The mortgage business has done a lot to get up to speed on social media, greatly boosting industry participation in the last couple of years on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. But thereís one online venue they havenít made a big dent in yetóonline radio.
"Itís a form of social media. Itís social. Itís media," says David Lykken, who has put on a weekly mortgage radio show every Monday since 2007. His hour-long program, "Lykken on Lending," is presented live on streaming audio, which is then turned into a podcast available on iTunes and on the radio showís website.
Mortgage managers are passing up a good marketing opportunity in Internet radio, says Lykken, who is the owner and managing partner of Mortgage Banking Solutions, an Austin, Texas, consulting business. His show has generated 332,000 downloads to date, and individual programs have brought in anywhere between 1,000 and 30,000 listeners.
Lykken says he started the show because "mortgage executives have so much information to consume that they need a digest." Podcasts provide an alternative to reading and can be accessed from archives more easily than print media, he says. He also believes some people retain audio information better than reading material.
Mortgage managers can use streaming audio on both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer sides, says Lykken.
"Every mortgage company should do their own radio show," he says, but itís still an empty field. "Iím happy to help," he says. (He is, after all, a consultant.) But he admits "I have yet to have anybody take it up."
While consumers are unlikely to regularly listen to a business-to-business radio show, those in the market for a home currently are good targets for B-to-C and younger borrowers especially do lots of Internet research, he says. B-to-B applications would include lenders trying to recruit brokers or correspondents and tech providers looking to snag lender customers.
Lenders can effectively market their products by linking their radio shows to their Facebook pages and also can use them to do special events like remote shows from open houses, he says, reaching consumers and real estate agents who can provide referrals.
Heís done such remotes himself. Lykken was in New York the week of May 19 to attend the Mortgage Bankers Association's National Secondary Market Conference. He streamed his May 19 show from a table adjacent to the registration desk at the Marriott Marquis hotel, armed with headphones, a microphone, a laptop and an iPod.
He is hoping to do more live remotes, at venues such as state mortgage trade group meetings.
There's a call-in line for listener interactivity, and Lykken greeted passersby on Monday in New York and tried to get some of them to talk live into his mike. But the mortgage people walking by proved to be radio-shy, he says.
His show, a part of the BlogTalkRadio network, is structured as a series of industry reports, with one special guest each week. Weekly correspondents include industry analysts Joe Farr on the capital markets, Alice Alvey on legislative developments, and "The Profit Doctor," Andy Schell. Farr is sales and marketing director of MBSQuoteline in Austin. Alvey heads the learning division at Indecomm Mortgage, which is based in Novi, Mich. Schell is a managing partner and co-founder of Lykken's shop.
Lykken's live guest at MBA was Lester Dominick, founder and president of longtime technology provider MortgageFlex Systems, a Jacksonville, Fla., firm that has been in the mortgage space for more than 30 years. Lykken and Dominick talked tech and didnít shy away from controversial issues, such as the problem of denial of service as shown by the outage suffered recently by Ellie Mae. Other recent guests have included MBA president CEO David Stevens and chief economist Michael Fratantoni.
Mortgage radio is the latest addition to what has been a 40-year career in the mortgage business for Lykken (he tried retirement once, but didnít like it). He is a former lender, working for a commercial bank in the Pacific Northwest before helping start mortgage software firm Interlinq.
After that he started three mortgage companies in California, including United Lender Group, a consumer-direct lender. In 2001 he began his mortgage consulting business. (Disclosure: Lykken has done consulting for Investcorp, the corporate parent of National Mortgage News, though he has done no work for our Mortgage Group.) He is also a commentator for business television, having appeared on Fox and CNBC.
Lykken's enthusiasm for mortgage radio doesnít seem to be lagging. In fact, heís looking to add streaming video to the radio show's display page. That will add more interactivity, though it also might make it even harder for Lykken to get live interviews at remote events from camera-shy mortgage execs.
Mark Fogarty, Editor at Large at†National Mortgage News, writes analysis and commentary based on his 30 years covering the mortgage industry.