YouTube Stars

Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address was aired on all the traditional television networks guaranteeing that older viewers would be watching when President Obama spelled out his new agenda.

More than anyone else, President Obama should know how important the digital world is – after all, it helped get him reach the younger voters who elected him twice.

That’s why he agreed to do interviews with three YouTube stars who you probably never heard of – GloZell Green, Bethany Mota and Hank Green.

Among them, these three YouTube stars alone have 14 million subscribers and you can bet they lean toward the younger side.

YouTube is everything.

YouTube is the future.

YouTube is Top 40 radio to teenagers and search that rivals Google for many other people.

It strikes me as odd that you can be in the radio business and go months, years or forever without having anyone even utter the word YouTube let alone have a game plan for engaging this powerful new tool.

As we morph into the new age of media, the rules have changed.

Information and entertainment is no longer delivered on a dedicated device like TV, radio or newspaper.

They all appear together on smartphones, tablets, computers and they are easily accessible through apps.

The radio industry has been living in deep denial since the Internet revolution began.

That there will always be radio listeners – try asking a Millennial about that.

That morning shows, time, weather, traffic and jokes are a necessity to start the day.

That you turn to a radio in a news crisis.

I’m thinking radio needs to rethink content creation in a disruptive new way.

Rethink the way their continuous 24/7 stations are formatted.

Create separate programming with non-radio stars as part of its YouTube presence.

We must get out of the mindset that what we create on radio is destined to be delivered via streaming, digital and social media.

Marshall McLuhan said “The medium is the message”.

Today, “The message is the medium”.

There are lots of ways to interact with audiences.

We need to get to work on the message – the content, the things that are of value and not available elsewhere.

At my upcoming media conference in Philly, we’re going to examine how to do the best radio we’ve ever done on-the-air and simultaneously create separate revenue streams based on new opportunities that we are currently ignoring.

We can make a real difference not by doing the same things, but also by drilling down with innovative thinking on these following ten problems that must be solved to have a positive outcome in 2015.

  1. Too Many Commercials – How spots are scheduled can make a difference.       Also, the length of spots in each stop set. There is much that can be done. To proceed as is is not a solution.
  2. Unremarkable Programming For 70 Million Baby Boomers – All the focus is on young money demo Millennials. Baby boomers have been radio’s most loyal listeners but that’s changing now. Ignore baby boomers, target them or better yet discover what the two disparate groups have in common.      
  3. Outdated Morning Shows – They like personalities but increasingly they don’t like much else about morning shows.  Focus on three new features to replace traffic, time checks and weather. Yes, they don’t need them. But consider these three potent options to replace tired old staples of morning radio. (And you can sell them!)
  4. Music That Is Too Repetitive – Audiences have hated music repetition on radio for decades but they had few alternatives. Not so anymore. Two new strategies show promise. One adds more new music without watering down the hits. The better approach is to rip up the traditional playlist and present the music differently.
  5. No Compelling Reason To Listen Longer – Radio TSL has been down every year since the early 90’s. Under 30’s don’t even listen to any song all the way through even though music radio is built on the assumption that if you play the right songs, the audience will stay tuned in. Now, there is a way to keep listeners from straying and it isn’t longer music sweeps.
  6. Don’t Like the Way Stations Talk To Them – Sounds dated, insincere. Too much bragging and hype. It all sounds like radio is out of touch. Talking down to listeners whether we mean to or not.  Surprising words that turn off young audiences when used on the air, in promos, sweepers, imaging and commercials. Learn them and overcome this objection.
  7. Radio Is Not Authentic – Demographers have discovered 5 things that Millennials crave. Do these 5 things every hour of every day and radio becomes more relevant to the 95 million members of this age group.  One of the 5 things they crave is more authenticity. Learn the fastest way to master being truly authentic to Millennials but also the four other expectations that radio is currently not meeting.  They are screaming this out for you to hear.
  8. Lack of Music Variety and Customization – Spotify, Pandora and YouTube are killing radio when it comes to variety and customization. There may be no way to compete with that, but audiences are beginning to tell us what these streaming services are lacking presenting a great opportunity for responsive radio stations to do what streaming services cannot do.
  9. Outdated News and Talk – Two staple radio formats are seeing audiences erode or attracting unsellable aging demographics.  News stations don’t just sound like their father’s radio station – they sound like their grandfathers radio station. Droning on and on with sleepy features designed for station sales managers not for listeners to crave. Conservative talk is also over because audiences want compromise not red meat. And Progressive talk radio never really worked. It’s a no-win. But spoken word is something young Millennials like, really like – here is the spoken word station of the future (bring an open mind).
  10. Don’t Know Where the AM Band Is – Think about it. There’s nothing for audiences under 60 on AM. So you may be thinking that younger money demos won’t listen to an AM station, right? True, unless … well, I’ll show you a number of things you could do on two tin cans hooked together with a string that Millennials would eat up.  Will you take that challenge?  Because I’m going to do it and you’re going to want to brainstorm on it. Forget the FCC. AM needs to disrupt FM the way FM disrupted AM.

PLUS, What Audiences REALLY Want In Digital Content …

There is nothing worse than doing something well that doesn’t need to be done at all. Some stations are doing impressive digital initiatives that audiences simply don’t care about.

Instead, drill down on what listeners really want in digital and get a better return on your investment in time and money:

  1. Storytelling Instead of Podcasting
  2. Short-Form Video Revenue Stream
  3. Non-hyped Social Media Beyond Facebook and Twitter
  4. Content Audiences Can Binge on Just Like They Do Netflix
  5. Apps Not Websites (and That Includes Radio)

This is a day worth your time and investment.

A clearly defined agenda, creative and innovative solutions to apply and a forum to discuss and hitchhike on new ideas that you hear.

Independent broadcasters and digital entrepreneurs are invited to the 6th annual Media Solutions Seminar at the Hub Conference Center March 18th in Philadelphia, walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

Buffet breakfast, lunch and all breaks prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, former executive chef at The Four Seasons included.

Less than 2 months from today until the Media Solutions Conference.

Register Now

Contact Jerry about the conference and group rates here.