Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Rich History

I love history--of all kinds. I especially appreciate the rich history of radio. Gee, what a surprise! There's a new book out by radio historian Bob Shannon called Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996 that looks to be a fun read.

In addition to the book, there's going to be a series of free audio excerpts (podcasts) available which are posted here. The first of the series was just posted today and it's Fred Winston's sneak preview of the Dick Biondi Story.

We can't expect our medium's history to provide the answers to the myriad of issues we face today; but we can certainly look back and enjoy what I think most of us would agree was pretty damn good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Totally Twitter

Last week Twitter scored a mega funding deal--said to be 100 mil. It got me thinking how pervasive Twitter talk seems to be these days and social media in general.

Many radio folks are trying to figure out how to use social networking to their best advantage....aaaaa.....make money from it. That seems to remain allusive thus far. There may not be a home run money play anytime soon. Of course that doesn't mean it should be kicked to the curb. Done right, there may not be any better way to connect with your station's fans. Done wrong, and risk pushing fans in a different direction.

Companies of all types are also wrestling with how to allow their employees interact with social networking sites during the work day. Many are concerned of too much time wasted, inappropriate comments, and of course liabilities and trade secrets. Some workplaces have banned social networking activity all together. If you are working through these issues there's a website that provides links to companies who already have a social networking policy in place.

More on the subject...Ad Age had this story--Six Reasons Companies Are Still Scared of Social Media.

And finally...a chuckle. The latest craze: Twitteleh

Thursday, September 24, 2009

People and Tools

I happened to catch this excellent post written by Tom Webster on Edison Research's Infinite Dial blog. It's his reaction to the programming leadership session at the NAB Radio Show. Having attended the session myself I can't help but agree with much of Tom's analysis.

Those who participated on the panel are good people and programmers--all very successful and have strong track records. The post is not really about them--they are the ones on the front lines who are confronted with the "current realities" and have to develop and implement the best solutions possible given the circumstances. I know, I've been there.

See what you think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

...From the NAB

As I have mentioned in this space before I am heading to Philadelphia to attend the NAB. I plan on "twit-viding" who and what I see, what I learn, and maybe a some of the sights and sounds of Philly. If you look to the column on the right hand side of this blog you will see "follow me on Twitter"=============================>>>>>>>

All the updates will be found right there.

If you are reading this some other way go to or www.twitter/halan

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's a Twofer Tuesday

And no, it's not what you are thinking.

Here's two quick hits:

#1 Facebook continues to grow. In the month of June it had a unique audience of more than 87 million according to the
The Nielsen Company . That's huge. I am amazed at who I connect with there. Personally, I have a blast on FB and I am not alone. And of course for radio stations, Facebook continues to be a goldmine of opportunity for those who choose to take part and do it right.

Check out how it breaks out by gender and demo (interesting how males are laggards in every cell):

US Facebook Users, by Age and Gender, August 2009 (millions)

#2 According to this projection radio will uptick in 2010, 2011, and 2012 but still not regain 2007 levels. Nothing to just up and down about, but then again, maybe it is. It's no surprise that the internet is projected to be the top revenue producer in 2012. The one area that is projected to show huge growth is a sector I think radio can grab a piece of--branded entertainment/product placement. For radio it's kinda like back to the future, hearkening back to it's earliest days. Think: theater of the mind and specifically branded shows here and you will get where I am headed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm A Believer

As many of us head to the NAB in Philadelphia next week, most attendees will be thinking about how they will make 2010 a better year for radio and by default themselves. Last year I had an idea to create a station that was targeted at a demographic group that admittedly is difficult to reach - young males. We know the reasons, but at the end of the day I believe we can lure some of them into the tent with the right programming.

My vision amounts to what I believe is top 40 for guys. By another name: alternative. The format hasn't disappeared, not by any means, but it has in many cases been turned into more of a gold-based format than it was originally. In some cases the percentage of current and recurrent material has been pared down to 20 or 30 percent. That's fine. I think there's another path that can be very successful.

I've written about my client RED 104.3 before. I've noted that now for two books running we have taken the market, Alexandria, LA by storm. All the indicators are good...cume, AQH, and TSL...all growing. I think this format can succeed in other markets.

I admit it. This post is all about self promotion. By now, I'm sure you had a pretty good idea where I was going. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this success story with you. With confidence I say, this current based format can help you have a successful 2010.

Please let me share with a fact sheet I am sharing with potential clients. (click on image to see it full sized)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Future Is In Your Pocket

Thanks to Mark Ramsey at hear2.0 for finding this gem on You Tube.

Terrestrial radio has already found a home on mobile devices. Now all we have to do is give people a reason to listen on that mobile device. And that's just the beginning. No longer limited by a single transmitter and a single receiving option--the speaker, "radio" can and needs to be more. There is no reason it can't be...unless of course someone decides they don't want it to be. I hope that person isn't you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The FCC's Mark Lloyd -- Follow Up


At the end of August I wrote this post about FCC appointee Mark Lloyd. Included was You Tube video of speeches given by Mr. Lloyd at past communication conferences. As you might be aware some of his statements have be a source of concern among talk show hosts (mostly conservative) and freedom of speech advocates that he was put in place at the FCC to push new government restrictions on speech.

The Wall Street Journal today published this story on Mark Lloyd. They stay away from some of the more extreme statements he has made so I would suggest after you read the article go back and watch those videos of Mark Lloyd in his own words. Chilling!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

See You In Philly!

I am looking forward to this years NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia. Sure, it's nice seeing people face-to-face that you would never run into otherwise and having the opportunity to meet someone for the first time. Yeah, I know the business and the world has never been smaller but there are plenty of people left to meet. But, the thing that's got me excited is "just I feeling" I have. A feeling of a turning point. Some things shaking out. Fresh opportunities for our industry to shine. And of course, there has to be one or two convention shockers that will rock the house with buzz. I can think of a couple of possibilities that would accomplish that.

For me, I am looking forward to seeing YOU! I can't wait to bend your ear about some exciting successes since we met in Austin last year. And I want to hear from you that things are going well and all about how you too are having had a successful year. Of course if you are facing challenges I would be pleased to work with you and help improve your situation.

Let me know you are going and we'll make it a point to spend a little time. Call the office at 952.401.9067, or send me an email (harve@harvealan [dot] com) and we'll set up a time.

See you in Center City soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9-11 A Day To Remember

Some 9-11 memories...

Just days after my twins were born. Already a week filled with emotions...of another kind.

The first report I heard was that a small plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers.

Very quickly that all changed.

That day changed me forever.

I will never forget driving on the Whitestone Bridge, connecting the Bronx with Queens, and seeing all that smoke rising from lower Manhattan--days after 9-11.

Art Vuolo put together a video compilation of the events of 9-11 and has made the audio soundtrack available for that video. I thought I would share it with you here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big News!!

Apple announces the new iPod Nano will include an FM tuner. This is what radio has been waiting for. OK, radio heads...we got what everyone wanted.

Now what?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tragically Funny!!

Many in our business talk about innovation and how we must develop new "this or that." The creative folks are told to come up with a plan and then present the plan to the "brain trust" far so good, right...things are going so well...and then it happens. (insert screeching brake SFX here).

That brings us to the Fake Innovator's Dilemma--take a look and tell me this wasn't written with radio in mind.

New means new, innovation by it's very nature means untried, and the radio business could use a lot more of it. I'll leave you with this question today: do we have the guts to come up with "new" and then actually do it? Your comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's Next For Radio? Video!

Nielsen just released a new study on video usage and the bottom line: video consumption in terms of time spent and size of audience is up...way up. Even old school television was up 1%; while mobile video usage is up a whopping 70% and internet video usage rose 46%.

Ready for a shocker? What age group has the largest percentage of on-line viewers? 45-54 year olds at 21% followed by 35-44 year olds at 19%! When it comes to mobile viewsers 25-34 year olds leads the way with 32%; while 35-44's come in at 20%.

And as one who does this all the time myself, 57% report using the internet and watching TV simultaneously at least once a month.

We are already having problems with the younger demos and their fading interest (read: declining TSL) in radio; and now we are beginning to see evidence that our bread and butter demos could very well be in jeopardy due to their growing interest in on-line and mobile video.

You can see the entire Nielsen report here

Helping radio stations and radio groups develop on-line and mobile strategies is part what I do every day and I would be happy to assist you and your group maximize this amazing opportunity to effectively reach video entertainment consumers. You don't need to be a CBS or Fox affiliate to be in the TV biz!!

Here's two (somewhat obvious) suggestions as thought starters:

1-Your on-air stars can be video stars. How can you leverage their popularity within your market and capture some of that video traffic? What can they produce that the listeners will seek out on line and on their iPhones?

2-You program a top 40 station, why not put a video playlist together that replicates your on-air playlist simultaneously? You can invite your fans to watch station KAAA's music on line now. The simplest way to accomplish this would be to use You Tube as your video source since most popular videos are already there. There are other more proprietary ways to do this if you want. You may also want to consider creating additional playlists as well, maybe one that features the hottest newly released videos or a playlist of your stations best flashback songs. The opportunities are endless.

Bottom line: video is not a passing fad and neither is on-line and mobile consumption. As we consider how best to navigate our sizable ship into the future, we must consider how we are going to use video to our best advantage. Not doing so will not make it just go away. It's here to stay and it really needs to be something more than an afterthought.