Conclave 2006: Now PAST Tense!
July 17, 2006 at 11:36 AM (PT)
The ALL ACCESS team was on the scene in a very HOT MINNEAPOLIS last week for the 31st Annual CONCLAVE LEARNING CONFERENCE. Dubbed "Future Tense," the conference lived up to its name, as many panelists were quite frank in their assessments of the current state of the business.
The "Future Tense" theme was unfortunately punctuated by the layoff of 115 employees at CBS RADIO as the conference was preparing to open. ALL ACCESS President/Publisher JOEL DENVER addressed the layoffs as he kicked off the ALL ACCESS CONCLAVE COLLEGE on THURSDAY morning (7/13) by saying, "We simply cannot continue to let this occur in our business."
Panelests at the Group Heads Super Session mulled over the continuing decline in radio revenues, with EMMIS RADIO President RICK CUMMINGS admitting that we may not have bottomed out quite yet. The panelests agreed that radio needs a better marketing effort, but admitted that a great marketing effort requires money... something currently in short supply, as owners deal with declining revenues.
They also agreed that satellite radio's marketing effort had successfully repositioned terrestrial radio, leading many listeners - and advertisers - to think that the medium is in trouble. Panelist FRED JACOBS mentioned that some of his friends had approached him at social occasions to express their concern - asking him if he was "OK" - due to their perception that terrestrial radio is in severe decline.
FRIDAY's (7/14) keynote addresses featured the REVEREND AL SHARPTON, who shared his vision not only for the future of radio, but the future of AMERICA with wit and humor; and GLORIA STEINEM, who bemoaned the lack of significant numbers of women among the ranks of radio programmers while touting her new radio network, GREENSTONE MEDIA.
SATURDAY's keynotes featured syndicated Talk personality and CNN HEADLINE NEWS host GLENN BECK, and the must-see session with NEW YORK STATE Deputy Attorney General TERRYL BROWN CLEMONS, who offered up advice on avoiding payola pitfalls to a concerned audience, including KQKY/KEARNEY, NE APD/MD MARK REID, who sported a t-shirt from the 1993 CONCLAVE that read, "I'm so thirsty I could add a record."
Is It Legal?
Responding to criticism that the new rules are actually hurting many of the independent artists that they were designed to help due to the fact that many stations have completely cut off independent promoters, CLEMONS stressed that there is nothing wrong with station having a relationship with independent promoters, and, in fact, such relationships can be beneficial, as long as the promoters don't have financial relationships with the stations.
CLEMONS said that her office was responding to complaints about unfair promotion practices, and that they were trying to "level the playing field" so that small independent labels would not be eliminated from consideration for airplay just because they couldn't afford to hire expensive independents. She stressed that decisions with respect to airplay should be based on the artists' merit.
CLEMONS also expressed her reservations regarding paid "spin programs," characterizing them as "deceptive." She claims that paid spins, despite the legal disclosure naming the label as a sponsor, unduly influence chart positions, and subsequently influence airplay decisions at other stations, as well as buying decisions made at retail. CLEMONS claims that such practices present a distorted view to consumers regarding what artists and songs are popular, which could affect their buying decisions.
The TOP 40 panel, moderated by BILLBOARD RADIO MONITOR's CHUCK TAYLOR, featured XM SATELLITE RADIO's JON ZELLNER, KKMG/COLORADO SPRINGS PD CHAD RUFER, WEZB and KBYU/NEW ORLEANS OM/PD MIKE KAPLAN and BILLBOARD RADIO MONITOR's SILVIO PIETROLUONGO. One significant point raised was that with new mediums such as MYSPACE and YAHOO MUSIC, Top 40 radio had lost some of its cache as the main source for new music.
JUPITER RISING and LEIGH NASH entertained a lively crowd at the THURSDAY night Welcome Gathering. Other stellar off-premise performances included JESSE MCCARTNEY at J.D. HOYTS, and JOSH HOGE and CHEYENNE KIMBALL at the GRAVES HOTEL.
The CRB (COUNTRY RADIO BROADCASTERS) were fully involved as one of the partners of this year's CONCLAVE, sponsoring several relevant panels. FRIDAY morning's "CHARTS, DOLLARS & CENTS" was dominated by discussion of BILLBOARD absorbing R&R, but the session also featured other useful info.
Later that afternoon, "Breaking Of An Artist" featured UNIVERSAL SOUTH artist ROCKIE LYNN, who discussed everything from conference room concerts by hopeful new artists, to the role of programmers in breaking new talent.
On SATURDAY, the CRB, along with MEDIABASE 24/7, hosted a promotions nuts & bolts panel hosted by KFKF/KANSAS CITY promo queen RENEE FONNER. The session offered panelists suggestions on making remotes, contests and promotions more effective.
The CRB has already given the nod to being involved with next year's CONCLAVE, with the goal of making Country an even larger force at the 'CLAVE!
From the Urban perspective, this was a banner year for THE CONCLAVE. The Urban "Our World Is Exploding" session featured top programmers and record execs from across AMERICA. Co-moderator and KRNB/DALLAS OM SAM WEAVER, GRAY COMMUNICATIONS President TONY GRAY, WKKV/MILWAUKEE PF BAILEY COLEMAN, WJLB-WMXD/DETROIT OM K.J. HOLIDAY and CAPITOL SVP/Urban Promo GEO BIVINS all contributed and participated in a heated disucssion about what adjustments Urban radio and music are going to have to make to survive and flourish in the future.
The session also addressd the issue of training tomorrow's air-personalities and format leaders.
In the Adult radio formats, Hot AC panels included informative insight from such notable format leaders as MARY ELLEN KACHINSKE of WTMX (101.9 THE MIX)/CHICAGO, BOB WALKER of WKTI/MILWAUKEE and J.J. MORGAN of KFBZ (THE BUZZ)/WICHITA, KS.
MCVAY MEDIA presented three informative learning summits, and KURT STEFFEK and the folks at RAZOR & TIE records staged a performance by rising star KELLY SWEET at the Mainstream AC Symposium.
The Rock crew at the CONCLAVE dominated the MINNEAPOLIS nightlife. Great performances came from VIRGIN's 30 SECONDS TO MARS, ROADRUNNER's DRAGONFORCE and CENTURY MEDIA's LACUNA COIL. And a HARDDRIVE party brought everyone together for "spirited" discussion on all things Rock 'n Roll.
FRIDAY the Rock panel brought insight from those well-stocked with insightful opinions like WRIF/DETROIT PD DOUG PODELL and KAZR/DESMOINES PD RYAN PATRICK.
The 2007 CONCLAVE will be held significantly earlier than usual... JUNE 21st through 24th at the MARRIOTT CITY CENTRE in MINNEAPOLIS. Details soon at www.theconclave.com.