How To End 2015 Up 2-4% in Revenue

The good local radio companies increasingly have to combat scorched earth strategies of the big boys some of whom are considering bankruptcy.

Cutting rates by 50%, using digital for the wrong purpose and driving down radio listening.

The past year – 2014 – will come in flat or slightly down. It’s been a long time since radio saw a growth year.

Meanwhile digital is supposed to be the future but my view is that digital should be content we create separate and apart from on-air radio. The average radio station, by the way, does under $166,000 in “digital” revenue and that’s with them getting to decide what they report as digital.

To be blunt, radio just doesn’t work as a national platform. Every year the big boys get to prove me wrong and every year things get worse.

That’s why I think we should focus our attention on just a handful of ways to make a real difference.

Take revenue.

There are positive things radio can do right now in January to race to a positive revenue finish in 12 months. These are not the things the five largest radio groups are going to do.

  • Raise rates. We’ve tried cutting them and that doesn’t work. Now I’m not talking about going crazy here. But if radio keeps aiming for the bottom, it will be impossible to end the year in the black. Best way to start: raise rates on your morning show. Don’t have a great local morning show? Work on that – a good use of your time, effort and revenue.
  • Target the 30% of your biggest advertisers and offer a program to increase the effectiveness of their ads. I have evidence that this absolutely increases their spend. Just running their spots won’t do it and there are many ways to prudently help your top spenders run more effective advertising. This should be your growth area this year not looking for bottom feeders to buy more 10’s and 15’s.
  • Steal revenue from local TV. You think we have problems? Local TV is ready to collapse. You can help them by choosing 5 of their best advertisers and making special proposals to free up “part” of their TV budget to your station. Look, just selling them on radio won’t do it.  You’ll have to show them how your station can make their ad dollars more effective. I know of many, many ways.
  • Sell video. You could let some 16 year old outbill you on YouTube (as I will share in March, they’re already doing it) or you can get in on the action.  Don’t combine video with radio or the tendency will be to cut the radio spend. Send in a separate sales person and get a simultaneous stream of digital revenue started.

Do just these four things and there is no way you will come up short in revenue when 2015 ends. But there’s more.

If you’re in the mood to shake things up and not let the bankrupt obsessed larger groups dictate play, consider working with me in Philly at my next management seminar.

Plus, these topics will make you a better local broadcaster:

  1. Change the way we do music radio. YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, mobile devices have diminished the importance of music radio. How to focus on a handful of things that these popular services cannot do.
  2. Aim at younger demographics.  Ironically, there is considerable evidence that when we make any station, say, 10 years or more younger, we make older listeners happy as well. Currently, radio is doing it the other way around. Too old, turning off the younger money demos.  The new rules.
  3. What you need to know about starting your own video business. It is no longer acceptable to let others get into what is without a doubt the largest media growth business. We will have you up and running within 30 days. Isolate the opportunity. Create quirky content. Market in ways that go beyond advertising.
  4. From my work as a USC professor – the critical Millennial checklist. These are the 5 things that 95 million Millennials insist on. It defines them and they expect these things from you. I use it in my business and I will show you how you can use it in yours.
  5. Stop doing social media like a radio station.  It’s not a promotional tool.  It’s a conduit to your audience.  Replace hype with things that audiences are addicted to. I guarantee you – this shrewd move will cost not a single penny in revenue.  It’s just using your head to better understand the critical change of social media.
  6. Forget podcasting, audiences are falling in love with storytelling. Serial had millions of people downloading shows from iTunes without being a traditional podcast. We need to bottle this and work it into our content.  Let’s look at that playbook.
  7. Eliminate radio’s 3 biggest weaknesses. To be brutally honest, if you do nothing about repetitious music, lousy commercials (and too many) as well as outdated morning shows, don’t expect things to get better. Let me share a slew of creative things that will get your juices flowing.

I can’t wait to share my enthusiasm and knowledge with you in Philly March 18th.

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