New local radio show, Healthcare Now, fills important niche
By LYNNE JETER
“In America, we’ve practiced sick care. But in the future, we need to be practicing preventive and wellness care. How do you transition from one to the other? That’s what we’re trying to help people understand.” – Larry Jones, co-founder of Heathcare Now radio show in Orlando.
On Saturday mornings, Larry Jones, John Kelly and “Dr. Mark” hit the airwaves on 950AM/94.9 FM – The Answer to discuss ways for doctors and patients to receive the best value for the healthcare dollar and a higher level of client satisfaction and outcomes.
“Simply put, our goal is to provide our listeners with information that will help them better manage their healthcare and in turn, help them live a healthier life,” said Mark Chaet, MD, a pediatric surgeon better known as “Dr. Mark,” founder of Independent Healthcare Partners (IHP), and chief medical officer of the weekly show. “As for providers and payers, working with more informed clients will hopefully ‘up their game,’ making for a better healthcare delivery system.”
IHP CEO Jones, executive director of the Integrated Independent Physicians Network (IPN), created the radio show with Kelly, publisher of Orlando Medical News, a business-to-business publication established in 2005 that routinely logs more than 300,000 page views monthly.
“John and I were guests several times on American Adversaries (Radio Show) with Chris Hart, a Thursday drive-time radio program that takes call-ins,” said Jones. “Every time we did a show, it blew up their phone lines with people wanting to ask questions about healthcare. After the shows, we’d get calls at work from people wanting to know more.”
After selling the concept to Salem Media Group (SMG), Kelly took the business reins of the Healthcare Now show. SMG, a national commercial radio media company, has 115 radio stations with varied programming formats, such as Wall Street Business Network.
“We were immediately well-received by listeners and advertisers,” said Kelly, also long-known as a high school basketball coach for Orange County Public Schools. “Like all new radio shows, we’re evolving our audience. ‘Frequent flyers’ routinely answer our Question of the Week or email comments to guide us.”
Healthcare Now is marketing as an informative and interactive healthcare radio talk show, featuring guest healthcare leaders “with no softball questions,” noted Kelly, and educationally based for providers, patients/consumers, and payers.
As an example of information shared on the program, Jones told of a listener who had a sleep study prescribed for her. She said she was informed the copay for the study would be $1400. After searching her provider directory, she found the same study for a total cost of $400 with only an $80 copay through an independent physician.
The most recent guest speaker at press time: Deborah German, MD, UCF founding dean of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine and UCF vice president for health affairs. Since 2006, German has chartered unprecedented advances in Central Florida’s medical community.
Pete Paquette, director of operations, programming, and production for SMG-Orlando, said he’s getting great feedback from listeners.
“We’re very pleased with the direction of the show,” he said.
In fact, Healthcare Now’s popularity, with only 11 shows aired at press time, has caught the attention of syndicators, who are mulling recruiting the show for national syndication. The Salem Radio Network provides programming for some 3,000 affiliates.
“The total mission of this program is to build educated healthcare consumers to where they know how to deal with their benefits, how to deal with their insurance company, how to seek care, how to maneuver and manipulate through this complex and confusing healthcare system,” said Jones. “Also, how to seek high quality care in a cost-effective manner. The real key is about finding the right care at the right time at the right place for an appropriate amount of money.”
For example, the show represents all healthcare points-of-view. “But right now,” said Chaet, “independent systems deliver a better value for the healthcare dollar and a higher level of client satisfaction and outcomes.”
Healthcare Now’s lucrative audience has a median age of 58, median income of more than $75,000, with 28 percent college graduates, and 27 percent with advanced degrees.
“We can take a number of paths to increase our listener base,” said Chaet. “I like the podcast angle, but we’re open to other channels such as syndication to see that our messaging is available to more consumers.”
Jones is thrilled with the show’s immediate impact and positive trajectory.
“People are hungry for healthcare information,” said Jones. “In America, we’ve practiced sick care. But in the future, we need to be practicing preventative and wellness care. How do you transition from one to the other? That’s what we’re trying to help people understand.”
For more information on Healthcare Now, contact John Kelly at (407) 701-7424 or HealthcareNow@OrlandoMedicalNews.com. Tune in 7-8 am every Saturday on 950 AM/ 94.9 FM-The Answer.