Most of you already know him simply as Shark, the 25 year radio veteran, most recently as the PD of 97X (alternative) and 102-5 The Bone in Tampa Florida (Male-orientated 24/7 talk). These days when he isn’t busy hosting The Talent Show Podcast (on iTunes) or coaching talent as President of Zen Shark Media, he is busy working on his true labor of love as Co-founder of the exciting new social media app Heilo. Please enjoy this week’s executive profile with Michael Sharkey.
Congratulations on the launch of this terrific new App. It’s been said that the best ideas are the simplest. How did you come up with the idea for Heilo?
Actually, I was walking my dogs one evening last summer and I thought to myself, “What if everyone in the world had a microphone ... what would they say?” And it hit me that of all the social experiences we are having, none of them are just built around voice. We have images, tweets, videos, live moments but the power of spoken word went away with the phone call. Then, in October, I met my eventual partner at my wife’s high school reunion. We started talking about podcasting and he said, “I have this idea I wanna pitch you!” And as the fate of life would have it ... he pitched me Heilo and the match was made. We both basically had the same idea, but he was better equipped to execute, already having an app development team in place. I joined him and Heilo was born in April 2016.
You’ve been in the radio business forever. What’s it been like making the move from radio to social media?
It’s been a very easy transition. While in radio, and now as a consultant, I believe that listeners will have an “experience” with your station and that it doesn’t always mean they are listening. If fans of my station read my station’s blog, "like" a Facebook post, shared a tweet, then to me, that was just as important. Much like WISM, it’s all about impressions. I work with my radio clients now on understanding the importance of social impressions and moments, and the rapid growth of on-demand audio and podcasting to be a complete radio experience. Way more than just a “tune-in.”
There are so many social media platforms available today. What makes Heilo different from the rest?
It’s all about the power of the spoken word. I learned long ago in radio – and now I see it everyday in podcasting – that when someone connects through spoken word, it is incredibly powerful. Without the aid of a visual, our minds create the perfect vision of the voice speaking to us, and we connect in a very meaningful way. Heilo is built around this power. Also, consuming audio and voice is a “non-exclusive” activity, meaning you can be driving, walking, working out or other activities while you listen. You can’t drive and focus on Snapchat (or at least you shouldn’t!).
As a social strategist, I understand the value of other platforms. I tell clients to use Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, and they all have their purpose. But Heilo creates a powerful lane all it’s own.
This interview is going out to more than 250 music industry executives and musicians, how could they benefit from using Heilo?
In it’s infancy, I have immediately seen the power of Heilo as a “behind the curtain” tool. More so than video, where bands and artists have to look good and be “on,” Heilo allows the intimacy of moments backstage, in the studio or even at home. While I believe Heilo can have an impact in many ways, I am starting with the music industry because I believe artists can create real moments with their fans using Heilo.
You’ve been working all week and you finally have some free time, where would we find Michael Sharkey and what would he be doing?
Sitting by my pool, drinking a good rum or tequila and trying to relax. But the reality of being an entrepreneur is that as soon as I start to relax, ideas start flowing, and then I open Evernote or my laptop and start writing. Is there ever such a thing as free time??? :)
Download the Heilo app here.