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“Digital That Makes Money” at my 2017 Radio Solutions Conference

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Digital That Makes Money

Don’t feel bad.

Newspapers can’t figure digital out, either.

The New York Times is eating itself alive to find the digital future with another 30-something Sulzberger waiting in the wings to replace his father as publisher.  The new Sulzberger is stronger on digital than reporting.

They’re firing the expensive and experienced reporters and editors (oh, I should say buying out) and stocking on people who can create visual stories.

Jeff Bezos is pouring lots of money that he surely has into making The Washington Post the digital exception.  So far, mixed results.

I saw this Bloomberg piece on “Facebook, Snapchat Deals Produce Meager Results for News Outlets” and I was not surprised.

Radio is busy giving away its free radio on the Internet and through mobile apps because, after all, it’s free, right?

But the more radio stations drive audiences away from the actual radio station, the more they need a revenue model to replace the eventual lost income from lost listenership.

The same dilemma newspapers face trying to replace print advertisers and paid subscribers.

Radio actually translates well into the digital space.  It just doesn’t monetize well.

If I told you you could make one-third the revenue you are now making with on-air advertising within 3 to 4 years from separate digital content, you wouldn’t turn it down, would you?

So I’m hoping you’re at a point where you’d like to join our discussion at my upcoming learning conference about digital that actually makes money.

  1. Short-form video – low cost (just need an iPhone 7) and lots of ways to monetize.  Teens make more money than most radio stations on digital revenue by doing product placement.  Let me show you how.
  2. How to pick the right video topics to stream and market and then how to multiple them by six or seven projects over 12 month.
  3. No real cost even in talent with this innovative deal that you’ll want to put into contract form.
  4. Credit for listening -- Why streaming your on-air station without metrics that an agency and buyer will accept and pay for is madness.  
  5. What about a stream that is for members only – no commercials, just a fair subscription fee.  As you know I love paid subscriptions and people will pay for that which they value.
  6. Let’s discuss a music discovery station that has no commercials, is curated, which starts with an hour a day of new content and is available by subscription only.  Let’s talk how to price it.
  7. Spoken word opportunities -- And if you’re into news or sports, a local service – with elements that are not available elsewhere is also subscription bait.

There’s more.

Like apps with content that disappears in 24 hours – disappearing content is the rage now on Instagram and Snapchat.

Great for social scenes, Friday and Saturday night, clubs, bars, restaurants, music venues with information and discounts not available elsewhere.

The first radio execs to understand that the reason the industry has not generated meaningful money in digital is because for radio it has been product extension.

Let’s talk about creating new and separate digital products at The 2017 Radio Solutions Conference

Here’s the full curriculum:

  1. Reducing High Advertiser Churn
  2. Strategies for Ending Rampant Rate Cutting
  3. Attracting Millennial Listeners
  4. Rebuilding Eroding Radio Audiences
  5. The Morning Show of the Future
  6. Eliminating the 3 Biggest Listener Objections to Radio
  7. Listen Longer Strategies
  8. Solutions to Commercial Clutter
  9. Digital That Makes Money
  10. Underground AM Stations
  11. Podcasting, Yes or No? 

Details …

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The Lagging Cumulus Re-Fi Lifeline

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All New Management Curriculum for 2017:  1) Reducing High Advertiser Churn, 2) Strategies for Ending Rampant Rate Cutting; 3) Attracting Millennial Listeners; 4) Rebuilding Eroding Radio Audiences; 5) The Morning Show of the Future; 6) Eliminating the 3 Biggest Listener Objections to Radio; 7) Listen Longer Strategies;  8) Solutions to Commercial Clutter; 9) Digital That Makes Money; 10) Underground AM Stations; 11) Podcasting, Yes or No?  Details …

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Solutions for Commercial Clutter

For three, possibly four, decades listeners have been telling the researchers stations hire that they hate radio commercials.

In the 1960’s Marlin Taylor and Jerry Lee, Jim Schulke and Bill Drake among others took a shot at fixing the problem.

Taylor and Lee, at what was the forerunner to today’s MoreFM in Philadelphia, ran four commercials an hour, one every 15 minutes – a little more, not much in drive time.  The ratings soared and the ad rates quadrupled.

Schulke who ran SRP, the successful syndicated instrumental music format had similar restrictions.

And hit stations, adult contemporary and talk stations had so much garbage on them that they were unlistenable so Drake limited the loads to 12 spots an hour on his client RKO stations.  Many imitators followed.

They all succeeded.

Eventually most of the stations gave in and added back the irritations so that they could make more money.

And today, with radio barely able to get their rates, giving away tons of bonuses and more advertiser-preferred short commercials, it’s bedlam.

What a bad time to give up sniffing glue as they said in Airplane.  In other words you couldn’t pick a worse time than now to be dealing with a clutter problem and a diminished rate problem.

Radio needs the listeners AND the revenue.

There is one type of commercial that is an absolute tune-in among all age groups.  How about doing more of them for starters.

But then there are agency spots that radio can’t change.

There is something that can be done in the middle of stop sets that will force listening to continue, but no one has done it as simple as it is.

There’s lots of evidence that running two overweight commercial stop sets an hour would be better off becoming four or even six – the rationale being shorter attention spans like more interruptions.  There’s something to it.

A neat little trick on how you organize long vs. very short commercials that won’t lose a listener and promises to keep more tuned in.

And there is a word you must never say on-air because it makes listeners flee.

You can always run fewer spots, or can you?  Times are tough.

And you can make better commercials with a proven record for impressive results and listener satisfaction. 

I guess what I am saying is that considering what a game breaker commercials are for radio stations that need to run them, shouldn’t we have a conversation about new and effective ways to mitigate the damage …

That’s where we’ll pick it up at the upcoming The 2017 Radio Solutions Conference

All New Curriculum for 2017:  1) Reducing High Advertiser Churn, 2) Strategies for Ending Rampant Rate Cutting; 3) Attracting Millennial Listeners; 4) Rebuilding Eroding Radio Audiences; 5) The Morning Show of the Future; 6) Eliminating the 3 Biggest Listener Objections to Radio; 7) Listen Longer Strategies;  8) Solutions to Commercial Clutter; 9) Digital That Makes Money; 10) Underground AM Stations; 11) Podcasting, Yes or No?  Details …

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iHeart Total Traffic Vs. Radiate

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The advanced management conference -- 2017 Media Solutions Lab

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Rebuilding Eroding Audiences

There are 86 million Millennials (20-36 years old).

75 million Baby Boomers (53-71).

44 million Gen Xers (37-52).

One format doesn’t please all of them.

One medium doesn’t please all of them.

Boomers are radio positive.

Xers listen to radio but they invented the term “radio sucks” as children so that relationship is somewhat ambivalent.  And they’ve strayed from their parent’s talk radio rejecting the politics for podcasting.

Millennials are least likely to use or even like radio that is not the radio of their parent’s day.  Unfortunately, consolidation occurred right when these kids were growing up and they had computers, Napster, iPods, iPhones, streaming music services, Netflix and a host of other distractions.

If radio can be faulted for anything, it is offering only one size to fit all generations and sub-generations.

The same formats – no, I’m wrong – fewer formats available to the three generations mentioned above.

And there are over 20 million of the oldest generation – the Silents – still alive and very much kicking but no radio stations for them, not even on paid satellite radio.

Educator and former New Jersey broadcaster Dick Taylor has been positing that maybe we live in an era of radio overpopulation.  Too many radio stations – an intriguing thought.  And I’m not counting translators.

Might I add, too many of the same stations doing the same thing to a target audience that is impossible to please with any one format.

Consolidation would have worked best if owners developed winning formats aimed at three segments of baby boomers, and two types of Millennials and even offered something for the oldest of listeners.

I’m oversimplifying this to make a point.

Radio has abandoned the many types of listeners.  Listeners have not abandoned radio.  They’ve just started to drift away.

We’ve fearfully moved to taking all our many stations and aiming them at the same essentially narrow money demos driven by advertisers.  That’s simply not workable.  Every station cannot be after the same sub-audiences.

Not saying drop everything and play big band music.

But that we need to learn much more about the total available radio universe and then devise channels or formats for them.

Imagine podcasts on-the-air not online aimed at specific target groups supported by advertisers.

AM stations for Millennials and before you laugh, maybe you’d like to be in the audience at my upcoming media conference because this is a great, doable and profitable idea.  (Thinking fidelity is a problem, not with Millennials).

Music stations devoted only to discovering new music, bands and local artists.

Talk stations for working families that answer to their needs as working parents.

An all-news station that sounds like Twitter – delivered in 140 characters all hour, all day.

An advocacy station to help them get a fair shake in life – how compelling would that be on FM or AM?

Imagine if we continue this conversation together …

The 2017 Radio Solutions Conference

All New Curriculum for 2017:  1) Reducing High Advertiser Churn, 2) Strategies for Ending Rampant Rate Cutting; 3) Attracting Millennial Listeners; 4) Rebuilding Eroding Radio Audiences; 5) The Morning Show of the Future; 6) Eliminating the 3 Biggest Listener Objections to Radio; 7) Listen Longer Strategies;  8) Solutions to Commercial Clutter; 9) Digital That Makes Money; 10) Underground AM Stations; 11) Podcasting, Yes or No?  Details …

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