Secret Lew Dickey Employee Meeting Revealed

The Tricky One is on the road visiting markets and talking to employees in private behind closed doors.

Unfortunately as much as Super Lew tries to keep his employees bound and gagged, many wind up leaving these meetings feeling dirty.

Lew’s Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take them away.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could know what Dickey actually tells the people in his underperforming company to motivate them.

Does he walk on hot coals? Or make them walk on hot coals?

Well, thanks to our Witness Protection Program, which protects whistleblowers from having their genitals cut off, we can now tear away the veil of secrecy and bring you Lew Dickey revealed.

Dickey unplugged at the Cumulus Fresno cluster Wednesday.

  • Let’s get to the good stuff – how Lew really feels about Les Moonves and CBS Radio in candid remarks to employees.
  • Cumulus is not a radio company – here’s what he said Cumulus is in his own words.
  • On live and local radio.
  • What Dickey thinks is the disease Bob Pittman has.
  • Mouthing off about iHeart’s $20.5 billion debt issue and what he said about Cumulus’ own debt.
  • Lew’s delusional plan to be debt-free and when.
  • His latest thoughts on the hated CRM software for sales called Engage.
  • “Don't feel like we are against you, it's not Atlanta versus the markets” – an eyewitness account that only Dr. Phil could analyze.
  • The number one quality Lew is looking for in salespeople and it’s not likeability – in the words of a Cumulus employee who attended the secret meeting.

Access this story now

Report news in confidence here.

Less than 2 months until my Philly media conference. Register Now. Inquire about group rates here.

Start your day on a positive note “Stop Trying to Improve Everything” on my motivational website here.

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YouTube Stars

Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address was aired on all the traditional television networks guaranteeing that older viewers would be watching when President Obama spelled out his new agenda.

More than anyone else, President Obama should know how important the digital world is – after all, it helped get him reach the younger voters who elected him twice.

That’s why he agreed to do interviews with three YouTube stars who you probably never heard of – GloZell Green, Bethany Mota and Hank Green.

Among them, these three YouTube stars alone have 14 million subscribers and you can bet they lean toward the younger side.

YouTube is everything.

YouTube is the future.

YouTube is Top 40 radio to teenagers and search that rivals Google for many other people.

It strikes me as odd that you can be in the radio business and go months, years or forever without having anyone even utter the word YouTube let alone have a game plan for engaging this powerful new tool.

As we morph into the new age of media, the rules have changed.

Information and entertainment is no longer delivered on a dedicated device like TV, radio or newspaper.

They all appear together on smartphones, tablets, computers and they are easily accessible through apps.

The radio industry has been living in deep denial since the Internet revolution began.

That there will always be radio listeners – try asking a Millennial about that.

That morning shows, time, weather, traffic and jokes are a necessity to start the day.

That you turn to a radio in a news crisis.

I’m thinking radio needs to rethink content creation in a disruptive new way.

Rethink the way their continuous 24/7 stations are formatted.

Create separate programming with non-radio stars as part of its YouTube presence.

We must get out of the mindset that what we create on radio is destined to be delivered via streaming, digital and social media.

Marshall McLuhan said “The medium is the message”.

Today, “The message is the medium”.

There are lots of ways to interact with audiences.

We need to get to work on the message – the content, the things that are of value and not available elsewhere.

At my upcoming media conference in Philly, we’re going to examine how to do the best radio we’ve ever done on-the-air and simultaneously create separate revenue streams based on new opportunities that we are currently ignoring.

We can make a real difference not by doing the same things, but also by drilling down with innovative thinking on these following ten problems that must be solved to have a positive outcome in 2015.

  1. Too Many Commercials – How spots are scheduled can make a difference.       Also, the length of spots in each stop set. There is much that can be done. To proceed as is is not a solution.
  2. Unremarkable Programming For 70 Million Baby Boomers – All the focus is on young money demo Millennials. Baby boomers have been radio’s most loyal listeners but that’s changing now. Ignore baby boomers, target them or better yet discover what the two disparate groups have in common.      
  3. Outdated Morning Shows – They like personalities but increasingly they don’t like much else about morning shows.  Focus on three new features to replace traffic, time checks and weather. Yes, they don’t need them. But consider these three potent options to replace tired old staples of morning radio. (And you can sell them!)
  4. Music That Is Too Repetitive – Audiences have hated music repetition on radio for decades but they had few alternatives. Not so anymore. Two new strategies show promise. One adds more new music without watering down the hits. The better approach is to rip up the traditional playlist and present the music differently.
  5. No Compelling Reason To Listen Longer – Radio TSL has been down every year since the early 90’s. Under 30’s don’t even listen to any song all the way through even though music radio is built on the assumption that if you play the right songs, the audience will stay tuned in. Now, there is a way to keep listeners from straying and it isn’t longer music sweeps.
  6. Don’t Like the Way Stations Talk To Them – Sounds dated, insincere. Too much bragging and hype. It all sounds like radio is out of touch. Talking down to listeners whether we mean to or not.  Surprising words that turn off young audiences when used on the air, in promos, sweepers, imaging and commercials. Learn them and overcome this objection.
  7. Radio Is Not Authentic – Demographers have discovered 5 things that Millennials crave. Do these 5 things every hour of every day and radio becomes more relevant to the 95 million members of this age group.  One of the 5 things they crave is more authenticity. Learn the fastest way to master being truly authentic to Millennials but also the four other expectations that radio is currently not meeting.  They are screaming this out for you to hear.
  8. Lack of Music Variety and Customization – Spotify, Pandora and YouTube are killing radio when it comes to variety and customization. There may be no way to compete with that, but audiences are beginning to tell us what these streaming services are lacking presenting a great opportunity for responsive radio stations to do what streaming services cannot do.
  9. Outdated News and Talk – Two staple radio formats are seeing audiences erode or attracting unsellable aging demographics.  News stations don’t just sound like their father’s radio station – they sound like their grandfathers radio station. Droning on and on with sleepy features designed for station sales managers not for listeners to crave. Conservative talk is also over because audiences want compromise not red meat. And Progressive talk radio never really worked. It’s a no-win. But spoken word is something young Millennials like, really like – here is the spoken word station of the future (bring an open mind).
  10. Don’t Know Where the AM Band Is – Think about it. There’s nothing for audiences under 60 on AM. So you may be thinking that younger money demos won’t listen to an AM station, right? True, unless … well, I’ll show you a number of things you could do on two tin cans hooked together with a string that Millennials would eat up.  Will you take that challenge?  Because I’m going to do it and you’re going to want to brainstorm on it. Forget the FCC. AM needs to disrupt FM the way FM disrupted AM.

PLUS, What Audiences REALLY Want In Digital Content …

There is nothing worse than doing something well that doesn’t need to be done at all. Some stations are doing impressive digital initiatives that audiences simply don’t care about.

Instead, drill down on what listeners really want in digital and get a better return on your investment in time and money:

  1. Storytelling Instead of Podcasting
  2. Short-Form Video Revenue Stream
  3. Non-hyped Social Media Beyond Facebook and Twitter
  4. Content Audiences Can Binge on Just Like They Do Netflix
  5. Apps Not Websites (and That Includes Radio)

This is a day worth your time and investment.

A clearly defined agenda, creative and innovative solutions to apply and a forum to discuss and hitchhike on new ideas that you hear.

Independent broadcasters and digital entrepreneurs are invited to the 6th annual Media Solutions Seminar at the Hub Conference Center March 18th in Philadelphia, walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

Buffet breakfast, lunch and all breaks prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, former executive chef at The Four Seasons included.

Less than 2 months from today until the Media Solutions Conference.

Register Now

Contact Jerry about the conference and group rates here.

Read More  FREE SAMPLES

The Dangerous New iHeart Employee Survey

I saw a radio trade quote an unnamed iHeart employee as saying nothing terrible happened the last time Bain did one of these surveys so maybe this time workers will be willing to speak up.

There is a big price for participating in a “voluntary” survey that local managers are pressured by corporate to make mandatory.

A lot of chutzpah for a company that is $20.5 billion in debt and selling off outdoor, tower real estate, the satellite operations, 50% interest in The Australian Radio Network and likely some radio stations.

With bankruptcy on the table! Are they kidding?

There were two major layoffs last year alone and thousands fired since the last Clear Channel Employee Survey.

  • What does iHeart really want from this employee survey.
  • Can what you say in this new survey be used against employees.
  • Throwback to the last one: how many managers were either disciplined or forced to take sensitivity training when employees complained about them.
  • What happens if you don’t take the test.
  • What were the real repercussions and benefits the last time – and what’s likely this time once iHeart tallies the results.
  • The biggest disadvantage of volunteering to take the questionnaire.

Access this story now

Report news in confidence here.

Less than 2 months until my Philly media conference. Register Now. Inquire about group rates here.

Start your day on a positive note “Put a Stop to Being Ignored” on my motivational website here.

Read More  FREE SAMPLES

The Rapid Growth of Netflix

Netflix stock rose $60.48 cents when trading closed yesterday to end at $409.28.

Netflix can be a volatile stock, but there is no denying its appeal not only to consumers but also to shareholders.

The market liked that Netflix beat its estimates for new subscribers outside the U.S. and that there is a lot more upside left. Netflix is in 50 countries and it wants to operate in 190+ so you can see why the stock price jumped.

More importantly Netflix is a business the radio industry ought to seriously study.

Not too many years ago Netflix was a snail mail dependent business when digital was just beginning to come of age. They were making plenty of money renting movies to customers but the future was not assured.

Just ask Blockbuster which went down in flames at the hands of the digital revolution when it refused to blow up its old model and innovate a new one.

Netflix not only adapted and moved toward their current digital market at about the same price per month as their mail service but also disrupted the network television business and cable in ways they couldn’t see coming.

Parallels to radio would be – a traditional medium, dependent on analog listening as an infinite number of new devices became available – namely the smartphone.

Netflix moved their business to digital.

Radio moved their business to digital streaming.

So why didn’t it work?

Streaming rarely makes money and in fact allows advertisers to bargain for lower on-air rates when they buy streaming (or vice versa).

Netflix encouraged binge watching – another disruption, this time a sociological one where consumers could take control of how much, when and where they could binge on content.

Suddenly network television was so not necessary. HBO caught on when it wisely launched HBO Go. If you had a cable subscription, you got HBO Go. Now you can just get HBO Go with no cable subscription – another disruption.

Hulu Plus modeled themselves after Netflix. Even CBS had to make its programming available on an app but did not include pro football and included a time delay for programming that aired on their local affiliates – a weak proposition.

Radio became background noise for riding in a car. Station owners were more interested in cutting expenses than creating new content, which, of course, is what Netflix went and did by doing deals for original programming like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and lately Marco Polo.

Netflix changed listening habits.

Radio allowed digital competitors and devices to change their listening habits.

The takeaway from all of this is that the radio industry can learn the path to success from Netflix.

Create content for bingeing – not just 24/7 programming.

No one does this – and they had better learn how.

Institute subscription fees for some kinds of programming.

No radio content is apparently even worth $1 a month – I can tell you people will pay for something unique.

Don’t get distracted by podcasting which is tantamount to spoken word radio repackaged for the Internet – and learn how to do storytelling, an entirely new approach to content.

These are some of the things I am going to curate at my upcoming media conference in Philadelphia in less than 2 months from now. It’s worth your time because doing the same old thing over and over again is not an answer to the digital revolution.

And now with more Millennials than Baby Boomers – some as old as 33 and smack dab in the money demo sweet spot, we can do this – and must do this.

Here are radio’s top 10 critical problems – our goal is to attack them in innovative ways.

We can make a real difference not by doing the same things, but also by drilling down with innovative thinking on these following ten problems that must be solved to have a positive outcome in 2015.

  1. Too Many Commercials – How spots are scheduled can make a difference.       Also, the length of spots in each stop set. There is much that can be done. To proceed as is is not a solution.
  2. Unremarkable Programming For 70 Million Baby Boomers – All the focus is on young money demo Millennials. Baby boomers have been radio’s most loyal listeners but that’s changing now. Ignore baby boomers, target them or better yet discover what the two disparate groups have in common.  
  3. Outdated Morning Shows – They like personalities but increasingly they don’t like much else about morning shows.  Focus on three new features to replace traffic, time checks and weather. Yes, they don’t need them. But consider these three potent options to replace tired old staples of morning radio. (And you can sell them!)
  4. Music That Is Too Repetitive – Audiences have hated music repetition on radio for decades but they had few alternatives. Not so anymore. Two new strategies show promise. One adds more new music without watering down the hits. The better approach is to rip up the traditional playlist and present the music differently.
  5. No Compelling Reason To Listen Longer – Radio TSL has been down every year since the early 90’s. Under 30’s don’t even listen to any song all the way through even though music radio is built on the assumption that if you play the right songs, the audience will stay tuned in. Now, there is a way to keep listeners from straying and it isn’t longer music sweeps.
  6. Don’t Like the Way Stations Talk To Them – Sounds dated, insincere. Too much bragging and hype. It all sounds like radio is out of touch. Talking down to listeners whether we mean to or not.  Surprising words that turn off young audiences when used on the air, in promos, sweepers, imaging and commercials. Learn them and overcome this objection.
  7. Radio Is Not Authentic – Demographers have discovered 5 things that Millennials crave. Do these 5 things every hour of every day and radio becomes more relevant to the 95 million members of this age group.  One of the 5 things they crave is more authenticity. Learn the fastest way to master being truly authentic to Millennials but also the four other expectations that radio is currently not meeting.  They are screaming this out for you to hear.
  8. Lack of Music Variety and Customization – Spotify, Pandora and YouTube are killing radio when it comes to variety and customization. There may be no way to compete with that, but audiences are beginning to tell us what these streaming services are lacking presenting a great opportunity for responsive radio stations to do what streaming services cannot do.
  9. Outdated News and Talk – Two staple radio formats are seeing audiences erode or attracting unsellable aging demographics.  News stations don’t just sound like their father’s radio station – they sound like their grandfathers radio station. Droning on and on with sleepy features designed for station sales managers not for listeners to crave. Conservative talk is also over because audiences want compromise not red meat. And Progressive talk radio never really worked. It’s a no-win. But spoken word is something young Millennials like, really like – here is the spoken word station of the future (bring an open mind).
  10. Don’t Know Where the AM Band Is – Think about it. There’s nothing for audiences under 60 on AM. So you may be thinking that younger money demos won’t listen to an AM station, right? True, unless … well, I’ll show you a number of things you could do on two tin cans hooked together with a string that Millennials would eat up.  Will you take that challenge?  Because I’m going to do it and you’re going to want to brainstorm on it. Forget the FCC. AM needs to disrupt FM the way FM disrupted AM.

PLUS, What Audiences REALLY Want In Digital Content …

There is nothing worse than doing something well that doesn’t need to be done at all. Some stations are doing impressive digital initiatives that audiences simply don’t care about.

Instead, drill down on what listeners really want in digital and get a better return on your investment in time and money:

  1. Storytelling Instead of Podcasting
  2. Short-Form Video Revenue Stream
  3. Non-hyped Social Media Beyond Facebook and Twitter
  4. Content Audiences Can Binge on Just Like They Do Netflix
  5. Apps Not Websites (and That Includes Radio)

This is a day worth your time and investment.

A clearly defined agenda, creative and innovative solutions to apply and a forum to discuss and hitchhike on new ideas that you hear.

Independent broadcasters and digital entrepreneurs are invited to the 6th annual Media Solutions Seminar at the Hub Conference Center March 18th in Philadelphia, walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

Buffet breakfast, lunch and all breaks prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, former executive chef at The Four Seasons included.

Less than 2 months from today.

Register Now

Contact Jerry about the conference and group rates here.

Read More  FREE SAMPLES

iHeart’s Panicked Programming Moves

Changes coming but not from where you might think.

The man who is responsible for iHeart’s $20.5 billion in debt now wants to focus on his programming mess.

  • The major market syndicated programming host who appears to now have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.
  • iHeart managers railing against corporate programming interference.
  • Cities where top personalities have been replaced by cheaper talent that tank the ratings.
  • A hint at the format Pittman may want to solve his AM station dilemma.
  • The big behind the scenes decision Pittman made about air talent in a major market.

Access this story now

Less than 2 months until my Philly media conference. Register Now. Inquire about group rates here.

Start your day on a positive note “Win the Approval of Others” on my motivational website here.

Read More  FREE SAMPLES