"Mornings with Danny Clayton" finding its way on 94.5 The Lake
Morning radio in Milwaukee is a vibrant landscape with different shows and personalities that draw in a variety of listeners.
Danny Clayton and Gretchen Bartlett are taking their time to build the show on WLWK-FM 94.5 The Lake. "Mornings with Danny Clayton" is less than two weeks old.
"I have to learn about Gretchen and she has to learn about me," Clayton said as we sat in the station's Green Room earlier this week. "This used to be my office."
Clayton has a storied past which included working in the same building when it was WKTI and mornings were anchored by Bob Reitman and Gene Mueller. In 1982, Clayton was the night DJ and music director.
Flash forward to now, where Clayton returns to the air after a 5-year absence from the medium. He said that while he wasn't what we could consider the average listener, he did take the time to experience what he heard on Milwaukee's airwaves.
"Dave and Carole (at WKLH-FM 96.5) have been on for years, and, it's a Bob and Brian world right now. They have listeners that won't tune into the Hog the rest of the day," Clayton said of the popular morning team at WHQG-FM 102.9 The Hog. "Kramp and Adler are coming on, and there's what (WTMJ-AM 620) is doing … there's a lot going on in this market."
Clayton and Bartlett talked about other stations and hosts as well, pointing out how competitive morning radio truly is.
"People listen and they don't want it to go on and on," Clayton said. "They don't want to waste their time. It needs to be organic, there's an art to the talk. The morning shows make connections. I would want them to respect my time (as a listener)."
Clayton said that it is important to make sure listeners are not sitting there when there's not enough or too much. It's finding the sweet spot, if you will, that will make the connection lasting. I like to think of it as there has to be a reason a person would invite you into their home, car or workplace … there needs to be some qualities there and habits are formed from that.
"With six, seven, eight songs in an hour … we have more than any other show has," Bartlett said of the show's makeup, something that sets itself apart from its peers. "There's a lot of music."
Clayton said that social media plays a crucial role in connecting with listeners as well. "Gretchen is wired in and she's great at getting posts out there," he said.
So, as the team continues to kick some ideas around and fill in the blanks of what the show will be about, it gives the listeners a chance to engage with them and help shape the experience.
Clayton and Bartlett are looking forward to opening day, summer festivals and cream puffs at the State Fair. In the meantime, you can tune in and experience the makings of what "Mornings with Danny Clayton" will become.
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