By Mark Kaye
Talk Show Host
Cox Media Group
We have a saying around “The Mark Kaye Show” studio:
“If the audience likes it on the air, they’re gonna LOVE it on a t-shirt!”
Just last month, after moving to vacate Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Representative Matt Gaetz turned around to a House Chamber full of angry, howling Congresspeople and bellowed back…
“Oh BOOOO all you want!”
As we played that clip over and over on my show, all I could think was, “This would make a fantastic Halloween t-shirt!”
Within 24 hours our online store was printing and shipping shirts and hoodies with an AI-generated Matt Gaetz cartoon character standing before a chorus of screaming ghosts with his newly coined catchphrase lingering above: “Oh Boo All You Want!”
It was the hottest-selling item so far this year.
When the feds raided Donald Trump’s mansion in South Florida, I had a friend create an “Remember the Alamo” themed logo that prompted listeners to “Remember Mar-A-Lago.”
We still get orders for those weekly.
And it isn’t just clothing…
My current book The Untold Story of Christmas was born of an annual holiday tradition that began on my show. Many of my listeners pleaded for a copy they could share with their families and loved ones. Not wanting to disappoint them, I published a beautifully illustrated book this year and offered it to my fans. It’s already in its second printing and is quickly climbing up the Amazon charts! (I expect it to be #1 by Black Friday!) And the best part is, they are thanking me for making it available to them.
People want to show their support for you in any way they can and they will give you money if you let them.
The richest guys at the Trump rally are Donald Trump and whoever is selling MAGA hats outside.
The merch line at the Taylor Swift concert is longer than the Great Wall of China.
And if you attend a major sporting event without your team’s logo emblazoned on some article of clothing, well, you just look weird.
But merchandise isn’t just an additional stream of revenue, it’s a bond that can connect you and your audience eternally. They love you. They love your show. They love it for the three hours a day you offer it to them. Unless you offer them something tangible that doesn’t drift off into the ether after you turn off the microphone, they can’t show their fandom the other 21 hours of the day.
Your listeners want to wear your merch and read your books while sipping your signature energy drink and watching your bobblehead nodding along with them as they listen to your show.
If you love and value your audience, and want to keep them listening as long as possible, then simply give them what they want. Create tangible representations of your content. Let them be fanatical about your show even when you’re off the air.
Mark Kaye is the morning drive host at Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. His program is syndicated to other CMG news/talk stations in markets around the country. He can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.