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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Reserve April 6, 2016 for my next New Radio Conference – agenda here.

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New trends impacting radio here.

The 2016 New Radio Conference Topics

Reserve a seat at my April 6th New Radio Conference in Philadelphia to deal with these emerging issues:

  • How To Do a Millennial Radio Makeover to Reach More 18-34’s.
  • How To Make Your Station’s Budget in Just 6 Hours of Airtime Daily.
  • How To Better Monetize 7pm-5am.
  • What To Do About Podcasting.
  • How To Finally Make Money on Digital.
  • Commercials Even Young Millennials Cannot Resist.
  • How To Handle the Growing Trend of Gender Neutrality.
  • Why User-Generated Content is Radio’s Most Dangerous Competitor.
  • Dealing With Ever-Shortening Attention Spans.
  • How Radio Can Create Binge Content Like Netflix That Audiences Are Demanding.
  • Explore New Forms of Revenue Such as Subscriptions and Product Placement (“mentions”).
  • What To Do With 75 Million Baby Boomers.
  • The 3 On-Air Prizes That Will Make an Audience Addicted to Radio.
  • How Music Radio Can Compete With Free Streaming Music Services.
  • Learn How to Talk to Your Audience the Way You Tweet.
  • How To Finally Make Money on Digital
  • Getting Fair Credit For the Audience That Nielsen Is Missing (Richard Harker & Sean Hannity present a study about how much audience is being lost by ratings services and what to do about it).
  • What Real Millennial Listeners Want From Radio Stations (Former Cox & CBS programmer Dan Mason presents a long list of changes audiences demand).

I can’t wait to continue the conversation with you face to face.

Not available by streaming, audio or video.

Final days of pre-registration rates.

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The Cumulus/Tom Schurr Blowup

  • Mary burning mad.
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John Tyler

Just like we have thick accents on the east coast, Texas has bigger accents to match or exceed them.

John Tyler, the founder of Satellite Music Network that he subsequently sold to ABC for many millions, had that big Texas drawl.

He started SMN in a garage so he was exactly the guy I wanted to pitch when I had a cockamamie idea for a new radio publication to run past him.

In the early 90’s I had been toying with the idea of taking my weekly trade publication Inside Radio daily.

But wait, that was before the Internet.

I had this idea to send out the daily radio news by fax machine but back then no one really used fax machines other than for junk and most of them used thermal paper that was stuffed into them in large rolls.

The printing was ugly and nothing about this seemed like a good idea for my publication that was getting $400 a year for subscriptions as a weekly newsletter if I just maintained the status quo.

We did a research project for some $30,000 that told us that, in fact, we would lose 85% of our paid subscribers if we tried to pull this stunt.

Tom Taylor, who worked as my editor at that time, returned to my office after the researcher ended his presentation and he said, “You’re going to do it anyway, aren’t you?”

Tom and my excellent President Steve Butler now at KYW in Philadelphia were doing dry runs just in case.

But the big hang up was that I couldn’t find an advertiser willing to commit to this concept.

Until I talked with the best entrepreneur I knew, John Tyler.

Previously, I must have pitched a hundred advertising prospects and most said no and some said they’d throw only a few hundred bucks at it – not enough to get started.

But John heard me out. Let me go through my pitch and when I ended he said in his Texas drawl, “I’ll take one every week for a $1,000 an ad”.

I almost passed out.

Then John added, “I want a three year contract”.

I’m flabbergasted at this point.

“And I want page one”.

Satellite Music Network provided enough revenue to pay for the distribution costs of faxing Inside Radio and set a standard for our ad rates – the ones John established for me. Without John, the idea could have never happened.

From then on when I went to pitch an advertiser on Inside Radio, they could argue all they wanted to about price but if they wanted to be in with SMN they had to pay what their competitor was paying or sit there and watch him succeed.

John, Marty Raab and Marianne Bellinger then pioneered a new kind of daily advertising that allowed SMN to “announce” new affiliates almost as fast as they got them as if we had invented the Internet of its time.

It was a great relationship, but when the three year contract was up, I called on John not knowing what he would do next and he said, “Jerry (and you should hear my name pronounced in thick Texas-ese), you need to start charging a premium for page one and he went on to tell me how before he added this.

“I’m going to pay the old price for another three years and I’m going to be on page one. But for the other four days a week, you’re going to charge everyone else a premium”.

John saw a vision of providing quality programming with live personalities in real time to markets where that was not feasible. He and SMN were a huge success because he made all the right decisions.

Finally, John sold SMN to ABC and in the period of time where they had John remain on to transition the company from quick think to corporate think, John hated every minute of it.

He left and was done with the corporate world.

As I am writing this I can think of a handful but not a lot of radio entrepreneurs who had the balls to shake things up and innovate.

John did it.

He showed me how to do it.

And as he rests in peace I can pay John Tyler the highest compliment.

A true radio entrepreneur the likes of which we could really use today.

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