Wednesday at the NAB Show 2014: Digital, Digital, Digital
April 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM (PT)
WEDNESDAY's radio highlight at the NAB SHOW 2014 in LAS VEGAS was the all-day "Digital Strategies Exchange for Radio" program hosted by the NAB's SKIP PIZZI. The annual event has been a feature of the convention for the past three years; this year's edition was a five-and-a-half hour series of sessions in a single room.
A Look At Measurement
After PIZZI's introduction and a look at NIELSEN numbers showing online radio listening increasing (but not to the extent predicted by JASON CALACANIS in his presentation at SUNDAY's RAIN SUMMIT WEST) and online revenue also growing but still a fraction of traditional broadcast revenue, NIELSEN's FARSHAD FAMILY and UNIVISION's KATHLEEN BOHAN joined him for a look at audience measurement for radio across all platforms. BOHAN gave a rundown on the various measurement methods being used and the pros and cons of each of the metrics. FAMILY discussed his company's challenges to serve clients who are experimenting with several different methods of selling digital and desiring different measurements (by campaign, or by station). He said NIELSEN wants to leverage what it's done on the video side of its business to help get a foothold in the digital audio category, using a Software Development Kit (SDK) approach to allow client-side measurement of usage rather than a server-based measurement, and integrating those numbers with the standard broadcast measurement; he said that "we're working on" reducing duplication between the measurement methods before combining them.
The Connected Car, Again
An update on the connected car came from iBIQUITY DIGITAL's JOSEPH D'ANGELO, SNL KAGAN's JUSTIN NIELSON, and LENAWEE BROADCASTING COMPANY AC WLEN/ADRIAN, MI President JULIE KOEHN. NIELSON provided an overview of the main and new players in the digital/Internet music categories and the various connected car platforms and apps. D'ANGELO followed with a presentation about HD RADIO and the recent growth in the number of receivers in vehicles. Asked about the audience figures given for HD2 and HD3 stations, D'ANGELO admitted that the top 10 HD2 stations in terms of audience delivery are broadcast on analog translators but noted, "we're not trying to hide" from that fact and that the HD delivery enables those stations to exist.
The Social Network
Keeping radio "top-of-mind" with social media was the focus of a segment with RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INC.'s CHARLIE SISLEN, ENTERCOM's TIM MURPHY, and GREATER MEDIA's ROB WILLIAMS. WILLIAMS discussed the flip of his company's WTKK/BOSTON from Talk to Rhythmic AC as WBQT (HOT 96.5) and the instrumental part Facebook played in amassing an audience. MURPHY said that he has had to battle staffers who treat social media as "additive to their daily workload" and don't make it a priority; he described how he taught one producer the importance of Facebook by comparing the 83.000 "likes" for one post on the station's page to the value of spots that would reach the same number of listeners. MURPHY and WILLIAMS also discussed how they hire social media managers, with MURPHY saying that the goal is to hire former jocks and producers who have moved into social media while understanding radio, and WILLIAMS stressed "finding people who are doing" social media.
The Future Of Radio, International Division
U.K. radio "futurologist" JAMES CRIDLAND offered a "world tour" of radio's use of digital media and social networks at a lunchtime session. The former Head of Digital Media at VIRGIN RADIO talked about branding, including the rationale behind rebranding of several heritage local stations across the UK as CAPITAL FM, and wondered why broadcast radio in the U.S doesn't consolidate its brands to compete with national brands like PANDORA and SLACKER and better take advantage of uniform brands in social media. NORWAY's NRK and its creation of a second version of its P1 station to bring back older hosts who had been dropped from the main channel, RADIO RÍ-RÁ's Irish-language, partly government-funded service in IRELAND (where the Irish language is spoken as a first language by just 1% of the population), and Austrian station KRONEHIT's "BALKAN BEATS" online offering were among other stations featured by CRIDLAND.
CRIDLAND also laid out the radio landscape in the U.K., where DAB is slowly growing and listening online and listening through digital TV are roughly equal and trailing far behind DAB; The BBC's Triple A/Eclectic 6 MUSIC is predominantly heard via DAB, but Urban 1XTRA is equally heard via DTV and DAB, explained by 1XTRA's young audience likely not having a DAB receiver in their bedrooms. Overall, U.K. listening has moved closer to being equally via analog and digital/alternative platforms. He also touted the need to be on platforms like GOOGLE's CHROMECAST and INSTAGRAM, where stations like AUSTRALIA's 2DAYfm are posting news clips, and looked at the BBC's RADIOPLAYER and the pitfalls of "visualized radio" (showing KIIS 106.5/SYDNEY's KYLE SANDILANDS and JACKIE O on their video feed being far less interesting than the energetic audio), advising instead to use video, as Talk LBC/LONDON does, to make interviews shareable.
Digital Directors Tell All
Digital directors from THE CROMWELL GROUP (LACEY HOUSE), COX MEDIA GROUP (ALAN SEGAL), and INTERACTIVE ONE (SAM STIERS) joined PIZZI for a post-lunch segment. HOUSE showed comedy videos made by Active Rock WBUZ (BUZZ 102.9)/NASHVILLE with visiting bands, and admitted that some of the ideas are "stolen from late night TV" (and advised "that's the way to go"), noting that the videos have gotten strong response in social media. SEGAL discussed the use of side streams online to allow stations to offer added product without sacrificing core listenership to the main signal. STIERS noted the penetration of smartphones and tablets, especially for younger demographics, and how that has impacted usage; he also stressed the need to make content available on all platforms, including making sure that contest entry forms and videos are available on mobile platforms as well as on computers. HOUSE advised not to allow station salespeople to post on station social media streams, citing the aversion of users to ads posted as station content; STIERS said that there are ways to monetize Facebook content, but there needs to be editorial control.
Next For NextRadio
EMMIS' PAUL BRENNER gave another presentation on the NEXTRADIO app and Hybrid Radio as part of the "Digital Strategies Exchange for Radio" program, characterizing the app and technology as a way to "fight back" against more interactive technology like streaming. BRENNER was joined by SPRINT's ERIC WILLIAMS in explaining the app that works with FM tuner chips .
BRENNER asserted that over 8,320 FM stations can be heard through the NEXTRADIO app as opposed to over a thousand on TUNEIN (although he failed to mention that TUNEIN's stations can all be heard anywhere while NEXTRADIO does not serve 8,320 stations to all users). He said that the app has been activated on 290,000 phones with growth of about 2,500 apps daily; 11 SPRINT phones presently have active FM chips. He touted the app's interactive elements and TAGSTATION service to create visuals to accompany the audio and marry visuals to advertising. BRENNER said that international expansion is being considered.
Hiring Your Next Digital Directors
How to hire "digital directors" was the topic for a session with EMMIS' ANGIE MAY COOK, COX MEDIA GROUP's RICH REIS, and BEASLEY's STACEY SEDBROOK. The trio first told of their route to the job -- SEDBROOK coming from the newspaper industry, REIS from radio as a GM and Regional VP with NEW CITY and COX, and COOK from radio sales -- and showed a breakdown of digital jobs by each of their companies (in sales, BEASLEY has Digital AEs and Digital Coordinators, COX has Digital Sales Managers, Digital Specialists, Digital Campaign Leads, and Digital Only Sellers, and EMMIS has Digital Sales Managers, Digital Planners, and Digital Coordinators; for content, BEASLEY only has webmasters, while COX has five positions and EMMIS has six). They broke down in detail what skills and experience they're seeking, combining digital and traditional media backgrounds and, for content, people who have technical skills but who are also storytellers and have management skills.