Radio Redefined

Radio. Media. Entertainment.

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29 Plays

Best. Voicemail. Ever. from my son giving me an update on the #WhiteSox game.

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"Radio is free, local, mobile, and digital … it’s the last great reach medium!" - Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey.

In this CNBC interview, Dickey shared his company’s strategy behind betting on “Nash” - a new Country music station in New York City. More importantly, he shared a glimpse of the future for radio. 

According to Dickey, Nash is “the flagship for a multimedia entertainment brand” that will extend to radio, online, event, publishing, and ultimately video.

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Poking Facebook - Should Radio Follow Mark Cuban’s Lead?

Tech billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he is fed up with Facebook and will take his business elsewhere. He’s sick of getting hit with huge fees to send messages to his team’s fans and followers. - Mark Cuban: Facebook is Driving Away Brands - Starting With Mine

This article about Mark Cuban taking his brands away from Facebook sparked conversation around the radio station today. Should we be following Mark Cuban’s lead?

Short answer, Yes … and No.

A radio station is a community and our own sites should host the best content / most rich experience for listeners to participate in that community. We can’t make a new Facebook nor should we want to. What we can do is create customizable content on our sites that our fans can comment, prioritize, Like, share, and engage with on their terms. 

Here are some additional thoughts on how a radio station (mine included) can best use Facebook and other social media:

  • First, “Relentlessly focus. Prune your message and your list and build a reputation that’s worth owning and an audience that cares.” - Seth Godin on Avoiding The Trap of Social Media Noise
  • Also, there is wisdom in not putting all a brand’s eggs/stock/efforts into one platform (i.e. Mark Cuban: ”We won’t abandon Facebook, we will still use it, but our priority is to add followers that our brands can reach on non-Facebook platforms first.”).
  • Most Importantly: Have a Digital Strategy and Digital Director for each brand to ensure we appropriately leverage both the social networks AND our own sites. While Program Directors are ultimately responsible for our respective radio stations, a Digital Director can bring day to day focus and direction to the content a station is pushing out across platforms.
Start with our own sites, then worry about social media. A radio station’s web experience ought to be seamless for our users whether they are on an iPad, iPhone, Android or a home computer. Once on the site, our listeners should be able to choose customizable content (audio, video, blogs, evangelism tools, etc.) based on their needs. When our site is seamless, then we can better determine best how to use social networking sites to complement (not replace) our websites and mobile platforms.

Those are my thoughts … I’d love to hear yours.

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Ellen, why do you have to be so mean?

Two takeaways for radio from Ellen’s interview with Taylor Swift:

1) Note the total interview time.

2) Who carried the interview & made it entertaining: the well prepped host or the country music starlet?

The show is called Ellen for a reason. Radio personalities talk. Artists sing. Authors write. Sometimes, I think radio personalities get this confused when interviewing artists or other guests.

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Memo to All Air Talent

You work in media. Radio is one way people can listen. The internet is another way. BEGINNING NOW, make your content more easily share-a-ble (i.e. re-purpose things you are doing on-air) and make it available on the web. If I were you, I’d be posting at least one break/bit/segment/promo/podcast/interview/whatever on your station’s social media sites DAILY.
I never listen to Ryan Seacrest on the radio. But I see a video of his or hear an interview clip post on Facebook daily.



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ReThink Everything

In a recent blog from Mark Ramsey, he challenged radio broadcasters to think outside the hot clock:

In an on-demand world we don’t need to fill time.  We just need to fill demand.  Because time belongs to me, the consumer. That means more content, shorter content, easier to share content, fresh content.

Couldn’t agree more. So I asked my afternoon show host, Brant Hansen, to take the day off the radio. And create a compelling and shareable podcast instead. He did. He also wrote a blog and made a brief appearance on-air to address why he wasn’t doing his normal show. It created the desired buzz, is being shared, and has received a ton of positive feedback from listeners.

Here’s one such response from Cindy on Facebook: “I just heard the podcast all the way through and I enjoyed every aspect of it. It made me laugh and there were some profund moments that had me tearing up. To me, your experiment was a success.”

The experience was a success and thus we’re going to feature a “Best of” show on Fridays this summer while we create more “Brant Hansen Extra Special Bonus Radio Specials”. (We’re still working on the name.)

The goal is to create content that matters to our listeners even when that content doesn’t fit between two songs on the radio. I am a ratings whore and 100% agree with Fred Jacobs:

It is our jobs as programmers, consultants, and managers to work with shows and personalities to bring out their best, put them in a position to win, help them create the best radio they can, and provide enough time and patience to see results.  There’s is a balance of playing the PPM game but also doing radio that matters.

This is only the beginning. More to come and I welcome your comments on creative ideas you have for expanding the reach and shareability of radio.

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Asked how long it took to achieve Excellence, IBM’s legendary boss Tom Watson is said to have answered more or less as follows: “A minute. You ‘achieve’ Excellence by promising yourself right now that you’ll never again knowingly do anything that’s not Excellent - regardless of any pressure to do otherwise by any boss or situation.”
The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence by Tom Peters

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Power of Observation & Inspiration: How Frank Sinatra Inspired The Greatest Children’s Show of All Time

The animated show, “Who’s S-S-Scared?”, was set around four kids, who solved mysteries, in a haunted house. It would become one of the biggest children’s television shows of all time. CBS Television Executive Fred Silverman, who developed the show to revitalize the children’s programming block on Saturday morning, had just one problem. The President of the network thought it was too frightening.

Fred jumped on a red-eye to meet with the producers of the show. On the flight, “Strangers in The Night” by Frank Sinatra comes on and when Fred hears the lyric “scooby-dooby-do…”, inspiration strikes. He has the solution. He’d move the kids’ dog to the front of the cast and call him, and by extension – the show, Scooby-Doo. The silly named dog added enough laughs to alleviate the fear-factor and the rest is history.

Amazing how refocusing one small thing changes everything.

When it comes to radio, even the most basic station “liner” can come alive when a jock finds a fresh way to present the content. Talent coach Tommy Kramer has a great tip on on how to accomplish this, here: Coaching Tip #61 - Camera Angles.

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10 Plays

Radiogirl (Margaret Larkin)’s podcast interview with voice-over talent Jeff Davis is a must listen for everyone in radio or anyone seeking to work in radio.

Highlights include:

  • Jeff recalls what then WLS PD John Gehron told him as the reason he got the job over a more experienced candidate, “It all came down to attitude … you were so enthusiastic about radio and doing the work. The other guy wanted to know how much he was going to get paid.”
  • Jeff’s advice for those seeking a job, “If you ever want to work somewhere, become that station.”
  • "Radio at its best is acting … An artistic intro, there’s nothing like it.”
  • "The ability to create picture is really important."