event in South Miami called The Comedy Inn.
It's a cool scene. The concept is simple. For a fixed price ($20) you get an open bar and premiere talent, usually a local headliner and an ex-local headliner who moved away to NY or LA and comes back for the event.
Promote this local vibe rather than corporate gigs like the Hard Rock or Improv.
There's another comedy room on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at Elwood's Pub in Downtown Miami -- hosted by Daniel Reskin -- recruit on-air talent because it's there.
Come on media, promote us from within.
Dan LeBetard, Stugotz, and Mike Ryan (at 104.3 & 790 The Ticket) promote a local with their weekly Ron McGill wacky pet segment; they even took the segment with them when going national. Paul & Young Ron (at 105.9) interview filmmaker Billy Corben weekly to discuss film. These are successful bits so why not do more?
This is a direct call to action to television shows like Deco Drive, NBC's 6 In the Mix or any of the Today or Morning shows on all three networks: promote from within. And radio shows like The Ticket Morning Show (a perfect fit) with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor, or WQAM's The Marc Hochman Show, maybe even The Dan LeBetard Show or WLRN has some more room for local cultural personalities. There are a variety of other shows at a plethora of broadcasting outlets.
The thing about South Florida no one understands is we (generally) love it here.
We know what we have and we know that it's good.
Major media markets like New York, L.A., or the beltway in D.C. -- they look at us like we're underdeveloped, weird, quasi-third world, with poor and corrupt leaders.
Florida: we're a punch line to the rest of the country.
Let's punch back by saying we don't need them.
Follow J.J. Colagrande on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jjcolagrande