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. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Your Morning Show On TV: How to Get the Most Out of a Cutaway

Whether your talent is already appearing on a local TV morning show or you're attempting to make this happen, your probable goal is to increase your morning footprint and have those TV viewers sample your morning show.

But these cutaways will have the greatest impact if they also add value to the TV station.

Here are four steps to maximizing your TV opportunity:

1 - Make the TV morning show look good. Just as in a multi-person radio show, each player - in addition to being interesting in their own right - needs to give others in the room opportunities to look smart, be funny, etc.  Same goes for you and your TV partners.  If the TV talent look forward to your segment because it gives them an opportunity to shine, the segment will be significantly better.

2 - Prepare something fascinating to share. This is not the time to wing it. You’ll either be perceived as interesting and entertaining or a waste of time – there’s not much in-between. 

3 - Engage the TV talent in your story.  Let them know in advance what your content is so they can prepare, participate and look smart to their viewers (making you look smart too of course).

4 - Always deliver a dual call to action:  “Watch the TV partner and listen to your morning show.”  Give a reason for each.

Have an experience or tip to share?  Leave it here.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Getting Out What You Put In: First Baseball-Themed Blog of the Season

Because I have the talent (?) to find a baseball-related analogy for almost anything in life, MLB’s opening week is always an exciting time for me.

Not only does it spell the end of "there’s nothing to watch on TV," the opening games hold the promise for a brand new season of baseball metaphors and also affords the opportunity to throw out the first baseball-themed blog of the year – two things for which apparently I am both physically and mentally unable to avoid doing.

For a couple of months now my new favorite baseball mantra has been “Respect 90.” It comes from Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon who also has made the phrase part of his Twitter profile (@CubsJoeMadd).

Specifically, “Respect 90” is about respecting the 90 feet between home plate and first base. Players demonstrate their respect by running hard from home to first, even when it’s likely their routine grounder or pop fly will be nothing more than an easy out.

Of course “Respect 90” is far more encompassing. The code can be applied to every aspect of playing the game thus demonstrating not only respect for baseball, but for the fans - and even a player’s own self-respect.

A ballplayer may have multiple opportunities a day to Respect 90 – 4 or 5 times while batting and maybe a few more during the game in the field.  Most talent have at least that many opportunities every hour via mic breaks alone.

What if starting tomorrow we as talent determined to “Respect 90” and never mail a break in again, instead going ‘all out’ every time we opened the mic?  Can you imagine how incredible such a station would sound?

Furthermore, can you imagine what listeners and clients and competitors would think if every mic break, every piece of production, every spot, every appearance, every sales call, promotion, etc., etc., embraced the concept of “Respect 90?”

Joe Maddon explained the rewards of respecting 90 this way: 

“Understand whatever you put out there will come back to you. If you give respect, you’re going to get respect in return...If you really believe that and live by that, a lot of things will come your way.”

Embracing “Respect 90” may indeed bring good things to you.  

But you won’t be the only one reaping rewards. 

Some previous catchphrase-related blogs: Polish the BrandLovin’ on the Music, The 'Does Anybody Care' Filter