iHeart Firing Recent Hires, 20+ Quit Cumulus in One Market

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Forecasts For Radio in 2016

The average radio station is poised to close out the year down 1-5% from 2015 unless they can hyper focus on three of four bright spots that have been recently identified and confirmed.

Millennials (18-34) are likely to continue to shun FM radio unless stations undergo a Millennial radio makeover, a total disruption of what their stations sound like.

The biggest audience threat in the year ahead is from user-generated content not a radio competitor.

The biggest threat to local sales revenue is large radio groups giving away free spots and dropping rates drastically in order to win the large part of the buy from competitors – but there are at least two solid ways to earn a premium for ads while competitors race to the bottom.

A recession is more likely by the end of the year or early 2017, which would accelerate the bankruptcy of iHeart and Cumulus that would upend the entire business – a contingency plan if you compete against these companies should be prepared.

Morning drive shows will have to be reinvented and surprisingly, some popular current features dropped if they are to account for 50-60% of a stations profit – which they should.

The off hours of 7pm-5am now take on new importance – a “mini” radio station is a pathway to turning dead time into needed sources of revenue.

So what’s hot? Gender neutrality among young audiences that will force the radio industry to change the way it looks, sounds and talks to audience. Short form video as a replacement for the digital projects (websites, audio, apps) that stations consider digital media. New forms of revenue generation, including subscription based products.

And what’s not hot? Podcasting. Podcasting is a popular replacement for politically based talk radio that appeals to older listeners but it is not monetizable and diverts listening from radio. But some of the appeal of non-broadcast podcasting can be captured for a new generation of talk radio stations.

The popularity of binge TV viewing (via Netflix, et al) is causing radio stations to consider adapting bingeing to broadcast radio. Long form, continuous, special programming. You can create binge content that is impossible to tune out and get a premium for ads in it.

Digital is taking on a new meaning for radio stations. The Townsquare model of using air personalities to also produce video, audio and text for sale with broadcast is fading. Digital, separate and apart from what stations are putting on the air, is a better path to additional cash flow.

18-34 year olds hate commercials, right? But there is new antidotal evidence that there is one kind of radio commercial so compelling that even short attention span Millennials cannot resist. No radio station is producing such a commercial, but this will change.

There are still 75 million baby boomers, but they are becoming less interested in radio listening because station owners have been happy to run the same types of formats without innovation in music, personalities or service. In other words, to keep the massive 50-70 year old market, it will require the same type of reinvention that stations must face to attract Millennials 18-34. Note that there are several new options under consideration.

If stations could do only one thing to bring quick revenue into their stations before the end of what will be a challenging year, it would be to master video. There is money in video right now without adding additional expense. Product placement is the secret.

You are invited to take advantage of a special reduced introductory offer to attend my annual New Radio Conference April 6th in Philadelphia where these issues and others will be explored.

Trustworthy advice to help radio stations survive the tough year ahead and thrive on new innovations, marketing opportunities and related businesses.

Sean Hannity, Richard Harker & former Cox and CBS programmer Dan Mason will help lead the discussion.

April 6, 2016, Philadelphia for the New Radio Conference in Philly.

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iHeart’s Plan To Steal 100% of Competitor’s Advertising

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iHeart Caught Stuffing Miller Kaplan’s

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Secret Cumulus Memo Refutes Move To Local Autonomy

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Innovative Ways To Generate New Radio Revenue

They’re predicting another flat year for radio.

And there is talk of a recession possibly kicking in before the end of 2016 or early the following year.

iHeart is out selling multi-million chunks of advertising for one large lump sum, which is good for them but drives down the price of local advertising for everyone else.

So for those of you who plan to be in this business for a longtime to come, what are the options for an infusion of free cash flow?

  • Attract more young money demos by giving your station a Millennial radio makeover. This is not difficult if you have an open mind but a warning – your radio station is going to sound real different. Are you ready for that?
  • Put the majority of your precious resources into just these 6 hours each day to return 50-60% of your profit. You probably don’t have money to spend on everything these days, so how to focus on what will bring you the greatest return.
  • Start monetizing the 7pm-5am time period. It’s a wasteland for radio right now but if I told you you could start a new “mini” radio station somewhere in that time period and generate some serious revenue, would you believe me? How about if we talk about one station that actually did it and started a new franchise – in off-hours, yet?
  • Do podcasting on the air instead of on digital devices. You can’t monetize podcasting no matter how you try but by taking a “over the air” approach to podcasting, you have a legitimate replacement for older skewing talk radio. Let’s talk about what this podcasting station would sound like and how you sell it.
  • Do digital that is separate and apart from what is on your air. Save the money and wasted time and go right for the one digital project that will give you a stream of income in six to 12 months.
  • Re-invent the commercial. I’ve got some research that 18-34’s do like commercials, just not the ones radio is doing. Focus on these and you’ve got something that will earn you a premium with local advertisers.
  • Target 75 million baby boomers 50-70. That generation is still almost as big as 83 million Millennials. Don’t just air the same old programming, reinvent radio for baby boomers as well as Millennials. Format options.
  • Master video. There is money in video right now and I’m not talking about using your station personnel to generate it. There’s an even better and less expensive way.
  • Cash in on gender neutrality. Young girls want to look like boys, dress like boys, wear boy’s clothes and assume “traditional” boy roles. And boys are comfortable reassessing their gender preferences. This is going to have a major impact on what we are and what we say to audiences. Savvy advertisers are already in tune with this change.  Let’s discuss.
  • Radio’s most dangerous competitor is user-generated content so get into the user-generated content business for additional revenue streams.
  • Create major radio binge content like Netflix does for TV. You can create binge content that is impossible to tune out and get a premium for ads in it. Interested? A blueprint for you.
  • Take the step to embrace new forms of revenue such as subscriptions and product placement (“mentions”). Yes, subscriptions. Audiences 45 and under gleefully buy apps like it is nothing and most don’t use 25% of them even when they pay. Don’t stick your nose up at the subscription model. It’s money being left on the table as an adjunct to free radio.

If you can master even just one of the above suggestions for new revenue, it could easily make the difference between a zero-growth year or a growth year.

Would that be a good investment of time for one day – April 6th at my New Radio Conference in Philadelphia.

Sean Hannity and researcher Richard Harker will be there live to discuss how Nielsen is robbing stations of ratings they’ve earned and the money that goes with it.

And former Cox and CBS programmer Dan Mason will lead a discussion with me on doing a Millennial Radio Makeover – you can bring your own questions or ideas to share in the discussion.

I love doing these conferences because they are for people who love radio and want to do it right.

Reserve April 6, 2016 to attend my next New Radio Conference in Philly – hurry, last days of the biggest early discount here.

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How Ronda Rousey KOed Tom Schurr, New Hires Coming

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  • The shit hits the fan in Atlanta
  • Tom Schurr’s final PERP walk
  • Mary Berner’s hiring spree
  • War on misogyny

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