10 Questions with ... Dianna Jason
June 18, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Out of college I worked for Procter & Gamble and received the most amazing brand management training, but a career in marketing peanut butter and Pringles didn't interest me.
1. How did you get started doing promotion and marketing in radio?
I was on-air in college and briefly a weather girl on television. I loved working at my college radio and television station at WMUL at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. After college I worked for Procter and Gamble and TV Guide Magazine, but joined WHIO-WHKO (Cox Communications) in Dayton in sales as New Business/Retail Marketing Manager. Then I joined Summit Communications (Atlanta, Georgia) as their Vice President of Retail Development for all of their stations and expanded my duties to include concert and special event production, out-of-home buying, direct mail and listener contesting engagement. After Summit was sold, I moved to Los Angeles. I spent one brief year with Evergreen at KKBT and have been at Power 106 ever since.
2. What's been the biggest change in your job over the last few years?
What hasn't changed? Fernando Lujan, our amazing Promotions Director and I share an inside joke that we update our job descriptions every 6 months so we can keep track of our new duties, new platforms and responsibilities. One month you've added Twitter to your responsibilities and 3 months later you've added Vine and Snapchat, but removed Four Square.
Although there are so many changes, there are 3 areas of change that have affected every marketing director's job over the past 5 years.
Marketing your station. Marketing your station has become more challenging. You used to be able to buy a nice showing with billboards, send a direct mail piece with a contest to drive occasions of listening and you could see a spike in ratings. The challenge wasn't creating an effective marketing campaign; it was getting the marketing budget approved. Now there are so many platforms that you can use for engagement and you have to be very selective to reach your target audience and not waste precious marketing dollars on a campaign that doesn't produce results. The best marketing source is still Power 106's own microphone and reaching our current fans, likes, followers on our own social platforms, events and contests.
Losing Local: There's a trend in downsizing street teams, which I don't agree with. Being local is one of radio's best qualities - being in the schools, at events, helping causes and being part of the community. In fact, Power 106 just invested in a mobile DJ studio, so we can bring the party to our listeners. I believe that radio needs to do a better job of scheduling our experiential teams. I don't like to have Power 106's Flava Unit scheduled without a purpose. To see 2 people sitting outside a strip mall at a table without a purpose makes radio look small. We need to be selective when we are in the community. Each event must have a purpose, direction and a goal for the onsite event.
Digital Duties: I love social platforms and they should be treated as branding platforms for your station. They need a responsible branded voice for posting and engagement and each platform should have a specific plan and strategy.
3. When a street team member asks you for advice on how they can best advance within the promotions team or even possibly with another company, where do you usually start?
I start by asking them what their long-term goals are and what do they want to do? If it's to be on-air, my advice is different than it was 10 years ago. I used to advise them to go to a smaller market and gain their experience and then move to a larger market when they're ready. Now, I'll recommend that they use internet radio shows to build their on-air experience and review their air-checks. I'll also recommend that they embrace social media and become content producers. We have an intern who wants to be on-air personality with over 100,000 Twitter followers!
If they want to be marketing director, I advise them to start on the street team while they continue with their education and learn everything. The people who work inside the station know how to schedule contests, text messages, social media posts, create blogs, update website features and write promotional decks. You have to learn the fine balance of working with sales/sponsors and programming/protecting the brand. I am very proud to see our prior street team employees enjoy career success in marketing, sales, publicity, concert production, etc., Whether it's working for us or another company, I'll always start with their goal and advise solid skillset building to prepare them for that next position.
4. You recently found out that Power 106 would be losing its venue for two of its biggest concert events, the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios Hollywood. Have you locked down new venues for Cali Christmas and the Valentine's Crush?
The Gibson is my favorite concert venue in Los Angeles, there's not a bad seat in the house and the backstage area has a vibe. I will truly miss that venue! We are holding Cali Christmas on December 14, 2013 at the Honda Center in Anaheim this year. I don't know if that will be its permanent home, but we're very excited about a using a full arena for Cali Christmas 2013. Our Valentine's Crush is at the Nokia Theatre at LA Live, which is a beautiful venue with amazing sound and sightlines.
5. Where do new promotional and marketing ideas come from on the Power 106 staff?
We have an amazing team! Our team works together and plays together. They are an endless source of ideas, fun and creativity. Ideas can come from anyone, an intern, Big Boy, our digital team. We don't have a power struggle on idea ownership.., we just want to win. My office is located near our digital team and they make me laugh out loud with their ideas and pranks.
6. Power 106 is a powerful brand name in Southern California. Do you often, if ever, meet with a client that isn't very familiar with the station?
The Power 106 brand is powerful. I don't have the challenge of a client not knowing who we are, my challenge is them knowing what Power 106 is. You have a lot of key decision makers who don't personally love hip-hop and may have a perception of what they think hip-hop is and their perception was probably right 20 years ago. But today, hip hop is mainstream; Jay Z on the cover of Forbes Magazine, Eminem songs in commercials and hip-hop music used in children's animated films. Yet there is still in a hesitancy to fully embrace hip-hop and it makes you scratch your head and wonder why? I recently sent all of my public relations contacts articles on The Fast and Furious franchise success. Universal's marketing illustrates the success of using a multi-ethnic cast and targeting and attracting an audience that reflects America's shifting demographics. Power 106 effectively reaches this audience!
7. Can you describe Emmis VP/Programming and Power 106 PD Jimmy Steal in three sentences or less?
That's an easy one - KAIZEN, continuous improvement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen. He follows that to the "T".
8. What do you like to do to take a break from your job?
I spend my free moments with my children, family and close friends. I got a late start in life on the mommy track, so I want to cherish every moment with them. I love to read. I carry my Kindle in my purse. If I'm waiting for my daughter at dance or standing in line at the grocery store, I can use those moments to read on the run.
9. You're a longtime Southern California resident. What would you like to see Southern California and Los Angeles do better?
Traffic. It's gone from horrible to unbearable. However, the marketing director in me loves the traffic because it means there are a lot people spending hours in their cars. I find myself planning my days based on traffic patterns. I live in Valencia and I can drive to Anaheim faster than I can drive to Santa Monica in the morning, so I avoid all early morning appointments on the west side of town, it will take me 2 hours to get there.
10. Let's quickly talk Power 106 and social media. How does Power 106 stay so connected and what do you see in the future for Power 106 'socially'?
We just hired a full-time Social Media Manager, Ashley Dingess! In the past 3 years we have divided platforms and responsibilities to help us manage the workload. We have identified which platforms our listeners like to use the most and communicate with them differently on every platform. I see new platforms entering and some losing their popularity and we'll follow those trends closely. Social media is a great way to engage listeners in the conversations we can't have on-air. It also gives us the opportunity to provide the video or photo of what happened on-air. Our Justin Bieber rapping video has over 15 million views. Our digital productions provide us with the opportunity to create sharable, sponsorable engaging video that reaches beyond the Los Angeles Metro area.
What 'works' in Los Angeles but MAY NOT work anywhere else?
Outdoor concerts in November?
Bad prizing doesn't work in Los Angeles. In smaller markets you can giveaway almost anything and that MAY work everywhere else but not here. In Los Angeles, if a listener texts to win or calls to win and FINALLY wins, it better be a GREAT prize and not a prize pak filled with items they won't care about.
You do monster events with Power 106. Stepping back a bit and looking at shows and award shows you are familiar with, who runs best and tightest ship?
I'm fortunate that I've attended or worked at almost every awards show and major concert event in Los Angeles. I have incredible respect for Goldenvoice's Coachella crew. Goldenvoice has developed Coachella into a world-wide brand and it's amazingly clean and incredibly organized.
I love the Golden Globes because they are fun and they don't take themselves so seriously. The actors have a great time and that energy is contagious. For the younger set, the Teen Choice Awards are well produced and fun. I used to think the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards was the best event and after-party in town and then they changed venues and eliminated the party.
I think the Oscar's need a facelift. They are just too long and boring. I can get the Red Carpet photos anywhere online and there are too many awards that don't need to be on television. They should add categories that their audience wants like Best Comedy.
I don't enjoy the Grammys at all and this pains me because I love music. It's 2013 and I can't believe they aren't live on the west coast at 5pm. This is the Twitter world and I know every winner before the 8pm west coast feed airs, so unless there's a performance I heard about that I must watch, I don't watch it.
If the world can communicate a story in 6 seconds or less on Vine, this is the attention span we're marketing to and awards shows need to get in touch with this ADD, cell phone culture. My staff doesn't watch awards shows.