April 24, 2015
It was somewhere around the World's Tallest Thermometer on the long drive through the desert back from the NAB Show in Las Vegas when I told myself, well, at least I'm not going to have to spend more time at any conventions for at least a couple of weeks.
That was last Thursday.
I could have SWORN the Worldwide Radio Summit was a week later.
I was wrong.
And that's why I'm here in the back of the room once again, covering the panels and presentations and being my typically grumpy self. You can read the results in just-the-facts form in Net News at allaccess.com and/or follow my running commentary on Twitter at @pmsimon. Do both, please.
It's also why I don't have a lot of time to write a column, because I have to pay attention to what's happening on the stage, so I'll just quickly summarize what I've heard so far: Data. Data is this year's "engagement." It's the buzzword, this year's model, the thing we all need. And, well, yes, "big data" is the big thing in practically every category of business right now, because, for the first time, we're approaching the ability to gather incredibly granular data about everything. You'll recall that one of the overriding themes of International CES this year was the move to put sensors in every gadget, and that one of the features of the Apple Watch is the projected ability to gather health information like no other gadget ever. At NAB Show and NMX, the need to improve measurement of new media platforms -- moving from downloads and stream counts to being able to tell how many people actually hear a spot -- was a major topic. And at WWRS, the present perceived inability of radio to provide accurate demographic data about its listeners ("rich data") came up as often as "people are obsessed with their phones" came up, which is a lot.
So research and data collection is going to be of critical importance to radio. That wasn't the only buzzword floating around; "Brand" is still big, too. You don't work for a station, you work for a brand. Imaging is branding. You're not a programmer, you're a Brand Manager, and you're not programming, you're Building a Brand. Because brand brand brand brand brand. Seriously, once we come up with a buzzword, we grab it by the neck and don't let go until another buzzword gets our attention. I hate the word "brand," because I have an allergy to jargon, but the idea is valid, and I'll put it in terms I like better: Your business needs to be platform-agnostic. You need to create programming for any and all platforms. But you knew that.
And other stuff, but I don't have time. Again, follow me at Net News and on Twitter for the whole story and my stream-of-consciousness nonsense. Next week's column should be back to normal.
Unless I'm forgetting another convention. That's always a possibility.
Quickly, I'll drop in the usual plug for All Access News-Talk-Sports' Talk Topics, with hundreds of items and ideas and bad jokes accessible by clicking here, and wrap it up for the week. And there's the Talk Topics Twitter feed at @talktopics with every story individually linked to the appropriate item. Plus, this week, check out "10 Questions With..." Larry Wachs, the former WNNX/Atlanta "Regular Guys" host who's launched a podcast in which he's trying stuff very unlike what he did on the radio. Considering how many hosts are thinking about going digital and shaking things up,
If you don't yet do so, follow my personal Twitter account at @pmsimon, and my Instagram account (same handle, @pmsimon) as well. And you can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pmsimon, and there's pmsimon.com will be getting active again, like, maybe tomorrow.
And here's that Full Disclosure disclaimer thing: I also serve as Director of Programming for Nerdist Industries (a division of Legendary Pictures), which includes the Nerdist Podcast Network, one of your major podcast entities.
I should be fully recovered by next week. Talk to you then.