10 Questions with ... Victor Caballero
May 23, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- KRIO-FM/1995 - San Antonio, TX (April Communications)
- KXTN-FM/1996 - San Antonio, TX (Univision)
- KHCK-FM/1999 - Dallas, TX (Univision)
- KRBV-FM/1999 - Dallas, TX (CBS Radio)
- XHRM-FM/2001 - San Diego, CA (Clear Channel)
- XHTZ-FM/2001 - San Diego, CA (Clear Channel)
- KXOL-FM/2005 - Los Angeles, CA (SBS)
- Radio Express, Inc./2007 - Los Angeles, CA
1) How is Radio Express getting involved with new media to help programmers run their radio stations?
We are actively seeking partnerships with companies that provide the tools and the services that our programmers are demanding. We also have a world-class creative team of programmers and innovators who provide support with research, and updates to ensure that those products and services are working in various markets.
2) How are you using social media to network for Radio Express?
We have launched various social media platforms for our Radio Express properties like the "World Chart Show" and the "Coca-Cola Open Happiness Mixshow." We rolled out our show platforms over the past couple of years, and as a business-to-business social media platform we are currently building that to include video messages from international program directors, talent coaches, consultants, and other creative and informative content, along with industry news and updates.
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
I think that a dated sales structure and the flat-out denial of the listening habits that digital platforms have created for the music fan make up the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.
I remember when I merely mentioned the world "Pandora" to one of the nation's top programmers, and he literally yelled at me by saying, "Pandora IS NOT RADIO". I think he also made a reference to Pandora not being there when the folks in Georgia experienced the deadly tornados. He's right, Pandora is not radio, and it didn't tell the folks about the incoming twisters. However, when you listen to Pandora you also have access to Twitter alerts and the AccuWeather app on smartphones or iPods.
So, maybe Pandora didn't give warning, but the apps right next to Pandora DID notify many folks of the incoming danger. I'm not saying we have to be like Pandora, or that Pandora is replacing radio. I'm saying that these new technologies have created new listening habits, and as programmers we should take note, learn from them, and one-up these advances with the power of Radio. If Asmaa Mahfouz could spark the demise of a 30-year regime with one video blog post, can you imagine possibilities of pairing that power with radio? The opportunities are endless.
4) How can radio capitalize on digital ad revenues while competing with services like Groupon, and other social media?
I think that reaching out to companies like Groupon to create profit-sharing partnerships is the first step. The second step is changing the way radio sales departments process their incoming leads.
There has to be a more effective form of social media integration than, "hey hit us up on Facebook to win", or "we'll announce the winners here or there." You have to really think about how to maximize your advertisers reach. For example, using viral videos like a flash mob event, or something that a listener is willing to share is far more effective than just announcing or soliciting for winners on social media platforms. This goes back to creating a new sales structure, or investing in a creative person or team that is capable of delivering an avant-garde approach to radio sales that embraces the endless opportunities that digital integration can provide. Offering training in this particular area is a great investment to your company and your staff. If you show that you're invested in them, they will in turn show their clients that they are invested in your company by delivering the cutting-edge, integrated, multi-platform campaigns that the world's top creative agencies are delivering.
5) What are some of the challenges programmer face in today's radio environment?
One of the biggest challenges programmers face these days is the ability to have an honest and open discussion with the people on their staff about programming ideas.
Unfortunately, programmers are so busy dealing with other projects or issues that many times we miss opportunities to learn something new form our staff or listeners. In today's economic climate sometimes we don't have the luxury of spending the time we'd like to spend chatting with the Interns or staff about programming, especially with the added responsibilities that many programmers are now dealing with. So time management is a big challenge. Creating time to think outside of the box and engage in productive and meaningful discussions with your audience and your brand ambassadors (station street team, Interns, office staff, talent, sales, etc.) is imperative.
6) Do new technologies like on demand music, videos, TV, streaming, and mobile smart phone apps enhance the consumer's interest in traditional media such as radio, the CD, or even the MP3 player? Or are these new technologies replacing traditional media?
I think that these new technologies create more options for the consumer, but there is room for sustainability and even growth for radio. This is going to take an industry-wide effort, and many are already leading the way. What's our biggest and most powerful weapon to compete with these new technologies? Content!
7) What can we be doing with our station web sites to better our stations as a whole?
There's always room for improvement. However, I'll share one thing that specifically gets me going. Let's bring theatre of the mind back to radio and stop these boring Ustream videos exposing a bored jock checking Facebook while MY favorite song is on!
If you're a station/talent that uses Ustream on a daily basis, at LEAST make it look like you LOVE the song as much as I do, even though you're hearing it for the 100th time. I want to see you rock out to it! That situation kills the one thing that makes radio great - theatre of the mind. I remember when I was a kid I would go to the state fair and there was a huge 40 ft. beer can at the main entrance. A radio talent filtered his voice to make it sound like he was actually broadcasting IN the giant empty beer can. I believed it, and every time I went to the fair and walked by the giant beer can I remembered the jock. I took that influence with me throughout my career and executed several high profile, theater of the mind events.
While I was on the air here in Los Angeles, for Cinco de Mayo my staff and I created a "party bus". We had all the audio to make it sound like we started the diesel engine, had a boom box in the background, set up a remote mic in the building to give it a "remote" feel, had random pre-selected characters get on and off the bus with planned scripted comments. We executed this at the same time that our morning show picture was wrapped around almost every city bus in Los Angeles. We had everyone looking for us on the road. Listeners were calling the station asking where we were, folks were missing work to look for us, our PD called pissed us off that we did this without letting him know. (We later aired that bit the way).
The whole time we were in the studio with great producers, sound engineers, and a brilliant creative team. Imagination is powerful. We need to be careful that we're not integrating social media and digital platforms just for the sake of doing so, this creates a huge risk for failure. It has to be planned, it has to have a reason, and it has to be entertaining. When executing anything, including web content, use the P.R.E. factor - Is it Planned, does it have a Reason, and is it Entertaining?
8) Jelli or Lister Driven Radio????
Ah ha! This is a great question, and I just want to say that both of these companies are doing great things. I love the concept, and I'm also deeply passionate about this particular area of programming.
Listener Driven Radio (LDR) is my personal choice because of their commitment to station branding. There's no landing page, and LDR fundamentally understands the PPM world by actively seeking opportunities for LDR features to be PPM friendly. Also, LDR has worked hard to develop backend intelligence to avoid voting spam. Mike McVay and Daniel Anstandig are brilliant innovators and I'm inspired by their commitment to prepare radio programmers for the new radio listener, and their new listening habits.
9) What effect will music in "The Cloud" with new services being introduced by Apple, Spotify, MOG, and others will have on the radio and music industries?
I think that these services create another extension of your product, and in my case it's radio. Whether you're creating audio promos to share on social media platforms to drive your followers to your FM dial, or whether you're creating exclusive content to drive your radio listeners to your social media platforms, it provides many opportunities if executed with some proper planning.
Remember, with any audio presentation we have to create content that embraces theatre of the mind. As opposed to just uploading an interview, why not make it on top of a major landmark in your city with audio imagery of an urban background to paint a vivid picture? As for the artist, there are also many opportunities available and being discovered right now as you read this.
For example, there are a few artists like Moby who are using an @instagram and @soundcloud integrated audio/visual experience and I'm sure that you'll begin to see more of this type of integration in the near future. Many forward thinking programmers are looking for ways to bring many great features together to enhance the over all listening experience. SoundCloud alone just surpassed 4 million users, and if you take the time to immerse yourself in the site you'll find that it's a super vibrant place when you explore the depths of its community.
For every creative outlet there has to be a delivery mechanism, for flip cams it was YouTube, for musicians "The Cloud" is the delivery method with a social aspect. Artists have said that they improve their skills and talent by reading feedback that music fans and/or peers give them when they share a track on their particular "Cloud". Some might say that "The Cloud" plays the role of a label by testing music and collecting data. Music fans can become a part of the creative process more than ever before. This is truly groundbreaking and exciting, and it's another an area of growth that I'm passionate about.
10) What should radio be doing now to secure a role in the future of the ever-changing media landscape?
Training. Training. Training. If you don't have the time to train your staff, then hire outside help to come in and help the station uncover untapped opportunities. There are several companies that offer great training and can also bring your station into the digital age if you're not quite there yet.
Here's the important thing though, after the training, and outside help, continue to innovate. I'm going to quote an ad agency from Argentina. I actually quoted the owner in a tweet, and then gave his company's twitter feed credit for the quote, "The most important thing you have to do if you want to innovate is to be willing to leave the comfort zone constantly." - @tweetscastro
1) What Got You Interested In Radio and Music Production?
It was actually a station jingle for KEDA-AM in San Antonio. The station has been on the air since 1966 with the same name and the same format. That's almost 50 years! The jingle was, "Radio Jalapeño... oh oh ooohhh o ooohhh... ahora en estereo... oh oh ooohhh o ooohhh..."
2) Before coming to Radio Express to work in the Production and New Media, You were most recently the morning show host at KXOL (Latino 96.3)/Los Angeles. Could you see yourself returning to radio one day?
Absolutely. I love radio, and if the right situation encouraged me to be true to myself, sign me up! San Francisco? Are you reading this??
3) How are you using new music technologies to work with the music production, and in your personal life?
I find myself listening to SoundCloud and MixCloud mixes while working. I'm not only listening because I love music, I'm also observing what DJs are playing in other parts of the world. This along with the music research help me program music and create content for international properties. I can see who the popular DJs are, whom they follow, etc. I get to participate in lively discussions about music in their area. In addition, I also look for things that I don't like about online music services so that I can uncover opportunities where radio can gain the upper hand.
4) What do you believe will be the next trend in music technology?
In terms of radio listening, the next trend is the innovation that online music services are making toward the one place where radio is still vastly competitive - the car. Their goal is to remove the distraction of smart-phone streaming radio usage in the car by putting the controls into the car radio itself. It's a trend that's poised to sweep the auto industry, so just as you can scan for FM channels by using buttons on the steering wheel, you can now just as easily scan Internet radio.
5) Tell us what music we would find on your MP3 player right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
Well, I'm recently single so I've been listening to country music. Do I really need to explain why? Also, Moby's new album "Destroyed" because I find the sentiment in his orchestration inspiring. Finally, I've been listening to a lot of Janelle MonÃ¡e because she is such a remarkable artist in every sense of the word. Plus, Raphael Saadiq because I just saw him at a show. He was brilliant as always!