CHESTERLAND, OHIO (BRAIN)—In her 35 years in the bike industry, Hubbub Bicycles owner Diane Lees has worn a lot of hats: race organizer, tour leader, seminar speaker, yoga instructor. Now she can add radio host to that list.
Lees is the host of the new “Bicycling Today” weekly program on popular Youngstown, Ohio news/talk radio station 570 WKBN.
“I’m having so much fun, but it’s a lot of work,” Lees said of her new gig.
Lees was approached late last year about hosting the show by a station employee who was familiar with Lees through his bicycle club. Six months later, the idea was approved by the station’s parent, Clear Channel, and Lees debuted Bicycling Today on April 12 with her first guest, Richard Schwinn.
Since then, guests have included representatives from Race Across America and Safe Routes to School and Eban Weiss, better known as blogger BikeSnobNYC. This week, Adventure Cyclist Magazine technical editor John Schubert will be featured, followed by Joan Harrold from Bikes Belong, Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists and six-time Paris-Brest-Paris finisher Paul Bacho in the next month.
The one-hour broadcast is set to continue until August.
Lees pays $250 per episode to help offset the costs of about $1,000 to get the show on-air.
It’s money well spent, she said, especially since the signal reaches listeners in downtown Cleveland.
“I look at $5,000 in advertising and I’m reaching tens of thousands people every week for $250,” Lees said. Two 30-second ad spots also run during the broadcast and during the week the station runs 80 15-second promos.
“So Hubbub’s on the radio hundreds of times every week,” she said.
Lees said she thinks other dealers can promote their shops through similar programs in their markets, but it takes someone with the time to plan the broadcast, the personality to be an on-air host and the experience to answer sometimes obscure bike questions from callers. Not to mention, a radio station willing to partner.
Lees doesn’t know yet whether “Bicycling Today” will have a future beyond August, but at 63, with retirement on the horizon, she certainly hopes so.
“I would love to do this. For me it’s the culmination of a great career in the bicycle business. This would be the little cherry on top of the cake,” she said.
Click on the link above to listen to past episodes of “Bicycling Today” or to download podcasts of the show.