All posts by Dick Taylor

Make it Memorable

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog

https://dicktaylorblog.com/

I recently just returned from my first real vacation in many years. I joined some of the members of my high school class for an 8-day Caribbean Cruise.

We sailed aboard Carnival’s Splendor and it was wonderful.

Behind The Fun

Carnival offers a special behind the scenes tour of the ship on the last sea day of a cruise. It’s a very extensive tour that starts on the bridge and time with the captain, Splendor’s Roberto Tine.

Next, we travel to the ship’s engine room and visit with Splendor’s Chief Engineer Mario Testa.

What we basically learn is that everything on today’s cruise ship can be fully automated, but a full staff of people man the controls and make the decisions.

The Carnival Splendor can carry 3,012 guests along with a crew of 1,150.

The Key People

One of the light boards on the ship had pictures of the key personnel on the Splendor and showed four people, the captain, the chief engineer, the head of hotel operations and the cruise director.

MarQ

MarQ Anthony

The person just about everyone on the Splendor came in contact with was cruise director MarQ Anthony.

His Facebook page really tells the story of this dynamic personality. People write on his page things like: We will definitely be returning just for MarQ and his funny, crazy self. He blew it away. Truly an epic vacation. The most memorable moments of the cruise included the very talented, energetic and hilarious MarQ, our cruise director. I won’t forget this cruise anytime soon! Carnival has a jewel with MarQ and some other staff members on that ship. MarQ was fantastic, phenomenal, amazing and overall the most energetic and fun person I’ve ever met. He made every single event my mom and I attended on the ship memorable and we had a great time. The best part was seeing how much he enjoyed everything he did and his effort to connect and build relationships with people throughout the cruise. We looked forward to hearing his wake-up calls and getting into any event he was involved in on the ship. We loved you MarQ and we look forward to (hopefully) seeing you again!!!

I have to say, I concur with everyone’s comments and MarQ IS Carnival in my mind.

People Attract People

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how it’s people that attract people. I wrote that article to emphasize how it was the radio personalities that put a fire in my belly to be a part of the radio business. I worked in radio for over four decades and then seven years ago I transitioned into teaching when I became a broadcast professor at a university. I wanted to light fires in the bellies of my students for the radio industry.

First Impressions

We never get a second chance to make a first impression. For my fiancé this was her first cruise. For me it was my second one but my first was about three decades ago, so it was like the first time for me too.

Good first impressions come from projecting a positive image and doing that comes from your attitude. MarQ led a team of people on the Carnival Splendor that had a positive attitude. Anna is the head of training and staff development on the Splendor and was the person who led our group of 16 people on our tour. (Note: the Behind The Fun tour of the ship is limited to a maximum of 16 people.)

The crew’s section of the ship is like a city within a city. It’s not as flashy as the guest accommodations but it is clean, comfortable and Carnival makes every effort to ensure that their team members are happy and well cared for. The hiring business model appears to put hiring people with the right attitude first. Everyone on the Carnival Team was upbeat, positive and fun to be around. They don’t just make a great first impression but reinforce that impression with every encounter.

8-Days, 4-Islands

The cruise was a wonderful vacation. We visited four islands over our eight-day cruise, we saw many wonderful and amazing things, we even rode a Segway, but what we will remember forever were the people of the Splendor and how they made us feel.

In the end, it’s not about stuff or things, but people-to-people encounters.

Automation

So much of the cruise experience could be fully automated, but it would pale with the experience we enjoyed because of the wonderful people on the Carnival Team.

Almost every radio station impacts more people with their broadcast signal than the 3,012 guests aboard the Splendor, but they lose their advantage when they automate and voice track their product. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Clayton Christensen wrote in the “The Innovator’s Dilemma” that businesses are disrupted not because they ignored threats to their business but because they didn’t recognize the threats to their business.

Radio can’t dilute its core business while in pursuit of possible ancillary activities.

Radio’s core business is talented people totally engaged and focused on their service area, 24/7.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

People Attract People

dicktaylor
Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

One of my favorite activities each Memorial Day Weekend is to listen to WABC Rewound streamed over Rewound Radio. What makes this weekend so special is that people from all over the world are listening to the stream at the same time. It’s a coming together of people of all ages to celebrate one of the greatest radio stations America ever produced.

Why WABC Rewound is So Popular

This year, I streamed WABC Rewound driving back to Virginia after spending a couple of weeks in my home state of Massachusetts. Over 7-hours and four states, the stream via my iPhone7 pumped through my Honda Accord’s premium 7-speaker, 270-watt audio system was rich, full and continuous without buffering or interference of any kind. That all by itself is something to note. Streaming audio today is becoming seamless.

But it wasn’t the music that attracted me, though the records are the “music of my life” from my days in high school, college and as a disc jockey. No, what attracts me – and everyone else that faithfully tunes in each year – are the personalities.

Herb Oscar Anderson, Bob Dayton, Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, Bruce Morrow, Charlie Greer, Bob Lewis, Chuck Leonard, Johnny Donovan, Harry Harrison and George Michael, plus the newscasters that delivered news every hour.

We are attracted to the people. People we grew up with.

The New Yorker magazine wrote back in 1965 that listeners to WABC were part of the WABC family. We were “cousins” of Cousin Brucie. We were part of the Ingram tribe as he called us “Kemosabe.”

Mornings went “all the way with HOA” as New York’s morning Mayor Herb Oscar Anderson started our day before Harry Harrison moved from WMCA to WABC.

Contests, Features & Promotions About People

WABC invited listeners to vote for their “Principal of the Year” (16-million votes cast in 1964), mail in for a “Kissin’ Cousin Card” or a “Kemosabe Card” (drawing in 150,000 requests in a single week).

Herb Oscar singing “Hello Again” live on the radio and reading lost dog announcements, celebrating birthdays.

Each personality became a member of the family. Your family. And like a member of the family, you took them everywhere you went. To the lake, on a picnic, in your car, to wake up with or go to sleep with. They were companions and we were part of their community.

Father Peter Gregory

“Without people, there wouldn’t be a priesthood,” was the often-heard proclamation of Father Peter Gregory of St. Charles Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Father Peter has been the pastor of St. Charles for nearly three decades. “The church is people,” he told a reporter who interviewed him on the eve of his retirement.

I bring up Father Peter because at a time when many churches in Pittsfield have closed their doors due to a lack of followers, St. Charles is doing quite well.

It’s not the most glamorous of structures – other churches in the city I might rate more inspirational – and it’s not in the best neighborhood. No, what it has had is a spiritual leader that believed in people and whom people believed in right back.

A Mount Rushmore Sized Opportunity for Radio

I love reading the weekly Mid-Week Motivator articles from a good friend and former consultant of some of the radio stations I managed, Tim Moore.

Recently Tim asked “Why is Talent Development in Neutral?”

He wrote that his life’s education seems to have been about understanding the challenges and concepts of what it takes to be a winner. It meant he would constantly be looking for character and excellence in people who hadn’t found it yet.

The irony about today’s radio, Tim says, is “glaring opportunity, constricted by the inability or lack of will on the part of many companies and their leaders to insist on the culture of better.”

Air talent goes un-coached while radio has a huge opportunity to build relationships with its listeners. Building the same kind of bond I had with the personalities of WABC, WKBW, WTRY, WPTR, WBZ, WRKO, WDRC, WBEC, WBRK, WLS, WCFL and so many more.

Focus Groups

Over the years, I’ve been to many diary reviews and a few focus groups. What you see are the attraction of radio listeners to radio personalities.

While a particular format may be what initially attracts a listener to a radio station, it’s the radio personality that is the glue that will cement the listener’s loyalty.

Tim says, “It’s the personality of a station that locks-in listeners’ interest and daily habit.” “The implications are simple, obvious, yet largely ignored: without better talent (defined as more relatable, interesting, and reciprocal people on the radio) we are treading water,” says Tim.

Who Influenced Dan Ingram, The Real Don Steele, Dale Dorman or…?

Most radio people my age grew up with the most talented and engaging radio personalities to grace the airwaves of American radio. They were our teachers. They were available for us to listen to and mentor under 24/7, 365-days a year.

In addition to them, we had program directors – many of them off-air – who coached us and inspired us to be better.

I’ve often wondered about the iconic radio personalities that did it first. Who did they learn from? How did they become the engaging, relatable, interesting personalities that attracted our ears like metal to a magnet?

And can a talent voice-tracked over multiple radio stations ever be as compelling to not just listeners but to the next generation to want to pursue radio as a career?

Again, Father Peter understood his church’s most valuable asset, its youth. “It’s the kids and youth who are the future of our church,” he said. “I’m now dealing with kids whose parents I had as kids.”

The Community Band

Once upon a time, every community in America had at least one town band. Most of them are long gone.

When I was managing a radio cluster in Lancaster, Pennsylvania I came to know and love the New Holland Band of New Holland, Pennsylvania.

The band was not only strong and vibrant, but performed at a level that would have made John Phillip Sousa proud. Its concerts are very well attended and it has produced some of this country’s finest musicians, some of whom now perform as part of the President’s band.

Why did the New Holland Band not just survive but continue to thrive? It understood it’s all about people. The band’s members are made up of a diverse group of professional, semi-professional and student musicians. The oldest member of the band has been a member since 1959 and the newest member since 2016. It’s this blending of youth with experience and wisdom that keeps the New Holland Band fresh, contemporary and relevant.

Junior Achievement

It was the initiative of one of my hometown radio stations (WBEC) that convinced the Junior Achievement to create a JA Radio Company.

Junior Achievement was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1919 by Theodore Vail of AT&T, Horace Moses of Strathmore Paper Company and Massachusetts Senator Winthrop Murray Crane (who’s family paper company, Crane and Company, makes the paper all U.S. currency is printed on).

The JA website states: “Junior Achievement is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement’s programs—in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy—ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century. Our Purpose: Junior Achievement inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.”

WBEC’s management realized that getting high school students actively involved with the radio station would engage their parents, siblings, families and friends too. Many of them who owned local businesses. It was both mentoring a new generation of radio broadcasters as well as leveraging the people attract people principle.

Human Development

As Tim Moore says, “Human development is the essence of life. Weak excuses such as ‘we don’t have the time to develop talent’ are just chin boogie.”

All my radio life, I’ve invested my energies in the development of people. Many of them today are owners and managers of their own broadcast operations.

I’m also proud to have spent the past seven years of my life as a broadcast professor paying-it-forward to a new generation of broadcasters.

Radio is a people business.

It will never attract people to its product like it once did without a serious commitment to talent development.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Radio Help Wanted Ads for Salespeople

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

I manage the “Radio/TV/Digital Sales Help Wanted” bulletin board at my university. I’ve been doing it for the past 7 years. I’m sometimes sad to post the help wanted ads sent to me because of how they characterize the position they seek to fill.

SUPERMAN or SUPERWOMAN Wanted

Most of the ads use the same old tired clichés. They want someone “dynamic & energetic” for an “amazing opportunity” with a broadcasting company.

Must be able to sell radio ads for top dollar, create dynamic marketing plans that utilize our company’s broadcast, digital and NTR properties.

If the ad is for a management position, then I often see that in addition to the above, the person must also be good at managing collections, hiring, training, motivating good people and carry a list while managing operations to meet or exceed the goals set by the company. In addition, we want our people to be integrally involved in every aspect of our wonderful community. (I’m sorry, but I think Superman/woman is busy with more important stuff.)

If the ad mentions anything at all about pay and benefits, it might simply say we offer an excellent compensation program.

It’s NOT About YOU

What these ads all miss are they say nothing to the person reading the ad about what they might be interested in. Radio station ads only talk about what the station wants.

You are marketing your radio station to a potential employee. Where is the “wining & dining” of a potential candidate?

I hear from radio stations all the time that they have trouble finding good sales people. No wonder when you make the job sound as attractive as digging a ditch. We’re in show business.

Attracting Better Employees

The unfortunate part of today’s job ads is they tend to be used more as a filter to keep people out rather than a net to designed to scoop up the best candidates.

Not every job requires having a bachelor’s degree but unfortunately businesses use this requirement as a filter to keep people from applying.

Now I teach at a university and we award bachelor degrees, so you might think I would sing the academy line about getting one. But I don’t. I know some of the people in my classes who will be the best sales people are not necessarily the best students. The best sales people are high in EQ not IQ.

Colleges award students who have high IQ’s with distinction.

For radio stations hiring sales talent, what you really want are people who have high EQ or Emotion Intelligence.

Stanford University did a study to find out what their best students had in common. Best in Stanford’s eyes was a student that became a company CEO and earned a high income.

When the results came back, they were shocked that it all boiled down to two qualities: their most successful students were in the bottom half of their class and were all popular (High EQ).

What’s In It for the Candidate?

Instead of writing an ad to screen people out, why not write an ad to open the door to let people in. Write what’s in it for person reading the ad.

The person reading your ad should envision themselves working in your radio station and being successful.

Why are You Hiring?

Before you even write the ad, you really need to understand why you are hiring in the first place. What do you want the new person to accomplish in this position and how will you measure success? What is your WHY?

In today’s world of help wanted advertising on the internet, length is not the problem it was back in the newspaper days. So sell your company’s story and the job in your ad to the best candidates out there and as Valerie Geller says in her programming seminars “don’t be boring.” Budget for the sales person you WANT to have on your team, not for the least amount of money you want to pay. If you want a top performer, then offer a comp package for one.

Sample Ad

Marketing Opportunity of a Lifetime

We’re expanding our radio marketing department.

The person we hire will be using our radio, social media,

internet streaming and events

to create successful marketing campaigns

for our community’s outstanding local businesses.

We offer mentoring, training and will invest in your success.

You will be paid (salary amount here) per month salary plus

(percentage here) percent commission on sales from dollar one sold.

Benefits plan includes medical, dental, vision, vacation time and holidays.

We can’t wait to hear your story of past successes

and learning how you believe working at WXXX

will propel your career to new heights.

EEO/m-f employer

Note: This ad will attract a different type of candidate than most of the ads that are sent to me to post on our jobs board at the university. Come on folks, we’re in sales. Sell yourself.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Radio’s Best Feature

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

The one constant in life is change.

What makes our world different than the world we grew up in is the rate of change in technology.

Adoption rates for technology over time, according to the U.S. Census, shows us that it took about 45 years for 25% of Americans to adopt electricity, 35 years for 25% of Americans to adopt the wired telephone, about 32 years for 25% of Americans to adopt radio, 25 years for TV, 15 years for personal computers, 12 years for mobile phones, eight years for the Internet, and about about five years for 25% of Americans to adopt smartphones.

Nearly nine in ten Americans today are on the Internet and 77% of Americans now own a smartphone, according to Pew Research.

K.I.S.S.

Most people who have any sales training at all know all about “KISS.” Some say it means “Keep It Simple Stupid” and others will tell you it means “Keep it Short & Simple.”

But either way the message is the same: “keep things simple.”

“You have to work hard to get your thinking clean and make it simple.”
Steve Jobs

Quite possibly our biggest challenge in the 21st Century is to keep up with the rate of accelerating change.

The More Things Change, the More They Are the Same

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase uttered more than once in your lifetime. Every generation has thought that the rate of change was beyond their ability to cope. A couple of centuries ago Henry David Thoreau told his contemporaries to “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Technology – especially information technology, the basis of our social networks – is speeding up exponentially. The famous Moore’s Law predicted this for computer chip development.

Exponential growth rate is an evolutionary process.

In his book “The Singularity Is Near” Raymond Kurzweil showed how civilizations advance through building on the ideas and innovations of previous generations, a positive feedback loop of advancement.

Each new generation is able to improve upon the innovations of the past with increasing speed.

Kurzweil wrote in 2001 that every decade our overall rate of progress was doubling, “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st Century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).”

Only 17 years into the 21st Century and it feels like Kurzweil nailed it with his prediction.

It Still Takes 9 Months to Make a Baby

While it’s true so much of our world is uncontrollably speeding up, we are still human beings and we still pretty much move at the same pace biologically as we always have. Technology doesn’t transform our human nature.

Our need for love, touch, companionship and community will always be part of our humanity no matter what technology brings.

Radio Reaches 93% of Adult Americans Every Week

The latest Nielsen Audio research reports “radio leads all other platforms when it comes to weekly reach (93%) among adult consumers – and with new insights available to compare radio to other platforms on a regular basis, it’s clear that radio is an integral part of media consumption for millions of Americans.”

Great radio makes a human connection, engages its community and is a companion.

Radio’s best feature in a world of complex technology is that it’s simple to use.

It’s that simplicity, I believe, that makes it the #1 media favorite.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

My oh MAYA

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

Have you ever heard of the MAYA Principle? Neither had I. But I saw an article in The Atlantic titled “The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything, what makes things cool” and I wondered if there might be some application for radio.

MAYA

MAYA stands for “Most Advanced. Yet Acceptable.”

It means that as you design your product or business for the future you need to keep it in balance with your users’ present. In other words, as Tony Bennett might have sang, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

This 1931 jazz composition by Duke Ellington was given the MAYA treatment by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in 2014. Proving anything that’s old can be new again.

Age of Distraction

I doubt anyone would take issue with the statement that the 21st Century is the “Age of Distraction.” I also am sure that when your computer, smartphone, tablet, software says you have an update, you sigh a big sigh and utter something like “Uff da. Fina mina doh.” (Translation: Oh boy. Here we go again.)

Sequels

Hollywood and television have long understood MAYA. To date we have twelve Star Wars movies, ten Halloween movies and CSI grew from Las Vegas to Miami and New York. I’m sure you can think of many others.

The reason is each is new but familiar.

Change

We humans are a fickle lot.

We hate change and we love change.

What we really like is what Derek Thompson calls “the simulation of innovation, which pushes the right buttons for novelty while remaining fundamentally conventional.”

________ R Us

Remember when Toys R Us had everyone copying their success by calling themselves “R Us” too. The iPod, iPhone, iPad had lots of imitators as well, as if putting a small “i” in front of your name made you cool.

Well, it can.

Ask Bob Pittman.

He changed Clear Channel Radio to Clear Channel Media & Entertainment before abandoning the old CC brand to adopt its successful App brand for the entire company. Voila, iHeartMedia.

“iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc.

Car Radios

I recently drove a Toyota Rav4 rental for a week in Florida. The radio was a trial. Thank goodness it had a volume and a tuning knob. Everything else was activated by the touch screen or the myriad of buttons on the steering wheel. (Don’t get me started about the HD reception.)

Laurence Harrison, Director of Digital Radio UK did a presentation at the Connected Car Show in 2016 on what the consumer wanted in their car radio. Here’s some of what he told his audience.

  • 77% want LIVE radio.
  • 82% said a radio was a MUST HAVE.
  • 69% said if they could only chose one entertainment option it would be radio.
  • Digital is the future of radio.
  • Want better radios.
  • Listener centered design.
  • Metadata to make it smart.

Summing it all up, consumers want a car radio that’s broadcast digital, with a simple, easy-to-use interface (that’s familiar) and an app-like experience that is safe according to Harrison.

Raymond Loewy

The MAYA principle was the design approach brainchild of Raymond Loewy. You may not know his name but you know his work. Loewy designed the Coca Cola bottle, the logo for Air Force One, the logos for Shell, USPS and Greyhound. He also designed some of the iconic cars of the 40s – 60s and so much more.

Loewy understood us fickle humans. We want change, just not too quickly. He was a master of giving consumers a more advanced design but not more advanced than what they were able to deal with.

Apple

Steve Jobs was good as applying the principle of MAYA with the introduction of the iPod and its evolution. The iPod over time removed most of its buttons creating the entrance for the iPhone.

Apple wasn’t about to repeat the disaster it had with the Newton, a product that was more advanced than consumers were ready for. Google Glass is another such product that made too big a leap.

Knowing Your Customer’s Current Skill Level

For the consumer to embrace change, change must be introduced gradually over time.

The Air Pods might seem like a contradiction to this but when the iPhone7 introduced them and took away the headphone jack the percentage of wireless headphone sales to wired ones had already crossed a tipping point. iPhone7 sales are an indicator that it was MAYA time for this innovation. Apple didn’t have to explain the concept to its consumers, they were already there.

Consumers are not going to spend their time and money on trying to learn your product if there’s a product out there that is easier to use and more familiar to them.

And, that is the challenge for radio.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Think Like There is No box

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

One of the things you often hear people say is you need to “think outside the box.” You’ve probably heard this cliché so many times that you want to punch that proverbial box out. So when I heard Ziad Adbelnour say “Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box,” it got me thinking how you might do this for today’s radio.

Walt Disney

I just spent a week in Orlando. I went to Disney World and experienced an environment Imagineered by Walt. Imagineering, Disney said, was a blending of creative imagination with technical know-how.

Carousel of Progress

I first experienced Walt’s Imagineering at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City. My dad worked for General Electric Company. We got discount tickets to the fair and went both years, a couple of times each year. My favorite exhibit was GE’s “Carousel of Progress.”

It was a theater that revolved around a center series of stages that showed how technology evolved over time improving the lives of families and ended with a glimpse into the future.

That exhibit still exists in the Tomorrowland at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando and I went to re-live one of my fondest childhood memories.

Walt conceived of the Carousel of Progress himself.

8 Principles of Imagineering

Alex Wright explained the way Walt Disney worked in his book “The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland.” There are eight principles: 1) Area Development, 2) Blue Sky, 3) Brainstorm, 4) Dark Ride, 5) Elevation, 6) Kinetics, 7) Plussing and 8) Show.

So how would these apply to radio? Let me take a whack at that.

  • Area Development: means the first impression your radio station gives off; the grounds, lobby and overall look your facility make on everyone who comes to your station. Have you stopped seeing what others see when they arrive? Look at your property again with fresh eyes.
  • Blue Sky: means when you start thinking about anything new generate as many ideas as you can. Anything is possible. Nothing is out of bounds. The sky’s the limit.
  • Brainstorm: When any group brainstorms the only rule is there are no rules. Nothing is a bad idea. The whole reason for brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as you can.
  • Dark Ride: While in a Disney theme park this means a ride that is all indoors, where every element can be controlled, in a radio station, this should mean the layout of your broadcast studios. Are they able to be lit to individual tastes? Does everything work as it’s supposed to and kept in operational condition through preventative maintenance? Is the chair comfortable? Can a person(s) stand if they want? How about the HVAC? When I toured the famous RCA recording studios in Nashville where Elvis recorded, I learned that they had multiple light conditions to bathe Elvis in the kind of mood lighting to fit the song he was recording. When recording “Are You Lonesome Tonight” Elvis decided none of the available lighting schemes worked and so he had every light turned out and the band, engineers and Elvis recorded the song in total darkness. If you listen to the end of that recording you can actually hear Elvis bang his head against his microphone because he forgot where he was and couldn’t see it in the dark.
  • Elevation: A series of drawings to bring clarity to the project and guide construction activities. In radio, this would be a fully written out plan of action so that everyone is on the same page in executing the plan.
  • Kinetics: Walt wanted to know how everything would move in one of his attractions giving it life and energy. For radio, our remotes need some serious kinetic thinking. Taping a station banner to a card table and calling in the breaks on a smartphone is not getting the job done for the listener or the advertiser.
  • Plussing: This is perhaps my favorite one of Walt’s eight principles. With Disney, nothing was ever finished. He was always thinking how everything could be made better. Plussing is non-stop Imagineering to provide continual surprise and delight to all.
  • Show: For Disney everything was part of the show. It’s why all of the people who work at Disney are considered cast members, even the people picking up the trash. How important is it to be so fanatical? Very. In addition to Disney World, I spent a day at Universal Studios in Florida. I only have one word for that day’s experience: disappointing. I won’t ever be going back. Those that were with me maybe summed it up best when they said of the rides, “they are all the same ride, only a different movie is played.”

More Outside the Box Ideas

One of the things I try to do in this blog is look at other industries and find the lesson for radio, broadcasting or education that can be applied.

Another is reading a variety of things that literally have nothing to do with one another. Being a curious personality helps here, but it also exposes you to new worlds.

In fact, my office at work and home is filled with a variety of knick knacks that to the casual observer have nothing to do with one another. That’s because they really don’t. But they caught my attention and stimulate my thinking.

“Today you hear people talk about ‘thinking outside the box.’

But Walt would say, ‘No! Don’t think outside the box!

Once you say that, you’ve established that there is a box.’

Walt would refuse to accept the existence of a box.”

-Jim Korkis, Disney Historian

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

What Amazon Could Teach Radio

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

AmazonI can’t think of a more competitive marketplace than one that offers infinite choice. This is the marketplace that Amazon operates in. It’s called the Internet.

 

Exceptionally well.

Why?

Customer Focus

The Motley Fool writes that Amazon’s secret weapon for success is just a handful of core principles with the leading one being to “focus relentlessly on our customers.”

Jim Collins, author of such great books as “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” created the strategic framework that Amazon uses known as the “flywheel.” Here’s what that looks like from Amazon.com via Benedict Evans.
EvansThe beauty of this concept is that while it takes a lot of effort to put everything in motion, once it is moving it develops its own momentum that contributes to future growth. As much as I learned in my college physics class about Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. These things are really universal and when you can connect the dots, magic happens.

Christmas 2016

You’ve probably heard by now about how merchants did selling stuff for Christmas. The forecast for 2016 was one trillion dollars to be spent; an increase of 3.6 to 4% over 2015.

So with that kind of spending on the table what we see is Macy’s, Sears and Kohl’s, among other retailers reported flat or down sales for Christmas 2016. Macy’s, Kmart and Sears announcing store closings as a result.

Amazon, meanwhile, reported its best holiday season yet, shipping over one billion items worldwide.

AMAZON Christmas 2016

To give you a better idea of how strong Amazon’s Christmas sales were in 2016, let’s look at the Monday before Christmas. Slice Intelligence reported that Amazon sold 49.2% of items purchase online.

For the 2016 Christmas season, Amazon ended up making 38% of all online sales followed by Best Buy at 3.9%, Target at 2.9% and Walmart at 2.9%.

Customer Focus Rules

When you focus on your customer relentlessly, you organize your whole organization around a single goal and insure that everyone stays focused on that goal 24/7.

Your radio station(s) have the power to do what other media services can’t do, be live and local delivering entertainment and information that can’t be obtained from any other source.

One of the big advantages Amazon had this Christmas was their Prime 2-day delivery. It meant that Christmas shopping procrastinators (a.k.a. most of us men) could shop closer to the big day.

You might have read or seen that Amazon is working on delivery by drones and delivery services shorter than two-days. Amazon appears to be thinking about owning its own delivery supply chain eliminating the need for UPS or USPS.

So how much time has been devoted by you and your people to customer focus? That means your listeners and your advertisers.

Once per year?

Once per month?

Weekly?

Daily?

So what’s stopping you?

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Words Matter

dicktaylor
Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

The words you use can make all the difference in the outcome of whatever you’re trying to do. Visual mediums can get lazy with wordcraft, thinking the visuals will carry the message. Radio can’t.

Writing Persuasively

Colleges teach two kinds of writing: creative and journalistic. One is made of whimsy and the other is fact-based. Effective radio ads are written to persuade. Few do.

Cliché Town

In my sales class we spend time exploring how to write messages that cause the listener to see themselves doing what it is we want them to do. People must first envision something in their mind before they will ever actually do it.

Walt Disney said: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

So you’d think that when my students produce their radio ads in their sales presentation during finals week they would be filled with persuasive wizardry. They’re not. They’re filled with all of the tired old clichés that comprise most radio ads. Why, because they’ve been brainwashed with them without even realizing it. Even though they have no impact, rating a big zero on the persuasive scale, they are still filling their brains.

Clichés Have No Father

While we’ve all heard them – like “plenty of free parking,” “committed to excellence,” “fast friendly service,” “these prices won’t last long,” “in business since 19–,” – and know them, we have long stopped connecting them to anyone or any business. They are in a sense orphan phrases that fill-up an advertisement but don’t deliver the goods. And they usually are what cause an advertiser to say “radio doesn’t work.”

You don’t listen to clichés and neither will anyone else. Stop using them.

Google It

George Johns is a famous programming consultant and he puts it this way:

“He who controls the language controls the budget.

We don’t Bing or Yahoo things we Google them.”

Google means search. It’s why the parent company re-branded itself from Google to Alphabet.

What’s Your Point?

Whether you’re selling advertising for your radio station(s) or you’re writing radio copy for one of your clients, you should distill your message into a single compelling sentence.

The last presidential election had two candidates. One candidate made a consistent, compelling point and the other had a “basket of deplorables.”

Long after people have forgotten all the dry details of the race, they will never forget those red ball caps and that single compelling sentence.

Final Point

It’s a New Year and time to stop using worn-out words and tired old clichés. To quote the great advertising man David Ogilvy:

“You cannot bore someone into buying your product.”

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

I’ll Just Leave My Literature

dicktaylor
Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

Be it just a one sheet with your latest sales promotion or a full color brochure, if you haven’t met with a person, why would you ever leave your company’s literature behind? Worse, most sales people will enter this hit and run as a “sales call.” It’s not.

Selling is Personal

The sales process is personal. You can’t phone it in or email it in. You have to get in front of the person you want to tell your story to. And if after you’re finished, if the person would like some more information, you can give them one of your brochures.

Circular File

I remember the time I returned from a sales call with one of my radio reps. When I entered the building, my receptionist said there had been a copier salesman who wanted to see me stop in. She said, “I told him you were out of the building.” Then she said “he left you his literature.”

I looked at this very expensive full color brochure on copiers and sadly tossed it into the trash can; the “circular file.”

What a waste of money I thought. Only the previous week, we had just signed a new long-term lease on a copier and we were now out of the market for several years.

I wonder how many calls like the one he made on me would be written down on his sales call sheet. That’s not selling.

Words Matter

When you do get in front of a person the words you use matter. David Letterman once asked long-time White House reporter Helen Thomas who she liked in the upcoming election and she replied “I don’t like any of them.”

David was really asking who she thought would be elected president but Helen thought she was being asked who she personally liked.

In Atlantic City, the program director on my music radio station asked if he could ask one question on our survey being sent out by the sales department to our listeners. The question seemed straightforward: “What’s your favorite song?” The program director of this music station was hoping that listeners would give him songs he might consider programming on our beautiful music station. The sales department was seeking qualitative future purchasing information from our listeners.

What my program director got back was a list of songs that could never be programmed on the same radio station, let alone our beautiful music station. The problem was the question didn’t ask what songs you would like hear on our station, but merely what your favorite song was. Taken out of context, the songs people wrote down were quite diverse.

What Are You Really Selling?

If you’re in radio sales and you think you’re selling advertising, you might be wrong.

What do lawyers, doctors and accountants sell? Legal advice, medical care and financial expertise? And how do you know if it’s any good? Most of us can’t answer that question. But what we can tell you is if we feel comfortable in the presence of one of these people. We can sense if the relationship feels good if our questions are answered honestly, our phone calls or emails are returned quickly and if we leave with a feeling that we are valued.

Radio sales are a professional service that is built on relationships.

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

And you will never build a relationship with anyone by leaving your literature.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.  

Just In Time Learning

dicktaylor
Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
Dick Taylor Blog
https://dicktaylorblog.com/

In a post I wrote about “Where You Should Be Recruiting Radio Talent” I mentioned a concept of “Just In Time Learning” that struck a chord with many readers. Commenters said they found the idea interesting and something they had never heard or thought of before. So I thought I’d expand on that thought with a little more detail and why it’s time has come.

Toyota’s Better Idea

Manufacturers used to stock everything they would need to build a product in warehouses. It was expensive and often wasteful. Then the idea of having parts shipped, just-in-time to be assembled into a finished product was introduced.

Originally called “just-in-time production,” it builds on the approach created by the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda, his son Kiichiro Toyoda, and the engineer Taiichi Ohno. The principles underlying the TPS are embodied in The Toyota Way.

College Degree Credential Creep

Once upon a time, college was an optional final stage of learning in the United States. Today, even a Starbucks barista probably has a college degree. So what’s causing this college degree credential creep? In many cases the reason is that employers feel that by requiring candidates to have a bachelor’s degree they will see a higher quality group of candidates. It has nothing to do with what job skills are actually required. It’s used mainly as a screening tool. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the workforce in America gets screened out when a B.A. degree requirement is inserted into the advertisement. Burning Glass researched how the demand for a bachelor’s degree is reshaping the workforce and you can read more about all of this here.

The 20th Century College Education

When the 20th Century began, America had about a thousand colleges and those colleges had less than 200,000 students enrolled in them. By mid-century the number of colleges exploded and, colleges that once had about a thousand students expanded to universities with enrollments of tens of thousands of students.

Unfortunately, our 20th Century higher education system simply wasn’t designed to deliver what’s needed in a 21st Century world.

Your Teacher, Your Doctor and Your Barber

In our high tech world, things can quickly scale. Productivity grows quickly. But a teacher still teaches at the same pace. Your doctor can only see patients at the same pace. And, your barber can only cut hair at the same pace as each of these professions did in the 20th Century.

When something can’t scale, the price to provide the service goes up.

In the case of higher education, this price problem has been compounded by states reducing funding to their colleges and universities, resulting in public colleges being funded more and more by student tuition and lots of fees. This has resulted in a trillion dollar student loan crisis in America.

Certifications vs. Degrees

For the radio industry, the answer may be professional certifications versus bachelor’s degrees. Students simply can’t afford to go to college for four to six years and come out with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt to take an entry level radio job that will pay them fifteen to eighteen thousand dollars a year. Even worse, most likely the job you’re most looking to fill – sales – a college grad won’t have received any course work in learning about. Broadcasting in college is focused on teaching all of the low demand jobs in radio and the classes in the high demand jobs are either non-existent or being eliminated.

The Radio Advertising Bureau offers professional certifications in selling starting with their Radio Marketing Professional (RMP) certification. Burning Glass says that jobs in fields with strong certification and licensure standards have avoided the problem of “upcredentially.” They write: “This suggests that developing certifications that better reflect industry needs, together with industry acceptance of these alternative credentials, could reduce pressure on job seekers to pursue a bachelor’s degree and ensure that middle-skill Americans continue to have opportunities for rewarding careers, while continuing to provide employers with access to the talent they need.”

Radio’s Recruitment Mission

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) need to spearhead the radio industry in creating bonafide certification programs for all job classifications that will be accepted by the radio industry as the equivalent (or better) than a bachelor’s degree. These programs need to be offered to high school aged students and recent high school graduates.

Certification programs can be designed to provide the kind of just-in-time learning needed for each radio position. When a person shows they’re ready to advance, additional certification training can be taken to prepare them for the next higher position.

Done in this way, the training will be up-to-date, cutting edge instruction to ensure the student is learning exactly the skills needed for the position they will be moving into.

Time for Radio to Think Different

The radio industry will need to attract new talent in order to stay viable and continue growing. Embracing a better form of training for the skills needed and making this a requirement versus a college bachelor’s degree is 21st Century thinking.

Many of these programs are already in place, but industry recognition and acceptance of them lags in comparison to requiring a college degree.

It’s time to think differently about how we find, train and grow the radio talent of tomorrow.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is currently a professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequenty at https://dicktaylorblog.com.