July 1, 2016Deep Impact
In case you didn't notice, a podcast led to a murder conviction being vacated and a new trial ordered. There's a lesson in that for talk radio.
I'm not suggesting that what "Serial" did is something you can easily replicate. That would diminish the accomplishment, and not every station or organization has the wherewithal to launch full-scale, in-depth investigations of a single story for long periods of time (that would be nice, but it's not gonna happen). The lesson is more about what attracts and motivates active listening, and it's something that you can do and some stations have successfully done for years... and most don't do.
Talk radio is, as it is primarily executed, simple: You stick some opinionated person behind a mic and he or she spouts political opinions, maybe interviews people of like mind, takes calls, that's it. Especially in an election year, most programmers are comfortable with just opening the mic and letting the rhetoric fly. But that'll get you what you have now: an increasingly elderly audience, the choir to whom you're preaching. There's no long-term growth there. It's old thinking, literally so. But it's easy and it's how it's always been done.
June 24, 2016What's Old Is Sort-Of-Not-Quite New Again
I've been buying books lately, and by "books" I mean the kind that have actual paper pages and covers and ink, not the kind you read on something that needs to be recharged overnight. This is not an admission of latent hipsterism, mind you. I'm not doing it to be ironic ...
June 17, 2016The Argument Clinic
The other week, a friend of mine quit Twitter. He had a large following and a reputation for being alternately hilarious and pointedly, aggressively political in social media, but he was pretty well known there and his departure was a surprise, even though he'd ...
June 10, 2016Shakeup
We had an earthquake here Friday morning. I have yet to go to the radio or even TV to find out more about it. It's 2016. That's not how things work anymore. It's a common thing for people to ask the question, "what were you doing when... " or "where were you when..." ...
May 27, 2016Darkest Before The Dawn
My fellow All Access columnist and Cumulus digital tsarina Lori Lewis posted something on Facebook the other day about how it was the eighth anniversary of her getting laid off as PD in one of those festive Clear Channel we're-gonna-need-your-key-card events. She related ...
May 20, 2016Gone Daddy Gone
Would people miss you if you were gone? Wait, that's a little general. Let me be more specific: If people suddenly couldn't get your show or station, would they miss you or move on? That's one way to determine radio's value to the consumer, and it occurred to me this ...
May 13, 2016Standing At The Crossroads
A recurring theme in criticism of the radio industry is "you should have seen it coming." Network radio should have seen TV coming. AM broadcasters should have seen FM dominance coming. Broadcasters in general should have seen the Internet coming. And so on, much of ...
May 6, 2016Cut To The Chase
At the time I sat down to write this column, it was Thursday night and there's a police chase on TV. I know, I live in the L.A. area, there's ALWAYS a police chase on TV. That's not entirely true, but we do get more than our share of police chases, and so I made the ...
April 29, 2016Yet Another What-Comes-Next Column
What will the next generation of talk radio be like? Hmm. Well, it might not be radio. It might not even be "talk," in the traditional sense. Some of it may be happening now. Little of it is happening on actual broadcast radio... unless it is. How's that for a ...
April 22, 2016Punch A Higher Floor
The answer I found to how radio can still be relevant going forward did not come at the NAB Show, where what's left of the convention's interest in radio has shrunk to postage-stamp size and consists mostly of people in suits repeating the phrase "93% reach" plus ...