Thursday, August 5, 2010

The forest through the trees

Are be starting to see the forest through the trees? Clear Channel put on a live morning show on Country Music Radio KTOM Salinas-Monterey. They had been running Big D and Bubba. Rumors rampant that new CC San Diego OM Jimmy Steele is going to hire a PD for KUSS San Diego. Have we downsized so much that it really has clipped our wings? Can we turn these losses around with the proper display and dynamics of  programming love and emotion?

We scream live and local, some do it and some don't. The operator's that have been running tracked programming will have some serious planning for 2011 to think about this Fall. Has radio revenues come back to the point where we can afford to hire live personnel once again. Love the following points from Jerry Del Colliano:

1. Personalities like the ones being fired by radio stations are the antidote to iTunes. Especially if these personalities are music trendsetters. The very thing that differentiates an iPod from a radio is the thing radio executives apparently do not value enough to keep them employed – on-air, live and local personalities.

2. Radio as it is now configured is not a major influence on musical tastes as it once was when it had no digital competition and before filesharing. Come on – playing the same tunes over and over again ad nauseum does not directly address the more potent competition – music discovery by peer group and online websites. Pandora and peer-to-peer filesharing is today’s music discovery not top 40 radio.

3. On-demand listeners will continually opt for short form “radio” whatever that turns out to be. In other words, entertainment that has a beginning, middle and end and that can be carried around on mobile devices or eventually available from the cloud anywhere. It can be consumed on-demand. This is anti-radio 101. Keep fighting this and in a few years some consultant will tell you what we just said right here.

4. Local is what is missing from radio. An iPod is impersonal. When iTunes updates its music offerings, it’s the big Apple out there for everyone to see and hear. Radio works best when a local personality debuts the local playlist assuming it has new music on it. We don’t need more national. iTunes is good for what it is, radio doesn’t need to aspire to a poor imitation.

5. The iPad is the new radio, the new television, the new magazine or newspaper, the new book and maybe even the new computer for some folks. If you believe me, then everything we do should be built around the iPad – not old technology. That means radio will have to have video available alongside. Personalities who are live and visible. Just jiggering new playlists or bending old formatic beliefs as a concession to a new age will be met with failure.

6. In the past if you wanted to change format, you’d hire a consultant or PD to do it. They would build a local station and if it was good and if it fit a need, the station would succeed (and if you could hear it). Today, if a radio company really wants to rebuild for the future, all it has to do is start with the concept of social networking. That is, build the new “radio station” (which will soon be misnomer in the digital world) around this group of like-thinking people. Then you service them, talk to them, put them in touch with each other in a way they could not achieve elsewhere. Oh, and do it all for an iPad. Three million sold in less than three months and Christmas is coming.

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