Changing How Radio Engages Listeners

When young in-demo audiences under 40 turn on a radio, they hear aliens.

Radio doesn’t sound like them and doesn’t have what they want from a radio station today.

Here are some of the things listeners want from radio …

  1. Talk one-to-one not to everybody at once.
  2. Listeners do not appreciate when radio stations try to relate to them. At my conference last year, Dan Mason, Jr. presented his research that showed listeners are turned off by stations that try too hard to relate. In other words, be authentic, not patronizing.
  3. Listeners still feel radio personalities talk down to them.
  4. They don’t like when women are put into subservient roles or put in positions that are second to males – a role that used to be accepted.
  5. They hate hype and yet radio stations are veritable hype machines with sweepers, promos and jocks who sound like they are bragging. Most stations would tell you their station never hypes but listeners would disagree.
  6. Radio will have to come up with another way to schedule commercials. If stations keep running short cheaper spots that ad agencies prefer, listeners will tune out and stay away.
  7. Read their lips – they don’t listen to songs all the way through even ones they love. Ironically, radio is based on the theory that if we play the most popular songs, the audience will stay listening. Any realist knows this is not the case so a different approach is now required.
  8. Listeners want the station to stand for something. Quick: what does your station stand for in one or two words. Let your audience answer and don’t be surprised if they can’t. And if you think they will regurgitate your on-air branding, they won’t. A radio station that engages audiences must be described by them in one or two meaningful words.
  9. They want stations to help them with life – get a job, meet people, follow their dreams, pay their college loans down. No station you know of does this.
  10. They want stations to advocate for them and fight for what’s fair. Stations advocate for listeners? What am I smoking?

I have described a station that today’s audiences want and today’s radio is not giving them.

To find out how to start the process of changing the way we engage audiences, reserve a seat and join the discussion at my upcoming radio conference two weeks from today where we will share ideas and strategies. Details here.

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iHeart Major Market Fail

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The final program for my 2017 Radio Conference in 2 weeks is now set. Here is the final and complete program agenda with times, details and presentations here.

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Competing in Radio After Entercom/CBS

You need another industry seminar, show or convention like you need a hole in the head. Believe me, I know that.

But this is not just another conference.

It’s the one you should seriously consider attending.

These annual learning conferences exceed the expectation of attendees every year and this is our eighth-year.

Let me tell you how this one-day investment on your part can reap tremendous career and personal benefits all year long.

CBS/Entercom Changes Everything

Believe that this is just another consolidation if you like, but you’ll likely see things out of your control affecting your ability to compete even if you’re not in a big consolidation market. Bad practices travel. iHeart, the new Entercom and Cumulus plus their new merger partner will dictate buying, programming and pressure local stations previously immune from the disadvantages of consolidation.

Programmatic Buying: Good for Them, Not for Local Stations

Consolidators are getting set to automate buying to realize vast savings from cutting commission expenses. But programmatic buying in the digital space already has a proven record of driving down rates and putting too much power in the hands of buyers. Local, independents would best be focused on a new age of relationship selling. But what does that look like?

Relationship Selling vs. Programmatic

Local stations that can learn how to test advertiser copy and employ what we know works best in producing radio spots can earn a premium even as consolidators cut costs. MoreFM in Philadelphia is the one station (that’s right ONE) that outbills entire radio clusters and we have their chairman presenting face-to-face to you at our conference. This is the only way to hear it from a station that succeeds at beating consolidators. Miss this and you miss a lot.

Short Commercials Will Be the Death of Local Radio

Consolidators are selling as many short, cheap ads as they can because they are desperate. But their churn is awful. This is a path for sure failure of local operators who are likely going to be forced into feeding off short, cheap spots. So what’s the one thing that can get a serious advertiser to run longer spots at higher rates? We’ll tell you and you can return home and do it because this isn’t speculation – it’s actual results.

Attract 86 million New Listeners

Millennials are not interested in corporate radio, but we’re commissioning expert and author of books on Millennials Morley Winograd to answer this blunt question: what does a radio station have to sound like to get more of these high demand, in-demo Millennials? While your competitors guess, you’ll actually know what to do.

The One Thing That Can Make a Millennial Addicted to Radio

That’s right, I said addicted. Strong word but you’re going to learn that there are a couple of things that even a Millennial can’t resist from radio if they otherwise like what they hear. One thing is the radio station that can make their dreams come true. Another is a station that can help them find better jobs. We’ll talk about these. But the best of all is a promotion so addictive, they will not dare turn your station off. While consolidators are sharing a trip among 45 markets you can be doing this – and yes, you’ll hear the blueprint in Philly.

Facebook and Twitter Are So Passé

To embrace social networks publicly is to look even less cool than radio looks to younger listeners these days. Instagram is hot but peaking and SnapChat is the ten-second now you see it, now you don’t app that is all the rage – for the moment, that is. But what if I told you that there is an exciting new social networking concept made for local stations and it can be bigger than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. That’s what I intend to do.

Better Get On YouTube

BUT … local radio stations need a local strategy for YouTube that is the biggest, most important platform for digital involvement. Without YouTube, you’re just waiting to be outdated. But what if I shared with you a way to not only get a meaningful presence on YouTube but also make money? Would you call that a good digital strategy for radio?

Identify the Emerging Critical Trends for the Next 12 Months

Podcasting as a radio format … Radio morning shows designed for the digital era … A new way to talk to listeners (the way they like but we don’t do) … Rethinking women on-the-air … Repurposing the dead hours of 7pm to 5am … Reversing Time Spent Listening declines … How important is Amazon Echo’s Alexa to Radio’s Future and more.

You can’t expect to succeed in 2017 and beyond if you’re the last to know what trends are developing and how to take advantage of them.

The Independent Radio Management Conference is not a show, not a series of panels with people who could learn more from you than you could from them.

It’s an interactive learning event for smart media executives where the teacher and the taught together do the teaching.

Won’t you accept my invitation to reap all these benefits and more and join radio executives for this career-changing event?

2 weeks from now – April 5th in Philadelphia.

One-day.

Reserve a seat

Inquire about group rates

The Program Agenda

8 am              Registration/Complimentary Breakfast
9 am              Changing the Way Radio Engages Audiences
10:30 am       Break/Complimentary Snacks and Refreshments
10:45             The Morning Show of the Future / Repurposing 7pm-5am

12 Noon        Complimentary Lunch

1 pm              Growing On-Air Revenue / Making Money From Digital
2:30 pm         Break/Complimentary Snacks and Refreshments
2:45 pm         Getting Millennials To Listen
4 pm              Conference Concludes

Changing the Way Radio Engages Audiences

  • How to Retrain Air Talent to Sound Like Today’s Audiences
  • How Gender Fluidity Will Affect the Way Your Program To 18-34’s
  • How to Talk to Baby Boomers AND Millennials (There Are 75 Million of Each)
  • The Kind of Air-Personalities In-Demo Today’s Radio Listeners Now Want
  • What Millennials Want in a Radio Personality compared to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers
  • How to Change the Way We Talk to Today’s Listeners
  • The Contest Prize Listeners Crave Most (Not Money, Not Trips)
  • Why Music Sweeps Are Backfiring on Hit Music Stations (and How to Fix It)
  • How to Finally Improve TSL Which Has Been Declining for 2 Decades
  • How to Handle Too Many Commercials
  • How to Add Music Discovery to a Tight Hits Format

The Morning Show of the Future / Repurposing 7pm-5am

  • Updating the Morning Show
  • The One Morning Show Feature That Every Station Should Have
  • New Evidence That the Morning “Man” of the Future Should Be a Woman
  • Eliminating Outdated Morning Shows (Making Them Cool Again)
  • New Ways to Repurpose 7pm to 5am
  • How to Handle Traffic On-Air Now That Listeners Widely Access It Online
  • How to Rebuild Eroding Audiences After PM Drive
  • The One Type Commercial Even Millennials Will Stick Around For
  • Cutout shows for after 5pm aimed specifically for P1 listeners and premium advertisers
  • How to use podcasting on-air to generate revenue and loyalty
  • How to create a weekend revenue stream by targeting your station’s loyalist listeners

Growing On-Air Revenue / Making Money From Digital

(With a presentation for MoreFM Chairman Jerry Lee on ad churn and a video from programmer & Podcasting expert Steven Goldstein on podcasting)

  • Competing Against Rate Droppers
  • Reducing Advertiser Turnover to Virtually Nothing
  • The Best Company to Pretest Advertiser Copy for Success
  • The Optimum Number of Voices That Make Radio Ads More Effective
  • The Perfect Radio Solution for Podcasting
  • New Competition From User-generated Content like YouTube
  • Finding New Digital Revenue Streams
  • Master Short Form Video
  • New Revenue From Product Placement & Subscription Fees
  • Radio as a “Preview Channel” for Digital
  • How to Create Binge Listening Content for Radio
  • The Potential of Alexa For Radio, the Powerful Voice of Amazon’s Echo
  • Radio as the new social medium – not Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or SnapChat.

Getting Millennials To Listen

(With a special presentation from Morley Winograd, author of Millennial Makeover and generational expert)

  • How to Program to Shorter Attention Spans
  • Promotions That Will Guarantee Millennial Listeners
  • Focusing on Fans Not Listeners
  • Eliminating the Hot Clock as Millennials Like No Rules
  • Positioning Radio Against Pandora, Spotify & Streaming Music
  • Why Creating 2 or More Formats on One Station Now Makes Total Sense
  • Why Millennials Like More Eclectic Music in Their Hits Station (and How to Give It to Them) Local Radio Vs. More Consolidation
  • Why Creating 2 or More Formats on One Station Now Makes Total Sense
  • Why Radio Must Get Back to Contesting for 18-34 Millennial Gamers
  • The 5 Things Millennials Want From Radio (Millennial Values)
  • How to Remove Hype From Millennial Targeted Stations
  • The Significance the Hottest New Social Medium, SnapChat, to Radio

Led by Jerry Del Colliano whose background includes on-air and management roles in major market radio and television, publishing and digital as well as Professor of Music Industry at The University of Southern California.

This event will not be available by stream or video – only live and in-person April 5th in Philadelphia.

Please join us for this transformative experience.

Reserve a seat

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iHeart’s Plan to Dupe Lenders

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Become a NEW SUBSCRIBER and begin with iHeart's Plan to Dupe Lenders here.

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  • And this sucker punch that they don’t see coming when they do
  • Step by step details on the potential con of the century

A new subscription also unlocks these full articles …

            The Cumulus Cuts, Staff Reductions

            iHeart Takes 1st Step Toward Bankruptcy Filing

            The Katz Rep Firm Scandal

            Lenders Going After iHeart's Pittman

            The Emmis Layoffs

            Cumulus Management Shakeup

            Merger Partners for Cumulus

And includes access to every article for the past year plus 3,615 in our archive like these (scroll through/latest first). Everything.

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2 weeks until my 2017 Radio Conference. Here is the final and complete program agenda with times, details and presentations here.

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Chuck Berry

Yes, Chuck Berry was the father of rock and roll, but that’s now the lead in his many obituaries since his death Saturday at 90.

He was a rebel playing rebellious music.

I have read a lot of great tributes to Chuck Berry since he died over the weekend but I don’t want to miss how important Chuck Berry was in other ways.

Back in the early days of rock and roll, Chuck Berry was supplying the backbeat to a new form of radio aimed at teenagers – top 40.

He did it skillfully even in the lyrics of his songs like “Sweet Little Sixteen”.

Cause they'll be rockin' on Bandstand
In Philadelphia, Pa.
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the 'Frisco Bay
All over St.Louis
Way down in New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with
Sweet Little Sixteen

You couldn’t have a hit without Bandstand in those days and the master put it into his song along with key radio markets.

John Lennon said if you want another name for rock and roll, call it Chuck Berry.

But don’t miss the tie in with radio.

Radio (and Bandstand) made Chuck Berry while Chuck Berry provided the rebellious music teens could only hear on radio and with their idol, Dick Clark.

Not Pandora or Spotify back then.

Not with the help of social media as it is today because – and this is really important – social media consisted of the nations rock and roll djs.

Radio djs who somehow today have fallen in love with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat forgetting that they still have the capability of being the most important link between the artist and their audience.

Chuck Berry wrote his own music and some of his best songs were written while he was in prison. That’s right, but you’d know that if your favorite top 40 dj of the time was speaking directly to you over the air.

The world has changed.

Radio has become less important.

Artists are not the rebels they used to be.

Rock and roll eventually gave way to Motown, the British Invasion, the Philly Sound and then various new genres including hip-hop.

They’re all good, but they’re all different.

Today, the best days for a hit record are the first week after it is dropped.

Then its usually downhill in terms of sales.

Back then you saved up money to buy Chuck Berry and his contemporaries. Their music was only available free on the radio and the radio only kept playing artists if they kept making hits.

Like Chuck Berry did record after record.

If we wonder why radio is not what it used to be, it is easy to blame digital devices and social media, but remembering Chuck Berry makes us take note that music that resonates with audiences and changes people had one direct way into their ears – radio.

So as we try to reinvent what used to be, it is helpful to keep in mind that music radio was a hand in hand collaboration with artists where they received exposure and “social networking” by djs in return for compelling music that drove radio audiences.

There are not many like Chuck Berry – maybe not one other as significant to early rock and roll and he did it with his friends in radio.

Ridin' along in my calaboose
Still tryin' to get her belt unloose
All the way home I held a grudge,
But the safety belt, it wouldn't budge
Cruisin' and playin' the radio
With no particular place to go.

(which, by the way, was written when the great Chuck Berry was serving prison time, but then you knew that, right because you heard it on the radio. )

2 weeks until my 2017 Radio Conference. Here is the final and complete program agenda with times, details and presentations here.

Contact Jerry

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Radio Blueprint in the Age of More Consolidation

This is the reason local broadcasters are coming to Philadelphia in two weeks – to plan a strategy for a radio industry that will see one and likely two major consolidations up ahead.

CBS/Entercom will close fourth quarter and like it or not everything will change as the big get bigger and attempt to dictate the play in radio.

And Cumulus is a merger target for another company – Beasley, Townsquare – someone looking to get bigger and keep up with the majors.

To make things more challenging two bankruptcies are also ahead -- iHeart around the end of 2017 or 2018 and Cumulus from now until next year. These bankruptcies will have an adverse affect on good local operators faced with the desperation of radio groups with nothing left to lose.

If you’re a solid, local operator, this is no time to sit idly by so I thought you’d like to see the blueprint for local radio in this time of great change.

  1. Rate Protection -- How to keep your rates up and away from the market forces that most certainly will drive them down to sell volume not rate.
  2. Premium Rates -- How to create longer spots that will earn premiums and avoid the shorter/cheaper trend consolidators have adopted to get business at any cost.
  3. Less Advertiser Churn -- A proven way to get your best advertisers to pay more if you have a way to test their commercials for effectiveness and help them produce spots that will resonate with audiences. No one is better at this than Jerry Lee who does it year after year at More FM in Philly. Lee will explain how to test the spots, where to have them tested in a cost-effective way and share his secrets for creating spots that get the best results.
  4. Audience Development -- How to change the way radio engages audiences because, to be sure, consolidators will be taking an even cheaper route to programming and when that affects the FM dial in your market, it affects you.
  5. Morning Show Modernization -- How to invent the morning show of the future before we lose the one thing even Millennials love about radio. They want new features, new hosts, a more feminine empowered show. Believe me, consolidators are in no position to do this but independent, local operators are if they are ready to go to school on what we are now learning.
  6. Off-Hour Revenue Development -- How to generate revenue between those “dark” hours of 7pm until 5am. Most stations just break even or lose money in these time periods, but our blueprint will show some talk shows, on-air podcasts and other strategies to generate premium rates without having to attract more audience. It’s a play for P1s after dark and we’ll brainstorm together on these ideas and concepts.
  7. The Millennial Game Plan -- How to get Millennials to listen. I have asked Morley Winograd, expert and co-author of three books on Millennials to address what radio needs to do to win this 18-34 year old in-demo generation over. Only you will have access to this critical material and the brainstorming we will do based on it.
  8. Reinventing Digital --- The best way to make money from digital. Digital has been a disappointment. Groups who report increasing digital revenue are also making up what they call digital and often it is simple spot revenue. But short-form video is an inexpensive and immediately profitable pursuit for most independent stations so be prepared for learning what it takes and how that turns into real revenue rather quickly.
  9. New Trend Watch -- How to avoid the mistakes consolidators are making on podcasting. Yes, it is growing in popularity. No, it isn’t about to be monetized very soon. So I have asked program director turned podcast expert Steven Goldstein to put together a “Jerry Talk” on this. I have seen it and you will want to take lots of notes. Podcasting has a role but not the one consolidators think it has.

I hope you’ll consider taking a seat at the table for this illuminating and useful brainstorming session designed for local operators facing more competition from consolidators.

Because the teacher and the taught together do the teaching at my events, this seminar will not be available on tape or by stream.

A little over 2 weeks until the conference.

The full agenda, topics, drilled-down details, times, location, costs, discounts and hotel choices are available here.

Help? Please call Cheryl or Jerry Del Colliano at (480) 998-9898.

Please join us for this transformative experience.

Reserve a seat

Inquire about group rates

Nearby Hotels

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The Cumulus Cuts, Staff Reductions

Subscribers get INSTANT ACCESS here.

Become a NEW SUBSCRIBER and begin with The Cumulus Cuts, Staff Reductions here.

If you’ve been thinking about subscribing and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get …

  • Why employees fear mass Cumulus cutbacks now
  • The parts of the company most likely to see staff reductions
  • Who will be “the executioner” as things go from bad to worse

A new subscription also unlocks these full articles …

            iHeart Takes 1st Step Toward Bankruptcy Filing

            The Katz Rep Firm Scandal

            Lenders Going After iHeart's Pittman

            The Emmis Layoffs

            Cumulus Management Shakeup

            Merger Partners for Cumulus

            The End of Cumulus SVP Jeff Brown

And includes access to every article for the past year plus 3,613 in our archive like these (scroll through/latest first). Everything.

For 27 cents a day, join the thousands of members who read Inside Music Media -- insightful, deadly honest and informative.

Inside Music Media contains no advertising. Accepts no corporate money or consideration. And is beholden only to subscribers who appreciate it so much that they pay for it. Thank you.

“Making Millennials Listen” has been added to the 2017 Independent Radio Conference less than 3 weeks from now. See the complete program agenda with times, details and presentations here.

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