HANSON — Real estate brokerage is one of those businesses where networking drives business. So how does a realtor keep an agency thriving during a pandemic lockdown?
For Peter Kenney, the president, broker and a realtor at the Real Estate Door in Hanson, the answer to a thriving future lay partly in the past.
He had done most of his daily face-to-face networking at the gym or other venues where he would run into friends and acquaintances from the community. All that stopped when COVID forced gyms across the Commonwealth to close for several weeks.
“It’s really the people you meet face-to-face you develop trust with,” Kenney said. “We were cut off from all of that. My background was radio and I said we might as well put up a radio station.”
Kenney returned — as a sideline — to that past life in radio [the BostonPete.com radio network with 22 syndicated shows on the Microsoft platform for 14 years] and brought it into the 21st century by putting his idea online and LPMix.Live Radio was born in May 2020.
Licensed as a radoi station, they have to pay for a service that tracks the songs played to ensure that royalties to artists.
Where he used to feature nostalgia from the “19-teens to the’ ’90s,” if there’s a genre at work here, it’s eclectic classic as Kenney describes it, encompassing rock, America, folk and today’s alternative music.
Pulling into his 502 Liberty St. driveway in Hanson on Tuesday, Aug. 17, this reporter heard Don McLean’s “American Pie” from speakers piping the LPMix.Live stream at, low volume, to the outside. Later in the morning, listeners could hear Foreigner’s ’80s hit “I Want to Know What Love Is,” Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You” from 1972 and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; “I Need Never Get Old” in rapid succession.
“I knew it was pretty easy to pop up a station for us, but community-based, local station, so people won’t forget Real Estate Door — our brokerage,” he said in an interview at his office.
Local artists such as Blacktop Strut, Marnie Hall, Howie Newman Music, Mark Bellwood Music, Dave Mansfield (“Chicken Scratches & Second Chances”), Patrick & Kate, and Bright & Dark Band have been featured on the streaming radio service. Kenney has even been contacted by groups as far afield as the UK looking to be featured on LPMix.Live.
The streaming radio service also gives the musicians a chance to introduce their own songs and promote themselves.
He asked realtor Sue Shiels if she would serve as the in-house weather forecaster.
“At least I don’t have to compete on the TV stage with the local weather,” Sheils said with a laugh. “We’re at that status, we’re getting blamed for the weather now.”
But that also proved to her that people are listening.
Kenney said it also keeps Sheils’ name in the mind of potential clients and, as an advertising platform, it is one of the most economical available to him.
“We do public service announcements,” Kenney said. “She reminds everyone about the water ban and things like that. Coyotes and Boo Boo (the black bear) in the area.”
Kenney gives back to the community — and its businesses — by offering “shout outs to local business.” Local small business owners, or clients and patrons of one, can offer a shout out to the business by calling 781-499-6225 Ext. 123 and the business could be selected for recognition on the live stream.
“They call in on the line and we can use their voice or they can send us a script,” he said. “Helping each other.”
The Real Estate Door also has a small free library outside its door for people to share books and help keep the business in mind.
Kenney noted that even as the real estate market is great for sellers, some people, particularly older sellers, are wary of having strangers in their houses due to COVID-19.
The Zoom culture’s ability to bring people together via social media has been felt to a degree with the streaming station.
“We get the emails because we get the requests,” he said. “We set up a voice extension for requests for dedications and things like that.”
Contests have really taken off.
“It made it more interactive for us,” Kenney said. “We make it fun.”
Prizes for contests such as “Guess the Celebrity Voice” include $20 gas gift cards from Ferry’s Automotive, $50 gift certificates and a T-shirt from RC Plumbing of Hanson and a $50 dining card and basket of “cool swag from John Alexopoulos of Radius Financial Group.
One of the tougher voices for people to guess recently was Australian actor Russell Crowe [“A Beautiful Mind”].
“No one could guess that one, but sometimes you can recognize the lines, if you’re a movie watcher,” he said. “There’s at least three winners a month.”
Alexopoulos also records a “Mortgage Minute” and financial planner Josh Singer does investment segments.
“We just want to expand our listenership and keep ties with our community,” Kenney said. “We would love more involvement from local businesses — all working together, keeping the doors open.”