Connoisseur Media


Even with the best product and talent, a company is only as successful as its ability to attract and retain customers. Effective marketing and communications strategies play a critical role in helping to drive such business success. Here, Michael Malpiedi, general manager of Connoisseur Media, talks about the dynamics of the media company and the rapidly changing communications industry in which it operates.

Connoisseur Media is one of the fastest-growing media companies in the country, including 39 radio stations in 11 markets. Tell us briefly about the history of the company and its operations here in northwest Pennsylvania.

Jeff Warshaw’s career in radio ownership began in the early ‘90s followed by the creation of Connoisseur Media in 2004. After starting a few stations in the Midwest, our six-station cluster in Erie was his first acquisition in 2006. The dominance of these stations and the longevity of the staff drew Warshaw to the Erie market. Connoisseur Media centers on radio’s unique ability to fulfill the timeless need for human touch and create local awareness that connects us all. That connectivity is deeply rooted in community involvement, meaningful content, compelling entertainment, and a passionate pursuit to be the best choice for our clients, colleagues and community.

In the Erie market, Connoisseur operates six local stations, including Rocket 101, 93.9 The Wolf, 94.7 Bob FM, Star 104, JET Radio 1400 and Fox Sports Radio 1330. Tell us about the diversity of these stations and the advantages of having such a broad spectrum of audiences.

We are very fortunate to have this diverse cluster of radio stations that collectively reach over 60 percent of Erie County adults on a weekly basis. We offer six distinct formats combined with local and visible on-air personalities that have built a very strong core of loyal listeners. Advertisers are able to benefit from the great cross section of the Erie County community that responds to the music, promotions and advertising messages each station provides.

The communications and media industries are constantly changing. Please explain why Connoisseur Media broadened its services beyond radio to also include interactive digital, mobile, social and event marketing solutions?

As the world evolves and technology advances, we continue to grow our platform enabling us to further engage our audiences in exciting ways that also offer our advertisers new, intriguing and interactive methods to reach consumers. On the mobile front, our stations have downloadable apps that allow continual station access. On the digital front, our stations have highly interactive web and Facebook sites plus a digital department that is able to mobilize customer websites. Listeners are constantly being directed to our web and social media portals for comment, interaction and the ability to win great prizes.

For employers, what are some of the short- and long-term benefits of integrating such services into their branding and strategic marketing plans?

A multimedia approach to advertising is a proven formula for advertising success. Even though radio remains the No. 1 broadcasting medium for reaching the largest number of adults, it is imperative that advertisers remain current. Being able to include social media, digital and mobile elements add immediate and visual components to the listener’s experience. This total package combines radio’s intimacy with the digital world, which helps local businesses become more full-service with minimal additional expense.

What’s next for Connoisseur Media?

Connoisseur Media has grown from a small but well-respected broadcaster to the 20th largest radio company in the country by sales. Our dedication to creating a company that excels in quality, as opposed to quantity, is how “Connoisseur” lives up to its name. Connoisseur Media is committed to only grow in markets like Erie where the need for broadcasting diversity and excellence are revered.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am very proud to be a part of a company that is so established and respected in the Erie community. From Roar on the Shore® to Celebrate Erie to hundreds of local events and charities, you will find one or more of the Connoisseur stations on site. Our radio personalities and marketing consultants grew up in Erie, live in Erie, shop in Erie and appreciate all that makes us love Erie!