Pope Francis is not attending my conference in Philly.
But I wish he were.
Putting religious differences aside, this Pope has tapped into the essence of what the next generation wants.
It is a blueprint for media outlets if only they would follow his lead.
This is exactly how you change radio to adapt to the 80 million Millennials you must have to continue to be viable going forward.
The Pope’s advice is ironically also much needed counsel for talk show hosts who still think conflict, bloviating, pandering and divisiveness are going to work with the next generation of radio listeners. Apparently that’s all they know how to do.
Let me be specific.
The two things we see from this media maven of a Pope is that he is all about service and humility. He even beat out Miley Cyrus for Time’s Person of the Year so there is still hope, right? Although I get what Miley Cyrus represents to our current culture.
Radio used to be about service but now it has shut down and left town.
And doing service for the community today has changed. It’s a step beyond what we did so well for years in radio. You’d probably be invigorated to see the new possibilities.
Not on the air anywhere.
We brag, we promise, we lie and we wonder why young people are turned off by radio.
We think it’s that we’re not digital and to some extent that is a factor, no doubt.
But it’s more that we refuse to change.
We don’t hire people.
We fire them in great numbers even when they are making us money and winning audiences.
We don’t ask for excellence on the job, we hand out three or more jobs – just do them!
Everything is the greatest thing ever on-air, we hype with the best of them. After all where did Bob Pittman get his chops for hype?
I don’t know if you are aware of the uptick in listener advisory boards that some stations are using these days to get in touch with audiences.
But we’ve done this before.
I’m the PD, here’s my private line, call.
We ask and then we do what we want.
Why have a listener board if you’re not open to cutting your commercial load, because that’s what they’re going to want.
Then they are going to want more music variety.
We’ve been down that road before, too.
Remember in the 90’s the radio liner – “better variety, fewer commercials, more music” every time we opened our mouths. All lies. Listeners didn’t buy it then and won’t buy it now.
When I turned Inside Radio, the weekly printed version into a daily fax back in the early 90’s before the Internet, the research company I hired – a damn good one (and very expensive, too) warned me that we would only retain 15% of our paid subscribers if we switched to daily fax delivery. Ask Tom Taylor -- he was there. The research surveyed 300 radio executives so that’s that!
I did it anyway because maybe I’m not that smart but I was obsessed with the idea and it paid off in tens of millions of dollars – in other words, my readers didn’t know what a daily fax was back then or how we’d be writing it and research couldn’t predict that they would like that “silly” idea so much.
Steve Jobs was right when he said consumers don’t know what innovation they want next.
That’s our job.
I want to pick this discussion up at my continuing education seminar the 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philly March 26th.
It’s one day -- can you check your calendar?
Cheesesteaks are on me.
You can register any time at the regular rate, but if you want a guaranteed savings, today will get it for you.
Are you doing everything you can to keep your media skills sharp as audiences change?
Together we can channel what it is going to take to become relevant to audiences and come away with great ideas, strategies and the fire in your belly to change.
Thanks for considering attending and I look forward to having you take a seat with the rest of the group.
By the way, here’s a link to the newly updated conference curriculum.