The Radio Station of Tomorrow

The question I am most frequently asked is, knowing what you know about the various generations, how would you program a radio station for these audiences today?

Here’s the answer for a music station:

  1. Yes, I would still play the 22-25 biggest hits, but I would not play them all the way through. No listener under 33 listens to any tune all the way though today. Each song would play for a different length of time.  Any good PD knows that would create a very quick turnaround of hits.
  2. I would also add new music. I’d create a rotating board of people in my target demographic to hunt for music they have discovered. Also focus heavily on YouTube hits because YouTube is everything to music loving generations. The new music would not be played all the way through, either. Varying lengths of play. Radio is playing the music the labels hand them when they should be playing what the audience is discovering.
  3. No pre-recorded sweepers – ever, ever. They sound so unauthentic and that turns off younger demos.
  4. Hire live jocks who do not do time, temperature or even weather and traffic. Instead, I would show them a formula for talking about what is happening in social media for their area of interest(s) in between songs.  Listening to this station would be better than listening to a streaming service because the music would be on target and the talk would aggregate what the target audience cares about on social media. Think how Twitter is the best news aggregator of all and you’ll get it.
  5. No jock talk would be longer than a tweet and would be just as creative as the most memorable ones. After all, why have a live jock, right?
  6. I’d give away contest prizes using contests that were developed by my rotating board of target listeners. The prizes would be the three I will share when we’re together in 2 weeks. These are the sweet spots.
  7. My station would not be branded – young listeners don’t believe the hype that comes from radio. No name. Just good.
  8. I would not have the jocks identifying the radio station after every song. We must disrupt. Let PPM do something good – record drive-by listening automatically on their meters while we entertain. Young listeners tell us they hate that radio stations identify themselves so much.
  9. I would do news but it would go on when it happened or got updated not scheduled at points in the format hour.  Again, think an audio Twitter.
  10. I can tell you exactly what the on-air talent should sound like – in fact, I’ll tell you the person’s name so you can study them. Best delivery I have heard for winning over younger money demos.
  11. Limit commercials to 8 per hour. They would all be priced the same – 60 is the same as a 10. This is the tough part. Discourage the commercials that drive listeners away (that’s 99.9% of what radio plays). Back in the 60’s Jim Schulke, the father of the beautiful music syndication, heavy-handedly forbade certain types of commercials that disrupted the station’s mood. He was right. Let’s talk where to slot them.
  12. I’d start a “commercial lab” to help my best clients to produce commercials that work. This is the best way to increase spends and not have to rely on how low competitors will let their rates go.
  13. The hot clock would be a short-attention span hot clock (you will like it).   No one-hour hot clocks for my station. Movable parts – items that rotate so you can’t predict where they will occur.
  14. Special events – maybe as long as 3 minutes.  That’s right, I said 3 minutes.       We’re dealing with short attention spans but I can show you a way to do killer 3-minute content that flows right along with the music.
  15. I would not stream the station – either hear it on-air or you miss it so the content has to be good.
  16. My digital revenue stream would be all short-form video (which we will also cover). And it will likely have nothing to do with what my station sounds like but everything to do with the varied interests of my target audience.
  17. Ask me why I would eliminate sponsorships and sponsored features and this station would still rake in the dough.

We’ll finish this list in Philly.

Obviously, I couldn’t hold a job in today’s radio industry.

Can you imagine a major group owner allowing these 17 things for starters!

Wait until they hear the one where I find a cutting edge and willing advertiser ready to admit something that they offer is not as great as the thing they are selling – young people respond to that kind of believability.

But what the radio industry is doing right now is losing audience every month, month after month, year after year.

The Media Solutions Conference is about solutions for independent minded broadcasters who are not afraid to be bold.

One day. March 18th. Not available on audio or video.

See the other 13 critical areas where we’ll be finding solutions here.

Reserve a seat.

Inquire about group rates here.