I’ve had an intimate relationship with radio since I was a kid listening in Brooklyn to the the din of Vin Scully’s broadcasts of Dodger games. Radio became even more important to me when, in the ‘90s, I created wine radio shows on dinky stations in China Basin before the Giants’ park was built; and on a high school station in the bowels of an East Bay high school.
As inconsequential as those shows may have been (I never had any idea if anyone was listening to Bob Mondavi or André Tchelistcheff or Georg Riedel, who came to my studios – live and in person) but those shows had an impact on me.
Radio and TV are quickly becoming impactful on the world of wine as print media dries up or as the blogosphere sorts itself out. Electronic wine media is proliferating as PR flacks scramble to get their clients’ wines in front of whoever will listen.
How much of an influence? Who the hell knows, just as who knows really, what are the analytics for wine bloggers? But consider: This is not your father’s or even your big brother’s radio and television. For many of us there doesn’t exist such a thing as terrestrial TV or radio. Not many watch or listen in real time any longer; we listen where and whenever we can, on devices that don’t sit in our living rooms or on our nightstands.
That is precisely why radio and TV winetalk is becoming a thing; because everyone has handfuls of devices, we take everywhere, and watch whenever we damn please.
“Streaming radio is creating a foundation for wine appreciation. As a relatively young winemaking country, we’re inventing ourselves as we go,” says Linda Rez, who along with William Pollard, have the radio show — Minstrel & Muse (). “How are we supposed to keep up with them all or know which ones to care about? … There are more and more popping up every day… It’s too much for any magazine or book or documentary to contain.”
Anyone and everyone in wine has been a guest on Lynn Krielow Chamberlain’s iWineRadio (www.iwineradio.com). She’s the dean of international Internet radio for decades from a little studio in North Carolina.
Chamberlain tells me, “On all levels (streaming radio) is increasing; and one would be foolish to not get onboard because it’s a wonderful add to the wine media. … It drives me nuts that the wine industry does not see the connection that Internet radio users are right there, listening to an interview about their product or service and able to go to their website, make a purchase, all while listening!!!”
She substantiates her show’s efficacy by telling me that 65 percent of iWineRadio’s audience listens from the U.S., Canada, and South America; 25 percent from Asia and Australia; and 10 percent from Europe. Audience reach exceeds 5,000 a month.
A sidelight is that some winemakers – according to Rick Kushman, who has a wine segment on Capitol Public Radio in Sacramento “Kushman By the Bottle”; and teams with Paul Wagner on “Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul” () “ — say they make their crews listen when they’re working, to educate them.”
Further Kushman suggests, “As for streaming, it’s definitely increasing. From the NPR side, I can tell you podcasts are a very big thing, for our station and for national, and that is a pretty recent phenomenon, maybe 3-5 years.”
There are numerous places to go to listen to a plethora of winetalk radio & TV, on various platforms such as TuneIn Radio (ios, android, ROKU), for audio only; Vodio (ios, Android) for video shows; iTunes. Individual shows: The Tasting Room () hosted by Tom Leykis; Grape Radio (); Jameson Fink’s Wine Without Worry (webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/wine-without-worry); and Michael Horn and Michael Jordan’s What’s Cookin’ On Wine (crntalk.com/whatscookinonwine).
Andy Blue () and Ziggy Eschilman,The Wine Gal () have “traditional” over-the-air shows, while TV airs Cellar Angels, Wine Oh and Artisan Wine via ROKU. Let’s not forget Gary Vaynerchuk, who with his provocative TV casts he abandoned a few years ago, started the whole thing. So much so, that even William Shatner has his own TV spot, Brown Bag Wine Tasting ().
To this day, I have an intimate relationship with radio. On my nightstand sits an Internet radio powered by my modem. I can listen anywhere in the world. In addition to sportstalk and politics, I listen to winetalk radio.