Friday At The Worldwide Radio Summit: Music, Talent, Digital, Social, Security
April 24, 2015 at 6:12 PM (PT)
FRIDAY's agenda at the annual WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT at the HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL included looks at audio's new platforms, breaking artists and picking the hits, social media, international radio, air talent, and security.
It Can Happen To You
VALORIANT SAFETY Senior Consultant TOM HUGHES opened the day's proceedings with a talk about security, dealing with issues from getting through airport security to a station's vulnerability to attack, both physically and online. He warned that those who exercise freedom of speech "without limits" can expect "bad guys" to "exercise freedom of action," and advised stations to have an emergency plan and safety training, including escape plans. He pointed out that broadcasters are "valued, and soft, targets," because they can offer a route for publicity and because everyone knows where the stations are. HUGHES, who handles security for MIRANDA LAMBERT, also offered checklists of best defenses for live events and against stalkers.
New Platforms, New Issues
PODCASTONE Founder NORM PATTIZ moderated FRIDAY's first panel on radio's challenges and opportunities competing on and with new audio platforms, joined by iHEARTMEDIA's ANDREW JEFFRIES, NIELSEN's JON MILLER, MEDIAMONITORS/RCS/MEDIABASE's PHILIPPE GENERALI, and MUSICWATCH's RUSS CRUPNICK. PATTIZ asked the panelists what they thought the audio industry would look like five years from now, and MILLER noted that the pace of change for radio has been "glacial" compared to television, which he noted has changed enormously in the last 18 months, with a huge shift to on-demand streaming video like NETFLIX. MILLER also cited the need to figure out measurement of digital audio, which prompted PATTIZ to raise the podcast industry's attempts to shift from direct response to brand advertising and how raw download numbers were being filtered through several proprietary formulas, which did not lead to agency acceptance.
Asked about how programming radio has changed for him with more competition and audience fragmentation, JEFFERIES said that he does not work in radio, but is a "curator of a brand" working in many platforms; his job, he said, is to provide the audience with the best content on all platforms.
PATTIZ asked whether programming is more important than platform, and GENERALI pointed out that operations like SPOTIFY and PANDORA don't own their content and that a spoken word programming company like PATTIZ's are in different positions. MILLER suggested that a third factor might be in play, the experience, because the content, especially music, is becoming the same across platforms. Asked if NIELSEN will ultimately measure PANDORA and SPOTIFY, MILLER said yes, but that measurement needs to be separated when different listeners are served different ads. CRUPNICK called technology "the price of entry" and noted that anyone can license the same music, meaning that, as MILLER posited, "it's somewhere in the middle ... it's about the experience."
PATTIZ asked whether technology is leading society in the right direction, and whether, for example, a news app that only serves up news the user wants to hear is a healthy thing; CRUPNICK noted that younger audiences are going to pick and choose what they hear, "for better or for worse, and I'm on the for-worse side." MILLER, however, noted that despite that, when major news stories like natural disasters hit a market, listeners flock to traditional all-News outlets, with the trick being to "do it every day."
After DMR/INTERACTIVE's ANDREW CURRAN offered a mini-keynote on keeping P1 "super-fans" engaged by collecting and analyzing data about them and treating contest winners "like PPM panelists" to encourage sharing their good fortune with others, THE MUSIC BUSINESS REGISTRY's RITCH ESRA headed a panel on developing and breaking new music and artists. COLUMBIA's LEE LEIPSNER, DISNEY MUSIC GROUP's MIO VUKOVIC, WARNER BROS. RECORDS' PETER GRAY, iHEARTMEDIA SOUTHEAST Regional SVP/Programming ROD PHILLIPS, SONGS MUSIC PUBLISHING's RON PERRY, and BMG's EVP Writers Services THOMAS SCHERER comprised the panel, which discussed the cost of breaking artists ("it's a range," GRAY said, declining to be more specific), whether potential radio play is a consideration in signing an artist (yes, VUKOVIC and PERRY agreed), the link between A&R and promotion (closer than ever, LEIPSNER said, leading to a discussion of how HOZIER's "Take Me to Church" managed to become a multi-format hit), breaking international artists in the U.S., and other issues.
#Radio (Or Maybe #TacoEmoji)
JACOBS MEDIA Digital and Social Media Strategist and ALL ACCESS columnist LORI LEWIS hosted a presentation and panel on radio's use of social media to build connections and trust with fans, with the assistance of panelists including CUMULUS Corporate PD and Country WNSH (NASH FM 94.7)/NEW YORK PD BRIAN THOMAS, ATLANTA-based syndicated "THE BERT SHOW" Executive Producer JEFF DAULER, FLUX FM/BERLIN Managing Partner/PD MONA RÜBSAMEN, and TACO BELL Sr. Director/Digital Marketing Platforms and Social Engagement TRESSIE LIEBERMAN.
LIEBERMAN gave insight into how TACO BELL has used social media to connect with millennials, saying that the company decided to be "human," speaking to fans as friends rather than a corporation. While the company generates 15% of its social media content, 85% is fan-generated, including a promotion focused on some teens' propensity to use TACO BELL as part of prom proposals. LEWIS noted that the TACO BELL social campaigns do not show a "need to be seen" as some other companies display, and highlighted the brand's "Taco Emoji" campaign to create a taco emoji to its emoji choices as a particularly shareable concept; LIEBERMAN explained that the company, finding out that the Unicode Consortium was indeed considering a taco emoji, started a CHANGE.ORG petition. And the campaign to promote the chain's mobile ordering app by going dark on social media was examined as an example of using social media as a "supporting character" rather than the star performer.
The discussion turned to creating "holy crap" moments, such as THOMAS' station giving tickets to a fan who tweeted that she was on her way to a concert hoping to find tickets, adding backstage passes. LEWIS noted that station staff should be checking Twitter throughout live events, connecting with listeners. DAULER said his show took a page from TAYLOR SWIFT's "stalking" of fans online -- when she surprised them by delivering CHRISTMAS gifts they'd expressed interest in receiving -- by buying random social media followers dinner and engaging them about it, and loading a STARBUCKS card and posting the QR code to let followers have a coffee for free (warning, though, to turn off auto-reload). "Read your teets, favorite them, respond," DAULER advised. THOMAS counseled to start early in developing relationships with new artists. As for FLUX FM, RÜBSAMEN showed examples of how the station did a home concert promotion with JAGERMEISTER using social media.
"Social media is not a volume business," LEWIS closed, "it is a differentiation business."
Two-time defending champion CUMULUS Hot AC WPLJ/NEW YORK's DAN KELLY won his third IRON IMAGER contest held by BENZTOWN, besting challenger SEAN GALBRAITH of EVANOV Top 40/Rhythmic CIDC (Z103.5)/TORONTO in a battle of Classic Hip-Hop IDs and imaging.
The winner was just one of the announcements at the WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT 2015 INDUSTRY AWARDS LUNCHEON, sponsored by WESTWOOD ONE with INGRID MICHAELSON performing three songs ("The Way I Am," "Girls Chase Boys," and "Time Machine") and ZACH SANG of the syndicated ZACH SANG & THE GANG joined ALL ACCESS' JOEL DENVER and A&R WORLDWIDE's SAT BISLA hosting. See the complete list of Industry Awards winners by clicking here.
It's Got A Good Beat And It's Good To Dance To
The post-lunch sessions began with the annual interactive record-rating panel, with panelists and selected audience members wielding meters to register their opinions on several new songs. BISLA moderated the segment with Top 40 BBC RADIO 1/Urban 1XTRA Head of Music GEORGE ERGATOUDIS, CUMULUS VP/Programming and Top 40 WRQX (DC'S 107.3)/WASHINGTON PD GILLETTE, SIRIUSXM VP Programming/Pop KID KELLY, CUMULUS Corporate PD-Urban/Rhythmic MAURICE DEVOE, FLUX FM/BERLIN Managing Partner MARKUS KUEHN, SOUNDOUT CEO DAVID COURTIER-DUTTON, and MID-WEST FAMILY BROADCASTING Active Rock WJJO (94.1 JJO)/MADISON PD RANDY HAWKE on the panel.
The International View (Not Too Positive About U.S. Radio)
DENVER returned to host the international radio panel sponsored by PHIL DOWSE MEDIA, which included OXIS MEDIA (JACK FM)/OXFORD, ENGLAND CEO IAN WALKER, AUSTRALIAN RADIO NETWORK CEO CIARAN DAVIS, BROADCASTING LAGARDÈRE/PARIS Senior Foreign Advisor ANDREW MANDERSTAM, and KAGISO MEDIA/SOUTH AFRICA Executive Director/Deputy CEO OMAR ESSACK.
DAVIS opened with a discussion of how his company started over with new management, new marketers and salespeople, and slowly rebuilt, culminating with the signing of KYLE SANDILANDS and JACKIE O for the successful relaunch of what is now KIIS 106.5/SYDNEY. MANDERSTAM detailed his company's expansion efforts, while ESSACK discussed the revamping of EAST COAST RADIO/DURBAN from a small, primarily white station to an integrated station on air and audience-wise; observing American radio's racial polarization, he said, he decided not to bring that kind of segmentation to his station, instead seeking to concentrate on a lifestyle/economic segment. WALKER talked about his experience working with private radio in VIENNA, learning from mistakes made there, coaching talent, and the value of a local strategy for commercial radio to combat the dominance of the BBC in local markets.
The panel also addressed staffing issues, including ESSACK touting the success of his diverse staff and DAVIS relating the value of hiring young employees who cost less but work hard. MANDERSTAM noted the history of government-controlled radio in EUROPE and the explosion of private radio after Communist rule ended. And ESSACK said that his station is not a radio station but a lifestyle brand, showing a video highlighting several successful events sponsored by the station.
And WALKER mentioned being inspired many years ago by hearing KQMQ/HONOLULU but that nothing he hears presently on his trips to AMERICA sounds as good. DAVIS said that he felt a level of depression in the room at THURSDAY's sessions and added that the American radio industry "needs to wake up really fast.... (or) the radio industry in AMERICA will become like the newspaper industry."
The Summit's sessions closed with an air talent panel moderated by iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 KIIS-F/LOS ANGELES morning co-host ELLEN K and featuring BEASLEY Rock-oriented Adult Hits WBRN-F (BUBBA 98.7)/TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG syndicated morning host BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE, iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WKSC (103.5 KISS FM)/CHICAGO morning team CHRISTOPHER (FRED) FREDERICK and ANGI TAYLOR, ENTERCOM Alternative KRBZ (96.5 THE BUZZ)/KANSAS CITY morning host AFENTRA BANDOKOUDIS and her husband, PD/afternoon host SCOTT (LAZLO) GEIGER, "ASIA POP 40" host DOM LAU, and NELONEN MEDIA/FINLAND radio division Content Director and host SAMI TENKANEN.
BUBBA admitted to having had to do things he didn't want to do, but noted "I'm gainfully employed" as a result; he offered details of the launch of WBRN ("a JACK format on crack... I can't believe anyone would give me my own radio station") and joked that he doubts that BEASLEY giving him WBRN to program will set a precedent.
TAYLOR discussed being "thrown together" with FRED at WKSC and being successful after a few years together, with Chicagoans finally accepting the team, prompting ELLEN K to discuss her own relationship with co-host RYAN SEACREST after being "thrown together" with him as well.
AFENTRA and LAZLO related the beginnings of their relationship while working in DETROIT and, prompted by a question from TAYLOR, said that they bring their personal lives onto the air -- LAZLO said that "it would be foolish.. to shut that part of my personality off." LAU discussed his show and how it airs in several nations, with CHINA next on the list; he jokingly pointed out that he hosts the show in English in his natural, unaccented speaking voice. TENKANEN talked about being both talent and management, leading to the panel joking about being hotlined (AFENTRA, married to the boss, said that the hotline always should be picked up).
Asked about the best and worst advice they got from their PD, TAYLOR said that the best advice was to "be your authentic self," and FRED added that the best (study and embrace improv comedy) and worst (that the PD was the PD because he could do FRED's job better than FRED) came from the same PD. LAZLO, as a PD and talent, said that he has never quit a job but he was always fired from every job; as for the best advice, one PD told him that as he changed jobs, people will keep telling him to be "less and less you," and while that would get him a job, "it won't get you the job you want."
BUBBA decried the loss of PDs like MARC CHASE, B.J. HARRIS, or BUDDY SCOTT in favor of the current crop of PDs and the lack of talent development that has led to voicetracking. "There's not a lot of RANDY MICHAELS out there," he said. "We're big f--king PPM jukeboxes now." LAZLO said that talent should be standing up for talent, but BUBBA noted that talent has no power now.
On cameras in the studio, BUBBA said that he does not like them -- it's "the old zookeeper mentality" and he wants to keep some trade secrets -- but, he said, it's a "necessary evil." He also praised HOWARD STERN as a "trailblazer in our industry... he's brilliant, he's the best" and termed STERN's endorsement of him by signing him to his SIRIUS channel his proudest moment in the business.
On what makes her proud AFENTRA said "I'm proud to compete with penis... and win." Her husband voiced pride in working for ENTERCOM, which allows him to play the music he chooses and to talk about politics from a liberal perspective and talk about the Internet and other things he brings in from home. "I know she (AFENTRA) loves JOY DIVISION and I know JOY DIVISION doesn't test... and I don't give a sh-t," LAZLO declared.