It's Been A Full Day At WWRS 2014
April 3, 2014 at 5:50 PM (PT)
The WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT 2014 is underway in HOLLYWOOD, with ALL ACCESS' own JOEL DENVER and A&R WORLDWIDE's SAT BISLA welcoming attendees to day-long sessions at the HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL after THURSDAY night's opening party at the HARD ROCK CAFE with musical guests ZENDAYA, CHRISTINA PERRI and DAUGHTRY.
Looking At The Connected Car
Radio's response to the rise of the "connected dash" was the focus of the first panel of the morning, with TRITON DIGITAL's JOHN ROSSO moderating and EDISON RESEARCH's LARRY ROSIN introducing findings from his firm's INFINITE DIAL study, including AM/FM radio's dominance in the car (86%, ahead of CD players at 61%, digital music at 31%, satellite at 17%, and online radio at 14%), but that in-dash information and entertainment systems are beginning to show traction. The panel included consultant VALERIE SHUMAN, RDIO CEO ANTHONY BAY, CLEAR CHANNEL DIGITAL's BRIAN LAKAMP, BBC RADIO 1 and 1XTRA's GEORGE ERGATOUDIS, SPECTRUM MEDYA's ALI ABHARY, and FORD's SCOTT BURNELL.
LAKAMP said that iHEARTRADIO's growth is driven by listening to streams of traditional live radio stations, and touted users' connection to personalities like the syndicated ELVIS DURAN, to whom he said he listens while driving into NEW YORK for his commute.
BAY discussed RDIO's work with CUMULUS to offer programming that is not traditional station streams but instead complementary, and the goal to offer "every song available" to everyone, everywhere; ERGATOUDIS explained the BBC's participation in the RADIOPLAYER portal and app and added that as much as he would like to have a dedicated RADIO 1 app, "that's not happening anytime soon"; he also stressed the need for radio to use YouTube and voiced his confidence that radio, or at least its strongest brands, will "continue to cut through" even as streaming grows in the car. LAKAMP stressed that broadcasters need to "take your radio brand and make it available everywhere your audience is, " and BAY echoed that sentiment: "You have to be where people are listening." ABHARY added that programmers need to also be aware of the different contexts in which consumers are listening, and SHUMAN raised the safety issue, noting that discussions with the automotive industry tend to focus on the safety issue in use of in-dash systems and the possibility of systems that allow cars to "talk" to each other to avoid crashes (ROSIN joked, "Are we gonna hear that?").
BURNELL said that studies of distracted driving use selecting and tuning a radio station as a "baseline" against which all other potential distractions are measured; he discussed the need to have customization of audio choices done before a driver gets into the car, and the desire to have in-dash selections all involve one-button selection. "Radio's not going away," BURNELL added, but he noted that the AM/FM buttons are being "pushed farther down the line" by the new streaming services being added to the dash.
LAKAMP said that using the term "podcasts" "misshapes" the discussion about some of the content being produced for services like iHEARTRADIO, citing special programming on the MALAYSIA AIRLINES missing plane and other programs that do not fit the model of, citing one example, ADAM CAROLLA's show. BAY noted the challenge for broadcasters to get their apps on all platforms (citing the difficulty of, for one, getting on SAMSUNG's SmartTV system) and offered his company, which works with CUMULUS, as an example of how broadcasters can enlist the help of digital companies to be everywhere consumers want them to be. "We're not the insurgents coming over the wall," BAY said, referring to how ROSSO described digital companies competing with broadcasters.
After the panel discussed the issue of advertising for digital, SHUMAN noted that automotive companies are very interested in data, specifically communicating cars' needs for replacement parts to get in and out of a repair shop, which she described as a "pot of gold" waiting to be found.
The RAB's ERICA FARBER noted that the product of radio hasn't changed in 25 years and asked what changes would have to be made to adapt; LAKAMP said that the foundation of radio is the relationship with the community; he said that the technology will allow that relationship to grow in new ways. ERGATOUDIS agreed that "the core content is going to continue to be the same."
Promoting Radio's Strength
The RAB's ERICA FARBER touted radio's strengths, noting that the industry reaches over 244 million listeners per week in the U.S. and noted the RAB's development of new products and services addressing the evolution of the business. She introduced BORRELL
ASSOCIATES' GORDON BORRELL, who presented a talk on the vast changes in the media since 1994 and the shift of dollars from advertising to promotions. His talk was aimed at challenging the positioning of digital media as gaining strength and traditional radio as weak, showing results from various studies emphasizing radio's relative strengths over other media and NIELSEN ROI statistics showing strong performance by radio for various advertising categories. He did note, however, that dismissing digital because it isn't making money now would be ignoring the lesson of television, which invested in facilities and infrastructure in the '50s when stations were not making money. And he cited statistics showing radio managers believing radio's digital sales are suffering because radio salespeople are tasked with selling digital as well.
Let's Do Lunch
BORRELL was followed by FRED JACOBS' annual presentation of JACOBS MEDIA's TECH SURVEY -- see the separate story for details. And lunch was accompanied by a talk with "SIXX SENSE" Host NIKKI SIXX presided over by CLEAR CHANNEL Rock Brand Coordinator, Active Rock Premium Choice Programming and Director Of FM Programming/DENVER JOE BEVILACQUA.
What Do You Do When You're Branded?
Branding was the focus of the first post-lunch panel at WWRS, with EON MEDIA's ROB GRAHAM leading the discussion with THE PLAYLIST GENERATION's HECTOR MENDOZA, MARKETRON's MARTIN KRISTISETER, jacAPPS' BOB KERNEN, and consultant JEFF POLLACK on the panel, later joined by DELTA AIRLINES' RANJAN GOSWAMI. KERNEN noted his company's move into branded game apps for mobile phones, which has been a success for JACOBS MEDIA's GREATER MEDIA DETROIT client.
Steve Reynolds Offers Advice For Morning Shows
Consultant STEVE REYNOLDS offered his "secrets" for building a morning show brand and the "12 ways it can get in trouble" in a presentation THURSDAY afternoon. He spoke of developing music "plots" (based on the stations' slogans, basically), advised shows to "be fun," and stressed the need to be innovative and relatable. He noted the importance of benchmarks to drive "appointment listening."
His list of "ways to get in trouble" include lacking a point-of-view, poor role definition, not "capturing the moment," losing touch with its constituency, not innovating, "C-level ideas" ("not as good as it used to be"), becoming "un-fun," lacking "cume urgency," no motivation/work ethic, egocentricity and dysfunction, predictability, and not involved in the community
MEDIA MONITORS President/CEO PHILIPPE GENERALI followed REYNOLDS with a presentation about MSCORE and tracking song performance by format on a weekly basis using the service.
Corporate Programmers Discuss The Issues
The final panel of THURSDAY featured a heavyweight panel of radio programmers discussing the issues facing the industry today, featuring CUMULUS' MIKE MCVAY, GREATER MEDIA's BUZZ KNIGHT, CLEAR CHANNEL/SAN FRANCISCO's DON PARKER, CLEAR CHANNEL/LOS ANGELES-SAN FRANCISCO-SAN DIEGO's ANDREW JEFFRIES, and SOUTHERN CROSS AUSTEREO's GUY DOBSON joining moderator BILL ROSE of NIELSEN.
The panelists touted their companies' innovations, and MCVAY addressed the "live and local" position many radio people claim is critical by noting the success of HOWARD STERN in syndication, noting that the most important element is "what comes out of the speakers." PARKER stressed the need for show prep, remembering one hire who would refuse to prepare his show and instead preferred to open the mike and "wing it," and who failed. MCVAY noted that the PPM's perceived hostility to talk doesn't apply if the talk "is good." The panel also addressed issues like talent development, the PPM (KNIGHT allegung that radio became "sterile and paranoid" in the early days of the meters), brand management and how that has changed their jobs, and social media use; KNIGHT decried radio's "inferiority complex," and the panel discussed hiring young hosts, with DOBSON suggesting that stations shouldn't have 45-year-olds playing music for young audiences and MCVAY saying that having young people on staff keeps things fresh and "keeps us on our toes."
RADIOCRUNCH'S ANTHONY ACAMPORA drew applause for asking the panel why anyone would go into radio when the news from the industry is all about firings and budget cuts; the panel didn't answer the question other than DOBSON saying that the industry should not "cut itself into irrelevance."
Remaining for THURSDAY:
- 6:30-8p: Wine Tasting & Cocktail Networking Reception & Hors D'oeuvres. Hosted By: ALLACCESS.COM and A&R WORLDWIDE at S.I.R. STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD (SUNSET BLVD.) (WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT 2014 badge required to attend). Artist showcases begin at 7:30p at S.I.R. STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD.