The Conclave Opens In Minneapolis
July 18, 2012 at 2:31 PM (PT)
The 2012 CONCLAVE LEARNING CONFERENCE opens TODAY (7/18) at The DOUBLETREE PARK PLACE in MINNEAPOLIS, with LEARNING CONFERENCE badges presented by ALL ACCESS.
The event kicked off this morning with the third annual JACOBS MEDIA "Summer School" series of sessions. JACOBS MEDIA social media expert and ALL ACCESS columnist LORI LEWIS was first up with her analysis of how the "Five Zuckerisms" -- the five points for business that FACEBOOK founder MARK ZUCKERBERG wrote about in his letter to investors (focus on impact, move fast, be bold, be open, build social value) -- apply to radio's use of social media. LEWIS also explained the algorithm used by FACEBOOK to promote posts in users' news feeds, including affinity (tracking a user's interacting with other posts, users, and sites): If a user doesn't interact with a station's FACEBOOK page, the algorithm will remove the station's posts from the user's feed, assuming it's spam or otherwise unwanted. She stressed that shares and comments are more important than "likes" for the algorithm's weighting, and noted that timing is an element but not critical.
PAUL JACOBS followed with a presentation on stations' mobile strategies and the growth and use of smartphone apps, including how radio listeners use cell phones. He showed screen shots of the apps of WGN-A/CHICAGO, WEEI-A-F/BOSTON, WMGC/DETROIT, and ZM/NEW ZEALAND, among others. He previewed a new app feature for WSTR (STAR 94)/ATLANTA that allows users to send "Open Mic" 10-second audio messages to the station. "Here's the cool thing," JACOBS added, "everything you just saw will be old in six months."
MICHAEL BRANDVOLD returned to the "Summer School" for a second appearance to talk about how music stars from all formats effectively use Twitter. He called Twitter a "reality show," and advised users to determine what their limits of personal disclosure are and then go "right to your limit." He reminded users that Twitter "knows no borders or territories," so tweets will be seen by non-fans as well as fans. Most important, BRANDVOLD insisted, is to "post with passion." Examples include posting simple questions that encourage followers to respond and interact with each other (like GREG KIHN's "DAVID LEE ROTH or SAMMY HAGAR?" tweet). And the importance of engaging with fans is recognition, BRANDVOLD said, with the connection made via engagement on Twitter building loyalty and expanding your network through the fans' followers.
ARIBTRON's JENNY TSAO discussed how the winners in the PPM-generated ratings have achieved their success. She said that daily cume and occasions -- how often people tune in -- are the primary drivers of PPM ratings success; Top stations get about 9 or 10 minutes of listening per occasion. In addition, most stations played about the same amount of music (about 13 spins an hour) regardless of rank, and there were few differences in rotation of top hits as well (the exception is Top 40/Rhythmic, in which the number one stations played fewer of the top titles). Rhythmic and Country top rankers played a wider variety of titles, a situation not mirrored in other formats.
FRED JACOBS followed with a look at "radio's emotional triggers" and listeners' engagement with radio in data from TechSurvey8. JACOBS looked at "first occasion" media consumption, in-car listening, how younger listeners are increasingly using their smartphones or MP3 players in their cars, how News-Talk and Sports are leading listenership among those with in-car entertainment systems (and how those listeners are listening to less AM and FM radio), and reasons people still listen to the radio, from the obvious and most popular (to hear favorite songs, for DJs/shows/hosts) to emotional responses (like to work with the radio on, get in better mood, keeps company, escape pressures of life).
CHRIS ACKERMAN of COLEMAN INSIGHTS spoke about balancing short-term and long-term concerns in the PPM world, stressing the importance of brand strength and "in-the-moment product execution." He used a pyramid chart to show the elements that bolster the base music or talk position of a station, like personality, specialty programming, contests, marketing, news, and community involvement, wrapped in a "brand essence." And he offered a matrix to help make decisions on whether to play a particular record, measuring the effect on in-the-moment performance -- whether playing it will drive listeners away or not -- versus brand-building (it may ultimately help the station's cutting-edge image).
LEWIS returned for another social media talk, this time using the U.S. ARMED FORCES' manual on social media to explain how to "go into battle." Examples include monitoring "online chatter," including about the competition. And the MINNESOTA TWINS' Corporate Communications Manager CHRIS ILES offered insights on how sports franchises are using social media.
Climbing The Ladder (And There Still Is A Ladder To Climb)
An afternoon session moderated by ALL ACCESS' own JOEL DENVER addressed how to "climb the ladder" in the radio industry -- and whether there is still a ladder to climb. THe panel, including COX MEDIA GROUP's KIM GUTHRIE, MID-WEST FAMILY BROADCASTING/SPRINGFIELD, IL's SUSAN GROVES, and WOODWARD COMMUNICATIONS/APPLETON PD (and GREEN BAY PACKERS public address announcer) JOE CALGARO, discussed defining success (GUTHRIE warned not to define success by market size, with which GROVES and CALGARO agreed), mentoring, management styles (CALGARO said his style "drives my Gemeral Manager insane"), the lack of a "farm system" for radio (GUTHRIE said that a station can hire a good, smart worker and teach him or her to do the job, and an extensive resume isn't always better), and other advice for those aspiring to a career in radio.
GROVES noted that while people say it is "harder to get in" and there are fewer jobs, most applicants aren't willing to put in the work necessary to succeed, so those who do work hard stand out from the pack and can succeed. GUTHRIE noted the need to multitask, and said that those who can do multiple jobs will be successful in the business; she also noted the importance of keeping records of accomplishments to stress in job applications. CALGARO advised, "take anything that's put in front of you and do it like it's your favorite thing to do," adding that he started his radio career playing Country music and had not heard any of the records before that, and took on the task of PD at a Sports station without ever having worked in Sports radio at the time.
Other panels on WEDNESDAY afternoon included a panel on getting the most out of talent, with consultant VALERIE GELLER moderating and panelists CUMULUS MEDIA NETWORKS "FLASHBACK" host MATT PINFIELD, ALL ACCESS Urban/Urban AC Editor JERRY BOULDING, ASTRAL MEDIA/VANCOUVER's RONNIE STANTON, and CUMULUS Country KATM (KAT COUNTRY 103)/STOCKTON, CA host MELISSA MCCONNELL; POINT TO POINT MARKETING's ROB KLEMM headed a panel on ratings methodologies, with VALLIE RICHARDS DONOVAN's HARV BLAIN and ARBITRON's JON MILLER explaining the basics of the PPM and diary systems; and CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY CEO JIM HOPES on time management.
A panel on voice-overs hosted by BENZTOWN's DAVE "CHACHI" DENES and moderated by CUMULUS MEDIA NETWORKS' DENNIS GREEN included CBS RADIO/LOS ANGELES' JHANI KAYE, JOURNAL/OMAHA's MARK TODD, agent NATE ZEITZ, voice-over/imaging talent RACHEL MCGRATH, and -- arriving late -- voice-over talent PAT GARRETT. And attorney GREGG SKALL hosted a session on FCC rules and keeping stations within the regulations.