Sunday, September 21, 2008

An Optimistic Tone

After attending the NAB and R&R Conventions in Austin this past week, I felt a little different leaving these gatherings than I had in recent years--optimistic.

It was a pleasant surprise.

Sure, there was the normal (and usually empty) rah rah speeches and a certain amount of grousing one would expect from these meetings. However, for the first time in quite a long time I got the feeling something good could be brewing. I listened to and talked to a lot of people and I detected a more determined spirit.

How could this be? August revenue down another 11%. Good people are still losing their jobs. The banking and credit situation is still shaking foundations loose. Radio stocks still at record low levels. Station multiples have declined. Under 25's haven't magically developed a new found passion for radio. HD Radio is still flailing. And "Radio Heard Here" is no more an effective slogan, pitch or campaign than it was last year when it was introduced.

Any one of these things could dampen anyone's spirit. I think what has changed is everything has changed and a certain sense of reality has set in. Act now or your time to act may be very short. And there is lots of action. My fear, while many of the actions being taken (PPM navigation, social networking, etc) are certainly positive for the industry, there is still a crater-sized hole for some forward and dare I say visionary thinking.

Yeah, yeah, easy for me to say...blah blah blah....You might be asking what am I doing to help?

Here are a few things I am involved with:
  • Coaching a fresh new radio show launched on-line by way of podcasts already with thousands of downloads--next will be adding a traditional radio show.
  • Launched a new local Alternative station that is more than 70% current-recurrent 24/7 designed for Millennials.
  • Developing a new commercial strategy designed for both PPM and diaries that defies conventional wisdom and does everything WRONG! So crazy it just might work.
  • A ready-to-launch concept--a talk/entertainment/music hybrid targeted at young adult women 18-44.
There's just a few examples of some things spinning around my brain these days. I bet you have some very good ideas of your own--and that's what we need. Lot's of good ideas. Not all of them will work, but if we try enough new and truly different things we will be a better industry.

Bottom line: it will be new long-term strategies that will win (maybe even attract younger listeners) and not a series of short-term tactics.


Sony ICF-S10MK2 said...

John Gorman had a few things to say about the farce at the NAB convention, including that farce HD Radio:

"Rehr ended in Austin"

HARVE ALAN said...

Thanks for contributing!

My post wasn't as much about the NAB organization as much as it was about people of quality in the radio business who are trying to improve things.

I prefer to try to be statesman- like as opposed to John Gorman who most times walks around with a burning club waiting to flame anyone or anything he dislikes. This is no surprise--he built his former radio career on these tactics.

Let me be clear. I have my own issues with NAB and certainly with the "problematic" HD Radio and have said so on this blog. It is my belief that along side of the criticism I have an obligation to offer constructive suggestions and solutions as I did today.

drewdeal said...

Hello Harve.

Just now discovered your blog and would like to get in touch about ways to best ally with the NAB to make real advances. I was there too, enjoyed it, and posted here:

Sony ICF-S10MK2 said...

"NAB Radio Show Report" September 22nd, 2008

"There was continued top-down advocacy of HD Radio from David Rehr, but little support from attendees, and even small signs of revolt on the subject. It was good to see the clear disconnect on this issue, as it is forcing radio’s leaders to look more diligently toward viable solutions that fit the demands of today’s consumer, rather than depending on a delegated entity to secure radio’s longevity."

Broadcasters can see through the farce that is HD Radio - smart move! Time for viable alternatives, instead of lining iBiquity's pockets!

Anonymous said...

We want to hear about the new radio show you're coaching. Sounds very intriguing. Tell us more!