The Simple Truth
May 8, 2012
Warning: This may hurt.
Everyone in our business has, by now, heard about or read the profile piece on Adam Corolla in FAST COMPANY magazine.
CBS fired him from his radio job in LA. Evidently, they couldn't figure out how to make money from a guy who proceeded to inspire 50 MILLION downloads of the podcasts he started producing once he was cut loose.
Now, I'm not privy to CBS research, assuming they did any. If they did, they must've asked the wrong questions, or maybe it's time for a new research partner.
Actually, it wouldn't surprise me to learn Corolla doesn't "test" well.
He's abrasive. He's polarizing. He's extremely opinionated and argumentative. And, he's frequently very funny, for those who like his sense of humor, which is crude and can be misogynistic.
In other words, he's not your normal mass-appeal air talent.
He's everything most GMs and VPs of Programming avoid like the black plague.
Which is exactly why he's the most successful podcast personality in America right now.
This is the point of this piece...
The very attributes that have become increasingly valuable in the digital world, engulfing us as I write...
... the world of "I'll listen to what I want when I want, not when you offer it to me"...
the world of "My new Ford -- a FORD, for God's sake -- has streaming WiFi and Pandora and live GPS that gives me customized traffic and re-routes me to and from work without listening to all those spots and all that clutter"...
... are attributes that most talent on broadcast music radio do not possess, or have had beaten out of them over the years by insecure, talentless programmers.
You think I'm wrong?
Have your best talent do a FIVE-minute podcast every day for a month, and see how many downloads you get. You can even promote them on air if you like, though Corolla couldn't do that.
Better yet, have 'em charge for it on iTunes. See how many people in your market are willing to pay $.99 to hear FIVE minutes of your guys.
And if you are the talent and you're reading this, why aren't you already doing this?
If you think you're funny, why aren't you performing at your local comedy club? Why aren't you the opening act for big concerts in your town?
Because really funny is worth paying to see.
If you're not funny, what are you that is unique enough to be worth a listener paying to hear you? Because that day is coming sooner than you think.
And if you're not worth listeners paying to hear you, not the music, not the traffic, not the weather, you -- what are you doing on the air, and how do you expect to keep your job moving forward?