Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Often radio stations make things harder than they are when it comes to attracting Millennials.

For decades radio’s focus was that large population of Baby Boomers (aging but still 70 million strong). The last Baby Boomer turned 50 in 2014 so the generation is fast edging out of the money demo.

And then there is radio’s uncomfortable relationship with 45 million Gen Xers – after all, this is the generation that coined the phrase “Radio Sucks”. And radio’s answer was “Jack – We Play What We Want”.

Oh no!

So now, with 95 million Millennials coming of age and many now as old as 33 and in the money demo, smart strategic thinking suggests doing all we can to avoid mistakes that turn off the essential next wave of radio potential radio listeners.

Don’t believe that these young people will only pay attention to their phones.

But first we have to start paying attention to them.

Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make:

  1. To change the way you do commercials.  My research at the University of Southern California shows that Millennials love live-read commercials. But there are some caveats that are easy enough to abide by.  This provides some hope that the things that pay our bills and promote our stations can be delivered in ways that will prompt them to listen.
  2. But the message must be quick and to the point. Millennials, like every other generation, have shorter attention spans every year. The 10 second spot that would work best is a good audio “tweet”.
  3. Watch how you talk to Millennials. They feel radio djs talk down to them at worst and at best sound like phonies -- not real people. There are 7 things that should be used as standards for changing the way radio talks to younger listeners. And by the way, this doesn’t mean you have to hire only Millennials on the air.  They sure listened to that old Baby Boomer Steve Jobs who would have turned 60 today when he talked to them about Apple’s new products and they thought he was cool.
  4. Take Millennial bingeing seriously.  No, it’s not just for Netflix and HuluPlus. Millennials want to be the “program director” so with a little imagination, let’s talk about how to provide them with binge-worthy content from their local radio provider. “The History of Rock and Roll” – 48 hour rockumentary would be a good place to start the brainstorming about creating bingeing content.
  5. Kill the 8-minute stop set before it kills you .   Seriously, you can have the best radio station in the world and too many commercials will do you in. But there are ways to schedule spots better. Look with more skepticism at the common PPM wisdom of creating wastelands of commercials to win certain quarter hours and take a leap of faith – they want better commercials and more interruptions not fewer (more interruptions soothes their A.D.D.).
  6. Avoid using social media to promote on-air.  No one who uses social media believes you anyway. If you have just a little bit of courage, try social media this way — sell nothing, promote nothing, illuminate, entertain and put your name on it.
  7. Ditch voice tracking and syndication.  You love it, audiences ignore you. What a deal? A lousy deal. Voice tracking is for lazy people. As a major market program director I could have gotten people to pay me to take on-air jobs. Well, you know what I mean. You don’t have to go broke hiring live jocks. More interruptions by a live dj who doesn’t sound like a moron wins the day.
  8. Repeat after me: I will never run a sweeper again.  Again, lazy radio’s way to avoid having to entertain an audience.  It’s something Marc Chase would do at iHeart stations but sweepers are really passé. Millennials told me that when iHeart switched to urban hip-hop to go after Emmis’ Power 106, the sweeper they used “we’ve got the power” backfired. Get it.  92.3 has the “Power” – how not cool is that? Let’s talk about a replacement for sweepers that you and the audience will much prefer.
  9. And eliminate everything that ends in “est” – like “greatest” and “best”. No longer credible. There are a whole lot of better replacement words that are more authentic.
  10. Play games  -- hey, this is the gaming generation —what a bad time to stop on-air contesting. But be warned — throwback radio contests won’t work today. The best way to come up with these new Millennial friendly contests is to bring a bunch of Millennials in to create them. Let’s practice what to say and what kind of prizes to award. Think: a job, a college loan payment.
  11. Don’t brand or promote, make personalities your “brand” .  Lew Dickey loves branding, not Millennials. Nash, Icon, even all-news or talk, greatest hits, you name it means nothing to today’s audience. You’re going to get mad at me now — personalities are everything on radio. I know they cost money and owners can’t wait to get rid of them but that’s what young listeners want. In fact, it’s the only thing many of them want from radio. They can get more music variety just about anywhere in their digital universe. Want to know what it takes to find a hot Millennial radio personality — radio still hasn’t figured it out. But we now have some clues.
  12. Two things radio listeners still can’t resist: service and humility.  Let’s be 100 here – most stations fail to deliver either.

You’ve got me going now.

Want more ideas like these?

Invest one day at the 2015 Media Solutions Conference March 18th in Philadelphia (sorry, it won’t be available by stream, video or audio). Only in-person.

Current tuition, program info here.

The curriculum:

  • Attracting 2 Million To Your Website the WTOP Way
  • Commercials – Another Way
  • How Much Radio, How Much Digital
  • Listen Longer Strategies
  • Eliminating 2015’s 3 Biggest Listener Objections
  • Effective Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content
  • What Millennials Want From Radio
  • Selling Against Competitors Who Drop Rates
  • Start Your Own Short-Form Video Business
  • Beyond Clicks – Listener Engagement
  • Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word Radio
  • Why You Should Pass On Podcasting
  • 8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
  • Tons of Questions (Q & A)

Reserve a seat.

Inquire about group discounts here.

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CBS Dropping All-News Is A Bad Sign

The decision to remove all-news-all-the-time from WNEW-FM, Washington doesn’t bode well for CBS Radio or the rest of the radio industry.

WNEW only wanted a sliver of what Hubbard’s WTOP takes out of the market (WTOP is the highest billing radio station in the country).

Instead, today’s CBS didn’t have the patience that Westinghouse had in the 1960’s when it stuck to all-news as expensive as it was in a stubborn belief that the payoff would come.

Radio One dumped out of all-news in Houston after a few years – a bold experiment, again a three-year experiment is commendable, but not the patience to reengineer the all-news format.

When CBS turns its DC FM news operation into WBZ, Boston or KRLD, Dallas you know more bad things are on the way.

Add to that the expected change at the top this year when a new radio president could be appointed -- Dan Mason is reportedly mulling retirement.

And then there is Les Moonves’ public pledge to sell off one-third of their non-essential radio stations.

So you see the large radio group that is the gold standard by which others are judged is setting a much lower standard.

I know what you’re thinking – some gold standard when you’re coming out ahead of the likes of iHeart, Cumulus and Entercom. Okay, you’re right, but still.

Mason has done a pretty good job considering that CBS has turned into the planet of the bean counters. And Scott Herman is as good a news exec as you can get. I don’t think in his heart of hearts he wanted to bail on another all-news station to turn it into news-talk.

And watch. Bet the “talk” part is syndicated not local, cheap – the kind that makes these bean counters cream their --- well, you know.

I’m seeing a rough ride ahead for CBS Radio.

It’s still for sale.

How will a Dan Mason replacement run radio?

Cheap programming on the way – and cutbacks to coincide especially in certain areas.

Partnering with Cumulus, one of the sketchiest companies in all of radio.

No wonder Mason is thinking about retirement.

Access this story now

Effective Ways To Compete With On-Demand Contenthas just been added to one of the 13 topics to be covered at my Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia March 18th. See the full curriculum & learn more here.

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Effective Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content

Millennials want to pick up the phone, get what they want and consume it —probably in a minute or less.

How does 24-hour radio compete with that?

Let’s count the ways:

  1. Re-do the format clock to be much shorter than an hour. Actually, when I tell you how short will work best, you might be surprised or even shocked. The outcome is not in question but the way radio is currently being presented is not youth friendly. This can be fixed.
  2. Eliminate repeating format factors. Running the same things in the same place doesn’t work in the minds of Millennials who do not like rules in writing or in their entertainment.
  3. That goes for commercial stop sets, too.  Never run them in the same place every hour. And before you make any decision on this, factor in what we’re beginning to learn about stop sets that are scheduled to maximize the best chance to win a quarter hour of listening.
  4. Make radio stations a discovery tool for all content that listeners want to access (the way a phone is, in a way) and then play hardball and make it so compelling young audiences will turn to radio first (that’s not how it is now).
  5. You don’t have to play every unknown song out there to show you are doing music discovery. Here’s one way – play 5 short clips of discoverable new songs and then one of those plays longer than the others.
  6. Find your station’s new music on YouTube.  Here’s an example. Miranda Sings is a huge YouTube star. She has over 7 million plays for her video “Where My Baes At”. She sold out two nights at the Nokia Theatre in LA in February. Do you know her? Her audience does. Listen and watch. YouTube is everything.
  7. Multi-task your on-air content. Young audiences do not like music sweeps.  They like walls of content from which to choose.
  8. Mix music, info, contesting and commercials all together. The old radio model that commercials go here, the hottest hits go there and so on is outdated. Program the way Millennials respond to their digital devices not to long outdated radio ratings protocol.
  9. Your competitor is not another radio station and it’s not an online service. Your real competitor is user-generated content. And there are ways to integrate that into the new hot clock that I am going to be proposing.
  10. Play dirty with Millennials developing content they can’t resist about employment, college loans, themselves.

Want more ideas like these?

Invest one day at the 2015 Media Solutions Conference March 18th in Philadelphia (it won’t be available by stream, video or audio).

Learn more here.

The curriculum:

  • Attracting 2 Million To Your Website the WTOP Way
  • Commercials – Another Way
  • How Much Radio, How Much Digital
  • Listen Longer Strategies
  • Eliminating 2015’s 3 Biggest Listener Objections
  • Effective Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content
  • What Millennials Want From Radio
  • Selling Against Competitors Who Drop Rates
  • Start Your Own Short-Form Video Business
  • Beyond Clicks – Listener Engagement
  • Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word Radio
  • Why You Should Pass On Podcasting
  • 8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
  • Tons of Questions (Q & A)

Reserve a seat.

Give me a break, Jerry – I’m bringing more people! Inquire about group discounts here.

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iHeart A Step Closer To Bankruptcy

You had to see this coming.

Bob Pittman is getting ready to stick the knife in CFO Rich Bressler’s back.

After delivering a God-awful revenue performance in the fourth quarter Pittman is “promoting” Bressler to also take on the position of Chief Operator Officer.

Here’s Pittman’s knife:

“In the last year we have made incredible strides, and Rich has played an important role in operations and finance, as well as strategy, for all of iHeartMedia.”

And here are the “strides”:

iHeart’s consolidated net loss totaled $762 million for 2014 compared to a consolidated net loss of $584 million in 2013.

$178 million higher.

That was due mostly to higher interest rates the company needs to refinance debt and avoid bankruptcy.

Fifty shades of red ink.

In other words, Pittman (co-owner Bain’s man at iHeart) is throwing Bressler (co-owner Lee’s man) under the bus while he gets set to distance himself from an abysmal performance once again.

It’s actually worse than you know.

Why they won’t reveal what they made from selling their interest in the Australian Radio Network.

Why their half billion tower sale is in trouble and iHeart is willing to pay much more to lease back the towers than it would have cost them to keep them.

What market managers have been told to do against their will.

How anyone being paid severance or doing business with iHeart is in jeopardy.

Access this story now

Attracting 2 Million To Your Website the WTOP Wayhas just been added to one of the 13 topics to be covered at my Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia March 18th. (Plus, 32 million pages views all in the month of January).

Here is the full conference curriculum

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Attracting 2 Million To Your Website the WTOP Way

That’s 2 million a month – not a year! (January).

Hubbard’s dominant all-news WTOP, Washington isn’t just number one in the radio market.

It’s a whopping number one online.

And that’s saying a lot for most radio stations where usually online efforts are an insignificant add-on to audience and means near nothing in additional revenue.

That’s why I have invited Laurie Cantillo, the person responsible as program director of WTOP and WTOP.com to tell my upcoming Philly media seminar how they do it.

Laurie headshot 2014

I’m going to interview Laurie – and you can help in one of those two-way learning sessions our conference is known for.

Let’s do this thing together and drill down to what you really want to know.

2 million online viewers a month.

That’s more than the total population of Indianapolis.

And if you’re serving page views, how does 31.8 million for the same 30 days sound to you?

This is the kind of thing that can make a real difference to your station’s online efforts – direct help from the leader in the game.

WTOP does so many things differently that you can see why they leave most other radio stations behind.

As you’ll learn, part of their audience also listens to the on-air product.

But another part, just consumes WTOP online.

Together they monetize it.

WTOP has a large screen in the newsroom for all to see to display metrics in real time.

Theirs is no add-on.

Want ideas like these?

Invest one day at the 2015 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from the airport.

Here is the full curriculum in color, with helpful links and info.

Here is how to reserve a seat.

Want group discounts, talk to Jerry here.

For hotel info or other questions, ask Cheryl here.

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Glenn Beck’s Media Empire Collapsing

Don’t tell The New York Times.

They ran an article in Wednesday’s paper about celebrity web channels patterned after Glenn Beck’s TheBlazeTV Network.

The only problem is, Beck’s media empire is falling apart.

The Times says a Santa Monica startup called Whalerock is following “the cut-out-the-middleman model pioneered by Glenn Beck”. Their quote.

Whalerock is reportedly going to do similar deals for the likes of Howard Stern, the rap star Tyler, the Creator and the Kardashian sisters. After all, what’s a self-respecting celebrity channel without the Kardashians, right?

These channels are reportedly coming in the next few months on the web and mobile app with a mixture of paid and free programming.

Just two problems.

Whalerock IS the middleman – so much for that.

And according to sources close to the situation speaking on the condition of anonymity, Beck’s original media empire is in shambles.

But you have an IMM subscription, so here’s the rest of the shocking story that nobody knows.

For the past 8 months or so Beck’s TV empire is reportedly collapsing from its own weight.

Access this story now

Listen Longer Strategies” is one of the 12 topics to be covered at my Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia March 18th.

JUST RELEASED … the full conference curriculum. Would you please take a moment to look at this colorful program? There’s helpful info and links even if you cannot attend.

Send NewsTips To Jerry Privately

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Listen Longer Strategies

Radio’s little known secret is that time spent listening to radio (TSL) has been declining steadily and without interruption since Arbitron (now Nielsen) first started keeping figures in the early 90’s.

I think you’ll agree every trick in the book has been tried without success – at least according to the metrics.

The danger is that we start blaming digital for something that started over two decades ago before digital arrived.

I don’t believe – and maybe you agree – that time spent listening to radio has to continue to decline.

But what to do?

  1. Put elements into your format that force money demo listeners to stay tuned. Old radio contests won’t do it. Try this: offer to pay someone’s college loan (or a significant portion of it) and see how long a Millennial will stay addicted to your analog radio station.  I’ve got more of these ideas.
  2. Cash is good, but Millennials can always hit up dad and mom for cash – not as easy for Baby Boomers to do when radio dangled cash in front of them. Ironically, cash is not the lure it once was – assuming stations want to spend any money at all on promotions – which they should.
  3. Invent contests. This is the gaming generation, but most radio people do not have the DNA to brainstorm these contests. I’d like to show you how I did brainstorming with Millennials at USC for radio and record clients that paid them for their help.
  4. Music discovery – the one thing music stations will not do because they think it means not playing the hits – is catnip to young audiences. Start playing mashups of new songs – not the entire song – because no one under 30 listens to a song all the way through. Don’t take it from me. Ask them.
  5. Dismantle long music sweeps – you like them, young audiences just keep tuning them out (see #4 above).
  6. Use more live-read commercials and make them authentic meaning not full of hype. My research shows Millennials actually like live-read commercials done in this fashion and it’s another way to keep tune-ins longer.
  7. Rotate commercial stop sets. You can count on losing audience every time you run long stop sets which sound even longer because the spots are so short – and so many. Run them in different places every hour and spit in the face of traditional PPM wisdom that, after all, isn’t helping stations increase their TSL.  This approach will.

Want more ideas like these?

Invest one day at the 2015 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.

The curriculum:

  • Commercials – Another Way
  • How Much Radio, How Much Digital
  • Listen Longer Strategies
  • Eliminating 2015’s 3 Biggest Listener Objections
  • Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content
  • What Millennials Want From Radio
  • Selling Against Competitors Who Drop Rates
  • Start Your Own Short-Form Video Business
  • Beyond Clicks – Listener Engagement
  • Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word Radio
  • Why You Should Pass On Podcasting
  • 8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
  • Tons of Questions (Q & A)

Here is the full curriculum in color, with helpful links and info.

Here is how to reserve a seat.

Want group discounts, talk to Jerry here.

For hotel info or other questions, ask Cheryl here.

Read More  FREE SAMPLES