Will Lochamy of Yelp: Birmingham

Per Matt
Will Lochamy is a balancing artist. Not only is he the Yelp: Birmingham Community Manager, but he also co-hosts The Iron Bowl Hour on TV alongside his brother, Reed Lochamy, and is an On-Air Personality on Birmingham Mountain Radio, which recently made the transition from an Internet-based radio station to terrestrial radio station. I spoke with Will at the Alabama Phoenix Festival and marveled at how he can multitask so many responsibilities within a limited timeframe, and wondered how he and his brother became “The Brony Guys.”

Would you mind telling me a little about Birmingham Mountain Radio?
– “BMR is an Internet-based radio station, out of Birmingham. It launched in December 2010 amidst a frustrated city with no decent AAA radio stations. After the very popular Live 100.5 was pulled, folks in Birmingham had nowhere to turn. While purely a music station, specialty shows like Reg’s Coffee House and Oh Brother Radio were immediately added.”

How did you initially get involved with Birmingham Mountain Radio?
– “I had been co-hosting Oh Brother Radio for a few years. It had grown in popularity as a podcast and was brought on, in the very beginning.”

Are any of the BMR shows released as a podcast?
– “Oh Brother Radio is the only show that doubles as an iTunes podcast.”

Birmingham Mountain Radio

What are some of the topics you discuss on Birmingham Mountain Radio?
– “OBR is a general interest, two-hour talk show that is live in front of a studio audience at Iron City. We discuss anything and everything (that won’t get us in trouble with our families). We generally have a musical guest, a celebrity that’s coming through town, and pull members of the audience up to compete in trivia or Catch Phrase for prizes.”

Congratulations on moving into you new home, on FM radio!
– “Everyone at BMR is very excited about the addition of an FM station for our listeners. It’s been great to see the support from everyone here in Birmingham and cool to get such national recognition.”

How will the workload change, from being an Internet station to a terrestrial station?
– “Definitely a lot more work. The good news is that Summit Media Group has a full team that’s able to pick up some of the slack.”

What are you looking forward to the most, with your programming now on a terrestrial station?
– “The simple ability to reach so many more people.”

How was 107.3 chosen, as a signal?
– “107.3 is a signal owned by Summit Media Group, whom we’ve partnered with. They chose the signal.”

Yelp: Birmingham at Alabama Phoenix Festival

Was becoming a terrestrial radio station your ultimate goal?
– “No. With that said, it was a viable option, as long as we could keep control of the content.”

Will you be taking Birmingham Mountain Radio on the road to any events, such as conventions?
– “Between BMR, Yelp, and The Iron Bowl Hour there’s hardly a minute to spare. While I’d love to get out and about, I’m usually grounded in Birmingham.”

How did you get involved with Yelp: Birmingham?
– “Yelp was looking for someone in Birmingham who was connected within the city. I’m a Birmingham fanatic, so it was a great fit. Yelp doesn’t advertise, but instead invests in the community through a ‘community manager.’ That’s me. I basically write for them, spread the word, and throw cool events at cool businesses in town. We were at Alabama Phoenix Fest as a marketing partner.”

What is your role with Yelp?
– “My whole job is to connect the local consumer with the local businesses. This could be anything from a plumber to a local grocery store. I basically write about these places and try to educate folks by throwing ‘get-togethers’ at various cool spots in town. Not too shabby.”

Does Yelp sponsor other large events in Birmingham? If so, name a few.
– “We do. Alabama Phoenix Fest, Secret Stages, Birmingham Mountain Radio, MudBugs and Music, etc… Yelp doesn’t get paid for this, but instead carefully chooses events that make sense for the brand.”

You and your brother were very funny as the MCs of the Alabama Phoenix Festival Costume Contest. Do you guys normally host live events? If so, name a few.
– “First, thank you. That was a ton of fun. We actually didn’t know we were doing that until minutes before. We host a TV show called The Iron Bowl Hour, along with the radio show. Both of these do keep us pretty booked up, as far as live speaking goes. It’s usually things like introducing bands at Do Da Day, Art On The Rocks, etc.. Since the radio show is in front of a live audience, we seem to live in front of a crowd.”

Rumor is, you’re a Brony. How did this topic ever reach the pop-culture consciousness?
– “My brother (and co-host) is a seventh-grade language arts teacher. One day, a student asked him if he himself was a Brony. Confused, we discussed it on the show. It became a running joke and we eventually had a writer from My Little Pony on to discuss it. While having never seen an episode of My Little Pony, we are now known as ‘The Brony Guys.’ I once even did an interview on ESPN radio, explaining the Brony phenomenon.”

For More Information:
Will’s Twitter
Yelp: Birmingham
Yelp: Birmingham’s Twitter
Birmingham Mountain Radio
BMR on Facebook
BMR on Twitter
The Iron Bowl Hour
IBH on Twitter