Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You're Invited to the Seminar-Before-the-Seminar

26 years of picking up my badge and welcome bag hasn’t dimmed my excitement about attending CRS 2011. Not one bit.

From panels to informal talks over a beer (or two), the give and take of ideas with others who share the same passion for what we do and a desire to be the best at it, drives my CRS experience each year.

There’s something else excites me about CRS: Albright & O’Malley’s pre-CRS seminar.

Once again we’ll be hosting an afternoon of ideas, interaction, never-before-seen research and our continuing series of presentations from people outside our industry who have experiences we can learn from (what this year’s non-industry guest has to tell us will be awesome!).

Over the next few days, we’ll announce our presenters and musical guests.

In the meantime, if you’re attending CRS, accept this as an invitation to joins us Tuesday, March 1st beginning at 12:30 pm at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Come early and tour the Hall. Stay after and attend the Country Radio Hall of Fame Dinner and Ceremony (see the inductees and get information here).

A&O’s pre-seminar is free to those attending CRS (non-competitive A&O markets, please), but you’ll need to reserve a seat by emailing me at .

New to CRS? Jaye ( and I ( would love to answer your questions. Returning to CRS? You already know what I was talking about earlier. Feel free to leave a comment for others returning to CRS or attending for the first time.

I hope I'll see you at CRS and at A&O’s pre-CRS seminar. And come back over the next week as we share our line-up.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Business Class from "Professor" Zac Brown

The Zac Brown Band made the front page of USA Today’s Life section this week but it could have just as easily been the business section.

The piece offered a look at some of the band’s goals and visions which read like a “how-to” on how to please the fans you have and grow by attracting new ones.

Here are nine take-aways:

Have a vision. According to Zac, “We plan on going out and conquering every music lover we can find.”

Let your passion show: "We love to play," he goes on to say, "whether it's for 50 people or 15,000. If there's people we need to win over, we bring them in, play for them, feed them."

Think outside the box: Zac says, “We’re here to gather music lovers…I don’t know why everybody wants to put everything in a box. It’s almost like profiling.”

Use collaboration to foster greater creativity and originality. The ZBB has played/partnered with Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Kid Rock, CDB, Mac McAnally and Leon Russell.

Choose your partners carefully. “We don’t play with people we don’t like to play with,” stated drummer Chris Fryar.

Know and play to your strengths. “As long as we have four or five songs on every record that can live on country radio, we don’t plan on going anywhere,” says Zac.

Constantly find new ways to delight your fans. Eat and Greets give fans a chance to interact with their favorite performers on a different level, but the ZBB’s Eat and Greets go far beyond expectations. No soggy egg rolls or nachos; you’re talking beef filet and pork tenderloin. And then there’s the four-hour show. “The idea is to make the concert experience full-sensory and to make everyone really feel like they got their money’s worth.”

Be future-thinking. What can be done differently to endear a brand even more? The ZBB hopes to one day to control the concessions so they can offer everyone a high-end dining experience complete with family recipes.

Have a distinctive logo. Two words: stocking cap.

Inspired to find new ways to grow and delight your fans? Me, too.

I’m proud the Zac Brown Band plays on country radio.

Photo credit Josh F. Anderson for USA Today

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Being Boring, Interesting or Fascinating

Facts are boring. Stories are interesting. Stories with surprises, twists and emotion and over-the-top presentations are fascinating.

Someone repeating what you’ve heard is boring. Someone sharing a new perspective or putting a unique twist on a familiar subject is interesting. Someone sharing a new perspective or putting a unique twist on a familiar subject and making you feel something that you want to share with others is fascinating.

It’s easy to be boring, which is probably why there are so many boring people on the air doing the same things as everyone else with no unique perspective and little creativity. Boring people to check-list shows: “Yeah, we talked about that at 6:40, check it off the list.” Boring shows don’t take chances. Boring shows don’t attract an audience or get them to spend time with you.

Interesting is the ante to not be boring, to have a chance of attracting an audience and getting them to spend time with you.

Fascinating is the most difficult of course. But when you’re fascinating, attracting an audience and getting them to spend time with you – over and over - is easy.

How did you treat the Ted Williams story?

Give the facts (boring)? Play audio (ditto)? Give a link (yawn)?

Or maybe you were fascinating and organized a spontaneous “random acts of kindness” event challenging listeners to give what they would have spent on this morning’s coffee to the homeless person they pass each day.

Or maybe you visited a shelter to see their needs first hand and then launched a help drive.

Or maybe you connected unemployed listeners with jobs?

Or maybe you solicited your listeners’ own uplifting “Cinderella” stories?

Most competitors are boring listeners with the same undifferentiated and uninspired facts, audio clips, links and other low-hanging fruit.

How will you take advantage of the opportunities other stations are giving you?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Better Than Resolutions: Three Words for 2011

I was never into the resolutions thing. Resolutions are too restrictive, too negative, and too artificial.

However Chris Brogan’s recent post about picking three words and using them to help focus your (our your businesses') actions for the coming year struck me as practical, positive, and encompassing, promoting self-improvement, growth, forward progress and experimentation.

Here are three words I like personally and professionally for 2011:

Ship – from Seth Godin, became one my favorite verbs of 2010. Write it, learn it, send it, share it, try something new, make a difference to yourself or others. Get it on the air or into the hands of an advertiser or client, move it out the door, just do it, now. Next! Carpe Diem 2011.

Distill – constantly consume pertinent, interesting, relevant and potentially "actionable" material. Extract the "so what" to fix, grow, change, bond, entertain or improve. Make sense out of complexity, clarify cause and effect, use new knowledge to try new things. Net it out, share an opinion, relate, tell don't recite, start with the finish; be interesting, fun, different, addictive and valuable. Make a difference. Matter.

Delight – exceed expectations. Often it's a relatively small distance from meeting to exceeding expectations: a little more thought, value, empathy, effort, perspective or preparation could move someone from satisfied to delighted, from customer/advertiser/listener to evangelist. You know how good it feels when something exceeds your expectations. It feels even better when you're on the giving end.

Impact, compel, engage, empower, achieve, results, grow, consistent, loyalty and happiness are also pretty good one-word guideposts, too.

How about some you’d like to add?