April 28, 2017Faith in the Future
The theme of this week's NAB Show in Las Vegas was "The M.E.T. Effect," which on one hand gave the signal to every amateur comedian in town to make a Yoenis Cespides joke or something like it, and on the other hand signaled nothing, because it was a stupid slogan. The idea is that media, entertainment, and technology are converging, which is a misunderstanding of what convergence means. In fact, media, entertainment, and technology aren't converging in any meaningful way that they haven't overlapped already. What's new is that the technology is changing, and the entertainment is changing to suit the platforms. That's not convergence, that's adaptation.
Whatever it's called, the talk of change was striking in how the two broadcast media represented here approach the new world. When I sat in on panels about video, I heard executives talking about how they've begun to produce shows in a different way: NBC, for example, is making "Saturday Night Live" sketches specifically for Snapchat, series of bursts of comedy that string together to tell a story. Programming is being produced for OTT and subscription streaming venues. Shows are being measured not just by linear ratings of a show in its initial in-pattern airing but by the views for clips on YouTube, social media engagement, and whatever else technology is throwing at them. You don't hear fear from the traditional broadcast networks, even if the new world has threatened their primacy and dented their overall viewership. They're adapting.
April 21, 2017A Better ‘Why’
Remember "Radio Heard Here"? Oh, sure you do. It was all over the NAB Show in Las Vegas back in 2008, with the Las Vegas Convention Center draped in garish orange ads showing "the kids" rocking out to their transistor radios. It was the answer to the people saying that ...
April 14, 2017Under Siege
Internet outrage and, about equally, schadenfreude were in full bloom over the last couple of weeks, courtesy of the repeated self-inflicted wounds of folks like United, Pepsi, and Sean Spicer, and while I'm as astonished at the ham-handed responses of those in charge as ...
April 7, 2017Spring Cleaning
Spring is always touted as a time of renewal, of hope, a new start, unlimited possibility. The countryside is in bloom, baseball season has begun, the days are getting longer, the sun is shining... everything's looking up. Except if you're in radio, which is always in ...
March 31, 2017Brand on Fire
Thursday, I was about to drive a pizza home from the shop to its rightful place on my dinner table when I checked Twitter and discovered that Atlanta was on fire, or, more specifically, I-85 was on fire, at the very spot where, every time I visit, I think, man, this city ...
March 24, 2017Another Angle
In past columns, I've talked about how radio is missing a bet on talk radio, specifically that there is not one single winning formula and that stations taking a different approach can win. And some readers -- and, sometimes, I myself -- construe that to mean competing ...
March 17, 2017Friend in a Box
One of the essential elements of radio's success over the decades has been that the medium is uniquely suited to providing a feeling of companionship, a personal connection that's different from the engagement you get from social media, different from the more passive ...
March 10, 2017Everything's Fine
It occurred to me while listening to the panels at the Talk Show Boot Camp this week that what talk radio needs is a therapy session. There was a significant amount of self-congratulation by radio people here about the talk and news formats' good ratings fortune in ...
March 3, 2017The Next Next Big Thing
Did you get in on that Snap IPO? All the cool investors did. Even a high school made millions on it. Snap is all the rage on Wall Street, because it's the next big thing. What? You're asking what the business model is? Oh, well, you know Snapchat, right? Yeah, ...
February 24, 2017Stunt Casting
The first thought I had when the idea of Chris Christie getting a sports radio job resurfaced this week, as it does from time to time, was, well, here we go again. After all, I have some experience with putting celebrities and semi-celebrities on the air to do radio. It ...