Atlanta Small Business Profile – David Dickey, 680 The Fan Radio

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On this week’s episode of Atlanta Small Business Profile with Ted Jenkin, Ted chats with David Dickey, President of Dickey Broadcasting (680 The Fan Radio).

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

Ted Jenkin: I am so excited today to do an amazing interview with an amazing guy, David Dickey, who is the president of Dickey Broadcasting, 680 The Fan, an amazing sports radio station here in Atlanta. I was excited to see … I know the station really well, that you guys are celebrating 25 years …

David Dickey: We are, we’re very excited about that.

Ted Jenkin: … on 680 The Fan. But I’m wondering, how did you even get started into the broadcasting business and getting into, especially sports radio business which is such a niche?

David Dickey: Well, I’m proud to say I’m a second generation broadcaster. My family’s been in the radio business almost 60 years, actually about 65 years, and when I joke around and tell people that I grew up in the business from the ground up, I used to cut the grass. I used to wash the van so I literally learned the business from the ground up.

Ted Jenkin: I know that building a radio station’s not cheap. How did you get the capital, how did you build this kind of amazing infrastructure that you have here at 680 The Fan?

David Dickey: You know, it’s a good question. We’re fortunate and blessed that we didn’t have to do it out of pocket. Now, when we originally came into Atlanta and bought what was Ring Radio in 1992, it was in bankruptcy, in Chapter 11, and so we had to borrow money in order to make this transaction work for us, which kind of made us all nervous. My folks were never fans of debt and we paid it off as quickly as we could and haven’t looked back since. When we decided to move here to the Battery and build what we built, which I’m very proud of …

Ted Jenkin: It’s amazing.

David Dickey: … and I think it’s one of the most state-of-the-art in the country and I think the most fantastic live-work-play facility, you know, mixed-use development, in the country. We were fortunate enough to be able to do it out of pocket.

Ted Jenkin: You’re one of the top billing stations here in the city of Atlanta. How are you able to train a sales force and pull that off because I think that’s one of the most amazing things as a business.

David Dickey: Well it starts with good partners but even before we get to good partners, I think you have to recognize that with technology today and digital distribution, iPhone app, Android app, desktop streaming, Alexa … there’s so many different ways to consume the product today. We are content creators, we happen to do it on radio. Coming soon we’re going to hang TV cameras and we’re going to do it via television as well. But it’s content and so I think when you take all of that into account, and they become in greater use, in greater popularity and therefore more of the content is consumed digitally as opposed to traditional AM and FM, which by the way is never going away.

Ted Jenkin: Never going away.

David Dickey: It’s going to be around for a long time and that’s a great thing. And we don’t run from that, we embrace it, but then we also embrace all of these different technological vehicles, if you will, the technology that allows us to distribute in different ways.

Ted Jenkin: It’s so hard for an owner to judge the right talent, make the right hire. What do you look for in the qualities of sales people, people that join the Dickey organization that makes them want to stay here. How do you select that right person?

David Dickey: I’ll first answer that by saying it goes back to something my father taught my siblings and I many, many times a long time ago which was find great people to work with and give them the tools they need and then get the heck out of their way. And in terms of hiring sales people, that’s not … recruitment itself is never easy, assuming you have a number of recruits, what man or woman is best for the position and I think it starts with where are the similarities. Do they have a similar moral compass?

Ted Jenkin: You mean, do your values line up?

David Dickey: Absolutely.

Ted Jenkin: The values of the organization and the individual.

David Dickey: And I think that’s critically important and I think values, if you have good values and they line up with the individual, there’s a good chance it’s going to work out long term.

Ted Jenkin: What would you tell somebody that wants to be an entrepreneur out there about getting into the game?

David Dickey: The best advice I can give is don’t wait to be successful. I would challenge anybody, first of all, be certain what you want to do. You’ve got to commit and if you’re going to leave a job or come out of school and pass up maybe a job offer because you want to build something on your own, commit.

Ted Jenkin: The famous Wayne Gretzky basically said, “You will miss 100% of the shots that you never take.” And listen to David Dickey, president of Dickey Broadcasting with a very successful business, 680 The Fan, 93.7 and Fan II and Fan III coming soon, right?

David Dickey: Absolutely.

Ted Jenkin: They’ll be coming soon.

David Dickey: And television.

Ted Jenkin: And television. Much more, check it out right here locally, in your backyard in Atlanta. And that’s the Atlanta Small Business Profile. I’m Ted Jenkin and thanks for watching the Atlanta Small Business Network.

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