RadioShow 2016's Thursday: Sales, Programming, Regulation, And The Future
September 22, 2016 at 1:54 PM (PT)
By PERRY MICHAEL SIMON reporting from NASHVILLE:
RADIOSHOW 2016 continued THURSDAY (9/22) with a busy schedule of sessions covering radio programming, sales, marketing, and regulation.
Breakfast, Branding, Cars, And Passion
After the annual Advertiser Breakfast session spotlighted LIFELOCK's success with radio advertising in a session that included music from KEVIN GRIFFIN and appearances by PREMIERE NETWORKS syndicated host BOBBY BONES and HUBBARD AC WTMX (101.9 THE MIX)/CHICAGO's ERIC AND KATHY, concurrent sessions included a look at the future of the digital dashboard with JACOBS MEDIA's FRED JACOBS, COMMONWEALTH BROADCASTING CORP.'s STEVE NEWBERRY, and FORD's SCOTT BURNELL; a look at the "passion formats" of Sports, Urban, Contemporary Christian, and Spanish-language programming with ENTERCOM/AUSTIN's NIKKI NITE hosting a panel with consultant JASON BARRETT, RADIO ONE top 40/Rhythmic KBXX (97.9 THE BOXX)/HOUSTON's MADD HATTA, EMF Pres./CEO MIKE NOVAK, and iHEARTMEDIA's HECTOR MARCANO; a sales panel on the agency-radio relationship; and MEGATRAX's panel on programming with guests including moderator SEAN ROSS, CMT's CODY ALAN, RADIO DISNEY's PHIL GUERINI, iHEARTMEDIA's TONY COLES and IMGR's CHRIS NICOLL.
At the latter panel, the topics included brand image, with the panelists explaining what their companies' brands are intended to convey (and how they do it); ways the companies nurture creative environments that contribute to the brand; the value of the unexpected (like ALAN's example of PITBULL or FIFTH HARMONY showing up for the CMT Awards) and the value of asking questions (COLES relating how BOB PITTMAN, upon his arrival at iHEARTMEDIA, brought in new workers who were willing to question past practice); whether radio is still "scared to entertain" after stripping personality out in response to PPM dips for non-music elements (COLES saying "we finally got our minds back" and brought back personality to serve the brand); and how the brands play out on the air. COLES also decried radio's tendency to play things safe, saying that "safe stations are not big stations."
Asked how radio can sell itself to listeners, GUERINI said that the key is to create memorable programming that is "additive" to listeners' days; COLES noted a "difference in the industry, and it's growing," a change in attitude towards positivity and passion about the medium. And following that theme, promos produced by the panelists' companies to promote radio were played at the end of the panel, showing how each organization would address the challenge.
Making Social Media Work
Social media strategy was the topic on the table at a panel hosted by UNIVISION's HAZ MONTANA and featuring presentations by ABC's DR. JENNIFER ASHTON and LINDA LOPEZ, UNIVISION site FLAMA's STEPHANIE RAMIREZ, and CUMULUS (and ALL ACCESS') LORI LEWIS.
RAMIREZ talked about the growth of her operation from a one-person social media division to a comedy video website and brand in APRIL 2014 using practically every social media platform (although she later noted that the key is quality, not quantity, and specializing in being stronger on one or two platforms is better than posting to several platforms with lesser content) to the company's present "Creator Network" multi-channel platform; Facebook is her company's largest platform and monetization engine, followed by YouTube. She said that videos specific and authentic to national/ethnic groups tend to perform best, and stressed the importance of developing in-house personalities who attract fans wanting to connect to them and find out more, and the use of social media "influencers" for marketing.
LEWIS said that the essence of social media is to "remind people that they matter." "This is their world," she said, "and we're just passing through;" typical radio contests won't engage fans anymore, LEWIS advised, pointing out that "social is personal" and that talent emulating listeners' use of social will come across as more genuine, although radio talent, initially attracted to the idea of being alone in a room talking through a mic, may not be naturally social. The personal connection between talent and listeners through social media -- like, for example, the talent following the fans on TWITTER and FACEBOOK -- matters to the fans, LEWIS said, adding that the value of interaction that plays out entirely on social media, such as a station giving a fan a surprise ticket to meet her favorite artist, can be far greater than anything on the air. "We define our image every day by how we make people feel," LEWIS asserted. "What we have to do is build affinity ... and this (social media interaction) is how we do it," reminding the audience that they are part of the brand.
ASHTON and LOPEZ had everyone stand and crowd together for a selfie to post, then outlined "GOOD MORNING AMERICA"'s social media reach, both as a show and for individual personalities. LOPEZ stressed the importance of the talent being directly involved in tweeting, and ASHTON offered examples of personal posts that have had particular appeal to her largely female following. She also credited her daughters for teaching her much of what she knows about social media, including optimum times for posting, avoiding overposting, not using Instagram filters, and not over-hashtagging ("my daughter says 'one hashtag, that's it,' like me telling her 'buy only one pair of shows'").
At the same time. CUMULUS and WESTWOOD ONE Chief Insights Officer PIERRE BOUVARD led a panel on changing clients' mistaken perceptions of radio, with THE RANDY LANE CO.'s JEFF MCHUGH, NIELSEN's CAROL EDWARDS, and KATZ MEDIA GROUP's STACEY LYNN SCHULMAN; more talk about programmatic with the RAB's ERICA FARBER and a panel with SCRIPPS' CHRIS PROTZMAN, KATZ RADIO GROUP's MARK GRAY, PROHASKA CONSULTING's SCOTT BENDER, and HORIZON MEDIA's LAUREN RUSSO; and BEASLEY MEDIA GROUP's GEORGIA BEASLEY with a panel on integrated sales and marketing with EMMIS' AIMEE BITTOURNA-KINCL, ENTERCOM's MICHAEL DOYLE, and CBS RADIO's JENNIFER MORELLI.
FCC Stuff, Podcasting, And Lots Of Data
A panel on radio regulation was introduced by FCC Commissioner AJIT PAI, calling broadcast radio "the original universal service," and revisiting his push for AM revitalization and expanding the availability of FM translators; he noted that two more windows are being proposed for AM stations to apply for FM translators at dates to be determined. PAI brought up the proposal for Class C4 stations -- 12,000 watts at 100 meters above average terrain -- to allow Class A stations in the Class C zone to upgrade, noting that the initial raising of the matter drew support from small-market broadcasters and the MMTC, and voicing his support for releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the matter. And he once again came to the support of activating FM tuner chips in smartphones, although he indicated that he is hopeful for a market solution.
After the regulatory panel, PAI's fellow Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN appeared to give her own take on the industry, addressing topics like universal telecommunications service (which she said was inspired by radio's free, over-the-air ubiquity), AM revitalization and the interference aspects of dropping translators into markets (she said the Commission is carefully looking at the issue), whether she sees herself ever owning a radio station (she formerly owned a weekly newspaper), her vote to maintain cross-ownership prohibitions (she pointed to the exception for failing newspapers), and more.
Meanwhile, podcasting took the stage in the exhibit hall, where a lunchtime primer on the medium was offered by JACOBS MEDIA and ALL ACCESS' SETH RESLER and the NAB's JOSH MIELY. Later, AMPLIFI MEDIA and ALL ACCESS columnist STEVE GOLDSTEIN offered his view on the essential things to know about podcasting, including demographics (centered in 18-44, highly educated), where people listen (64% at home, where radio listening has slipped; "it's the soundtrack" to household activities, GOLDSTEIN said), the strength of podcast ad recall and the increase in advertiser interest in the podcast space, the three types of podcasts (time-shifting, clips for sharability, original content), and more, in rapid-fire order. He also outlined how radio is different from broadcast radio (opt-in, starting at the beginning of a show, appointment listening, niche appeal/narrow topics, evergreen content, not always on). And he warned against complacency over radio's 93% reach, telling broadcasters they are vulnerable unless they move to where the audience is.
Panels on PPM quarter hour maintenance with RANDY LANE, UNIVISION's KATHLEEN BOHAN, and CUMULUS/WESTWOOD ONE's RALPH CIPOLLA and NEXTRADIO and its data attribution benefits shared the time slot with the regulation panel and GOLDSTEIN's podcasting presentation, while also ongoing during CLYBURN's time slot were a branding talk by CUMULUS' MIKE MCVAY with branding and marketing guru MICHAEL BRANDVOLD and rocker-turned-entrepreneur JESSE JAMES DUPREE, a presentation on radio's future on the local level by GORDON BORRELL, and a discussion of networking for sales and jobs moderated by iHEARTMEDIA/JACKSONVILLE's NICKY SPARROW.
The evening will feature the MARCONI AWARDS, followed by ABC RADIO and ALL ACCESS' huge Post-MARCONI party at THE LISTENING ROOM, two blocks from the OMNI, starting at 9:30 pm (CT) and featuring BROKEN BOW artist ADAM CRAIG.