WWRS 2016 Gets Underway With Talk About The Future Of Radio, Innovation
April 14, 2016 at 6:00 PM (PT)
The WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT 2016 has a full day lined up TODAY (4/14) at the HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL. Attendees hail from all over the world, including SWEDEN, SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, and many more countries.
Ria's Rising Stars Revealed
After ALL ACCESS' JOEL DENVER and A&R WORLDWIDE's SAT BISLA introduced the proceedings, DENVER announced the winners of the RIA'S RISING STARS scholarship in honor of his late wife and ALL ACCESS co-founder RIA DENVER. GEORGIA COLLEGE's EMILY WARD, HOFSTRA's NEIL A. CAROUSSO, and INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTHEAST's ELIZABETH ROZENGARD were the inaugural winners of the honor.
The Future of Radio, Featuring Larry King
LARRY KING moderated a panel on radio's future with EMMIS' JEFF SMULYAN, HUBBARD's GINNY MORRIS, ALPHA MEDIA's LARRY WILSON, BBC RADIO 1/1XTRA's CHRIS PRICE, PANASONIC/AUPEO's DAVID TAYLOR, and RADIO ONE (ONE SOLUTION/ONEX/INTERACTIVE ONE)'s DETAVIO SAMUELS.
WILSON explained his philosophy of being back in the acquisition game, telling KING that "Radio is still a great, great business, it generates an unbelievable amount of free cash flow ... I think there's an opportunity here." He added that his company believes in live and local but makes exceptions for exceptional talent. SMULYAN said he "would doubt" that his company will make any play for CBS RADIO stations, assuming instead that the group will be spun off as its own entity and that it would be "very difficult" for anyone to buy it; he added that it is "depressing" that former radio giants like ABC and CBS have sold off or plan to get out of the medium, but when KING said that his gloomy outlook puts him in conflict with WILSON, he said that he only found it "depressing" that capital had left the radio acquisition field, and MORRIS added that much of the gloom was overstated and she looks at the business as being "more than half full."
SAMUELS explained his company's various divisions and how they offer the ability to provide advertisers with both broad scale and local opportunities; he said he is "bullish" about radio and his local brands' presence both on the air and in social media. TAYLOR outlined AUPEO's business and the evolution of the connected car, "multi-modal" commuting (combining car travel, mass transit, and ride sharing), and autonomous vehicles, noting that a study said that cars sit idle for 93% of the time, leading to the conclusion that consumer behavior is changing but added that radio is well-positioned to take advantage of the changes. But he also noted that many radio ads are about cars, and that car companies may want to control more of the messaging reaching drivers.
PRICE discussed his stations' challenge in reaching a young audience that increasingly is taking its time spent listening to online options, explaining his strategy of using social media and online video to go "fishing where the fish are."
Asked what worries them most about radio, MORRIS responded that the connected car is one worry, and added that radio "cannot continue to rely on its incumbency" as alternatives increase. "If we're smart," she said of the changing competitive situation, "it'll make us better." But TAYLOR said that he's concerned that radio is not reacting fast enough to changes in how listeners use audio in the car. WILSON's concern was with measurement, charging that the federal government has allowed a monopoly in the field (although he praised NIELSEN's efforts to provide more information to clients). "PPM does worry me ... there's way too few meters," WILSON said, using an audio clip of DONALD TRUMP's complaint about primary rules -- "It's a dirty system!" -- to illustrate his point (and draw some laughs). SMULYAN complained that radio is less fragmented and troubled than television but that WALL STREET and MADISON AVENUE have a poor perception of radio that needs to be changed, offering that NEXTRADIO's interactivity is a "game changer" in radio's favor. And PRICE's concern was for how music testing has changed, with YOUTUBE views, SHAZAM tags, and other information added to the mix -- "that SHOULD make radio better," he said, but warned that if radio becomes too reliant on data over gut instinct, radio may get bland and homogenous. "I want to discover and break the next DAVID BOWIE," PRICE added, "and it's not going to happen on SPOTIFY."
SMULYAN noted talk radio's impact on the G.O.P. race, giving talk radio the credit for causing the disruption that created the current field; MORRIS countered that radio needs to look to other kinds of talk, citing her company's own KTMY (MYTALK 107.1)/MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, to which SMULYAN pointed to Sports and public radio as examples of wider spoken-word appeal.
On iHEARTRADIO's financial burden, WILSON said that unless the company loses its present lawsuit over a creditor group's default notice, iHEART "still has time," although he was unclear how the company could move assets into another entity; on CUMULUS, SMULYAN said that "they have a little better opportunity" because it is paying some principal along with the debt service (MORRIS interjecting, "with a woman in charge, how can they lose?"). The panelists agreed that they all do not want iHEARTMEDIA and CUMULUS to fail, warning that their demise would hurt the entire industry.
The panel also voiced optimism about radio, with PRICE touting "visual radio," creating online video from station content and noting "really, really encouraging signs;" "radio is far from dead," he said, "it's just a different beast from what it was before."
SMULYAN gave a presentation on NEXTRADIO's growth, noting that the benefit of the app is "enhanced ads" and pointing to the first shipments of pre-installed NEXTRADIO phones for AT&T and T-MOBILE, added to SPRINT. He urged stations to air spots promoting NEXTRADIO to help the app gain market share.
ENTERCOM's WEEZIE KRAMER moderated a panel on the intersection of ratings, sales, and content, with FARBER, WESTWOOD ONE/CUMULUS' PIERRE BOUVARD, iHEARTRADIO's TONY COLES, AUSTEREO's GUY DOBSON, and 5FM/SOUTH AFRICA's JUSTINE CULLINAN. BOUVARD cited research on consumer behavior when spots come on the air that showed much more audience retention during stopsets (93%, as opposed to the widely-assumed 40%), concluding that the problem with audience erosion is a perception problem. COLES added that bad commercials are a form of disrespect of the audience, and BOUVARD noted that radio's promoting of "commercial-free" programming is disrespecting advertisers in a way magazines and television do not. "We program radio based on 50-year-old wives' tales," BOUVARD said.
FARBER prompted KRAMER to discuss the "two-minute promise" stopset-reduction experiment at her company's Alternative KNDD (THE END)/SEATTLE; KRAMER said that revenues and ratings have risen after the change.
"We have an ability to connect people," said COLES. "That's something we should never lose sight of." And FARBER added that despite the talk about building brands and changing the way radio advertising works, the dynamic remains agencies shopping for :10s, :30s, and :60s, the way they did in the 1950s, and there needs to be a change in thinking in that regard; CULLINAN explained some of her station's efforts in that regard, including native advertising in a "Power Spot" package. BOUVARD suggested that stations use talent to develop innovative advertising ideas for clients, and use on-air promos to promote sales.
FARBER also sounded a call for radio to develop more talent, pointing to efforts to reach out to college students including RADIO SHOW attendance and providing the students with training and direction.
BOUVARD offered data from a study of podcasting, including that the median age of listeners to podcasts is 31 years old and that they are "voracious" audio consumers. "Every station should be thinking, 'What are the passions of my talent?'," he advised. "'Let's try something.'" Asked by KRAMER what agencies are willing to pay for it, BOUVARD pointed toward the medium's high demand and low inventory generating high rates.
Fighting With Sound
CUMULUS Hot AC WPLJ-Country WNSH (NASH FM)/NEW YORK's DAN KELLY is defending his title in BENZTOWN's IRON IMAGER contest against AUSTEREO Active Rock 2MMM (TRIPLE M)/SYDNEY's "SIDESHOW MIKE" ANDERSON this year. ANDERSON's participation was announced in a midday presentation.
Techsurvey 12 On Display
JACOBS MEDIA offered a rundown of results from TECHSURVEY 12 WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT THURSDAY (4/14) in FRED JACOBS' annual presentation. Following his segment, PREMIERE NETWORKS sponsored lunch featuring syndicated Urban KRRL (REAL 92.3)/LOS ANGELES morning man BIG BOY
Podcasting: The Voices Of Experience
ALL ACCESS News/Talk/Sports Editor and NERDIST Dir./Programming PERRY MICHAEL SIMON moderated an all-star panel of podcasters consisting of CHRIS HARDWICK (NERDIST, "@MIDNIGHT," "TALKING DEAD"), DAVE ANTHONY (IFC's "MARON," "THE DOLLOP"), ALISON ROSEN ("ALISON ROSEN IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND"), JACKIE KASHIAN ("THE DORK FOREST," "THE JACKIE AND LAURIE SHOW"), and the NERDIST PODCAST NETWORK's KATIE LEVINE, presented by CURB RECORDS.
HARDWICK began podcasting when he became disillusioned with radio broadcasting after leaving KROQ: "I wanted something more genuine, less professional. It satisfied my desire to meet people I've always wanted to meet, and ask them questions I've always wanted to ask. There's an element of humanity, it's intimate and almost therapeutic."
For KASHIAN, starting "The Dork Forest" was a way of finding out about people's passions, no matter what they were. "For me, it's not an endgame in itself -- I'm making some money, but it's not a living. You have to be as honest as you can be."
ANTHONY turned to podcasting when he felt frustrated with his comedy career, and launched a show with GARETH REYNOLDS to gripe about it, which began to catch on, and inexplicably, through the magic of the Internet, led to a following in AUSTRALIA, of all places. "You have to be yourself, and hope you find people who are onto your wavelength," he said.
ROSEN, who began co-hosting a podcast with ADAM CAROLLA, launched her own program as a talk show in her living room: "It was just a very natural progression for me."
NERDIST production chief LEVINE explained that the very raggedness of podcasting is part of its appeal as opposed to the polish and slickness of commercial radio. "All you really need to use is GARAGE BAND for the sound," she explains.
"The point is to be vulnerable, to be genuine and your audience will hopefully catch on," concluded HARDWICK, who points to HOWARD STERN as the godfather of the genre, even if he has been one of its biggest detractors. "Just get out there and do it, and let your passion carry you. If you do it right, your fans will be just like you."
Steve Reynolds Reveals "!0 Secret Things Every Successful Personality Does"
1. Have a well-defined show with anchor features, benchmarks and most, importantly, a plot, a consistent narrative, using "Seinfeld" as a show about "nothing," as one touchstone.
2. Characters have to stand for something, be completely honest, and vulnerable.
3. A successful benchmark which affects behavior and defines the show, REYNOLDS pointing to JAMES CORDEN's "Carpool Karaoke" and DAVID LETTERMAN's nightly Top 10 list as the perfect examples.
4. Great talent are "outside thinkers." You need four images for any show to be distinctive and successful in the market: fun and humor, authenticity, innovation (how you deal with a topic) and being relatable. REYNOLDS played a segment from DETROIT's 'MOJO IN THE MORNING" with the real HILLARY CLINTON and a spot-on BILL CLINTON impressionist.
5. The use of social media to groom a relationship with the audience.
6. Hosts need to be human so the audience cares about them. They should be highly inquisitive and curious about life, which leads to better content on the show.
7. Talent must be comfortable being the face of the brand's image, with REYNOLDS pointing to STEVE JOBS, ELON MUSK and JEFF BEZOS as relevant examples.
8. Talent has mechanisms to resolve internal conflict.
9. Talent look to get things done locally, by embedding themselves in the community, especially sports and politics.
10. "Get close to the money." Successful talent work with the sales department and clients.
REYNOLDS concluded: "Markets are looking for creative solutions, to do radio that has never been done before. These 10 tips will help any station be successful, no matter the format."
A panel of music programmers with ENTERCOM's PAT PAXTON moderating and EMMIS' JIMMY STEAL, ALPHA MEDIA's SCOTT MAHALICK, consultant TONY GRAY, FLUX FM's MARKUS KÜHN, iHEARTMEDIA's MARC CHASE, and CUMULUS' CAT THOMAS closed the sessions for the day, looking at issues like the PPM (MAHALICK saying that the meters "keep you honest"), coaching talent, the ability to make "art" in the brief time allotted, the balance between science and creative, digital, brand building through events (like the iHEARTRADIO concerts and awards), attracting Millennials to work in radio, and more.
The BENZTOWN 50 cocktail reception closed out the day with performances by DREW PARKS, FINGERTIPS, MADYX, and the all-industry band ALL EXCESSIVE.
Find the full agenda and more information here.