Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Little Promotion From Radio To Our Music Biz Friends

Each week, music promoters reach out to radio.  They call, email, visit in person, all designed to remind us that their artist or song is on the upswing.

This week's Billboard Magazine contains a powerful reminder that it's time for radio to reverse the transaction to be sure that music business decision-makers aren't taking us for granted as they contemplate what sells music for them.

Last year we ranked #18 on their list of priorities and now we're down to ranking #35.


Hey, music biz:  I guess it's true that you always hurt the one you love!  And, THAT hurts.

Fortunately, thanks to the Country Music Association, I have a few stats to point to that hopefully will return radio to a higher rank on the annual "moves music now" survey next time it's updated (click on each graphic to enlarge it):


Thanks, CMA!  It's so wonderful to have a few FACTS at our fingertips to remind our music business friends that they still need to be where the music buyers and fans are.

Those people still rank radio #1 as THEIR platform which still moves their country music now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Questions

Selecting the "right" job-seeker for a gig has always been important, of course.

Now that savviest managers look at every hire as an exercise in branding as well as people skills and talent, it has taken on even greater value.

As you interrogate candidates for your next on-air opening:
  • Describe the type of relationship with the Brand Director that works best for your show?
  • The Market Manager?
  • What kind of prep system (if any) is used to prepare your content?
  • How do you structure it to keep entertainment level consistent?
  • How much time do you spend preparing and when/where do you do it?
  • Describe one of your best ever bits, stunts or other content that really did exactly what you wanted it to do?
  • What characteristics make your persona distinctive?  
  • How does that work in your interactions with coworkers, other personalities and listeners?
  • What are your strongest/weakest areas as a personality?
  • What does "creative" mean to you?  Give an example of creativity in action for you as you work?
  • How do you define our station's target listener?  What is cool/not cool with them?
  • What is your theory on controversy on your show?
  • What if a morning competitor attacks you on air?
  • How do you integrate podcasting, social networking, blogging, the mobile web, texting, phone calls into your prep and content?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
Note to applicants:  if your potential employer doesn't address the 'right' issues in your job interview, that may be a red flag for you as well, before accepting the position.

While the employer is quizzing you, make certain that YOUR needs and concerns are honestly discussed as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Nashville" Needs A Push

ABC-TV's new Wednesday night series spinning juicy tales of life in the country music community of Music City has its third "test" next week.

Last week's airing had a weaker lead-in than the premiere episode, so you know that network execs are watching the stats very carefully between now and February, when the show is scheduled to end its first year run.

It would be great if it gets picked up for another run.  It's loaded with country music, and the writing is addictive.

Get behind the show.  Talk to your local ABC-TV affiliate's promotion staff and also your Big Machine Records rep (they will have a soundtrack album coming soon).

Gossip about it, i.e.  "Is Hayden Taylor?"
Could you get your listeners "walk-on" parts in the show, being produced right now?
Do "Nashville" viewing parties locally for your listeners.

It's not often that Country Music gets a prime time slot on network TV.

Let's all take full advantage of it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Follow The Money

Facebook's latest report to analysts contains this stat:  the social networking giant is only able thus far to generate about 40 cents per user per month in spite (or perhaps because of?) having more than a billion users!

As a result, Facebook is considering offering a gift-buying retail online store for its users as a means of getting their ability to monetize the 14% of the world's population who are using Facebook.

Also this week, the Wall Street Journal is trying to sell a $3.99 ebook to the people who already paid $2 to buy the newspaper.

Disney "and almost every major media company has had a difficult tangle with the Web or gaming. Time Warner and AOL. News Corporation and Myspace. Viacom and the Rock Band game maker, Harmonix."

Is that our future too as we go online?  If so, just how much should a smart businessperson with solid profits and good revenues risk?

The Facebook report makes no claims about how often that average user comes back to the social network, but in spite of that fact I did a bit of back of a napkin number crunching using radio weekly cume and annual revenue estimates from Country Aircheck's June 2012 "Ratings And Revenue" issue and even taking note of the fact that the radio "revenue per average weekly user" probably understates what would be radio's monthly or annual cume vs annual revenues, it's easy to see why it's so difficult to radio and other old media to chase the smaller revenues of the internet when we're doing such a good job compared to Facebook.

Just a few randomly-chosen stations in various size markets, ranked by their ratio of revenue per user in 2011, compared to Facebook's:
  • WZZK, Birmingham - 9.4:1
  • KFDI, Wichita - 8.5:1
  • WGNA, Albany - 7:1
  • WBCT, Grand Rapids - 6.5:1
  • WUBE, Cincinnati - 4.7:1
  • WGH, Norfolk - 4.4:1
  • KEEY, Minneapolis - 4.3:1
  • WUSN, Chicago - 3.4:1
  • WXTU, Philadelphia - 3:1
Do your station's own math (divide your annual revenue by your cume), using your own napkin, but I bet you'll find out that your local analog radio is converting your users to revenue MUCH better than Facebook is.

Our medium may be "old," but it seems like out-billing Facebook on a per-user basis from 3 to 1 to more than 9 to 1 is pretty "cool."

Monday, October 22, 2012

What Every Music Director Knows That Arbitron Seemingly Doesn't

Big kudos to Lincoln Financial Media's Don Benson for his service in the past year as chair of the Arbitron Affiliates Advisory Council.  No one could have done more to call attention to the constant elephant in the room in radio's relationship with ARB, sample sizes.

The challenge appears to be that ARB would like the AAAC to advocate to their radio brethren that the only way to get sample sizes up is to increase the rates they pay and of course meanwhile radio tells their reps on the council that given that the ratings giant's profits have been growing faster than the economy even during these recessionary times and are locked in at the same levels for the next few years, so they see ARB as a parasite that is slowly killing its host.

Once upon a time, when radio research companies were these distant experts who also charged humongous fees for perceptual studies and music testing because they were the masters of techniques that were intellectually above the heads of mere mortals.

Today, that's no longer true, as online music testing and perceptual studies are routinely done in house using email databases and anyone who sees the results week after week can quickly observe the difference a large, representative sample creates in the results versus a too-small one.

This ranker, shared with permission, from a recent test tells me that a total sample of 126 is a pretty reliable indication of how the average listener to this station feels about these songs, especially so if the station looks at a weekly trend report from different people of about the same size sample over multiple weeks and the stats remain fairly stable.

Another station whose data I watch each week just had less than half the sample size of the first one.  Hopefully, the database manager/music director of this station knows that those columns with so many 100%'s - which look a lot like PPM rankers in some narrow cells - are not worth making decisions on.

I'd prefer to see a sample of 250 or more, so all of the narrow demo tabs are also well-balanced and at least the minimum of 30 persons that ARB's PD Advantage and Maximiser will allow you to run a report on. 

49 people with just five or six in the narrow cells? = garbage data. You'd be better of with no research than acting on this particular music test.

Yet, media buyers increasingly are looking at very granular cume and TSE numbers for individual radio stations based on samples that small and expecting them to be consistent and stable.

Hopefully, 2013 council Chair Craig Jacobus and Vice Chair Joel Oxley will be just as vociferous as Benson and his committee has been in 2012 and - for the good of all of us - finally move Arbitron toward not just listening to radio's long-stated concerns, but ACTION on out-dated paper-based diary methodology and sample size increases in all size markets.

See:  How Do You Keep Online Music Testing Sample Sizes Robust? (pdf) A&O music specialist Mark Patric shares his approach.  What's yours?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Clothesline News

I have never met Gerry Phelan, but I decided to give his new business venture a blog plug because, as with anyone who knows about Canadian radio, I know what is perhaps the most unique radio station in the entire world, where he toiled in the newsroom of the most local local radio news station I have ever experienced.

We all say that great radio is creating a unique experience that people who don't live "there" simply don't get it.

For most of us, that's an aspiration but seldom is it a reality.  Too much of North American radio sounds too much alike.

VOCM-AM's music mix is nominally "country music,"  but it mixes in songs and artists you won't hear anywhere else but in Newfoundland with lots of unique talk and local news.

Gerry, now retired from VOCM's news room after 27 years continues to prove what a powerful perspective he brings to his writing as a columnist for St. John's newspaper, The Telegram.

He calls what he specializes in "Clothesline News."  If that concept alone doesn't inspire you to be even more local, local, local than you think you are, it sounds like he'd love to teach your team how to do it even better.

If you're not a consolidated radio group-owned station and especially if you're not a mass appeal format in a large PPM-rated market, your future is going to be about bringing micro-local to life for your community on every delivery platform.

Hit the streets and listen for what's hanging on the clotheslines in your town!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Interruptions are such an intrinsic part of normal male communication that ESPN has even turned the name of its now-legendary "PTI" into an acronym.

For females, not so much.

And, that gender difference in normal conversation is one of the primary reasons for prep on any radio station, team or personality wanting to appeal to women.

Deborah Tannen has been researching, writing about and speaking to help couples "understand" how the things each person says, the way they say it, is perceived by the opposite sex for at least thirty years.

Her reactions to the last two weeks' campaign debates (click to read her New York Times Op Ed on it), with the two candidates' in-your-face approach to one another is a great reminder of why it's important to always know who is going to set up and start delivering content, where it's going and who's going to end the bit.
"Speakers can exploit the sense that they have a right to finish their turn, but demanding that right can backfire. Members of the audience gasped when Mr. Romney told Mr. Obama, “You’ll get your chance in a moment. I’m still speaking.” A courteous “Please let me finish” might have been looked on more favorably.  How much can a listener talk and still be a listener rather than a wannabe speaker? For some the limit is a word or a phrase like “Exactly,” “Yeah, right,” or maybe even “I know what you mean.” But for others it can be much more — “I know, the same thing happened to me” — or even a short story that expands a topic another speaker raised." 

The Georgetown Prof
notes that it's not just a case of needing to know your partner.  You also need to understand your listener as well.
You might think it’s obvious that an interruption is when a second person starts talking before another has stopped. But how long a pause means “I’m done” rather than “I’m catching my breath”? This, too, varies by region and culture — and the difference can lead to unintended interruptions. In 1978, I tape-recorded a Thanksgiving dinner conversation involving two Christians raised in California, three Jews of Eastern European ancestry from New York and a British woman. At times the Californians felt interrupted when their Jewish friends mistook a pause for breath as a turn-relinquishing one. At other times, exclamations like “Wow!” or “That’s impossible!” which were intended to encourage the conversation, stopped it instead.

If you're pert of a male-female team and you want both genders to like you, including prep on "your back and forth/taking turns" of normal conversation requires advance thinking before the mic opens.
"It’s well documented that women tend to be interrupted more than men, and that women who interrupt others are seen more negatively than men who do. (Some years ago John McLaughlin showed me a tape to illustrate what he’d noticed — that Eleanor Clift was cut off far more often than the men on his show.) But it’s also been found that there are more interruptions in all-women conversations, though the talking-over may be more a talking-along in a lively free-for-all." 

What do listeners expect each character to do?  How do you want your listener to respond?

Your team's conversational style may determine whether they seethe quietly, call in to voice their opinion, yell at the radio or turn you off.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Is Radio 48 or 294+ Markets?

Hopefully the old 'Diary Market Owner/Operator Caucus' is on the phone with Arbitron today.

Hopefully, "Radio's Roi in Marketing Mix Models" (click for the pdf) white paper sponsors Dial Global and Premiere, whose business model involves near total coverage of radio in all markets to hit their growing Radar® cume numbers, know what the research they have been a part of for the last two years is going to do to network and national business in all but the 48 PPM measurement DMA's.

It's clear to me why CBS, Clear Channel and Cumulus - which though they do tout their total national cume audiences on their websites but also dominate the PPM markets - are probably going to love this report.

If all you do is pitch to buyers using CPP and present using software - possibly even eventually completely eliminating the need for personal relationships with media buyers - radio is going to get a much larger piece of the media pie in markets where PPM data is available and maybe ultimately get it with a lower cost of sales.

Top 40 and AC stations - those with high cume - are going to reap the rewards, just as they have done at the expense of lower cume/higher loyalty formats.

PPM's "larger sample" (as cited in the white paper) is actually a lot more granular data from a much smaller group of individuals who remain in the sample for as long as several years.  If you want long term data on how those small groups of carefully-selected people use radio, PPM indeed does a better job than diaries which measure far less granular usage by a much larger group of different people over the course of a year or two.

Thankfully, local radio in markets under market #50 is still an excellent business for local owners.  And, equally luckily, ratings and shares have less to do in those places with who gets the buy.

Local advertisers know local radio works.  They place their budgets on stations which get results for them and they don't require computer models to do so or to know what the results they see coming in their front door are worth to them in cash register rings.

That's a good thing, because Arbitron and Sequent Partners as I read it, have just provided the metrics that will move more and more of national ad dollars to the top 48 and away from diary-rated and phone-measured markets.

The big publicly-traded companies are going to want to own larger shares in the PPM-size cities, but will your network or national rep even be interested in you if you happen to have a large audience share in a small or medium market?

Maybe the silver lining behind that cloud is that local owners will stop cutting their rates to meet CPM demands from national buyers and will realize that their real value is on Main Street, not on Madison Avenue or Wall Street.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Bob Pittman is telling Wall Street in his usual cheer-leading style that it's time for "a new life for radio." 

Meanwhile, CBS' Les Moonves is bullish on radio as-is, it seems.  And, their stock price certainly makes it look like he knows what he's talking about.

There's no sense taking sides in the battle of publicly-traded companies in their efforts to tout their stocks.  That's a very profitable business in itself, and reinvention or not, it's not radio to me.

The great thing about talking to our clients, local radio people, every day is that I never seem to have time to dwell on that.

Instead, I am reminded every day how passionate worker bees in thousands of communities are, as they work with passionate creative artists, music promotion executives, advertisers and our equally passionate listeners.

For example, just today....

In telling Country Aircheck's Chuck Aly about next Friday’s Taylor Swift Worldwide Radio Remote (10/26), Big Machine's John Zarling said of Swift: 
“She’ll spend six hours on the 26th talking to radio. She’s spent 20 hours in the last two days doing national radio interviews. And there have been countless media days around the world in the last month. She works harder than anybody to make all this come together.  It just shows Taylor’s conviction and continued engagement with radio, and how much she believes in radio as a way to reach fans.”

KIRO/Seattle's Linda Thomas just blogged

"How could my dream job get any better? It just did.  Here's the funny thing about a new dream coming true. It's exciting and it's frightening.  Creating unique stories for Bonneville Seattle's traditional and new media platforms is my full-time job. A little fear is a good thing. All the interesting stuff happens when we step outside our comfort zones."

Catch me tomorrow and I'll have even more fresh, new stories about what happens when passionate content creators engage listeners.

If you're inside a radio station and not just a corporate office somewhere, I'll bet you can do the same.

Grab some passion and spread it around!

Monday, October 15, 2012


1. the state of being intimate : familiarity
2. something of a personal or private nature
  1. the intimacy of old friends
  2. the intimacy of their relationship
  3. He felt he achieved a certain intimacy with her.
  4. The band liked the intimacy of the nightclub.
Can a mass media performer attain some level of it with a target audience (especially when the word so strongly connotes sexuality, or at the very least some physical contact)?

Can real, lasting intimacy occur without communication?

Fortunately, ideally, today's radio listener still consumes your content in a "one to one" mode, buying into the obvious illusion that the radio personality is using technology to share only to him or her.

The most effective broadcaster talks to one person, knowing that the content is being perceived one person at a time.

Tools which can make the magic happen:

Keep it fresh.  Stagnation in a relationship kills intimacy.
Two people exchange thoughts, share ideas and enjoy similarities and differences between their opinions. If they can do this in an open and comfortable way, then can become quite intimate in an intellectual area.Get involved in mutual activities with one another.
Comfortably share feelings.
Empathize with the feelings of the other person, really try to understand.

To overcome the barriers:
  • Communicate.
  • Give it time.
  • Be aware of yourself and your needs.
  • Don't be shy.  Showing vulnerability and weakness takes courage.
  • Game Playing.  Intimacy can develop only when two people are being authentic in a significant way with another person.  The radio equivalent of this is talking like an announcer, using formal language, the Royal "we" and "us."
Start where you are.
As Mark Ramsey said after hearing Howard Stern interview Rachael Maddow earlier this year:   "That’s not just a voice in your ear, after all. It’s a voice you have a relationship with.  With TV you’re always aware of the glass rectangle separating you from that character in his or her sterile studio. But when you listen to the radio, it’s just you and that voice in your ears.  You and your friend.  This intimacy has tremendous value. And it happens not because of the right mix of songs, for hits are commodities. It happens not because of production value or messaging. It happens not because of contests and bits. It happens not because of more music or fewer commercials. It happens not because of personalization or interactivity.  It happens because that voice belongs to someone who matters to you."

Friday, October 12, 2012


a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b : one in which confidence is placed

Just because a brand's name is "trust," how do you know that you can actually trust it?

As a personality on a well-known radio station that folks have used for a very long time, you start - hopefully - with at least the benefit of the doubt from your listener.

If you're on a new radio station, you have a lot of likeability and trust-building to do.

In either case, trust is a bank account which you're either making deposits in or taking withdrawals out of.

Steps to adding to the amount of trust in your account with your audience:

Tell The Truth.
Do what you say.
Honor your promises.
Show openness.
Show consistency in your behavior.
Be competent.
Demonstrate a strong moral ethic.
Be neutral when placed in difficult predicaments.
Aim to be objective and show fairness.
Do not display double standards.

Share credit generously.

When you're the boss:

"There is a science behind trust—a science you can apply to almost every situation." -

"Engendering trust is, in fact, a competency that can be learned, applied, and understood. It is something that you can get good at, something you can measure and improve, something for which you can "move the needle." You cannot be an effective leader without trust. As Warren Buffett put it, 'Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms.'" - Stephen M. R. Covey

"Trust is to an organization what oil is to a car engine. It keeps the moving parts from seizing up and stopping forward motion." - Michael Hyatt

Thursday, October 11, 2012


It moves Presidential election polls.

Adj.1.likeable - (of characters in literature or drama) evoking empathic or sympathetic feelings; "the sympathetic characters in the play"

2.likeable - easy to like; agreeable; "an attractive and likable young man"
liked - found pleasant or attractive; often used as a combining form; "a well-liked teacher"

The more you have to "sell stuff" on the radio, the harder it is to maintain and yet the more important it becomes (if you want to hold onto and engage the listener while doing the hype).

How to be more likable?
  • Don't lose your smile
  • No left turns.
    Be Engaged, Passionate
  • Make me laugh often
  • Stay positive
  • Compliment and involve your listener in everything
  • Control your insecurities
  • Listen (phones, texts, emails, social nets) and make sure the listener knows you are doing it
  • Sound flexible
  • Make the mechanics seem invisible to the listener (that's radio's version of good manners)
  • Stay humble.  It makes you endearing
Relate and remain relevant.  Be approachable and availableRead up on it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Welcome To My Focus Group

Have a seat.  Make yourself comfortable.  I have a few questions for you.

1.  The next time your local NPR station goes into a pledge drive, please take a random hour and listen to them, with their seven to ten minute breaks begging for dollars.

After you've done that, tune to an AM news station like WCBS, KFWB, WSB or KOMO and spend the same amount of time with them.

Make note of the times you were tempted to tune out.  Do this in your vehicle, on your desktop computer and also on your smart phone.

What role did sharp teasers and engaging writing using power words have in keeping you listening?

Did the longer islands of content, followed by longer islands of things you didn't tune in for work better than more frequent, but much shorter breaks?

Was the experience the same on your analog radio, your desktop stream and the mobile phone?

2.  Now, listen to your own radio station's stream and other online offerings for three random hours in the same way on your desktop, car radio and smart phone.

Next, go to any of the MTV networks websites (my personal fav is and do the same thing with their various online offerings, show highlights with their brief video pre-rolls, exclusive on-line content which wasn't available online, and the full program with its four breaks in a half hour, first one :30, then :15, :30, :30, :15, and then :30, :30, :15, :30 and finally :15, :15, :30, :30 just before the final seconds of the show with a tease for tomorrow's highlight plus a final laugh.  The last commercial in each break includes a countdown timer telling me that my desired content is just seconds away.

Is the experience the same for you on your big screen as it is on your small ones?

What are your thoughts?

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours in a comment below.
  1. I find myself able to spend more time with the "give me 20 minutes" info news wheel than the longer pledge small talk on my phone whereas the chatty, lengthy pledge breaks don't seem as repulsive in the car compared to streaming on my phone.
  2. My experience with a 100% streaming simulcast of the typical FM music station is just as listenable for long periods on a desktop computer at work.  The tune outs for me occur with sloppy ad insertion techniques and repetitive online public service, promos and ads.
  3. On a mobile device I simply can't stay through a five to six minute commercial break and find the :30 second video spots only hold me when they are very compelling and entertaining.  :15's and :20's don't have to be as good to get me to stay for the content that first drew me in.
  4. What can we apply from this experiment to our online streams to at work listeners who want to hear their favorite station on their desktop? 
  5. Will a simulcast of that same programming work for mobile device streaming/podcasting users?
For most focus groups these days, you'd get paid $75 or more for your time and opinions.

This time, though, your premium is the potential of having bigger online audiences, driving revenue growth without cannibalizing your analog product.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Does Selling Local Digital Make Any Sense?

If you attended CRS 2011, I don't need to introduce you to Shelly Palmer.  His keynote which placed terrestrial radio in context with all the emerging techno gadgets, websites, mobile devices and media consumption trends, if you missed it last year, is worth downloading.

Never a boring speaker, always challenging conventional wisdom, Shelly is doing it again this week in the wake of last week's Madison Avenue Advertising Week:
I asked him how much he thought he should spend to create a website that would increase his business. “I don’t know,” he answered. “The one I have was free.”
When I reiterated that his free website was probably hurting his retail business rather than helping it, he asked me for some free suggestions that he could implement for free that would … yep, you guessed it … get him to the front page of Google.

This is a real conversation that actually took place. I’ve changed the owner’s name, but other than that, this is exactly how it went. Let’s review:

  • A retailer with two doors, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.
  • A website that was created for him as a promotion by a template-using website company with the hopes that he would eventually pay.
  • A business owner with absolutely no clue how advertising, marketing, sales and PR work in the 21st Century for local retail businesses in his vertical.
  • A business owner with zero aptitude and zero headcount to implement even the simplest technological solution.
This week, I have seen about 20 pitches from companies offering hyper-local and location-based solutions targeting local advertisers. Next week I will probably see 10 more. Hasn’t anyone spoken to Harry?

There is no incremental local retail advertising to be had. The money simply isn’t there. If a local company is big enough to advertise, it is already doing it. If it is not big enough to advertise — there’s a reason. The myth of local advertising is that it exists at all. It simply does not.

Local online advertising a myth?

That will come as a surprise to Borrell Associates, which in early September reported:
1. Local online advertising is growing 21% this year.  If your operations are growing more, you’re gaining share.  If not, you’re losing share.
2. Our forecast might shock you.  It calls for 30% growth for 2013.  While it’s a bit early to issue accurate forecasts, our surveys of local advertisers indicate that this rate of growth is likely. If you find this hard to swallow, perhaps the information on page 3 will help.
3. Local media companies should be aiming for a 15% to 20% share of online ad spending in a DMR.  The upper limit is 42%.

However, percentages aren't the same as real dollars and when you start with the estimate that terrestrial radio will bill something like $15 billion in 2012, and you look at the measly portion of total revenues digital is contributing in that same Borrell report it begins to look like Palmer is on to something.
Wouldn't it make more sense to chase after a larger share of the 97-99% piece of our pie, let alone the swiftly-shrinking newspaper ink money, and permit the lemmings to trumpet digital growth?

Start showing your local merchants copies of Shelly's perspective and then share your "radio gets results" testimonials from their local competition using your station successfully right now.  Finally, pull out this video.

Believe it; champion it.   Local advertising is not a complete myth as long as we understand our medium's real strengths and teach those local prospects with budgets too small for the internet that by using today's radio we can help them grow no matter how many doors they own, even just one.

If we fail to do it while chasing pennies instead of dollars, we'll be responsible for making Shelly Palmer quite correct in a very few years.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Surprise, Surprise

Madison Avenue, directly or indirectly, allocates nearly a trillion dollars in advertising budgets to influence consumers via media, but how much does the personal media habits and interests of industry pros influence the media they use to do that? It’s an old question that it taking on new impetus in the age of hyper accelerated digital media change, and some new research indicates that the personal media habits of industry pros isn’t anything like that of the consumers they are charged with influencing.

The research, which was presented by the Media Behavior Institute last Thursday night during MPG’s Collaborative Alliance session during Advertising Week, indicates that media pros are much more likely to be heavy users of digital media – particularly mobile and social – and are much less likely to use traditional media such as TV and radio than average consumers.

The study, which utilized a mobile app-based diary that a small, non-projectable sample of industry executives used to self-report their media usage during one day in their working life, compared their behavior with MBI’s ongoing USA TouchPoints study, which captures the same daily usage data among the general consumer population for 10-day periods.

                                                               (chart from Inside Radio)

While the data is based on a small sample, the findings are striking, because the media pros reporting were so dramatically different than average consumers, especially when it came to their use of Internet-connected computers and mobile devices.

Just ask anyone in your sales department.  This info will come as nothing new.

I'd add more, but I can't top the comments at the bottom of the Mediapost article:
  • Don Seaman from TVB:  "It also would explain the industry's obsession with "Mad Men"..." 
  • Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct :  "For all the talk of informed strategy, far too many ad agency decisions are based on personal preference and neighborly anecdote. This is good data for provoking thought. It also explains the ad biz obsession with digital - resulting in spending that far outpaces it's effectiveness." 
  • Domenico Tassone from The Encima Group, Inc. "It's called the echo chamber."

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Pat Pending

Once upon a time in radio a name like the above would probably have been nothing more concerning than the "nom de plume" of your all night jock.

The closest to copyright law we got was the annual reminder not to say the words "Super Bowl" on the air in connection with a promotion without getting the NFL's approval.

Ditto with the word "Olympics" every four years.

Then, thanks to Mission Abstract Data, suddenly every owner, GM and Chief Engineer has been forced to bone up on copyright law over the last few years.

Recently, due to major group consolidation even formerly settled brand name and position statements that stations have used on the air in their marketing for many years have been changing and new claims to service marks have emerged, now asserting ownershio of even "pictures, cartoons, drawing type, typeset words, letters, numbers" that radio companies have been using for a long time.

Lawyers for these radio stations, after reviewing the paperwork, have been advising in many cases to pay the new claimant for use of the marks as cheaper than engaging in a protracted and expensive court battle well before you have invested advertising time and money to make the names extremely valuable to you.

Can you say "Samsung?"

Yes, it can cost several thousand dollars to do a service mark, brand name, trade mark, copyright search.  So, it's tempting to cut a corner when choosing a name for that new talent, benchmark, position statement, brand name and just put it on the air, hoping that you can later demonstrate "first use," since it seemed at the time like you originated it.

Don't do it.

It can cost even more to aggressively protect a name that you did trade mark and feel you own, but if you don't spend that money, you risk losing it.

So, you must do it.

If you're in the business of mental warfare, whether you want to be or not, you are in the copyright, service mark and trade mark game too.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

These days as I listen to the almost-daily samples of very creative and solid country station imaging that arrives via email from the many excellent voices and contemporary approaches now available I am often reminded of how just a few years ago it seemed like just a very small handful of voices understood the impact of generational change in our target listener.

So, yesterday, when I clicked an online demo and heard a gruff basso profundo saying "Hey, K-104, how about a friendly little game of 'we kick your ass?' in a station montage, I couldn't click the "stop" button on the media player fast enough.

It reminded me of a Blair Garner story of one of his affiliate stations some years ago that edited one of Blair's series of self-deprecating country artist drops poking fun at himself, which said "Hi, this is (big star).  When ever I am in (town), I never listen to "After Midnight With Blair Garner."

Instead, they had the star sounding like he was saying that they never listen to the "other" country station in town.

The majority of the station's listeners probably scratched their head and wondered what that was about. 

The star's management got very upset at the offending station, of course, and meanwhile the competition's programmer probably smiled each time it ran, saying a silent "thank you" for the mention of his call letters in such a mean spirited manner.

A friendly reminder:  "image" is the picture of yourself that you hope listeners have of YOU. 

Opportunities to create a great one are rare, so make the most of them.

What purpose does it serve to send messages which make listeners feel like you're about as likable was the wicked Queen in Snow White?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


Another "Talent Tips" treasure by Jay Trachman

"He'd do okay here, if only his ego didn't keep getting in the way." If you're like me, you've heard that a few times in your life, and once in awhile, about yourself. You're probably aware that people with weak, rather than strong, egos tend to become performers. (The ones with the strong egos become salesmen.)

Here's what Dr. Paul Ornstein back when he was at the U. of Cincinnati said at a conference on narcissism: "Self-esteem depends on how well-developed your sense of self is. We're all exceedingly protective to the extent we feel vulnerable."


The great psychiatrist Alfred Adler said: "The deeply narcissistic person feels incomplete, and uses other people to feel whole."

Anyone we know?

The NY Times, reporting on Ornstein's presentation 15 years ago said, "Up to a point, narcissism can help a person be more successful and happy, but in more extreme cases it causes serious problems in relationships and careers."

Ever have any of those?

Then they displayed a chart comparing "healthy" versus "unhealthy" narcissism. I'd think of it as "strong ego" versus "weak," but you'll find stuff in here that's familiar...

Healthy: Appreciates praise, but does not live for it. Unhealthy: Has an insatiable craving for adulation. Needs praise to feel momentarily good about self.

Healthy: May be hurt by criticism, but the feeling passes. Unhealthy: Is enraged or crushed by criticism, and then broods for long periods.

Healthy: Feels unhappy but not worthless after a failure. Unhealthy: Failure sets off feelings of shame and worthlessness.

Healthy: Feels "special" or especially talented to a degree. Unhealthy:  Feels superior to everyone else, and demands recognition for that superiority.

Healthy: Does not feel hurt if no special treatment is given. Unhealthy:  Feels entitled to special treatment, that ordinary rules do not apply.

Healthy: Is sensitive to the feelings of others. Unhealthy: Is exploitative and insensitive to what others need or feel.

If some of your responses fall into that "unhealthy" category, what can you do about it? Of course, the article doesn't say, so you'll have to settle for my own thoughts on the matter.

First of all, the only thing they've achieved so far is to stick labels on human responses: "healthy," "unhealthy."

The dumbest thing I could do at this juncture is to point to the "unhealthy" ones and say, "Don't be like that!" That's about as helpful as saying, "Just be yourself!"

The truth is, I'm not sure there is any "cure," in the ordinary sense, for this "unhealthy narcissism."

No one ever cured me of those naughty characteristics. And yet, I'm not that way today (at least, not most of the time.)

If there's some process by which you can "cure" the unhealthy narcissist, I don't know of it. The passage of time is what mainly did it for me, as it probably will for you, too.

I only have one suggestion here: when people give you compliments, listen to what they say.

Try to be open to the knowledge that at least some people like, not just what you're doing, but who you are.

And if you worry about being perceived as an "egotist," remember that egotism is rooted, not in superiority, but in insecurity.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Mobile Money Is On The Move

The future of online revenue growth is going to increasingly come from mobile devices.  Ad insertion to mobile streams will work, but the level of unwanted interruptions will need to be under two to four minutes per hour. 

The quality of the ads will need to fit the environment you create around them.  The rates will need to be higher than anyone is getting today. 

Two five-six minute commercial breaks, carefully placed for maximum listening credit will continue to work in PPM for AM and FM radio as long as no direct competition plays fewer. 

100% simulcasts do make radio more listenable than what we've offered, but the long breaks will push the mobile listeners away unless we find ways to create content that drives constant usage and either charge subscription fees for hearing it with no commercials and/or create custom content designed just for mobile listeners with extremely brief pre-rolls in front of it.

The future isn't as different as many people paint it, as long as we remain open to the hard facts of the expectations listeners and advertisers have and build our businesses around them.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Winning Requires Discipline And Intelligence

Finding and constantly (several times weekly!) connecting with all of the heavy radio users in your metro who are research-responsive - especially ones who are open to trying your radio station - is an expensive but extremely powerful tactic employed by almost all market-leading radio brands.

If you're not one of them, perhaps this could be why?