iHeart released its abysmal fourth quarter results Friday so the hits just keep on coming as their $20.6 billion in debt continues to grow out of hand.
Number two radio group Cumulus will announce its bad news March 10th and by all analyst reports it’s also going to be ugly.
Number three CBS Radio already missed its numbers for Q4.
Number four Entercom is the only one of the top four to report some gains and investors are not jumping for joy about that stock which has peaked after spiking two bucks on the news of modest earnings.
That’s radio’s top four and they own a lot of outstanding real estate. Other companies – some of them good operators – will also report losses before the fourth quarter results are made public.
What’s worse, they’re playing with the numbers.
They routinely pull out political to make the numbers look better and remember, they are working off some comps from the previous year that should be easy to beat now.
When your major owners are grabbing onto any revenue they can get at any price just to mitigate losses, the entire industry suffers.
We have to learn how to compete against consolidators who are driving ad prices down – not easy, but very doable.
We need to create premium inventory that advertisers will want but on which there is no room for negotiation.
We need a new strategy to stop the damn bonusing that drives down radio’s effective unit rate.
We need to be mindful of what iHeart and Cumulus are doing to switch to automated media buying which will have the effect of lowering ad rates even further (that’s what happened in the digital space where automated media buying predominates).
We need to create and sell binge programming that listeners would want – you know, like they binge on Netflix content. This is a source of great revenue and price integrity for radio. And I’ve got an example that will inspire you.
We need to stop trying to turn radio into a digital play and start making digital money from video not what we do on the air. And then do better programming – live and local – over the air.
How to motivate salespeople to sell in an increasingly bleak traditional advertising environment – Pandora has done it by stealing the best radio sellers.
This is one of the reasons to attend my 7th annual April 6 media conference in Philadelphia – the refreshingly honest executive learning program that has earned a reputation for providing real solutions to radio problems.
No sponsors paying to waste your time and pitch their services.
Take a look at the other 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.
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.