Sunday, June 28, 2009

Did We Or Didn't We? Part II


No and yes.

[following up on Friday's post]

How did radio do with Michael Jackson coverage?

While impossible to know what was said or produced, I did review a ton of music logs from all around the country in markets big and small. Here's what I found:

Thursday night looked pretty rough--the effects of tracking and syndication were clearly evident. Some stations in the largest markets were clearly all over it. In smaller markets, which aren't so small, like Providence, RI (1.3 million people) radio missed the boat. I guess folks in Providence care less about a breaking story than someone in NYC. If you were there Thursday night you were hard pressed to hear anything about it on the radio--at least his music. Again, I can only judge by the music that was played.

Friday, during the day, was a different story. From morning drive onward stations seemed to be on it in varying degrees depending on format and specific station.

It was interesting to note how stations of the same format came to different decisions on whether to play Jackson's music or not and how much of it. There were stations I thought should have been all over the music and were not, and conversely, stations that would not typically expected to own it, did.

So, did we or didn't we?

Based on my research I give radio a passing grade, but as my teachers used to tell me--there's room for improvement. Overall, a C-.

Sadly, radio is so understaffed and unprepared for any event that strays from the norm. Few events rise to the level of Michael Jackson dieing, but there will be others. Next time, I'm afraid, I will write a column similar to this and I will be giving the same assessment, only worse. I hope my industry proves me wrong.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Did We Or Didn't We?

That's the question many are asking about how radio handled Michael Jackson's death. Did radio do what it does best--bring the immediacy of current events to the air? How did we do compared the to last time someone of Jackson's fame and stature past away?

No matter what the coverage was there will be some to complain it wasn't enough. And in some cases I am sure that is true. However, I have to believe there were countless stations who not only covered it, but covered it well--news, music, listener interaction, social media, and commentary.

Bottom line: News that's as big and as universal as this stations must cover it live, break into regular programming, and provide your listeners as much information as possible. When things like this happen your format doesn't matter, your clocks go out the window, and all that matters is seizing the moment in the most appropriate way for your format and station. Period.

What did your station(s) do? What did you hear around your market? Bad or good...feel free to share your experience and leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marketing To Millenials? Read This.

"...listening to millenials not about just reaching that demographic. Rather it provides valuable insight about the market as a whole."
Hill & Knowlton, is an international communications consultancy and published this excellent Top 10 on what it takes to market to millenials.
  1. Provide a reason. We want to buy into more than “this latest product/service is best”. And the latest technology upgrade 6.18 or new Orange Raspberry flavor isn’t going to cut it. Think more deeply about the rationale, what is the bigger picture.
  2. Thrive does not equal Survive. You must evolve and grow with us, with the market. Otherwise you will lose relevancy, no matter how big you once were giants fall.
  3. Be authentic and have values. We spend our money in an effort to support brands. The companies that walk the walk will have our support – in dollars.
  4. Elusive isn’t the word, just stretched. Think broadly in terms of where you can reach me– and remember I only spend 1 of every 11 minutes online on a social network.
  5. Entertain me. Consumer experiences matter, that is what we remember and talk about. And think about the whole marketing cycle because my experience with your brand extends well beyond purchase point.
  6. Brands aren’t friends. But you should think more how to socialise with me then to sell to me.
  7. Inspire. Lead us by example.
  8. Empower me. We feel entitled because we grew up expressing ourselves online, how can you help me spread the word for you?
  9. Quickly bored. It’s not ADD, it’s just that we are all inundated with massive amounts of brands messages. Keep it simple or loose mind space – quickly.
  10. The age of Here and Now. I prefer to lease my car, pay as I go on my mobile, and expect real time help from my online bankng service. My sense of immediacy directly relates to who I interact with brands
You can check out other posts on the blog authored by Meghan Stuyvenberg here.

Who Knew That Tweeting Meant Music

Looking to improve your Twitter content? Looking for additional ways to engage with your station's music fans? It would seem there are opportunities for your station tweets and your music to go hand-in-hand. Some new research suggests that your Twitter followers are already big-time music fans. Check out the stats from a new NDP Group study as reported on WebNewser.

Sing Along with Twitter


Twitter and music go hand-in-hand, according to a study from market-research firm The NDP Group, which found that Twitter users are more likely to buy music online, TechCrunch reported.

The study found that Twitter users purchased 77% more music, on average, than non-Twitter users, and that 33% of Twitter users purchased a CD in the past month and 34% paid for a digital download, versus 23% and 16%, respectively, by overall Web users.

NDP added that one-third of Twitter users listened to music on a social-networking site, 41% listened to online radio (versus 22% among all Web users) and 39% watched a music video online (versus 25% for all Web users).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Breaking News or Pre-Recorded Programming?

This past weekend amidst the social unrest taking place in Iran two interesting media related things took place.

Both CNN and Fox News provided extensive live coverage all weekend, nearly 24/7, while MSNBC provided infomercials and re-runs of NBCUniversal produced Investigation series programming practically 24/7. What was MSNBC thinking? I guess big events can only happen Monday through Friday. Weak. Are the resources of NBC News not deep enough anymore? Both FNC and CNN had their big gun news people in the house and both had a fairly deep bench of people trying to uncover information worldwide.

It seems to me that the competitive battle here dictates you throw the budgets and egos away and do what needs to be done to be competitive. A good reminder for us radio folk.

Secondly, this weekends news events are yet another seminal moment in the development of social networking and video enabled smartphones (worldwide) and the power that Twitter possess. In fact, much of the information (that Fox and CNN is using) coming out of Iran was through mobile handheld video and Tweets. Powerful.

Fox was using a Twitter aggregator I had not heard of before. You can check out Monitter here. Simply type in key words in each of the three provided headers and watch the worldwide Tweets start displaying. BTW--wouldn't it be interesting to monitor the activities of your competition this way? Hmmmm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Interesting Experiment

CBS is trying out Jelli at KITS in San Francisco. A system that turns over the controls of the radio station to listeners via social networked web voting. It should be an interesting listen.

Lot's of unknowns thus universe, how many votes cause change, how much impact can one person have on what makes it on the air. And, in reality, is this experiment too much work for the average radio listener?

I'm not dissing this experiment by any means. Give it a whirl and see how it goes.

I do question how this plays out for a radio station, like all radio stations, that depend on ratings to drive revenue. Is this uber customization process an attraction or a repelant on a mass medium platform? It all depends on the end product. Just like in the past with contesting, we knew that most people would not participate so the goal was to create something entertaining enough to cause vicarious participation among our passive listeners. Time will tell if Jelli can accomplish this goal.

I also wonder if Jelli on the air would benefit from a "social director" hosting the live radio show for those who are not able or choose not to participate. One has to assume that many listeners have come to the station to be entertained, so adding someone who helps put on the show--not make the decisions on what gets played but keeps things cohesive-- might end up being a good idea.

Regardless of the end result, kudos to KITS and CBS Radio for trying something new.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No Cume Issues Here

Arbitron just released the latest RADAR national reach numbers and they look good.

From their release:
Radio reaches 92 percent of persons 12+ each week, despite the adoption of MP3 players and the growth of Internet-only stations. Even 89 percent of the youngest radio audience, teens ages 12-17, most accustomed to using new technologies and forms of media, continue to tune in each week. Network radio also reaches nearly 85 percent of the ad elusive and media multi-taskers Adults 18-34. You can read the entire release here.
While these numbers look healthy and should be interpreted as a bright spot for the industry, we must wait for the entire report to become available before we get too excited. As we know cume (reach) is only half the story--the other half being the TSL. We know younger listeners use the radio, but as I outlined last year, our engagement numbers (TSL) have been in steep decline especially with those 34 and younger. I would argue that the TSL may in fact be a more important measure of the industry's general health.

For now, we must wait and see.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Journey To Success and Back Again

There are different messages for different people embedded in this short video. A little something for everyone...from the top on down.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rush Limbaugh

This past weekend Rush was given the Freedom of Speech award at Talker's Magazine's New Media Conference in New York. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the conference and was hoping the speech would find its way on-line--which it has on Newsmax.

Rush tends to evoke quite a bit of reaction whether you like him or despise him--whether you think he is brilliant or a blowhard. Way back in 1990, just two years after Rush went national, I engaged him to be on WAKR in Akron (I was PD/OM)even though 3WE (WTAM now)was right up the road in Cleveland and could be easily heard. WAKR was transitioning to News/Talk and I wanted his signature sound to be a part of that transition. It worked out great--except for some elderly folks who were unclear what had just hit them. It wasn't long before Noon to 3 was nearly as strong as the stations long time double digit morning news show. Wow!

Rush is a RADIO GUY. Period. He loves the art of broadcasting and has contributed a great deal to our industry for all these years. Check out his speech right here.

***I have removed this auto-start video since there is no need to view it EVERY time you visit the blog*** If you haven't seen it please click the following link:

See Rush Video Here

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Excellent Snippet of Motivation

Thanks to Dan Kelly who shared this on Facebook. A powerful reminder NOT to take no for an answer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Year The Media Died says this parody song.

Like we need a song to remind us all how tough things have gotten. But here it is...filled with truth and sad reality.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sadly, R&R Means Rest and Relaxation Again

Other trades have closed their doors and nobody really blinked...this is different. It is as telling and eventful as, say, it was announced that CBS-TV was signing off. R&R was very much a part of the industry they represented and reported on.

"Back in the day" being a R&R reporter meant everything. Street Talk was the TMZ or Perez Hilton for our industry. And when someone changed jobs or got promoted getting on the front page meant so much (mostly to the person on the front page) because it was "the front page."

I want to personally wish everyone at R&R the very best--many of whom I have known for a very long time.

Radio & Records Closes Doors

It's The End Of An Era

By R&R Staff
Updated 0 Hour(s) 20 Minute(s) ago
The current state of affairs has left The Nielsen Company with no other alternative but to immediately cease all services, products and events related to Radio & Records. The magazine's final edition is the June 5 issue. Electronic products end today, the Web site will be taken offline soon.

R&R Editorial Director/Associate Publisher Cyndee Maxwell stated, "Everyone on this team has worked extremely hard to fulfill the vision of Radio & Records, and everyone can hold their heads high on this very sad day. We had a highly talented group of people that always worked hard and gave it their best -- especially in the recent past. I deeply regret that this day has come. The good news for some other companies out there is that we have many fantastic people who are now available to put their excellent talents, abilities and skills to work for someone else."

Radio & Records Timeline

1973 Radio & Records is founded by Bob Wilson. The first issue is Oct. 1.
1974 The first R&R Convention is held.
1979 Radio & Records is sold to Harte Hanks.
1987 Westwood One purchases Radio & Records.
1988 The R&R Hotfax Updates debut, comprising 12 weekly format-focused fax publications.
1994 Perry Capital acquires Radio & Records.
1995 Radio & Records launches R&R Online.
1996 The first annual R&R Talk Radio Seminar is held.
The R&R Daily online news service debuts, and Music Tracking is launched online.
1997 R&R introduces the daily R&R TODAY news fax.
1998 The R&R Convention returns after a six-year hiatus.
The first R&R Industry Achievement Awards, voted on by R&R subscribers, are presented at the convention.
1999 Data collection for R&R's charts is converted to include Mediabase airplay.
2000 Daily e-mail updates and Today's News online are introduced as extensions of the R&R TODAY fax publication. Radio & Records acquires Radio Y Musica.
2001 Adult Alternative and Christian sections debuts in the weekly R&R newspaper, each with its own full-time editor. The Going for Adds fax publication debuts.
2002 A CHR/Rhythmic section debuts in the weekly R&R newspaper, with its own full-time editor.
R&R produces its first annual Triple A Summit.
Electronic Promotion Kits are introduced for music customers, and the Street Talk Daily fax and e-mail publication debuts.
Radio Y Musica is incorporated into the R&R newspaper.
2004 Radio & Records announces its new web address,
2006 VNU, a global information and media company, acquires Radio & Records. VNU owns ACNielsen, Billboard, the Hollywood Reporter and many other business-to- business publications. Radio & Records charts convert to Nielsen BDS airplay data.
2007 VNU changes its name to The Nielsen Company.
2009 The Nielsen Company announces it's shuttering R&R. The final issue date is June 5.

A Break In The Action

No commentary today...simply a little entertainment. Why not!?!

While perusing one of my favorite RSS feeds, I happened to stop at this post about guitarist Kaki King who performed at the TED Conference in '08. Wow! She is great. The multi-layered sounds that emit from her Ovation guitar are amazing and fun to listen to. No, she's not a household name, but has an interesting background including touring with the Foo Fighters. Check out the video right here:

If you are interested in more information about Kaki King, click here for her bio.