Conclave Day 2 Update: Tuning In The Digital Dashboard
July 18, 2013 at 4:12 PM (PT)
CONCLAVE Day 2 highlights came relatively early, when ARBITRON's DR. ED COHEN delved into the impact of the digital dashboard revolution. "Today's digital dash is the Wild West and it's very confusing," he admitted. "So what is the connected car? It's one-way infotainment and telematics that connected to the Internet or your smart phone and it's now a two-way system. Traffic, streaming video, music, messaging and more. Every car company -- better known as an OEM -- has one of these systems standard in your car now.
"These telematics report back when you drive, how far, what time of day, how fast you go, how hard you brake and even can report back your emissions for state certification," COHEN continued. "And it reports back on the condition of your car in terms of oil, and tires, and more. But these telematics are built by third parties so there are wide variations in the systems. And they have to try and make sure it works with every phone. OEMs are good at building cars, but are not electronics specialists so not all phones work properly in every car."
He also brought up the following points:
"The average year of a car on the road is 11.1 years old and they don't have these systems in there -- and this year 16 million cars will be sold -- so there is progress here, but it's still building. But your new smartphone is thrown out for a newer model every two years."
"Connectivity is best attained when you bring your own device -- which is a cheaper way to go when building a car. And none of the automakers cooperate with each other, but there are some who are bringing in their own modems, like GM, who will bring in 4G LTE modems in 2014 models. It will be interesting to see how this affects your data plans.
"The automobile is evolving as the Fifth Screen in consumers' lives. And within 10 years every car will have this and it will be the last screen most folks see before shopping which leads to lots of possibilities.
"These new systems have voice systems that come as part of the package now that avoid the monthly fees. Everyone is tired of monthly fees. AHA is one system that is ad-supported. There is no idea where it's all going, but consumers want it. Thinking globally, not locally, =is a good way to view this.
"OEMs think that HD Radio can help with data -- despite broadcasters who don't think much of it. Go to a car dealer and try out a new connected car. If you travel, try a rented car -- and see how easy it is or is not to connect. And see how easy it is to stay connect with dropouts on data. It doesn't work all the time.
"The message to radio: Like ESPN does, be everywhere that your listeners are expecting you to be -- over the air, online -- TUNEIN and AHA will take your station -- and follow what's happening in the auto business through their trades. It will keep you up to date ... and not surprised."
Programming Ideas That Pass The Test Of Time
Moderated by FOLGER MEDIA's JOEL FOLGER, the session featured JULES RILEY MEDIA President JULES RILEY, EDISON RESEARCH Pres. LARRY ROSIN, AUDIENCE BAKERY Pres. PHIL HALL, and ALL ACCESS Urban/UAC Editor JERRY BOULDING and President/Publisher JOEL DENVER.
FOLGER spoke about what we need to continue to embrace and what we should leave in the past. PHIL HALL questioned why radio personalities are still reading and show prepping from USA TODAY, saying, "The audience has already been there and done that, that day."
JOEL DENVER cited a successful station or business as having at least three legs and that if you looked at each daypart as a leg on the table and made every daypart important, you'd have more success. "Overnights is an important lead-in to morning drive and it's important that management recognizes the importance of every daypart and the need for a creative live, local personality in each of them."
LARRY ROSIN spoke of how we've all stations in PPM markets are placing their commercials are :12 and :42 and are "training our audiences to tune out to PANDORA or other music services all at one time."
JERRY BOULDING said, "Today, everyone works down to a price rather than up to a standard." As an example, he spoke of promotion kids who are trained for SELECTOR and a month later are called the PD. "They don't know what to do and how to direct talent."
JULES RILEY asserted, "It should be everyone's mission to learn your craft, no matter what your position in the business, and be able to grow and learn." She was also a big proponent of face-to-face contact with listeners: "We need to use every tool to reach out and employ street fighting skills to win listeners."
Everyone agreed that live and local radio was essential and that we needed to begin a recruitment and mentoring process to keep radio moving in the right direction.
HIP CRICKET Pres. IVAN BRAIKER spoke about the importance of texting and messaging for radio. "With 7 billion texts being sent each month, you may think that your daughter sent most of them. But texts with stations sending out call-to-action shows actionable results in sales and ratings. If your site is not mobilized you are missing out on a big opportunity. We work with radio brands like ESPN, to COPPERTONE and all of their strategies are different and tailored to specific needs."
BRAIKER spoke of the power of push notifications, coupons, and videos as key components of a mobilized site. "Coupons can have redemption rate of 40% or more, which is very successful and powerful."
Also happening was the NEXT BIG THING IN RADIO IS VIDEO session, featuring DRAKE DONOVAN and TERRY PHILLIPS of SPLICE VIDEO. They spoke about the case study of KDKA/PITTSBURGH, which made an investment of $150,000 in a video studio and is now making NTR money in excess of $250,000 a year.
Other types of content include video blogs, and weekly webisodes, in addition to in-studio video of the radio shows.
'State Of The Medium' Keynote Address
The second day of CONCLAVE 38 in MINNEAPOLIS began with a Keynote Address from TALKERS.COM and RADIOINFO.COM Publisher MICHAEL HARRISON. In his speech, HARRISON delved into the digital transition, the dangers of bad and bad commercials, and talent development.
"These days will be looked at as the difficult times transitioning from analog to digital and we won't know when it's over until we can look back at benchmarks like consolidation or a date like 1995, or other digital innovations," he said. "Radio faces an existential crossroads -- will radio still exist? Is PANDORA radio? Is radio only AM and FM? We monetize this digital age with business-to-business relationships. The digital age is not going to go away, and to have radio survive we have to remember nothing is written in stone and no art form is immune.
"There are those that have marginalized radio to being Sterno -- most useful in times of emergency," he continued. "PPM ratings go up in times of crisis. Why not have everyday be a crisis? Let's address the needs of the community like this every day. Let's create new formats."
His observations of other pressing issues:
"The Internet is not changing radio, because radio is a pale blue dot on the butt of the Internet. The Internet is changing our species. Changing the way we are wired and how we communicate. We are at the tail end of being homo sapiens -- the Internet is making us an instantaneously, artificially induced, telepathic society.
"Radio is a medium and technology and how it maintain its position. It's an audio presentation that is greater than the sum of its elements. This is crucial to understanding -- does have magic, specialness and touch the human condition?
"The biggest problem facing radio is debt. These are not evil people -- but these obscene levels of debt taking away the ability to create good radio. Debt is destroying this business and it's destroying the platform.
"Super-serve the fans of the medium. In this age it's hard to accurately rate the audience with present day technology and radio can't afford for it to be accurate. ARBITRON doesn't have the money to supply enough PPMs.
"The commercials we run are devastating our medium. We worry too much about song selection and yet will put 8-minutes of crappy sounding commercials on the air. Without talent we will have no business. Talent is king and is the building block of the business.
"Talent needs to be aware that it can start its own media station with audio, video, news and more all in one. Go to the local newspapers and offer to do your show on their websites. It all goes back to human to human communication. And radio is one of the best means for touching each other. Stop our preoccupation with being liked on FACEBOOK and do things that make us likable."
You Are A Personality Brand
The next session, "You Are A Personality Brand," was conducted by RANDY LANE COMPANY Pres. RANDY LANE. He spoke of the importance of talent to continue to grow and maintain radio. He also addressed the need to brand the show often with production and produced sweepers to help in the branding process.
LANE addressed the lack of time in a PPM world to get established. "Make it short and quick, and make sure you are planning for things and taking advantage of the time that you have to do so. That will make you successful and hopefully give you more time in the future to communicate."
For a one-person show, LANE suggested that "you put as many folks on the air as possible but make them credible. Work on adding peripheral characters outside of your show to participate too."
LANE reminded everyone that you are not a show host, not DJ, but a personality brand. He stressed the importance of knowing the two or three things that you stand for. And the importance of having a plot line for your show.
He also suggested that a personality know what personal flaws make you likable, then spoke about The Power Of The Story -- you are defined by your story and offered The 3 "Rs" of storytelling: Reason, Reveal, Resolution. And strongly suggested making videos.
LANE also spoke of The Art of the Tease -- the 80/20 rule. You give the listeners 80% of the story, but save the 20% for later.
What if you are a one-man morning show? LANE suggested, "Put on as many listeners as you can. Get experts you can call to be on your show. Colorful local people."
Branding Like A Rock Star
The scholarship luncheon featured "Branding Like A Rock Star" with NEWCAP VP/Programming STEVE JONES, who discussed his book of the same name and went on to describe "What Is A Brand?"
He said, "It's not logos and slogans ... the brand is the emotional feeling you have when you interact with the product. He spoke of the logos of COCA-COLA, APPLE, NEW YORK YANKEES and PORSCHE for example as all evoking great passion among customers.
STEVE offered his Rock Star Rules:
#10 Be consistent
#9 Start out small
#8 Be different, don't be better
#7 Create an experience for your customers
#6 Live up to expectations
#5 What one word do you own?
#4 Never give up
#3 Know your enemy
#2 Be real, be human
#1 Turn it up to 11
Randy Bachman Takes Care of Business
Another highlight of Day 2 was a terrific Q&A with GUESS WHO and BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE's RANDY BACHMAN, who was interviewed by syndicated radio show 'ROCK ALL NIGHT" principal and former KCAL/RIVERSIDE PD STEVE HOFFMAN.
BACHNMAN began playing violin at age 5 and quit when he was trying to play by ear at a symphony and turned his life to rock when the conductor called him out in front of everyone. He spoke about growing up in WINNEPEG and how he would DX radio from the US to hear songs that never got played in CANADA. "To me growing up, radio was truly everything," he said. "And to me, it still is."
He declined to name his favorite GUESS WHO song, saying "How can I pick out my favorite child." BACHMAN did admit that "Taking Care Of Business" was his favorite BTO song. He told story of how it evolved from the song title "White Collar Worker" which intended to mimic "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles. "Taking Care Of Business" came from hearing a radio DJ saying "we're taking care of business until midnight tonight." That song was performed that night impromptu and the audience went wild. The rest is history.
He told the tale of finding the opening guitar riff for "American Woman" from tuning up his guitar during a show where he broke a string. "This was an instant hit and it was simply a throw together of lyrics from BURTON CUMMINGS, me and others during the evening."
Regarding their current situations, HOFFMAN explained the new syndicated ROCK ALL NIGHT was created to give morning radio a lead-in with a personality and music-driven show with real entertainment, while BACHMAN told stories from his current radio show that runs on the CBC and won a Silver Award, citing his experiences with other artists and their songs from all genres of music, including current music.
A Conversation About The Future
SABO MEDIA President WALTER SABO presented the final session of CONCLAVE DAY 2 -- "WHAT I'VE SEEN, WHAT I SEE, AND WHAT I THINK -- A Conversation About The Future" interview style with CONCLAVE Dir. BOB SHANNON.
SABO said, "It's amazing how big TV stations have a pathetic amount of 'likes' and the same with your morning show. They are begging for 'likes' which is akin to asking for fan mail.'
In speaking about his days at KHJ/LOS ANGELES, which he wanted to take automted, he went to recall that RKO RADIO was once nervous about automating their stations for fear the FCC would frown upon it serving the public.
BOB asked, "What do you know that other people don't know. What makes you take on unpopular paths?" SABO responded, "I have said I tell people obvious things, and that's arrogant. It's hard to find the right words to get a point across at times for new concepts. It would be easier to just do LITE FM.
"One of the gifts I was given was having terrific jobs when I was young, and so I needed to look the part and present concepts and ideas that were important to them, not to me. A tragedy it never worked the other way."
BOB related that his grandson was complaining about DJ's: "They don't tell me what song I heard ... sounds like nothing and no one is there. SABO said, "My 9 year old asked why don't the say the time or the temperature, but she remembered that the afternoon drive talent was out sick. Z100 is the best station in the world, period and they utilize so many of the original techniques of radio that aren't heard elsewhere."
SHANNON said, "Project 50 years into the future." SABO said "We are at the primordial ooze stage of the Internet. There will be a daily diminishment of the value of the hardware we use to transmit but there will always be great demand for a great show."
SABO spoke of the lack of female air talent and called it, "A huge missed opportunity."