From an audience of 33 million listeners on SiriusXM, the award-winning broadcaster and New York Timesbest-selling author is entering a realm where the reach of multiple platforms for golf’s largest independent digital talk radio show has the potential to extend to over two-and-a-half billion consumers worldwide.
Daunting in prospect but this is where Adams’ business and distribution sights have been set for quite some time now. When Dominic Scarano, Fairways of Life producer, flips the ‘On Air’ switch Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. EST the culmination of months of work and preparation without any sort of blueprint to go from will be realized.
“The scale of what we’re doing has taken a very long time to build,” Adams said in a phone interview Tuesday morning shortly after announcing his intentions for Fairways of Life. “It’s like any other business venture where you go into it with the best of intent but once you get mired in the details of what it’s going to be or what you hope it will be you realize how complicated it is. To get this done has been quite a process.”
Receiving the necessary platform approvals to get this business plan across the finish line should be considered a coup. While FairwaysofLife.com and theFairways of LifeApp will serve as internal distribution drivers, the Monday-Friday show will also have global accessibility through iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, Twitter, Facebook, Spreaker and Amazon Alexa. Google Play alone represents 1 billion potential consumers.
“Once we were ready to try and get the approvals from these massive global platforms, and frankly we didn’t know if we could or not, but once it started to happen it was one, after another, after another, until we had all of them we were targeting,” Adams explained.
Support from longtime advertisers and marketing partners was pretty much across the board. Being able to garner ad programs already in line with what Adams was charging, but with the prospects for another 2 billion plus potential consumers, seems like the proverbial no-brainer for those companies, many of whom must have felt like Christmas had come early with Adams posing as Santa Claus.
As it relates to worldwide expansion, if FoL maintains the level of success it has enjoyed since Adams founded the show in 2007 the global numbers and return on investment for business partners could be huge.
“All of them (advertisers-marketing partners) kind of chuckled and said, sure, let’s give it a try,” he said. “I think they viewed it as no risk because what they were spending wasn’t enough to cause them great concern and from my standpoint I just needed enough of them to make sure I had everything funded. My objective was to ensure the funding would stretch out for at least a year to give us the time we needed to get our sea legs.”
Since Adams owns the FoL brand and its complete library of content he will have a great deal of flexibility in negotiating deals with current and future advertisers. One thing Adams made clear: he does not diminish what that support has meant as he boldly takes FoL to another level of global profile.
“The bottom line is any new business that comes into existence has to make sure it has the underpinning of financing in order to afford to do what it’s doing and wants to do,” he said. “That was a conscious part of building this.”
With all of that said there still remains an element of risk Adams assumes in taking FoL global. With the show’s target demographic generally being older there was concern that the various distribution platforms could be considered complicated for individuals who might not understand how, or even where, to access apps through the digital tier.
Adams believes that risk still exists to some degree.
“We’re absolutely making a massive assumption that the golf demographic is ready for new systems of distribution,” he said. “If you go to younger generations, my kids’ ages and a bit older, they’re already consuming their audio, whether its music or podcasts or news shows, through these various digital means. We didn’t know if the golf demographic was ready for it.”
Evidence, at least initially, seems to indicate it is. Adams has heard from all the commissioners or chief executives of golf’s major governing bodies, each one expressing excitement and enthusiasm for taking a daily golf talk show and moving it to a global platform. Though early in the process, golfers worldwide are jumping on the bus.
“We’re getting engagement from tens of thousands of people since the news broke a little while ago,” he said. “That engagement comes from signing up on the website, downloading apps and what’s really interesting, which has been our hope from the start, the contact we’re getting is coming from all over the globe. The fact we knowingly structured it as a free entertainment service was very important to us.”
What has Adams excited professionally is the freedom he will have withFairways of Lifeprogramming each day. Without the limitations of dictated commercial and news breaks and a specific broadcast window he’s excited about the possibilities for listeners.
“If an interview is going great and we feel like staying on we are in an endless space, this absolute ether of room, and we’ll just keep going if we feel like it. There are no limits.”
Having become a fixture onGolf Channelalong with the broadcast work he does for the European Tour it’s a fair question to ask why Adams even needs his FoL show at this point of his career. Knowing him for the best part of 25 years I wasn’t surprised by his response.
“It’s what I’ve always done. FoL blends so well with what I do withGolf Channeland I think this is going to free me up to do more, especially Morning Drive, because of the time we’re on and the flexibility we’ll have in doing the program,” he said. “But you know I love the intimacy of radio. I love the friendship of it and I love the conversation that it is. Golf on a global basis is the eighth largest sport in the world. On a global basis it’s bigger than the NFL. I have no doubt that by having FoL available globally, and for free, we’re going to tap into the hearts and minds of people who share our common passion.”