Thursday, February 4, 2010


You’ve probably had some time to think about the announcement. You may have even seen one. They won’t go on the market tomorrow, but they are coming. When a technology announcement comes along like the new iPad debut from Apple, most people focus only on the technology. Clearly, that is where the obvious “cool factor” is when these types of announcements are made. However, the behind-the-scenes details show how Steve Jobs is shifting the Apple relationship with A T & T to give Apple more power. You wonder when other companies – including radio - will follow this model.

If you think about it, Apple used their cool iPhone to shift A T & T’s strategic focus from being a company that controls the devices used on their network to one that uses a device provided and controlled by Apple. Now with the iPad Apple has taken even more power in their relationship with the folks at A T & T by dictating “no contracts” with A T & T for their iPad data service. That means Apple can take its’ toys and go play with someone else at almost a moments’ notice. That is real power in the hands of Apple – not A T & T.
A T & T had a problem (really bad network), and Steve jumped on it with a solution that gives him an advantage.

]Many of us in the radio business would call this being an opportunist. Apple didn’t invent the smart phone. It was already in the market. By the way, they didn’t invent the MP3 player either. They just looked at the market and their place in the market differently than most. That is what radio has to do in 2010. And instead of waiting for a big company to show the way, this change has to develop on the local level. It has to show revenue growth, and I believe it can come directly from the programming side of the business.
That is the way up. Push out into other revenue streams that fit what radio does best: Serving local communities. That means content and delivery to solve problems in every local community in the United States.

Our radio executives, managers and especially talent should be thinking of how to create this shift for our industry…….. I know, I know. I am a marketing guy, right? I help radio stations boost ratings (, but I think about how we can reinvent ourselves and boost revenue by going beyond traditional over the air revenue. We have to do this by thinking differently than we have in the past. Companies think revenue. Market managers think revenue. The programming side of our business has to think content and creative solutions for other non-traditional clients for radio. They are in your market every day. They need customers.

More than any of this, radio has more contact with more Americans everyday than anyone. We have prized opportunity for businesses outside of the traditional radio clients of the last seventy-five years.
Radio has unique content and creators of content who could be responsible for creating more unique content on air and perhaps beyond the traditional radio delivery channels. This spells more revenue and more potential jobs for radio. But it will only happen if we push from the programming side to invent new revenue. Believe me, I know this is untraditional thinking. It’s where we are today.

It does not matter where you are in radio either. You can be in New York City or Lompoc, California and come up with local non-traditional revenue ideas that work and can be generated from programming staff inside your cluster. Perhaps that is the way talent will take this business back and improve the true value of what radio can do in local communities.

Radio should seek ways to create content unlike simply what is already on the air and do it based on the need for local communities within our own communities to reach customers. I am not talking about traditional radio customers. I am also not speaking only of HD channels. We must push our content past what we thought about as radio generated content yesterday, and it must be focused on solving problems in our local communities that businesses big and small will pay to utilize.

Once we see the revenue generation issues could have content-based solutions that are offered by radio to solve problems that exist in local markets, I suspect radio will look very different than it does today.
Are you ready for that challenge?

Loyd Ford is the marketing strategist for Americalist Media Marketing. Americalist has provided ratings generating solutions for radio stations of all formats and market sizes since 1987. In addition, Americalist is home of The Magnet Program™ for PPM and the FastCUME Tactic™ for Holiday Music Stations. Americalist offers strategies involving live telemarketing (residential and at-work), recorded Quick Calls™, AWEPOP™ E-Mail Blasts, database cleaning and marketing and viral e-mail solutions along with strategic direct mail that makes ratings pop! Mr. Ford has been in the radio business all of his life and has had his own successful track record as a programmer in a variety of markets nationwide. He continues to focus on helping radio achieve more. You can get the free once a month Jump! e-mail newsletter by signing up at or join the free Facebook radio group “Social Networking for Radio Stations.” You can reach out for Loyd @ 877-475-6864 or for spring direct marketing that costs less than you think….and is very effective.


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