The Sony Pictures Mess

I know, you think Sony Pictures giving in to North Korean cyber terrorists over the movie The Interview is a First Amendment issue.

That, too.

But it’s really a testimony to the crap media companies pass off as content these days.

The Interview was a stiff according to numerous early reviews – a sure loser even if it included the assassination of the North Korean leader for life.

If you’ve been on another planet, Sony pulled the picture after threats from apparent North Korean hackers that they would blow up theaters that screened the movie if Sony didn’t pull it.

Well, guess what – they did.

President Obama called them out for it.

And I’m wondering, did anyone in this country of ours consider that we don’t stand for anything anymore.

What if the movie was an Angelina Jolie smash?

Would Sony have backed down?

Why do newspapers avoid doing investigative journalism when they need a reason to exist?

Of course, expensive lawsuits.

Why does the radio industry consistently fire the most important show on the air – the morning show – to save money?

It’s all about the money, that’s why.

This is unfortunate for the remaining independent companies that really want to do good content.

Companies that will standup for their talent and their audiences.

It’s getting tougher for these good people to operate in a world where money rules and creative art takes a backseat.

Imagine Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel today.

Lee and Bain would own it.

They would make him use the cheapest paint and Bob Pittman would oversee the project.

Michelangelo would likely have to follow venture capital “best practices” which is corporate horseshit for no help and no support and he’d probably have to paint Coke bottles all over the ceiling in between angels.

Alright, my point is that for those of us who want to do good content, it’s tougher – a lot tougher – but by riding the wave of generational preferences not fighting it – we can innovate and succeed.

That’s the goal every year for my Media Solutions Conference.

If you’re focused on audiences and doing right by advertisers, I hope you take a look at the list of things we’re going to get into on March 18th in Philly.

Save the date and -- Reserve a Seat

Let’s sink our teeth into these topics …

  • Better radio, stronger digital
  • How much radio, how much digital
  • Storytelling – Millennials’ hot new obsession
  • How to get audiences to listen to songs all the way through – face it, they don’t and yet we’re building our entire station on the concept of music sweeps.
  • What Millennials want the most -- Authenticity, no hype, consensus not confrontation, respect, trust & fairness, dreams (all the way from changing the world to building a better life), fun to be with and openness and diversity in programming & advertising. Now … here’s how to deliver them.
  • Eliminating radio’s 3 biggest weaknesses – repetitious music, too many lousy commercials, outdated morning shows.
  • Addressing radio’s biggest objections – too many commercials, repetitive playlists and not enough music discovery, morning shows that suck, stupid contests and promotions, too much hype. Damage control.
  • Radio’s 75 million baby boomers, 95 million Millennials – what to do?
  • Both music discovery AND ratings – how to add 2/3 more new music and not lose listeners.
  • Beware of the digital dashboard – It turned out to be a Pandora’s box, sorry about that – but you know what I mean. A better Plan B.
  • Forget other stations, YouTube is your competitor. Change your focus.
  • Creating Binge Radio Content – yes, just like Netflix.
  • Radio’s answer to on-demand – not doing the service elements of a morning show that stations love but listeners now get on their phones. On to exclusive new content that can’t compete with a phone.
  • Millennial mistakes you don’t want to make – change the way you do commercials, talk to listeners differently, taking audience bingeing seriously, kill the 8 minute stop set before it kills you, don’t use social media to promote, ditch voice tracking and syndication, play games – hey, this is the gaming generation -- don’t brand or promote make personalities your “brand”.
  • Start a video revenue stream – I’m doing it, let me show you how you can too for the same pennies I’m committing.
  • What’s in the pipeline for radio – Is it really throwback hip-hop or something we’re missing.
  • Taking back market share from below average digital competitors.
  • Instagram is killing Facebook, but here’s what’s the next big thing in social media.
  • 2 things today’s radio audiences cannot resist – service and humility. Discuss.
  • If you’re thinking of leaving radio – make millions creating short form video like this.
  • Not ready for major changes, at least do this -- refresh your radio station using a can’t fail checklist.
  • Protect your station against competitors who drop their rates – it’s the biggest danger to independent stations and groups in 2015.
  • Expanded group questions & answers – You fire the questions that matter most -- we load you up with solutions.

Reserve a Seat

Inquire About Group Rates

Order Audio Only

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Pittman Plans First Quarter iHeart Attack For Market Managers

It’s not about more cutbacks – that, too.

This time regional market managers and some majors are going to get it.

Bob Pittman will not admit bankruptcy to them at this meeting but it is really the only choice he has left.

The critical reason why Pittman is trying to buy more time for any bankruptcy filing – it’s not really in his control, though.

When the regional market managers meeting will take place and what the obvious topic will be.

But what’s the not so obvious topic – the real reason for this pow-wow because Pittman will be working regional managers to pull off one more heist of the company’s assets.

The slight of hand trick Pittman has planned for that meeting – now you see it, now you don’t kind of thing.

Here’s why managers will think they are being asked to dig down deep again and cut costs when Pittman is really using them to set up the scariest move of his tenure running iHeart.

How market managers are becoming Pittman’s pawns in the move toward bankruptcy.

It would take a miracle for Pittman to avoid bankruptcy in 2015 but I believe he already has a buyer in mind after their lenders are screwed and they emerge almost debt free.

Access this story now

Report news tips in strict confidence here.

Check out the topics for my upcoming Media Solutions Conference here

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How Much Radio, How Much Digital

There are mixed messages being sent out there.

Media buyers are demanding digital to place radio buys even though most of them wouldn’t know a good digital investment if they fell over it.

Their clients have demanded it because that’s where they think their budgets should migrate – some even placing 33% digital mandates.

Meanwhile stations have panicked.

They call their on-air streams digital because they operate on the Internet and through apps, but they almost universally don’t generate significant revenue.

And station sellers are being pressured by their managers to increase the digital spend by bonusing – you guessed it – spot radio.

This all begs the question that I have been wrestling with for my upcoming media seminar – how much radio should we do and how much digital?

Let me run some thoughts past you …

  1. I believe we should be doing the best radio we have ever done but that isn’t what is happening at most stations. Our 100% focus should be on-air radio but that the product should change drastically.
  2. Streaming on-air content is not worth it. I’m going to make the case for allowing stations to be streamed just to put them out there for the minority of listeners who choose to listen like that but not selling them. Hey, they don’t make money anyway.
  3. Divert attention to creating video content and storytelling (my replacement for podcasting which is just repurposed radio).
  4. Short form video is money waiting to be made and if you want to learn how to do it right, don’t look at each other, turn to the kids. Teenagers are making more money in digital using an iPhone from home than most stations make from all their “digital put together”. I’m in this for myself. I’ll share with you. If you know nothing else, know that YouTube is your competitor not radio.
  5. Podcasting seems to be having a rebirth even though it never really took off the last time. Caution is called for. Podcasting appeals to older radio listeners not any of the 95 million Millennials. It’s radio dressed up as new media. But storytelling hits Millennials in their sweet spot and we radio people were born to do this.

We’re facing great changes next year – perhaps the most challenging year in the history of radio.

I hope you can reserve March 18th for our one-day interactive teaching seminar in Philly – I promise whether you are a station exec or entrepreneur, you’ll come away with inspiring concepts that can make a difference. That is the Media Solutions Conference reputation and we intend to live up to it again for the sixth year.

The early bird price is about to end so reserve a seat at the lowest price that will ever be available -- Reserve a Seat

By the way, here’s a sampling of more topics …

  • Better radio, stronger digital
  • How much radio, how much digital
  • Storytelling – Millennials’ hot new obsession
  • How to get audiences to listen to songs all the way through – face it, they don’t and yet we’re building our entire station on the concept of music sweeps.
  • What Millennials want the most -- Authenticity, no hype, consensus not confrontation, respect, trust & fairness, dreams (all the way from changing the world to building a better life), fun to be with and openness and diversity in programming & advertising. Now … here’s how to deliver them.
  • Eliminating radio’s 3 biggest weaknesses – repetitious music, too many lousy commercials, outdated morning shows.
  • Addressing radio’s biggest objections – too many commercials, repetitive playlists and not enough music discovery, morning shows that suck, stupid contests and promotions, too much hype. Damage control.
  • Radio’s 75 million baby boomers, 95 million Millennials – what to do?
  • Both music discovery AND ratings – how to add 2/3 more new music and not lose listeners
  • Beware of the digital dashboard – It turned out to be a Pandora’s box, sorry about that – but you know what I mean. A better Plan B.
  • Forget other stations, YouTube is your competitor. Change your focus.
  • Creating Binge Radio Content – yes, just like Netflix.
  • Radio’s answer to on-demand – not doing the service elements of a morning show that stations love but listeners now get on their phones. On to exclusive new content that can’t compete with a phone.
  • Millennial mistakes you don’t want to make – change the way you do commercials, talk to listeners differently, taking audience bingeing seriously, kill the 8 minute stop set before it kills you, don’t use social media to promote, ditch voice tracking and syndication, play games – hey, this is the gaming generation -- don’t brand or promote make personalities your “brand”.
  • Start a video revenue stream – I’m doing it, let me show you how you can too for the same pennies I’m committing.
  • What’s in the pipeline for radio – Is it really throwback hip-hop or something we’re missing.
  • Taking back market share from below average digital competitors.
  • Instagram is killing Facebook, but here’s what’s the next big thing in social media.
  • 2 things today’s radio audiences cannot resist – service and humility. Discuss.
  • If you’re thinking of leaving radio – make millions creating short form video like this.
  • Not ready for major changes, at least do this -- refresh your radio station using a can’t fail checklist.
  • Protect your station against competitors who drop their rates – it’s the biggest danger to independent stations and groups in 2015.
  • Expanded group questions & answers – You fire the questions that matter most -- we load you up with solutions.

Reserve a Seat

Inquire About Group Rates

Order Audio Only

Read More  FREE SAMPLES

Pittman’s Plans For iHeart AFTER Bankruptcy

Of course, SpongeBob could avoid bankruptcy but he’d have to start making money at local stations, fire just about every employee and find a way to pay down $20.4 billion in debt.

Bankruptcy is the game plan.

But iHeart will look very different when they emerge.

What happens to their current employees, do they get whacked or are they part of Bob’s new plan.

How selling off all the assets like they are now doing helps a bankruptcy filing.

Here’s what they’ll likely do with those stations in the Aloha Station Trust.

Making sense of why Pittman sold iHeart’s tower real estate for $400 million and so easily gave up the estimated $12-15 million in rental income that local managers have no chance of replacing. What’s up with that?

One last raid on the company coffers being planned by owners Lee & Bain.

The ingenious plan to stiff debt holders like Citadel did.

And, what everyone wants to know – what is Pittman’s end game, what does he come away with and what’s the next move after you’ve gutted the company you can’t run. You may be surprised at the four divisions Pittman really wants to keep.

The timeline – which moves happen and in what order.

And what this means for employees – better times or more Fast Times at Pittman High.

Access this story now

Report news in strict confidence to me personally here.

Time running out to lock in the lowest rate to attend my March Philly conference here

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What Millennials Want Most From Radio

It’s tough.

There are 95 million Millennials some as old as 32.

And 45 million Gen Xers – the bridge generation between Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Plus 75 million Baby Boomers still alive and kicking.

What a dilemma.

Do you make changes to accommodate the emerging and massive Gen Y or focus on Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who are more similar to each other than to Millennials.

Those of you who know me know that I taught generational media as professor at the University of Southern California so this is a topic near and dear to me.

The good news is that I think we can make the changes that Millennials care about most – no, let me correct that – demand from everything they do and even strengthen out position with Xers and Boomers.

Let me explain.

Here’s what Millennials want and some of what I am going to get into at my upcoming management conference March 18 in Philadelphia.

  1. Authenticity – Radio doesn’t pass this test with them.  They want to feel that what we do is real, less bragging, more things drilled down to their interests.  Imagine a morning show like this.      
  2. No hype – oops, we’re blowing that one, too.  Ever listen to a Jingle Ball promo.       That’s good stuff from our old playbook yet there is a better way to talk up our positives without one single hint of hype.
  3. Consensus not confrontation – believe it or not talk stations could reimagine themselves if they changed the way they talk to people, but what used to work is clearly not working with younger demos. What would be the harm of changing the conversation and inviting an entirely new audience in.
  4. Respect – put bluntly, Millennials think radio talks to listeners like they are idiots. I think they make a good point – NPR is the exception. There are lots of ways to change this.
  5. Trust & fairness – you’re saying, huh! But just like Taylor Swift speaks to them because she is honestly telling it like it is, they feel more comfortable with people (and stations) that they can trust. Can you really trust a radio station? You had better figure out a way if I am getting this right.
  6. Dreams – all the way from changing the world to building a better life. They live for their dreams and when a station becomes an enabler of them, they feel drawn to them. Contests and promotions can make a great statement if we will make them about dreams and not ratings.
  7. Fun to be with – remind me to tell you about the generation being born right now and as old as their teens. The boys want to be thought of as fun to be with. When was the last time you heard a radio station that made a listener seem like they were fun to be with instead of the station trying to do it. Deadly.
  8. Openness and diversity in programming & advertising – obviously stations come across like the greedy bastards we know run a lot of them and making the station more diverse and more open has instant appeal. Let’s brainstorm this one.

I hope you can reserve March 18th for our one-day interactive teaching seminar in Philly – it’s fun, it’s motivating and enlightening.

The early bird price is about to end so reserve a seat at the lowest price that will ever be available -- Reserve a Seat

By the way, here’s a sampling of more topics …

  • Better radio, stronger digital
  • How much radio, how much digital
  • Storytelling – Millennials’ hot new obsession
  • How to get audiences to listen to songs all the way through – face it, they don’t and yet we’re building our entire station on the concept of music sweeps.
  • What Millennials want the most -- Authenticity, no hype, consensus not confrontation, respect, trust & fairness, dreams (all the way from changing the world to building a better life), fun to be with and openness and diversity in programming & advertising. Now … here’s how to deliver them.
  • Eliminating radio’s 3 biggest weaknesses – repetitious music, too many lousy commercials, outdated morning shows.
  • Addressing radio’s biggest objections – too many commercials, repetitive playlists and not enough music discovery, morning shows that suck, stupid contests and promotions, too much hype. Damage control.
  • Radio’s 75 million baby boomers, 95 million Millennials – what to do?
  • Both music discovery AND ratings – how to add 2/3 more new music and not lose listeners.
  • Beware of the digital dashboard – It turned out to be a Pandora’s box, sorry about that – but you know what I mean. A better Plan B.
  • Forget other stations, YouTube is your competitor. Change your focus.
  • Creating Binge Radio Content – yes, just like Netflix.
  • Radio’s answer to on-demand – not doing the service elements of a morning show that stations love but listeners now get on their phones. On to exclusive new content that can’t compete with a phone.
  • Millennial mistakes you don’t want to make – change the way you do commercials, talk to listeners differently, taking audience bingeing seriously, kill the 8 minute stop set before it kills you, don’t use social media to promote, ditch voice tracking and syndication, play games – hey, this is the gaming generation -- don’t brand or promote make personalities your “brand”.
  • Start a video revenue stream – I’m doing it, let me show you how you can too for the same pennies I’m committing.
  • What’s in the pipeline for radio – Is it really throwback hip-hop or something we’re missing.
  • Taking back market share from below average digital competitors.
  • Instagram is killing Facebook, but here’s what’s the next big thing in social media.
  • 2 things today’s radio audiences cannot resist – service and humility. Discuss.
  • If you’re thinking of leaving radio – make millions creating short form video like this.
  • Not ready for major changes, at least do this -- refresh your radio station using a can’t fail checklist.
  • Protect your station against competitors who drop their rates – it’s the biggest danger to independent stations and groups in 2015.
  • Expanded group questions & answers – You fire the questions that matter most -- we load you up with solutions.

Reserve a Seat

Inquire About Group Rates

Order Audio Only

Read More  FREE SAMPLES