Ed Schultz and the Demise of Talk Radio

If you think what talk show host Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham on the air last week was the tip of the iceberg, wait until you see the rest of the iceberg.

Radio is on a collision course with changing audiences – doesn’t know it or doesn’t care – and there are other formats that are wittingly or unwittingly turning off listeners.

1.  What is turning off talk radio listeners like never before.  It’s not right-wing or left-wing rhetoric.  It’s this – and if you’re running a radio station, your station is probably doing the same thing.  Know what it is to stop audience erosion.

2.  What is the best solution for diverging points of view in talk radio and believe it or not – on the part of thousands of morning personalities.  Do your morning shows do this?  If so, here is the cure.

3.  The number one mistake morning personality shows make – that can be easily corrected to the delight of more listeners.

4.  What is the first radio format that will die from being out of touch with what changing audiences now expect?

5.  Music is eroding the adult contemporary format – plainly put, AC music is not being made anymore because it is not in demand.  But this miscue is curable now and it has nothing to do with music – just a misreading of what audiences really want.

6.  News formats are vulnerable to changing audience preferences in what major way?  Here it is.

7.  Why CHR – the darling of all People Meter formats – is vulnerable in a way that most stations don’t even know.  Until now.

PLUS … 7 early warnings you’ll want to know and track before what’s eating talk radio’s ratings will start to consume yours.

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99 Cent Albums

Did you see how Amazon sold Lady Gaga’s new album Born This Way for only 99 cents and angered consumers when their servers melted down from high demand?

Did you also see how Apple’s iTunes store sold record numbers of “Born This Way” at the very same time for full price?

What’s going on here?

1.  Music is morphing to a new role – and if you’re a radio station, label or even a musician, here’s what’s going to change in the next 12 months.

2.  What do consumers want most – to buy or rent music?  Do you know?  Here’s the answer.  A lot is at stake.

3.  The dangerous direction of music radio stations that will soon be in direct opposition to the changing consumer and business market.  Know this now before it is too late.

4.  Why the album will die in the next 12 months – gone forever.

5.  The changing role of the iTunes store – 200 million consumers who have given their credit card info to Apple.

6.  What Wal-Mart and Live Nation have in common – and how they are killing the record business.  That’s right killing it.

Plus … How the record labels are killing a viable radio format by starving it to death.  Do you know which format the labels have done in?

Within a year, the music industry and those who feed off of it will change forever.

Here’s the latest intelligence.

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The Shocking Truth About Radio’s Tornado Response

Tornadoes are still sweeping across the country with record death tolls and destruction. 

Radio is receiving all the accolades.

But it shouldn’t be.

The radio industry is this close to a disaster in the making and the only reason it hasn’t already happened is because a few local operators saved the day.

Here’s intelligence you’re not getting in the happy talk press:

1.  In Birmingham, guess how many operators covered the recent tornadoes there?  I think you’ll be floored.

2.  Here’s the truth about what stations had on the air in the middle of the most deadly tornadoes in decades.   Don’t even try to guess.

3.  In Joplin, MO, guess what was on the air when the tornado was in the air ready to touch down.   It’s unbelievable.

4.  Who are two of the best local broadcasters on the planet?  Can you name even one?

5.  How close has radio come to ignoring disastrous events such as tornadoes and what are the political ramifications if they continue.

6.  What 5 strategies can help you turn a disaster into a celebration of radio – but there is little margin for error.  This is the most valuable game plan you may ever get .

7The best advice I have ever heard from the legendary Drake program director Paul Drew – the guy who made his jocks play 15 hits in a row -- about compelling local news events.  It is still the gold standard.

Plus… David DuBose, the Birmingham Market Manager who is getting all the kudos for Cox coverage, reveals his secret.  You’ll want to save this.

This article is a shocking special report on how close radio is to real disaster and how to prevent it at your station.

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Rush and Hannity’s Big Ratings Slide

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have taken some big audience hits over the last 6 months.

Like losing about one-third of their listeners.

Meanwhile “Imus in the Morning” is up slightly albeit with old listeners.

What’s up with that?

Lots of changes ahead for talk radio but the problems hurting talk are the same problems that will adversely affect other formats and you should know the reasons:

1.  Is it the People Meter’s fault or not.  You may be surprised at the answer.

2.  How are even the best talk show hosts talking themselves out of listeners.  You have to be doing something radically wrong to lose a third of your audience in just six months.  Here’s what it is.

3.  Audiences have changed in one major way and radio stations are missing it.  You won’t.  All the details here.

4.  What could talk radio stations (and for that matter most every other format) do to stem the tide of itchy audiences willing to stray.  Do this one thing and cut them off before the damage gets worse.

5.  Did you know that the talk station of the future was actually developed several decades ago.  Can you name it?  Do you know what they did then and do now to stay in tune with changing audiences.  I’ll share with you the station and explain.

6.  Do the big audience losses for Rush and Hannity and slight gains for Imus mean that listeners are starting to lean more left than right? Before you go there, understand this.

Plus … my prognosis for how long talk radio has left if it doesn’t make major changes soon.  And I’m going to give it to you in years.

This article is the very latest intelligence on a big issue affecting all formats in the next few years. 

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The Future of Online Streaming Radio

Radio stations that routinely stream their on-air formats traditionally have not done well – maybe 3% increases in total audience if that.

But there are new developments you will want to know about – new opportunities that may lie ahead for radio stations who can see the future and respond.

1.  5 new developments you should be aware of that open online streaming for radio operators in a business they should jump into – with both feet.  These strategies are detailed and ready for you to use or hitchhike on today.

2.  The best new thinking on what you should be doing with the online stream of your over the air radio station.  Most operators are making several big mistakes, but you won’t.

3.  How does your local radio station have a chance to compete against Pandora, Rhapsody, eMusic, Slacker or whatever Apple is going to surprise us with next in June?  Well – I’ve got 3 killer strategies right here that are your answer.

4.  What kind of 24/7 radio stream would be a smashing success from day one?  Not only am I going to lay it out – I’m going to lay it out for a sample hour.  You’ll get the feel and will want to brainstorm even more ideas.

5.  How to tie-in to the 30 million iPads that will be in service by year end (there’s over 15 million iPads in use now).  You can’t just do radio on an iPad.  That would be iHeartRadio or one of the many clones of radio broadcasters who don’t see the future.  But this approach will make iPads come alive and even sound like a cash register.

6.  How to take a traditional morning radio show and adapt it for an iPad.  Caution – this is not your father’s radio station.  It’s mashable.  I’m going to take a real live radio personality and show you how he can be number one on his local market’s iPad ratings! 

You can read stories about the future anywhere. 

This story has strategies, details and innovation.

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Cumulus and Clear Channel’s Next Moves

In the months ahead both Clear Channel and Cumulus will be undertaking some moves that could have a major impact on what’s left of the radio industry.

And it is tantalizing …

1.  Which one will acquire perhaps as many as 50 or more stations and which one may sell.  Be ready because all this could happen within less than one year. 

2.  How Clear Channel is going to kick the can down the road – so to speak – as it enters the next few years of having to repay debt as high as $19 billion.  They know what they’re going to do and it’s not what they are saying publicly.

3.  What are the two biggest threats that both Cumulus and Clear Channel face.  Forget the Dickey hype or Pittman PR – these two issues are really what could derail one or both of radio’s largest consolidators. 

4.  Why Wall Street could care less about radio revenue from digital.  Even Wall Street knows that Clear Channel, Cumulus and for that matter most radio companies are losing the race to the digital space.  Here’s their strategy for winning the day while failing in the mobile Internet.  Unbelievable.

Plus … who will buy Clear Channel?  Read on, I’ll tell you.

Cumulus and Clear Channel despite the hype – are in big trouble.

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Not AC – My Fix for Radio’s AC Format

Adult contemporary radio stations are continuing to take a beating in the latest ratings – the format is not likely to recover without a courageous total reinvention.

If you run an adult contemporary station, I’ve got 11 fixes for you to stop the audience erosion. 

If you compete against a reluctant AC brand that only wants to tweak their format, this is your best chance to steal the playbook and their audience.

1.  Do you change the current music slowly or blow up the playlist and make a radical change.  Both work but one approach – and I’ll reveal which one – will only delay inevitable audience erosion.  Best to avoid it.

2.  Why the oldies library is so dangerous to the new AC station.  Songs you would have included before can kill the audience now.  Here’s a safer approach.

3.  What CBS learned when it turned its oldies into classic hits stations. I’m saying you want to go to school on CBS because if you don’t, their classic hits stations (and ones like them) will become the new adult contemporary.

4.  My yardstick for deciding what oldies songs provide the most fire power for the new AC – it has something to do with Glee.  It never fails the test.  You’ll need to know.

5.  Why making the music tempo faster on AC stations – as many are currently doing – may only speed up the format’s audience erosion.  You’ll get a better answer.

6.  What about the classic AC morning show.  You’re not going to like taking this medicine but if you don’t, within a year and a half you won’t be able to have a strong morning personality show. 

7.  A new way to look at commercial loads and how to schedule them in a music hour.  Critical.

8.  Voice tracking – still okay after morning drive?  New rules.

9.  How do you save that sappy advice show you’re running a night.  Are its days numbered or do you like these new options better. 

10.  What about streaming? Should you stream your on-air AC station once you make the fix?  New thoughts on that.

11.  The one way to build your new brand that not everyone in the market can choose.  Is this strategy for you – it almost always works to build audience and brand recognition.

Plus… there is one format already out there that could replace adult contemporary as is -- without making one single change.  Know your enemy.

You can read anywhere that AC has big ratings problems.  But here you get 11 actionable ideas to fix it or beat AC stations that resist changing.

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In Radio Work Here, Not Here

Friends don’t let friends drive their radio careers into the ground.

With the radio industry kicking up turmoil these days  – and the largest group (Clear Channel) possibly in play – targeting solid companies to find a radio career that can last has become more difficult.

Until now.

My no-holds barred assessment is in this article and includes …

1.  The safest radio companies to work for.  That means, work here, not there.  I name names.  Read this and save the grief.

2.  Which radio groups are career killers?  You know one, but do you know them all?  You should if you want to keep working in radio.  And avoid them.

3.  Future employers with whom you must proceed with caution – and why.  You know me; I’ll lay it out honestly.

4.  A break down of each of the following radio groups:   CBS, Clear Channel, Saga, Entravision, Cox, Cumulus, Townsquare, Cox, the new Hubbard, the old Bonneville, Entravision, Beasley, Spanish, Salem, Radio One, Emmis, the merged new Citadel and Entercom. 

Plus, the four best radio companies with a bright digital future.  You’ll want to know which companies these are because radio without a strong digital component could be a dead end even if your future employers are nice.

Nowhere in print or online will you read a more complete list of where to work and who are radio’s jerks.  Must have.

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The Citadel Bloodbath Begins After Labor Day

In just months, Lew “Tricky” Dickey gets to take over Citadel and make Cumulus the second largest radio group. 

Lots of changes are ahead and in this article I have put together a list of 10 big ones I think you can expect.

1.  What will happen to Citadel local sales?  The folks at the former ABC stations will drink hemlock when they hear what Dickey is about to do to sales.

2.  What about commissions?  Top earners will cringe at this plan.

3.  Where new business will come from – even you will be surprised.

4.  Corporate sales meetings even at WABC.

5.  Who will call the shots on local programming and what will those “shots” be.  Here’s a taste.

6.  Imagine a sales climate that reminds you of Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.  It’s already happened at a major Cumulus market.  An insider tells all.

7.  Do you know what the new mantra of Cumulus will be once they get Citadel? It’s three words you’ll be hearing a lot of. 

8.  Dickey’s response to Groupon, which is increasingly stealing local radio dollars.  This is a classic.

9.  Imagine how Citadel stations will look after Dickey merges with Cumulus.  I’ll describe it in words for the brave hearted.

10.  Big changes ahead for the former ABC Radio Networks.  Dickey has a new mission in mind for Citadel Media but you won’t believe what it is.

Plus … contact information for two lawyers who are giving Cumulus fits in their employment litigation … just in case.

I’ve got your back.  And this story is worth it.

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Predicting Apple’s New iCloud

The cloud will change everything in June when we see what Apple is up to.

You see some hints out there already.

Google and Amazon jumped the gun to beat Apple with their cloud-based music locker system but neither could work out a deal with the record labels.  Ironically, the labels are siding with Apple this time.  And that tells me that Steve Jobs is up to something big that promises the labels a significant financial reward – somewhere down the line.

So what will iCloud be and how will it affect the music industry – and for that matter radio – as well as TV and movies?

For consumers, how will they soon access music, content, movies and TV?  What the price point will likely be.  What the tricky transition from storing content on digital devices to content on the cloud will be like Apple-style.  What’s the likelihood of Apple going after Pandora or the other monthly paid subscription music services.

For content creators, who will be your new competition?  How fatal will it be if you can’t deliver content from the cloud?  What is it that has record labels siding with Apple all of a sudden in licensing talks?  I’d hate to be Google and Amazon next month when Steve Jobs makes his big announcement.  Just how effective a strategy can cloud distribution be if improved fidelity is part of the deal. And, how the cloud could allow Apple to get into the radio business.

I’ve had a pretty good record of predicting Apple’s moves – a dangerous living at best. 

Here’s what I’m sensing about Apple’s new iCloud and its potential impact.

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