iHeart Ready To Liquidate Assets

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Changing the Way We Talk To Audiences

The easiest fix is often the toughest.

Is there any doubt why radio has fallen so far out of favor with audiences especially the young money demo of 18-34 – the first meaningful media Millennial audience.

There is no doubt that Millennials love their phones more than radio but the industry during the 20 years since consolidation has done its best to take for granted the largest generation ever born – 86 million.

But a first start – and a major step in the right direction – is for radio stations to change the way we talk to audiences.

I’ve isolated specific ideas and strategies that can be easily implemented by any radio station, any format, any market and I’m going to spend some time on this at my Philly conference 5 weeks from now.

The problem is that radio is talking to the past.

The personalities (even voice trackers) do not sound like anything the audience recognizes and it unfortunately screams “this radio station is not for you”.

As you will see, this can be fixed.

Many stations looking to save money and pander to PPM which rewards strident music or talking only allow live jocks to talk as few as four times an hour which means what they hear the rest of the time – sweepers, positioners and promos – defines today’s radio as out of touch with audiences.

This is going to be a fruitful dialogue because without spending a single dime, smart radio stations can fine-tune their strategy for changing the way they talk to audiences and for the first time have a chance to win the hearts of younger ones.

How to sound authentic, which is the Holy Grail of the age group, that radio is letting get away.

What to do beyond promos and sweepers to remake the station’s sound and reconnect with listeners.

Teaching jocks how to talk the way they tweet – I’ll show you how so you can return and show them.

How to make the way the station sounds embody the 5 values that Millennials treasure most.

Here are 8 other critical issues on deck for the April 6th meeting:

  1. Making money from digital. Enough, already. What most stations are doing is not generating very significant digital revenue. Here’s what they are missing that can work for you.
  2. Getting Millennials to listen. After we change the way we talk to 18-34 year old audiences, what is so compelling that they will have to listen. How about three things that have never been done that I think you will agree will make radio a destination again even in the digital age.
  3. Reinvigorating the morning show. See where I’m going with all this so far. We can’t blow up everything but there are changes we can make like the way we talk to audiences, the things we do to make radio relevant to them, improving digital and this one – redesigning outdated morning shows that 18-34’s are not relating to. Then generate 50-60% of your total station’s revenue from the more relevant morning show alone.
  4. Outpacing radio’s declining revenue trend. Every financial analyst is calling for a negative year -- off anywhere from 1% to over 5%. And yes, price gouging by major consolidators is helping radio’s race to the bottom. Let’s cut to the chase. What can be done to outperform this negative trend? Fighting rate cuts, over-bonusing, short-term flights, unwillingness to pay a premium plus adding revenue from subscriptions (don’t knock it), product placement and digital so foreign to radio you will likely be the first in your market doing it.
  5. A Millennial Station Makeover – leave with a long list of things you can do to make the rest of your station sound cool to critical 18-34 while also meeting with the approval of your older audiences.
  6. What to do about podcasting, which doesn’t monetize well but intrigues Gen X and baby boomer audiences.
  7. Standing up to a rigged ratings system. Harker Research and Sean Hannity will share research that shows the type of listening talk and music stations are losing with PPM ratings and how to fight back and reclaim the listening you’ve earned.
  8. Eliminating listener’s biggest objections. At least start with this and tear down some barriers to increased listening.

A day of information and inspiration where we work together. This is an interactive format so you can participate to the fullest extent.

This event will not be available by stream or video – only live and in person.

I can’t wait to bring our collective enthusiasm together using this blueprint to make a real difference in doing great radio.

Reserve a seat

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Charlie Tuna

Charlie Tuna cannot be dead.

The last conversation we had he was 25 – and holding.

Yet, Charlie (aka Art Ferguson) passed away at the age of 71.

This one really hits close to home because what I admired most about Charlie was how relevant he remained right up until the end.

I cannot make that statement about a lot of people no matter how much I admire them.

Let me tell you why.

In our conversations, which could go on for hours, Charlie was fascinated by our shared view that air personalities must remain relevant to succeed.

Up until last year Charlie was a fantastic weekend jock on CBS’ K-Earth 101 and he previously was the morning fill in. There was no let down in the ratings when Charlie subbed.

He worked the Internet like a Millennial looking for relevant material that would transcend the older audience that a classic hits station like K-Earth attracts.

Charlie was fascinated with my view that radio people must stay relevant and work in the present or as I used to say to him, “we can always go to a reunion if we want to live in the past”.

We traded Drake stories, Drew stories and anything that had to do with radio’s second golden age.

He tried material out over the phone with me.

And when Cumulus’ Westwood One screwed over their format subscribers, Charlie worked to provide quality replacement options – something he did primarily up until the day he died.

He was a family man.

And humble.

Charlie shared a story of how he grew up in a town where the soon to become legendary Dr. Don Rose was the morning personality – an earlier, positive role model.

Charlie was so much more savvy than Bob Pittman or Lew Dickey when it came to understanding today’s audiences. I dare say that most of his listeners never knew his real age.

The family news release concerning his death described a life well lived – and it was that.

He was recognized, honored, appreciated and he lived in real time in Los Angeles, the market that was closest to his heart.

To me Charlie Tuna wins the highest praise I could give a person in the industry we love.

I can always look to someone’s achievements and that’s more than enough.

But it’s rare when I can add that I will always remember Charlie Tuna because his mission was to remain relevant – and he succeeded.

What an inspiration for me, perhaps you and hopefully the radio companies who are resting on their pasts when the future is so enticing.

Will miss you, buddy.

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Townsquare Hiding Deep Trouble

Read the full article now.

Free samples of our work here.

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Some deadly honest solutions to radio’s growing problems at my new radio conference in 5 weeks. Preview here.

Report Newstips confidentially in our Witness Protection Program here.

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Talk to Jerry privately here.

Radio in the Age of Reality TV

If you want to understand the dumbing down of American politics (if that is even possible – the dumbing down part, I mean), then look no further than Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

For years they poked fun at public figures playing and replaying embarrassing videos and taking the brunt of their unorthodox way of reporting news.

All the while they were considered the more reliable news sources compared to traditional TV, cable and newspapers according to polls.

Before Colbert and Stewart, cable news networks re-set the expectations of political candidates, for instance to feed their news cycle.

While their audiences were treated to commercials for Hoverounds and Cialis, everyone else was watching these two firebrands hijacking the news cycle.

So it should be no surprise that a Donald Trump could come along and do the impossible.

No, not be ahead in the Republican primary.

Challenge Roger Ailes and Fox News – and win.

Trump says bat shit crazy things and his popularity goes up every time he does so Ted Cruz and especially Marco Rubio have finally figured it out and they have now gone bat shit crazy (that’s a term South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham used over the weekend).

Then Trump brings in the bully from New Jersey and sics him on Rubio – this isn’t an election, it’s a smackdown on WWE.

Moderates are threatening to bring back Mitt Romney.


And everyone is wondering not if there is a Democratic primary going on over on the other side but what Trump will do to expose Hillary Clinton in the many ways that she is vulnerable.

This is better than Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Our forefathers are turning over in their graves.

Yet we are amazed yes, surprised no.

This was all in the making while media companies were living in their little bubble – the same bubble that has radio thinking it actually has 230 million listeners a week and that talk radio is alive and music radio will never die.

I can’t watch the radio industry go down without a fight. It’s time for some deadly honest intelligence to wake up an industry in dire search of a leader, an innovator – someone to turn things around.

News stations sound like they are from the 60’s – come on, let’s fix that and do something as compelling as Twitter where, by the way, most young people get their news.

You give THEM 20 seconds and they’ll give you the world on Twitter.

Talk is so dead – as dead as the conservative movement, which is being killed off by Donald Trump not the Tea Party (and do you even hear the words Tea Party anymore?).

But podcasting which flops on digital devices at least as a revenue producer is the model for the next talk radio. Wouldn’t you like to hear how to do this?

Streaming music services are consolidating and dying and yet good old terrestrial radio is playing the same short playlist with non-authentic sweepers, no djs and personalities, no music discovery and believe it or not radio stations can’t see that the outcome is going to be ugly.

But radio could offer a very different music service that streamers could not be able to do but they are too scared to even hear about it let alone try to save the industry.

After all, it only takes one innovator to turn around a radio group and save the industry.

So with that in mind, I’d like you to consider putting aside April 6th and come work with me in Philadelphia where we will address these issues and interact with you and your station’s problems.

I will be my usual shy self and suck up to all the big names.

We will also pave the way for the next generation of digital entrepreneurs if you think your future will take you there – I think so.

Take a look at the solutions that will be offered at this event and see if it makes sense for you and your people to stop doing radio as usual and let us fire up the creative juices that could bring a major turnaround.

5 weeks away.

Outperforming a Slowing Revenue Trend
Learn how to compete against consolidators who are driving ad prices down in desperation to avoid bankruptcy by making it difficult for competitors to get paid what they are actually worth.

Getting Millennials To Listen
Discover the things that 18-34 year old Millennial listeners say they want from radio that they are not currently getting. Former Cox and CBS programmer Dan Mason joins us to help you begin a Millennial Radio Makeover that incorporates these needs.

Making Money From Digital
Learn why there isn’t a radio station in the country deriving significant ad revenue from their digital strategies and where exactly to focus limited resources to achieve a much better outcome.

Programming To Shorter Attention Spans
Learn how to rethink formats that are currently appealing to older audiences by adapting them to younger listeners who are distracted by mobile devices and social media.

Your New Competitor: User-Generated Content
Discover why younger money demos are now insisting on being their own “program director” which explains the popularity of YouTube and social media that allows them to be in charge. Once you know how to translate this need into radio programming, you’ll be riding the next wave.

Reinvigorating the Morning Show
Morning shows should deliver 50-60% of a radio stations total revenue but their chief appeal – personalities, news, traffic, weather – are no longer audience magnets. Learn how to pick up the pace of change for your most valuable asset – the one thing station’s must get right to succeed.

Repurposing 7pm to 5am
Voice tracking and syndication will not be enough to generate the extra revenue needed to stay on the road to success. Learn how these time periods are being used successfully to gain audience and revenue – sometimes in ways that are unorthodox.

Getting Around a Rigged Ratings System
Listen to researcher Richard Harker and talk show host Sean Hannity explain the study they did that discovered a majority of actual listening to Sean’s show was not credited by PPM. Engage them directly. Get answers to how to get around a rigged ratings system.

What To Do About Podcasting
Learn why podcasting may have a future as a radio format but not as a standalone business. Go beyond basic podcasting to pod-radio and explore all the details for making podcasting a radio station with all the revenue that would attract.

Finding New Revenue Streams
In a world where audiences click to buy apps (75% of which they never use) and access entertainment and information on-demand, radio now sees a model where paid subscriptions, product placement and other strategies are increasingly an option.

Changing the Way We Engage Audiences
Learn how radio can become more relevant to 86 million money demo listeners by sounding more Millennial. You’ll leave with a plan that will enable you to start teaching on-air talent to change the way they talk to their audience.

Eliminating Listeners’ Biggest Objections
Learn what to do to deal with the negatives of long commercial stop sets, repetitious music and morning shows that don’t do it for them any longer.

One day, April 6th at The Hub Conference Center in Philadelphia.

Not available on tape or by streaming.

Flexible format – you join the discussion.

Continued involvement – the learning and feedback don’t stop here, you can follow up when you return home to maximize what you’ve learned.

Jerry Del Colliano is your program leader – former radio, television talent, program director, author & publisher, speaker and professor at the University of Southern California now in his seventh year of presenting this annual executive media conference.

Consider the impact the Advanced Radio Management Program can have as you advance your career and lead your stations, media outlets or entrepreneurial company towards further success. 

Register here.

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