If he was still working for cable news he would likely be on the Poland border covering the war in Ukraine, but instead he’s guiding the daily conversation on Connecticut for listeners of WTIC 1080 AM.
A former morning anchor for WVIT-TV30 before leaving in 2007, Brian Shactman, who took over the morning show when Ray Dunaway retired at the end of last year, is just interested in a good conversation.
Unlike television news his show “Brian and Company” is completely unscripted. During a recent visit to the studios in Farmington, Shactman said he likes it that way.
Shactman who worked as a fill-in at ESPN radio “thought radio would go the way of the Dodo,” which is why he turned his focus to TV.
He left NECN/NBC Boston to return to Connecticut, “I got sick of reading from a teleprompter,” Shactman said.
On the radio, “I’m myself. It’s not always the smoothest thing, but that’s where my talent is,” he said.
In radio, Shactman says he can really get into the policies and spend more than two minutes diving into an important topic.
He said the long form interview is what he enjoys.
“I’m naturally curious, we could have a textured conversation,” Shactman said. “I just don’t think that’s happening anywhere else.”
Shactman said “we bring value because we can have real conversations.”
He said it’s easier for politicians to be cautious for two minutes, but by eight minutes sometimes you can get them off their talking points.
And while some may have written off terrestrial radio, he said there’s not a lot of options for good content these days.
The audience in radio is on the older side, but Shactman is trying to change that.
In 2020, 83% of Americans ages 12 or older listened to terrestrial radio in a given week, a figure that dropped slightly from 89% in 2019 according to Nielsen Media Research data published by the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Shactman said he’s been surprised at the number of parents who have been turning to the AM dial.
“It’s more expansive than people think,” he said. “Young families still listen because their parents did.”
“So much weather and traffic and news because the morning audience turns over so quickly. But the key is giving the people the information they need starting their day,” he said.
He said he wants the show to be a success and he’s not doing things to get ratings.
“I’d rather win or lose feeling good about what I’m doing,” Shactman added.