The 2013 Radio Show Kicks Off In Orlando
FCC's Clyburn Announces AM Revitalization NPRM
September 18, 2013 at 2:12 PM (PT)
FCC Acting Chairwoman MIGNON CLYBURN gave the keynote address at RADIO SHOW 2013 in ORLANDO late WEDNESDAY afternoon, discussing the "revitalization" of the AM dial and revealing that she has circulated a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would open a one-time filing window for existing AMs to get one FM translator each, relax daytime and nighttime community of license coverage requirements, eliminate the "Ratchet Rule," allow Modulation-Dependent carrier level control with a simple notification rather than an experimental application, and modify antenna efficiency standards to allow shorter towers.
CLYBURN also thanked broadcasters for their service during Superstorm Sandy and said that she is "encouraged" by the addition of FM tuners to some cellphones.
Branding for Talent 101
Among the early sessions at the convention, co-sponsored by the NAB and RAB, was a panel on brand building for talent moderated by CUMULUS' MIKE MCVAY and featuring comedian and radio host D.L. HUGHLEY, ABC NEWS WHITE HOUSE correspondent ANN COMPTON, and Canadian radio consultant and "Brand Like a Rock Star" author STEVE JONES. The panel discussed career-defining moments like COMPTON (who said she had "no plan, no strategy, no clue" about her career at the outset) on Air Force One on 9/11, how to recover from a mistake (JONES said, "great brands are built from the heart. If you make a mistake, apologize from the heart"), the use of TWITTER, the role of mentors and role models in branding, HUGHLEY's "DANCING WITH THE STARS" experience (he said he did not think about the show's impact on his brand), and other topics.
Labels, Radio, and Artists, Working Together...
CARSON DALY moderated and rapper BIG SEAN was on the panel in a session on the relationship between radio, labels, and artists. LINCOLN FINANCIAL MEDIA's JOHN DIMICK noted that labels and radio find it easier to work together in more challenging times for the industries, and ISLAND DEF JAM's STEVE BARTELS called for stronger ties, saying that radio "still has massive reach in the local community" and calling radio "the top of the food chain" for making hits. BIG SEAN related how his career took off after he managed to get a few minutes with KANYE WEST at a DETROIT radio station where SEAN went on the local artists show; "there's nothing else," he added, "that can bring you new listeners" like radio. The artist's mild complaint about radio stations "playing the same nine shows over and over" was met with DIMICK's response about the radio rule, "if your TSL goes down, cut your playlist," When DALY suggested that there might be value in a station committing to new music and trading higher ratings for a close bond with the music community, DIMICK noted that stations "want to make money."
State Farm Talks Radio
STATE FARM's TIM VAN HOOF and OMD's SUMEET KANWAR discussed radio advertising with the RAB's ERICA FARBER during the Advertiser Luncheon, including STATE FARM's AARON RODGERS "Discount Double Check" promotion and how it is using multiple platforms, but VAN HOOF admitted that "we're not leveraging radio nearly as much as we can." VAN HOOF noted that advertising on television moved from integration into programming to spot breaks separate from the show and is now evolving back towards integration via product placement. He indicated to FARBER that radio would be in the mix for integrated advertising and said that his position on radio evolved towards looking at the unique power of radio that STATE FARM can use, giving the example of extending the insurer's relationship with football to radio with its local agent affiliates. The discussion noted video's primacy in marketing at present but VAN HOOF and KANWAR said that audio should play a part as well, since it remains heavily used by the public. KANWAR said, however, that radio needs to offer measurement in greater detail than it presently does. "If somebody tells us that they have so many listeners 18-49, that's not gonna fly," KANWAR warned, asking for more information on the specific listeners delivered and their behaviors. "It's no longer which medium is bigger," he said.
Programming and Digital: Bringing Different Worlds Together
ALL ACCESS' own MERGE columnist and JACOBS MEDIA Dir./Digital and Social Media LORI LEWIS hosted a panel on the tension between radio programming and social media and their differing metrics, with COX MEDIA GROUP ATLANTA Digital Dir. FISHER, ENTERCOM Alternative KNRK (94/7)/PORTLAND PD MARK HAMILTON, and GREATER MEDIA Rock WMMR/PHILADELPHIA PD BILL WESTON on hand. "We have the same goals, but we have very different metrics," LEWIS pointed out, recalling the difference between the digital (quiet, reserved, technical) and programming (boisterous) panels at the WORLDWIDE MEDIA SUMMIT in APRIL. "We're just built differently," she concluded about the programming and digital staffs.
The panelists discussed how they manage to keep both programming and digital personnel happy, with WESTON and HAMILTON noting that at many stations, the digital and programming people are one and the same. On metrics, WESTON said that "we've had 40 years" of radio ratings, but social media have several different metrics, which HAMILTON added means that a PD has to prioritize. WESTON recalled comments at the advertiser luncheon by STATE FARM that indicated they value 10,000 active FACEBOOK users watching their ads online more than the large numbers of viewers to a TV spot because the smaller number is more receptive to the advertising, having chosen to watch it.
FISHER said he is in constant contact with the programming and marketing departments, adding that programmers need to know that "this is the future" and need to include digital in planning things like on-air contests. WMMR morning hosts PRESTON AND STEVE's success in social media was examined by WESTON, and WESTON and HAMILTON both counseled talent to eschew "cat philosophy photos" and "Prince WILLIAM and the baby" photos and concentrate instead on posting personal, relatable material. Also addressed was the issue of copyright and fair use, with FISHER noting that his staff has been instructed not to post any pictures or material for which the station has no license. And HAMILTON dismissed e-mail databases as "yesterday's news," replaced by the "100% open rate" for text messages, drawing WESTON's protestation that messaging via e-mail, with graphics and video, offers greater marketing potential versus text.
Consultant VALERIE GELLER and ENVISION RADIO NETWORKS "AMERICA WEEKEND" host TURI RYDER discussed the art of storytelling at a WEDNESDAY afternoon panel, joined via SKYPE by syndicated host PHIL HENDRIE, ill and at his home in CALIFORNIA. GELLER advised hosts to use material from their own life as well as the news; RYDER told of learning about storytelling from hosts such as LARRY LUJACK and FRED WINSTON and the adjustment to telling stories in 60 seconds for her CBS RADIO feature. HENDRIE asserted that radio needs theatrics, not just the idea of a person and a microphone and a phone call; he advised hosts wanting to be better storytellers to be authentic, citing the unlikely pair of WALT WHITMAN and REBECCA BLACK (noting that "Friday"'s lyrics are a citation of a list in the vein of WHITMAN's lists of experiences). RYDER suggested that hosts who don't want to talk about a topic can make lists of what they find interesting about the topic. And GELLER, talking about her criteria for "powerful radio," offered that in dealing with who-what-where-how-why, leading with "who" is a mistake and starting with "what happened" and "how" is stronger for setting up storytelling.
Farber, Smith Address the Gathering
RAB Pres./CEO ERICA FARBER and NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH offered welcome speeches WEDNESDAY afternoon. FARBER concentrated on the need for radio to interact with advertisers and opportunities for additional revenue from the Affordable Care Act, recited statistics showing radio remaining the leader for music discovery, and discussed FM tuners in cellphones with the NEXTRADIO app, ad spending in radio by cellphone carriers, and the mission of the RAB to promote radio to the advertising community. SMITH, noting radio's role in emergencies like this week's NAVY YARD shootings, asked what radio's vision is, voicing optimism in "market-based solutions" like the deals between radio and labels and saying that "radio's future lies in our willingness to embrace new platforms and to go where listeners want to go."
He reiterated his previous touting of radio's ability to remain on the air in natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy but noted the industry's recent cooperation with cellular carriers and, like FARBER, discussed at length the introduction of FM tuners to cellphones. SMITH also noted the passing of KIDD KRADDICK and, departing briefly from his script, emotionally thanked broadcasters for airing the new series of "OK to Talk" mental health PSAs.