Friday, August 28, 2015

2 DAYS + 400 CREATIVES: Highlights from Morning Show Boot Camp 27

What if you could spend two days sharing ideas with hundreds of extremely creative, self-motivated, often fearless radio talent and executives bent on success?

I got to do that earlier this month at Talentmaster’s Morning Show Boot Camp 27 in Chicago.

Joining Steve Goldstein, Tim Clarke, Jeff Dauler, Harv Blain and John Gehron as a presenter on the “50 Shades of Great: 50 Ideas in 50 Minutes” panel was fun, but even better was being part of the creative give and take.

If you were there, I hope we got to spend time together. If you weren’t, here are some (really, just some) highlights from #MSBC27.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT STUDY – 7 Key Findings that are Sure to Change Your Approach to Choosing Content

An audience research-driven presentation from Tracy Johnson, Tracy Johnson Media Group and Hal Rood, Strategic Radio Solutions

  • P1s: Tune in for 9 minutes, 3 times per day, 2 days per week (MF 6-10am). The audience misses 95.5% of your show so recycle your content.
  • Each break should have multiple pay-offs. Lost attention is hard to regain.
  • Establish features and manage them as you would a brand. Good features help you develop a deep footprint.
  • A unique POV beats great content every time. Think: “relevant content plus perspective.”
  • Be famous for something (ideally your “One Thing”)
  • Double Your Ratings Math: Leveraging the Power of Plus One
    • 3 quarter hours per day, 2 days per week – contributes 6 QHRs - 1 more tune in per day + 1 more day per week (perhaps your benchmark) – adds 6 QHRs per week to take your original 6 to 12
  • The only reason to put listeners on the air is to make you stand out as a personality.
  • Social media is not a strategy it’s a tactic. Your brand is the strategy.

Live Read/Mad Money

How to make live reads more effective, entertaining and profitable. Jeff McHue – Randy Lane Company;
  • Endorsements get best results of any advertising on the station; Pandora can’t do this
  • Listeners do not tune out endorsements; they're considered part of the show
  • Endorsements are WOM
  • When accepting an endorsement, ask questions about the purpose of the campaign, the target, and how success will be measured.
  • Product decisions are rarely about the product (Harley)
  • “Learn how to tell them a story and you’ll be a success.” (Don Hewitt - 60 minutes)
    • Have a 'Hook Headline' (tell me if this makes me a bad parent)
    • Make stories out of real life. 
    • “Mine Your Life to the Bare Walls” (screenwriting tip)
    • Use a Life Tree to help you recall your stories
    • Ask, "What else can we do to make this better/different?"

Your Station’s Social Playbook: Radio’s 1st Social Media Study

Better Content, Better Ratings: Using Social Media to Drive More Compelling Content. Victor Caballero
  • 'Spray and Pray' common but not effective strategy
  • Three ‘microphones’ – on air, social, digital
  • Heavy social media users are research-friendly
  • Reading/replying should be 2:1 over posting (two ears, one mouth)
  • Consider social for ‘exclusive content;’ put show left-overs on social; create social media benchmarks
  • Use social to make your show last the whole day
  • Implement 'Social Air Checks'

The Producer’s Forum: The Essentials of Great Producers

Sure, some of this applies to producers only, but there are gems here for talent and PDs, too. Eric Rowe (Roula and Ryan – KRBE Dallas), Tommy Owen (Bert Show), Randy Stein (Fitz Show), JC Fernandez (Mercedes in the Morning); Moderator Tommy Sablan (Jeff and Jerr)

  • Biggest change from producer to talent: having to have an opinion on everything we talk about on the show. (JCF)
  • Our show is like SNL. We all bring ideas to the table and Bert is the Loren Michaels who makes the decisions about what gets on the air. (TO)
  • Before you leave, sit back down and do five more things. (ER)
  • Big part of producing an ensemble is managing the situation. You have to make those people like each other for 3 to 5 hours. (TS)
  • Watch the History of the Eagles; seeing how they interact with each other will help any morning show.
  • Always protect the show. It’s the producer’s job is to protect them from outside negative forces. (JCF)
  • A good producer takes time to listen to each member of the crew. Each person in the crew needs to be managed in a different way; they have different needs, egos and personalities. At the end of the day you want your talent to feel special. (RS)
  • As producer, it’s our job to know what’s hot and find that person. With social media it’s much easier to find people. (TS)
  • Try and know someone in every field/part of the community. (TS)
  • Become friends with a big star’s assistant; it can open doors. (ER)
  • Learn how to screen a call and set them up. (TS)
  • Use your texting service to contact people who wrote good text messages. (RS)
  • Record callers you don’t get to for future use or if you bring the bit back. (RS)

Battle of the Bits

Self-explanatory panel moderated by Eric Rowe and Kevin Rolston (Kevin, Virginia and Jason Show) 
  • The Hoax Call Alert. Local fire departments play hoax call and listeners try to identify the voice who was making the nuisance call. Have had some success tracking down some of the callers.
  • Andy & Nicole/WMEE - Terrible impressions. Put names in a hat, partner has to do impression.
  • What’s Your Weird Urge (one caller wanted to kick any person in front of them down the stairs)
  • Tim Burger/WIRK; take us with you on summer vacation. Listeners reserve (like a library book) life-sized cut-outs of the show members, then take them on vacation. Use custom hashtag. Best picture wins prize. On air – the awesome stuff that “happened” to us on vacation.
  • Jim WIL, What do you HAVE to do before the summer ends?
  • Gene/Gene and Julie – pregnant women with gross cravings. We drew one from hat the next day and had to eat it.
  • Gene/Gene Julie- put arm in a cast and get celebrities to sign (anyone they think is a celeb – firefighter hero).  Put cast on in studio and later sawed it off on the air.
  • Scotty K/Riley/Brett Power 96.1 Atlanta – 96 days of kindness – one act every day (pay bills, kid with cancer on air, people who are doing good things in community, cleaning up) Post on Instagram, Twitter, FB - #96daysofkindness
  • Scotty K/Riley/Brent Power 96.1 Atlanta – 10 Day Challenge. Have 10 dates with 10 different women. POV is that dating is hard.
  • Scott & Gina/Idaho – Find the hidden, ratty pair of flip flops (one audio and one video clue – which gets shares)
  • Woody/Alt 97 LA: “Needless to Say” – each player starts with the end of someone telling a story:  “Needless to say he got stabbed and I had to pick him at the hospital.” Listeners call for which one seems like it will be the best story. Then each person tells story.
  • Tampa/New Release Tuesday – find days when people would be released and stand in front of jail with cigarettes and bus fare. Ask, “What did you do, what happened?”
  • Tampa/If you got stabbed (hit by train), call us and tell it what it feels like
  • Jane/Todd Pettingill Show WPLJ – what’s in Amy’s Hair – post picture, give hints (that must be heavy on your head)
  • Pre-arranged caller sets up listener discussion (I want to open a smoker’s bar – people call and opinionate).
  • Personal question poll: How often do you have sex?

Owning Your Career Asset

Managing your career as a financial asset. Michael P. Haubrich, CFP
  • Act like an owner when it comes to career assets; employers just rent your time, talent and potential.
    • People take better care of what they own than what they rent. Make sure you’re doing that.
  • If you don’t charge enough, potential employers won’t take you seriously.
  • Skills you have now are often transferable to the future/future careers.
  • Establish career asset working capital fund – separate this fund from emergency cash reserves.
  • If you lose a job, figure out how to keep performing (Larry from Atlanta podcast) including writing
  • Watch out for willful blindness so you’re not surprised by the future – including being laid off or terminated
  • Choose relationships/investments carefully. 70% of professional football players file for bankruptcy within 5 years of retirement
  • Four things to get:
    • Career coach
    • Talent agent (protects legal and financial interests)
    • Financial planner/advisor
    • Tax advisor

Radio Roundtable

Leading programmers and talent on the current state of radio and stepping up your game.

Greg Strassell, Brian Kelly, Rob Roberts, John Zellner, Todd Pettengill. Moderator: Paul Kaye, Newcap.
  • Make better content today than we did yesterday. But we have to understand what content is.(PK)
  • The future belongs to courageous talent. (PK)
  • Everyone has the same content. It’s how you interpret it and how you disseminate it. (TP)
  • Prep is the way you live your life. The challenge is, “Are you good enough to turn it into something great on the air?” (JZ)
  • When you hire someone, you hire people with different opinions who don’t just go home and watch Netflix at night. One of the most important things is, “Who’s in the studio?” (JZ)
  • #1 mistake is generic content. (GS)
  • If you’re not doing 2 or 3 different shows (each morning) you’re not doing it right because it’s not the same audience. (TP)
  • Local doesn’t mean anything to anybody. It’s about the content. (RR)
  • Entertaining beats local any day. Entertaining and local is a win. (JZ)
  • Local is also being an advocate for your town. It’s not necessarily entertaining, but it’s memorable and powerful. Find something once a quarter that will generate talk in the market. (JZ)
  • The bar is raised when an Elvis Duran comes to the market. You can’t rely on local; you have to step up your game. (GS)
  • If you can tell a story, you can succeed in morning radio. (RR)
  • Be at the intersection of ‘things that happen to you’ and ‘things that happen to everybody.’ (BK)

I always leave MSBC inspired by the collective passion and creativity - and, of course, with a boatload of usable ideas to share with A&O&B stations.

If you’re a talent or a manager of a station who sees talent playing an important role in your station’s success, strongly consider budgeting for Morning Show Boot Camp next year.

It’s one of those gatherings that proves the quote, “The people you associate yourself with have the greatest influence on your life.”

Friday, July 31, 2015

40 "Sound Bites" from Conclave 40

These days it’s hard to find time in a schedule or money in a budget for attending industry conventions.

That’s unfortunate, because when great minds - passionate about radio - get together, good things happen.

If you’re in country radio and have been to CRS, you;ve experienced that first hand (register for CRS 2016 here )

Similarly, the Conclave 40 Learning Conference which took place in Minneapolis earlier this month was both a solid, non-format-specific learning/sharing experience as well as a chance to connect with others who share a passion for great radio (learn more about the Conclave here).

As programmers and consultants, we spend time a lot of time with listeners. But being a part of the Conclave’s Speed Mentoring Panel Friday morning turned the tables. For two hours it was about spending time with those in our industry seeking their next career step or looking for sounding boards for their ideas.

It was quite a wide funnel of people that I had the privilege of spending time with (in 7 minute increments) - from college students with designs on careers from station management to artist management (shout out to Seaton Hall who sent multiple students to Conclave) to major market talent - from those who had a detailed personal growth plan to those who didn’t have an immediate answer for, “What are you best at?” (but that’s a future blog).

The mentoring panel was just two hours of the two-day agenda. There were multiple high-quality sessions with great thinking and usable ideas.

In the spirit of, “we’re all smarter when we share what we’ve learned,” here are 40 bullet points from Conclave 40 (includes paraphrases and, when possible, attributions).

You can also search #conclave40 on Twitter for convention tweets.

If you attended and have other bullets to share, feel free to leave them as a comment below. Love to share them!

Opening Session: “Ask Me Almost Anything”

Ginny Morris, CEO/Hubbard; Mary Quass/CEO NRG Media; Dave Paulus VP/GM Max Media Norfolk; Pierre Bouvard, CMO/Cumulus Media; Brian Kelly/VP Programming Entercom discuss timely issues. Moderator Joel Denver

1 - The industry cannot afford not to invest in talent. The pendulum swings…things are swinging back to appreciation of talent. (Morris)

2 - The time it takes listeners to come back to the station after they tune out is getting longer because there are more choices and nothing to bring them back.

3 - We have to have the courage to ask for more money for commercials. Figure out what cost is and have the courage to sell it. (Quass)

4 - No other medium in the world does so much to denigrate commercials (Bouvard)

5 - Every station should implement provides an enhanced experience for listeners and advertisers (Bouvard)

6 - IBM employees use social media to send out success stories and case studies.

7- Streaming is the coat of doing business. If that's what the consumer demands we have to provide it. (Paulus)

Make Your App More Than Just The Station Stream, and Monetize It Too

Angie May-Cook (Emmis), J. T. Tarrants (WCSX Detroit), J. Pat Miller (Scripps, Milwaukee); Moderator: Paul Jacobs

8 - Your station is unique and your app should look unique as well. Great mobile apps start with great strategies

9 - Don’t build apps for listeners; build them for lifestyles.

10 - Mobile revenue is low because radio sells it like spots. Two different approaches: “Where Hip Hop Lives” app (free and subscription) and WCSX’s client-integrated Deer Hunter app. 

11 - Don't think of mobile as receiver but as the hub of listeners’ digital lives. As such mobile must supply content listeners truly value.

Taking Your Show Online: Podcasting, Streaming and Beyond

Perry Simon (All Access), Sean Ross (Edison Research). Moderator: George Woods (Radio George)

12 - Reasons to podcast: because you want to do something that conventional Radio doesn't do, you have something to say, to help get a job. Reasons not to podcast: It's hot, someone told me to do it, make money.

13 - All social – but Facebook especially – drives a huge portion of podcast audience

14 - Monetization: brand advertising (not ‘spots’) will be the future – as well as subscription models including selling of archives, P.I.’s, merchandising, live or on–location events

15 - Think “60 minutes of music” instead of ‘replacing commercials.”  For extra music consider songs you wouldn't play on FM

16 - Streaming alternative: “File On Demand”

Edison’s Share of Ear Results

Larry Rosin/President, Edison Research

(For these notes, Millennials defined as 13-34 year olds)

17 - AM FM Radio share of ear 55% of all audio combined BUT just 39% for Millennials

18 - Millennials’ Distribution of Time Spent with Streaming Audio: Pandora 49%, Spot iffy 27%, I-heart  10%, iTunes 8%, other brands 11%

19 - Millennial Device Usage: 35% listen on a radio receiver but 32% is listening is via mobile; computer 17%. In cars, music is 86% of audio content

20 - Location of listening to streaming audio: Home 52% - AM-FM gets 25% while streaming audio gets 29%; Vehicle 29% (AM-FM 68% which is nearly identical by generation); Work 13%; Other 6%

21 - 85% use radio in the car regardless of age but newer car owners use a higher percent of other platforms/devices besides FM/FM. The challenge is to provide content that will make people want to choose you: unique content you can't get elsewhere drives even limited FM users back to FM: sports, NPR-style content, morning shows. 

22 - The big challenge is people who just want music... Radio needs interaction and relationship with music.

23 - Nothing has hurt radio’s perception more than its lack of advertising

Beyond The News Feed

Garrison Cummings (Digital Manager, Green Bay Packers), Glenn Woods (Radio One); Moderator: Lori Lewis

24 - Understand and create messages for each segment/persona of the audience. The Green Bay Packers identified three fan types and created messages for each: Hardcore: stats/infographics/advance info; Casual: family posts/it's game time conversations; International: history/packers roll call (where are you watching)

25 - Focus on end users feelings

26 - "Shares" are significantly more valuable than "Likes"

If You're Doing Your Job The Same Way You Did Last Year, You're Behind

David Moore, Madison, WI, Tom Langmyer, Milwaukee, Scott Masteller, Baltimore; Moderator: Chuck DuCoty

27 - Identify the core competencies you want your radio station to focus on (example from WBAL: Ravens Flagship, big local stories, social, ratings, production)

28 - Get production pieces done in advance so they can be used immediately after an event; demonstrates to listeners that the station is really on top of everything.  

29 - “When we look for sellers we look for high bandwidth people who are engaged in their community. Radio needs problem solvers.”  

30 - Non negotiables in hires: demonstrates passion for the business; recognizes that it's a privilege to work in this industry; ambitious with strong work ethic; ability motivate and coach talent (Programmers)

What Your Audience is Doing When They’re Not Listening to You

Fred Jacobs/President, Jacobs Media
Results are from Jacobs’ Tech Survey 11

31 - Emotional-related reasons are significant in driving listenership

32 - Women are more social than men; Facebook is #1; country women index higher on Pinterest than women with other format preferences

33 - Acknowledgement is extremely meaningful to listeners. “Want to connect with Millennials? Acknowledge them.”

34 - Create good content. Make it easy to share and people will.

35 - Email is #1 way to interact with listeners. 

36 - Podcasting is not a phenomenon yet so there is an opportunity to create something good and have it stand out. Country users index low for podcast consumption; sports is highest

37 - The younger the listener, the more likely they are to do most of their radio listening in the car. Almost 60% of country users can connect a device in a car; 20% own a connected car

The Next Frontier in Audience Databases

Erica Dreyer (NRG), Paul Cramer (Triton), Jennifer Williams (Greater Media)

38 - Use databases to create moments of surprise and delight (send tickets, freebies, etc.). Whatever surprise and delight you deliver will wind up on social media

39 - Have an option to use a social login. 86% do not want to create another username and password. Facebook is most used; Google + is #2 

40 - Initially ask for age, gender and zip. Over time, ask for small additional bits of information. Meanwhile, move anyone who has not interacted with the station in a year (i.e., opened an email) to an inactive file so your database count is always accurate

Bullets from a convention are great but being there is better from the opportunity to extract something specific for your situation, to post-session discussions, to spending a couple of days with people who are as passionate as you are about our industry.

Hopefully 2016 will find a line item in your budget to attend a conference where you can come away with new ideas and be re-energized about our business.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Back When Radio Was Good" - A Week with Beats 1

Initial reviews of Beats 1 have ranged from “brilliant” and “meh,” but many who’ve written about it – pro Beats 1 or not – have taken the opportunity to snipe at radio: “Beats 1 sounds like radio used to sound when it was good.” Or, "will Beats 1 make radio cool again?”

There are a lot of places to start a discussion about Beats 1. But setting music, (lack of) commercials, and expectations aside for the moment, Beats 1 does have an excitement about it that’s driven in large part by the talent.

You don’t have to listen long to realize the Beats 1 talent have significant mic presence. The “song-sweeper-song-talent” sequence has been replaced by stretches of “song-talent-song-talent.”  

And for the most part, the talent (especially the three "anchors") - pull it off.

It seems that the rule of thumb might be, “you can always talk about the music,” except that there were instances of excellent picture painting too. 

London-based Julie Adanuga delivered an interesting tease/pay-off on Beats 1’s first day with the tease (“Grab your ID - you’ll need it in a bit”) and then a song later began a club music set by delivering the radio version of a Vine clip as she told us of our arrival at “the club,” that we were all on the guest list, and told first-time club-goers, “this is what it feels like” to be in the club.

It could have been terribly hokey; instead it was visual and fun - and quick.

If you buy into the “throwback criticism,” Cousin Brucie describing the elevator ride to the top of the CBS building and the 113th floor as he opened the “Love Hour Half Hour” on CBS-FM might come to mind.

Similarly when Beats 1 NY talent Ebro Darden did his gritty “we’re on the streets” segment and “took us through the Boroughs,” New Yorkers might have channeled the 60s spirit of WWRL-AM.

Also apparent was the talent demonstrating their interest, knowledge and passion for the music.  

Talent as advocate-cheerleader-champion of their station's music and artists is a frequent coaching point today.

Check out Kid Leo “back when radio was good” as a critic might say, selling the music.

Audience acknowledgement was a significant part of the launch. I was repeatedly recognized as a member of the Day One Crew and told that we were on a Day One Journey together. Phrases like “thank you for being a part of history” and “if I had kids I’d tell them about this” might have come off like hype except the talent seemed genuine about it all. 

In aggregate I was made to feel like I was part of a movement. “Beats 1 Worldwide” and “Broadcasting around the world” along with the requisite personal and geographical acknowledgements added to the feeling that we were part of something akin to a new counter-culture where the whole was more than the sum of its parts.

A footprint so big that anyone in the world might be listening along with you undoubtedly contributes to this feeling. But local radio has a long history of creating in-market communities too. Howard Stern’s audience would probably agree.

That’s not to say that the Beats 1 talent doesn’t get off the track; there's inside talk that can be tedious and irrelevant, talking over music to the point of being annoying, repeatedly shouting a word or phrase that comes off like a failed effort at creating excitement, occasions of too much self-indulgence, and breaks that sound undisciplined and unprepared. These were disappointments.

Still, comments like “when radio used to be good” - at least in terms of the talent-generated excitement - remind us that an air staff of passionate, creative, music-loving, listener and format advocates, who are uniquely entertaining and integral to the overall programming, help define a station in a non-duplicable, extremely positive way.

The payoff from the time and effort spent on finding, valuing, coaching, and encouraging genuine talent, is a more entertaining radio station with a passionate audience that feels connected.

And that's hard to “beat.” 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why 5 More Inductees Into the Country Radio Hall of Fame Matters

2015 Country Radio Hall of Fame Inductees
Photo courtesy of Kristen Englund
Honoring excellence is always a good idea.

That happened again last week in Nashville when the Country Radio Broadcasters inducted five new members into the Country Radio Hall of Fame (left to right: Randy Carroll, Mike Kennedy, Karen Dalessandro, Joel Raab Sammy George).

Each year, the Hall recognizes individuals who have a 20 year history (including at least 15 in the country format) of making “significant contributions to the radio industry.” 

Halls of Fame of course run the gamut from the famous (like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to the infamous (the now defunct Cockroach Hall of Fame which was in Plano, TX). Your degree of interest in a Hall’s subject matter no doubt plays a huge role in what you get out of your visit. 

For things you’re passionate about, a Hall of Fame is more than an historical record or a repository of memorabilia; the strength of a Hall is the inspiring accomplishments of those who are enshrined.

At the very least, the Country Radio Hall of Fame is a reminder that excellence matters and is still acknowledged and celebrated.  At its best, the Hall and inductees inspire us all to make a daily, “significant contribution to the radio industry.” 

If we’re talent we strive for excellence every break, every show. If we’re managers and program directors we seek to coach each person to their full potential. By example, we encourage each other to believe in ourselves and aspire to be the best we can be.

If you’re passionate about what you do and want to inspire others, Bain & Company has these suggestions:

  • Discover and cultivate individual skills
  • Excel at a few of your distinguishing strengths rather than attempting to be excellent at everything
  • Recognize that inspirational leaders can be anywhere in an organizational hierarchy
  • Improve your effectiveness at inspiring others with repetition and experimentation

If you want to show your passion, be your best, and inspire others to do the same, the good news is you don’t wait to be inducted into a Hall of Fame to begin.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Taking a Bite out of a Market Leader: What a Sandwich Chain Can Teach Us

Taking a bite out of a market leader
Shifts in listener and consumer loyalty happen all the time but they always seem newsworthy when “suddenly” a top performer is dethroned.

In reality, many of these abrupt declines may have actually been months, years, or even decades in the making. 

Some of these are the end result of one or more competitors' long and persistent “creep” against a leader, or a leader being too static for too long in a changing marketplace ('slow to react' was one of the points in a recent Washington Post article on Subway that inspired this blog).

Format and market leading stations must continually negotiate the tripwires that can give toe holds or growth opportunities to competitors.

  • Commoditization stemming from a growing lack of differentiation in the listener’s POV; that is, listeners don't perceive a sufficient number of particularly unique and important-to-them benefits gained by listening to your station vs. a competitor
  • Listeners believe the "listening cost" of your station exceeds its value
  • Failure to accurately assess a challenger’s strength or appeal in a timely manner
  • A delayed response or inability to adequately respond to "Values Drift;" listener values/standards have evolved but the leader has remained static 
  • Time pressures have severely limited creative and/or forward thinking
  • The status quo remains status quo for too long;  new services, features, products, or offerings are minimal, or there’s a lack of excitement about initiatives that are launched
  • Lack of employee passion for the station, format, listeners or even self
  • Eroding relationships with listeners for any of the above reasons

These are rarely intentional over-sights. I haven't walked into a station recently and found GMs, OMs and PDs looking for ways to keep busy. Finding time to just think is a challenge.

Still, in the spirit of ipsa scientia potestas est ("knowledge itself is power"), consider regularly scheduling a meeting of station creatives to talk through these (and other) bullets, share listener Intel, and have a "what if..." discussion.

Do it over a sandwich if you like.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Keep Summer Listeners Coming Back: 5 Retail Tactics For Your Station

“Summer vacation" - who doesn't think that sounds like a good idea?

Just don’t start too soon if you’re in radio - and especially if you're in Country Radio. 

Last week, Inside Radio featured this graphic from Nielsen as part of an article on Memorial Day weekend format flips. It shows the noticeably heaver 6+ May and June radio listening trends for the past four years.

I asked Nielsen’s Tony Hereau how Country compared and he shared the following.

While radio’s average 6+ AQH Persons starts a decline after May, Country’s best 25-54 months begin after May peaking in June, July, August and September (again, note the chart above is based on 6+ while the chart below is based on 25-54).  

A retailer eyeing these charts would likely think about how to convert these seasonal increases into year-round customers.

Taking a page from their playbook, here are five retail tactics and their radio equivalents your station can launch regardless of format.

Lower purchase barriers making it easy to buy
Be present on as many platforms as possible.  Be minimalistic in terms of time, effort and information you require of listeners who want to engage in your contests or sign up for your database.  
Provide superior value
Insure your Entertainment Value always exceeds your Cost of Listening (EV>CL). The EV is nearly all-encompassing: from talent to music to promotions and more. Meanwhile the CL goes beyond commercial load.
Up-selling and cross-selling
Use compelling teases and promote-aheads to drive additional occasions of listening. Be visible and high-touch so you can ask for more listening in person.
Providing “Social Proof” that demonstrates shared values and behavioral reinforcement
Create believable “peer endorsement” in social media and imaging
Finding ways to say “thank you”
Appreciation is powerful in driving repeat usage and WOM.

This fall, don't just talk about what you did on your summer vacation, brag about what you did before it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Important Award You May Have Missed this Week: “Serial” Earns a Peabody

The big awards talk-abouts early this week at country stations have been centered (and rightly so) on the ACMs: big stars, big production, and a Guinness World Record for a live awards show audience.

But another awards presentation this week should also catch our attention: the Peabody Awards which recognize “stories that matter.” This is attention-worthy because one of the awards was given to the “Serial” podcast from NPR.

As reported Tuesday in Tom Taylor’s NOW , the Peabody judges declared Serial “the first unquestionably mainstream podcast.”

“Serial” was referenced multiple times at last week’s pre-NAB RAIN Summit West and was credited with, among other things, raising awareness of podcasting and bringing new users to the genre.

I found the podcast last fall amidst its considerable media attention and WOM and was hooked before the halfway point of the first episode.

It’s easy to understand the popularity of “Serial:” a suspense story with Romeo and Juliette undertones. There's crisp writing, great story pacing, excellent narration, and characters brought to life: people you trust or don’t –or change your mind back and forth - as you learn about them, often via their own words. It’s put together as well as any mystery in any medium.

For this reason alone, “Serial” is important to radio. It's an excellent example of superior story-telling – an skill many of our talent are working on daily.

It also serves as an important reminder that the entertainment bar is continually being raised around us.

But “Serial” is also important from a numbers standpoint.

About 1 in 5 Americans listen to podcasts according to Pew.  Similarly, Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study found 17% of the 12+ US population listens to podcasts monthly including slightly more than 20% of 18-54s who are regular listeners.

A&O&B’s Online Perceptual “Roadmap 2015” found comparable data among US country P1s, roughly 1 in 6 18-34s and 1 in 7 35-44s listen to podcasts at least “a few times a month.”

Of course these numbers don’t mean that 20% of Americans have heard all or even any episodes of “Serial.” Edison puts that number at 3% with awareness at 10%.

Still, in February 2015, the NY Times estimated Serial's downloads at 68-million. 

The point is, going forward, there will be more shows like “Serial” (listen here) that capture the attention of the growing podcast audience.

The biggest and best ones could become as relevant to talk about on your radio show as what’s hot on TV or YouTube.