It's Friday At The Conclave
July 15, 2011 at 2:55 PM (PT)
Day two of the CONCAVE LEARNING CONFERENCE in MINNEAPOLIS opened FRIDAY morning with a panel of radio group Presidents and CEOs discussing changes in the industry.
CUMULUS' JOHN DICKEY started things off by addressing his company's takeover of CITADEL and offering a defense of consolidation, saying that the strength of a company's balance sheet dictates how much its stations can innovate. "Consolidation is a good thing because it's strengthening the balance sheets of our industry," DICKEY said. "Our company is going to have a great balance sheet after this transaction," he added. DICKEY would not discuss specifics on layoffs anticipated after the merger.
On the move into digital and social media, HUBBARD RADIO's GINNY MORRIS noted her company and BONNEVILLE, several stations from whom HUBBARD purchased earlier this year, have a strong presence in digital media. "We need to be where our listeners are," MORRIS said. Asked about the use of social media in contesting, DICKEY said that contesting is "one of the last untouched frontiers" in the business, having not changed for many years, and that using social networking tools as a "better mousetrap" to take contesting to the "next realm" is the next area for growth.
TRIAD BROADCASTING's DAVID BENJAMIN discussed how the emphasis in digital has changed from websites to social media "very rapidly." Digital, he said, accounts for 4% of his company's revenue, but TRIAD is working on growing that number through initiatives like couponing. MORRIS said that before the BONNEVILLE deal, digital accounted for 9% of her company's revenue; she said that digital has been profitable for the company in all of its markets, and that radio is "uniquely positioned" to drive listeners to digital media.
Assessing the PANDORA threat to broadcasters. MORRIS said that the threat is "very low," characterizing PANDORA as more akin to an iPOD playlist and will end up similar to satellite radio in relation to radio. DICKEY called PANDORA "a feature. They're not radio ... they want to be a substitute, an evolution of radio, but they're clearly not. They're an iPOD on shuffle." He said radio and PANDORA are "entirely different businesses," with radio being more social and local and with personality while PANDORA is "anti-social. It's all about me ... it's about one person's thumbprint on a playlist."
The introduction of the PPM, MORRIS said, initially led stations to react by insisting that the results had to be the result of sample size problems, but she said that while sample size is an issue, the PPM is probably more accurate than diaries. On the other end of the market spectrum, DICKEY, whose company has stations in several smaller markets that are no longer measured, said that sample sizes in those markets had resulted in too great a margin of error. "The solution is to increase the sample size," DiCKEY said, "but the reality is that there's a cost to that." He noted that stations are hiring and firing and changing formats based on numbers with large margins of error.
More Morning Sessions: Digital, Mentoring, And The Doctor Is In
Panels in the morning included another look at radio's use of digital assets (EMMIS INTERACTIVE's JAMES VANOSDOL noting that "nobody cares about jock bios"; COX MEDIA GROUP's CRAIG ASHWOOD saying that websites are "not brand extensions," but reinterpretations of a brand in a different medium with different content), mentoring women in the business, and time management tips.
Also on FRIDAY morning, ALL ACCESS' own Dr. JERRY BOULDING gave a solo presentation on the importance of engagement, taking over the entire panel after other panelists were unable to make it to MINNEAPOLIS due to weather delays; his talk examined the Top 40 battle between KIIS and KAMP (97.1 AMP RADIO)/LOS ANGELES, and how the PPM is affecting programming (and how just playing music for the PPM ignores the need to engage the audience with live, local personality). He also advised talent to do strong show prep and avoid boring interviews. VALERIE GELLER offered a live version of some of the insights in her new book "Beyond Powerful Radio," and a panel moderated by COLEMAN INSIGHTS' WARREN KURTZMAN examined how radio can use new technology to make business run more efficiently and effectively.
Dan Mason, Steve Rivers Honored At Luncheon
The 2011 ROCKWELL Award was presented to CBS RADIO President DAN MASON (with SCOTT HERMAN pinch-hitting while MASON was diverted by weather) and to veteran programmer STEVE RIVERS (with his ex-wife and close friend MAUREEN RIVERS accepting on his behalf).
Afternoon Action: Mornings, Mobile, And The Conclave College
In the afternoon, while veteran programmer TRACY JOHNSON made a presentation on how morning radio can grab the attention of listeners and use social media to grow, FRED JACOBS moderated a panel on mobile apps, with DOAPP's WADE BEAVERS and ABACAST's MICHAEL DALFONZO talking about the large amount of work required to get apps built, what to consider when using third-party vendors to build the apps, and how to monetize mobile media.
The CONCLAVE COLLEGE, sponsored by ALL ACCESS and COLEMAN INSIGHTS, filled out the afternoon with sessions covering the hiring process, the basics of operating a radio station, and the meaning of words and terms used by GMs.
The first CONCLAVE COLLEGE panel, moderated by ENTERCOM/GREENVILLE, SC's CHASE MURPHY, examined the process of getting a job in radio. LINCOLN FINANCIAL MEDIA's JOHN DIMICK (pinch-hitting for CLEAR CHANNEL's JON ZELLNER, whose flight was diverted to ROCHESTER, MN by the harsh weather plaguing parts of the MIDWEST but arrived near the end of the session) said that the best trait applicants can have is "to be comfortable in their environment." If an interviewee is nervous, DIMICK said, "I get amped up." CITADEL/MINNEAPOLIS Pres./GM MARC KALMAN said that an applicant should look his or her very best, have a resume with no errors, and use eye contact; NRG MEDIA's JEFF WINFIELD is looking for "confidence" and eye contact. On the role of social media in the process, WINFIELD said that social media are "huge" in allowing for background checks but also to show an applicant's ability to use the new media; KALMAN advised job hunters (and others) to "keep things positive" online. The panel also discussed things not to do in a job interview, and counseled an audience member who had xpecific complaints about the process.
SAGA's STEVE GOLDSTEIN followed with a look at the "basics" of running a radio station, saying, "it's not the number of things you do right that makes you number one but the number of things that you do wrong that keeps you from being number one." He offered a checklist on how to be "brilliant at the basics," including the need for people to be able to know what a station is providing ("oldies," "talk," etc.), who it's for, and "what's in it for me" -- what benefit the station offers to listeners (the "-est"). The presentation gave GOLDSTEIN's take on several things of which radio stations need to be aware, from PPM issues to the need for focus.
And the proceedings closed with a panel of GMs, including JOURNAL's STEVE WEXLER (the moderator), CLEAR CHANNEL/DETROIT's MIKE CRUSHAM, and CITADEL/DETROIT's RON HARRELL, "translating a foreign language" (GM jargon) for the audience, including budget terms and other acronyms.