The Top 5 Things People Say About Radio That Make Me Want To Break Something
July 31, 2015
In the interest of full disclosure: I just wrote a column, realized it sucked, and deleted the whole thing. That leaves me past deadline and needing something fast. Wait, it's 2015. Everyone loves listicles, right? Then let's do a listicle, sans photos (I'm lazy and, as I said, deadline), about radio.
But what ABOUT radio? Oh, I dunno. How about the Top 5 Things People Say About Radio That Make Me Want To Break Something? Like:
1. MILLENNIALS WANT REALITY, HONESTY, NO B.S.; THEY CAN'T BE FOOLED BY YOUR RHETORICAL TRICKERY.
By far the most popular stuff on the Internet, with Millennials and everyone else, is clickbait. By far. I MIGHT BE BROUGHT TO TEARS BY THIS LINK ABOUT A PENGUIN WITH OSTEOPOROSIS. I MUST CLICK IT NOW. Yeah, they're more discerning than other audiences. Turns out they're human. Speak to them about interesting things and they'll respond like anyone else. The key is to relate to their interests. That's the main differentiator: There are cultural and economic issues that define the Millennials as there have been for every generation before them. Find those issues, talk about them in an entertaining way, and you're on your way. Trying to assign more generalizations to them is something we always do -- I still shudder thinking about sitting through panels on "Generation Jones" -- and it's always a losing proposition. They're people, talk to them about what interests them, that's it. You need neither a psychology nor sociology class to reach them. Don't make this harder than it has to be.
2. IT'S NOT THE MEDIUM, IT'S THE CONTENT.
True as far as it goes, which isn't as far as AM radio. And there are limitations to streaming, podcasting, and FM that can play into the content's success, from signal (ever try to listen to a stream in a neighborhood like mine where you drop from LTE to 1x to no signal from block to block?) to ease of use (even a one-click solution is one click too many for some people). Or put it on an HD2 channel and see if anyone ever hears from it again. Content is King, but delivery system is at least Archduke.
3. FM ON CELLPHONES WILL SAVE THE INDUSTRY.
it won't hurt, there's nothing bad about having it, but you have to a) get people to find and use it, and b) it has to be WAY better than its digital rivals. I mean, WAY better. No customization means trouble. And even against something like Beats1, it has to come off as WAY cooler than it is. Plus, there's the earbud ratings measurement dilemma. It's a nice thing, a fun novelty, but I wouldn't expect it to save anything.
4. POLITICAL TALK IS DEAD.
BAD political talk is dead. That may mean most of the political talk I hear on the radio, but a GOOD political talker still has opportunity. It just can't be pitched towards Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud. Doesn't mean I'm wrong that the greater opportunity is in less political talk, or in local politics. It's just that people didn't stop being interested in politics all of a sudden; there are just more places in social media to indulge in arguing about it, and talk radio needs to step up its game to keep pace.
5. VOLTAIR IS...
Sorry, I can't even. I need a break from Voltair. Here, read last week's column.
6. THAT WASN'T FIVE THINGS.
Considering how late I am, you're lucky you got four.
I can assure you that All Access News-Talk-Sports' Talk Topics, with hundreds of items and ideas and bad jokes, available now by clicking here, has not been assembled in nearly as slapdash a manner as this column was. It's actually useful. And there's the Talk Topics Twitter feed at @talktopics with every story individually linked to the appropriate item. And there's "10 Questions With..." Aaron Fonseca, who has so many jobs I can't even list them here, but includes working with sports and talk radio on TuneIn and hosting a podcast about nerd culture.
Full Disclosure: I also serve as Director of Programming for Nerdist Industries, which includes the Nerdist Podcast Network, one of your major podcast entities.