Conclave 41 Is Underway In Minneapolis
July 14, 2016 at 12:01 PM (PT)
THE CONCLAVE LEARNING CONFERENCE is underway in BLOOMINGTON, MN at the CROWNE PLAZA- MSP/MALL OF AMERICA hotel, with a full agenda TODAY (7/14).
Ask Them Anything
The RAB's ERICA FARBER moderated this year's version of the keynote "Ask Me (Almost) Everything" session with a revised lineup that replaced BEASLEY's CAROLINE BEASLEY (unable to attend) and CBS RADIO NEW YORK's JIM RYAN (delayed by travel problems) with CUMULUS CHICAGO's PETER BOWEN and iHEARTMEDIA's TONY COLES along with original panelists HUBBARD's GINNY MORRIS and iHEARTMEDIA's JON ZELLNER.
FARBER peppered the panel with questions ranging from favorite books, songs, and air talent (MORRIS wouldn't touch the latter question) to describing themselves in one word and asking for one great radio story each (MORRIS relating the wild memorial service for legendary host DON VOGEL). Asked what excites them about radio, BOWEN cited the accessibility of "big data" to expand the business beyond radio.
The conversation continued with observations about sales opportunities, the top programming innovation of the last six months (the panel was largely silent, and only MORRIS voiced that the industry has been lax on that front, calling for more innovation), defining digital (COLES was the first to mention POKEMON GO; BOWEN spoke of changing client perceptions that radio only sells ":30s and :60s"), opportunities to grow revenue, and "elevator pitches" to promote radio (ZELLNER said "radio is social ... people who listen to radio are more connected to their community ... radio is a social connection you can't get from any other medium").
The session opened with FARBER making a plea to broadcasters to support the BROADCASTERS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA.
On Ratings And Effective Programming Strategies
A panel on ratings moderated by ALL ACCESS' own JOEL DENVER featured BEASLEY's JUSTIN CHASE, ENTERCOM/MILWAUKEE's BRIAN KELLY, and HUBBARD/CINCINNATI's PATTI MARSHALL, with DENVER opening by suggesting that the value of digital and other segments of the media are in serving "the mothership" -- that they should direct listeners back to the broadcast station, the primary driver of revenue. CHASE discussed the pros and cons of straying from the typical :12/:42 stop set locations to be in music when competitors are airing spots, relating how he noted that noon SUNDAYS seemed to outperform other dayparts on weekends in LAS VEGAS, and how he adjusted by removing spots in that hour and receiving a significant bump for his Country station there as a result. Asked about whether PPM showing stronger cume in afternoons than in mornings has changed thoughts about "talky" shows outside of mornings, MARSHALL said that she has an afternoon show that includes a lot of Talk and advised stations to hire talent coaches to increase hosts' ability to connect with listeners.
KELLY told of asking hosts what they'd say before a stop set or music set if he promised them a dollar for every listener who would stick through or come back immediately after the commercials or music, and he played examples of teases that resulted from the exercise. He also warned that hosts can no longer just read off what's on a prep sheet, because listeners "already have that." CHASE added that what talent can do is "create compelling content at set appointments" -- the benchmark method -- and KELLY stressed promoting morning shows on social media the night before ("It's one of the first things your listeners will see").
On dealing with nationally-significant serious stories or tragedies, KELLY said that during the DALLAS shooting situation, he checked a prominent show in that market and discovered that they were talking about CALVIN HARRIS and TAYLOR SWIFT's breakup instead. Advising that all shows should talk about big stories in their own community, he said "to not mention it at all is borderline criminal."
The panel also spoke on social media, podcasting (CHASE called it "an opportunity for radio" because radio can promote podcasts and because radio people, unlike, in his opinion, some top podcasters, are better storytellers), and contests (KELLY discussing the value of developing databases).
Lunch With Dan Mason
The day's luncheon speaker was former CBS RADIO President and current iHEARTMEDIA consultant and CBS SPORTS NETWORK sportscaster DAN MASON, opening with an impassioned plea for donations to the BROADCASTERS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA, for which he serves as Chairman and continuing with observations about "disc jockey blood," the trait leading people to work in radio and himself to continue to do occasional on-air work at WOCM/OCEAN CITY, MD.
MASON said that his past advice to programmers to learn the business end of the business is less important than learning how to attract an audience. He touted local radio's ability to make a "call to action," which he said PANDORA can't do and radio does better than television, and discussed the value of motivation, offering examples of how programmers can motivate staffers like having the GM buy them dinner as a "thank you" gesture.
On reaching Millennials, he said that radio got out of the 12-24 business years ago in its agency-mandated zeal to reach Adults 25-54, but that the situation has improved, pointing to the three million listeners who materialized for Top 40 KAMP (AMP RADIO 97.1)/LOS ANGELES. He warned, however, that programmers "have to be creative" to grow a younger audience.
Turn On, Tune In, Turn Off
COLEMAN INSIGHTS' WARREN KURTZMAN and MEDIA MONITORS/RCS/MEDIABASE's PHILIPPE GENERALI offered a post-lunch presentation on listening behavior, "tuning occasions," and analysis of "switching" (from one station to another) vs. "turning" (actually turning the radio on or off), using NIELSEN data on successful stations that generate many listening occasions in a typical week. The presentation noted that 62.7% of listening occasions are turning on the radio-listening to a station-turning the radio off; the rest of the scenarios (all three of which involve switching to or from another station) roughly evenly split the rest of the occasions, although the presentation stressed that switching is not insignificant (involving a third of all listening occasions). As in the presentation KURTZMAN and GENERALI gave on the study at APRIL's WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT, the information offered included a look at P1 listener behavior (more likely to turn on-listen to one station-turn off than others) and advice on branding and content.
The Next Wave
An afternoon session on podcasting covered a wide range of issues and topics about the medium and radio's place in it, with MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO/AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA's STEVE NELSON (soon to be Director of Programming for NPR) and CUMULUS corporate Rock/Alternative format captain and Active Rock KXXR (93X)/MINNEAPOLIS PD DEREK MADDEN joining AUDIOBOOM's BRENDAN REGAN and ALL ACCESS and NERDIST PODCAST NETWORK's PERRY MICHAEL SIMON for a spirited session that touched on everything from the technical to the big picture (including monetization, networks, and diversity).
The winners of two scholarships were honored at the opening of THURSDAY's sessions. MESSIAH COLLEGE student MIKEALA MUMMERT was presented with the BMI Founders Award, whole another scholarship was presented to MCNALLY SMITH COLLEGE OF MUSIC student THOMAS PLANK.
FRIDAY's festivities will include the annual Speed Mentoring Breakfast, MICHAEL BRANDVOLD on social media, FRED JACOBS with information from TechSurvey 12, and panels on marketing, video, and talent. And MIDWEST COMMUNICATIONS' DUKE WRIGHT will be honored with the 2016 ROCKWELL Award.