Competing Against National Programming

I’ve always wondered why locally focused companies don’t have a much better strategy for competing against consolidators who fire their local talent to save money and use syndicated programming instead.

I’m working on this module now as I prepare for our March 26th Philly conference.

But I want to run some ideas past you here with the promise that we build a great game plan together.

Here’s the best information available on competing against a national syndication:

  • Immediately hire the best personality your competitor lets go.  But don’t put him or her on the air.  There is an even better way to use this asset once their non-compete is up.  And, it won’t cost you an additional dime.
  • Record your listeners saying why they prefer your station and put them on the air.  Resist the temptation to feed them what you want them to say.  This must be authentic and short.  It’s not what you want them to say, it’s what they want to say – warts and all.  So if they say you suck less, put it on the air.  If they say, you stayed on during the snowstorm (as Summit’s stations did in Birmingham), let them say it and run with it.  If you phony it up to sound better, it is not authentic.  You will lose.  Takes some guts.
  • Do this strategically potent contest on the air.  As I’ll share with you, the expenses for this will come from sponsors not your station and the contest is so powerful it will even make a Millennial who doesn’t regularly listen to radio listen to you.  Your national competitor will find themselves hamstrung.
  • Make your commercials sound better and work more effectively (we’ll have an entire segment on this at the event).  Even one less lousy commercial, makes your station different and better.  And the way I am going to suggest is cost effective.
  • Cut your commercial loads.  This is the radio killer.  If stations continue to ignore this listener irritant, even your best programming will not find its greatest audience.  There is a way to do this.
  • Reimagine your morning show to take these three elements out and add these powerful replacements in.  For example:  cheap gas instead of traffic reports.  Everyone has traffic on their phones.  We don’t need empty reports that say “no problems with mass transit”.  Tell listeners where they can get the cheapest gas but don’t just use a laundry list, power it up and present it this way.  Remind me to relate two other replacements for worn out radio morning show components.
  • Key strategic positioner.  You never say “local” on air.  You always say “live and local”. 
  • Eliminate starting and ending times on your key programs.  You are live and local so make the various shows end at different times.  And not just mornings, either.  We are no longer a top of the hour world.  Howard Stern did this decades ago.  If you’re onto something hot, keep it going.  Your canned competitor can’t touch this.  And it accentuates the fact that you are live and local and brand x is canned.

I’m just getting warmed up.

There are also mighty selling strategies that can hurt a competitor that does syndicated programming.   Ask and I will give them to you.

Find a way to get your buns in Philly.  I’ll feed your stomach and give your mind lots of food for thought in these 7 critical areas of radio:

  1. Disrupting radio before a digital competitor does (they’re already stealing local radio buys and are the largest ad growth sector).
  2. Master digital.  It’s not brain surgery but believe it or not, no one in radio is doing digital the right way.  In fact, they are wasting time and money.  Redirect it.
  3. Becoming accomplished at social media.  Let Facebook and Twitter go, that’s not social media now. 
  4. Reinvent radio.  On-demand is in, broadcasting is fighting the new trend, where does that leave radio?  Strategies, ideas and inspirations.
  5. Launch short-form video.  Just because you’re in the audio business doesn’t mean you can’t be an expert at profitable short-form video.  I will share how some are earning millions from a 5-minute weekly video.
  6. Attract Millennials.  No getting around this fact – without almost 95 million Millennials, the oldest of whom are already 30 and well into the money demo, radio is just spinning its wheels.  I’ve devoted the last ten years to generational media.  You’ll know what I know.
  7. Adapt to time-shifting radio.  Miss this opportunity and radio is mired in the past.  How to time-shift on-air programming (there are new rules to this game) as well as digital.

I’m making lots of time for questions, answers and plenty of interaction.

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

I can’t wait to share my enthusiasm and knowledge with you in person.

Reserve a seat

Inquire about group rates

Inquire about sponsorships   

Complimentary breakfast/check-in starts at 8 am. 

Conference begins at 9 am at the beautiful Rittenhouse Hotel and ends at 4pm for planning your return flight or departure. 

Breakfast, buffet lunch and all breaks included.  

Conference ends at 4 pm.