Category Archives: Editorial

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.  

The Robinson Report: The Road and The Race

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.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.” ― Amby Burfoot, Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life

In Appleton, Wisconsin a long haul driver loads his Peterbilt with summer sweet corn for a cross-country run. Needs to arrive before the harvest turns.

In Iowa, Iowa Corn 300 winner Helio Castroneves and his crew sweat through a red-flag rain delay, waiting for the track to dry. Adjustments to the conditions are needed.

Boise, Idaho. A family piles into their mini-van, headed south on I-84 for a weekend in Ogden, Utah. They stop by the Wapi Lava Fields – just because.

It’s been 10 years since middle-aged men convened at the 2007 NAB Radio Show proclaiming radio will be ‘re-branded’ by the year 2020.

That year in Austin, NAB figureheads read the press, drank the Kool-Aid and were convinced the radio image was broken.

Many of those same NAB’ers will return to Austin this September with reflection that they were far from the mark.

Radio trends – are strong.

Broadcast media – especially radio – has survived the road and the race, regardless of the speed bumps.

Television, 45 records, cassettes, CD’s, Mtv, satellite radio, Napster, iPhone.

All reported as radio – killers.

Every one of our roads (stations) is unique.

And the race (strategic battle) is market specific.

There IS no cookie cutter.

Radio re-invention is occurring at many levels – with great success.

When guys in suits tell you that a race worked in Reno – or Raleigh, tell them that your road is different.

It’s – market unique.

Totally exclusive.

Enjoy the ride.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin was a featured speaker at the 2017 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) in Lansing.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

The Robinson Report: Hard Job?

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.

Kevin Robinson will be speaking at this year’s Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC), March 7-8, 2017 in Lansing.  Kevin will present two sessions: “Coaching The Coaches” and “#Branding – in a Social Media Age.”  More information and registration here.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

Sitting in a plane somewhere over the Midwest I casually glance at the notes a weary traveler is creating next to me.

Frantically doing what looks like calculus (like I would know) he keeps referring to his textbook that reads “Spotlight Synthetic Aperture Radar.”

My head aches as I look away with pity.

That’s a hard job.

As tree limbs snapped under the heavy tornadic winds in the Deep South, linemen and emergency services are dispatched for a non-stop odyssey in an attempt to restore power for hundreds of thousands.

Ouch – hard job.

The Sappers of Company B, 65th Engineer Battalion perform daily Improvised Explosive Device (roadside bombs) route clearances in Iraq.

Their mission is to clear the path for their comrades, hunting down IEDs and make sure they get destroyed.

Many times with deadly results.

Tragically hard job.

Media consolidation has produced an environment where our personnel perform two, three or more roles inside a cluster.

Most cluster programmers and sales managers are at the helm of two or more brands.

Having dedicated creative directors – now a rarity.

Our industry remains the best place to serve the community, touch audience hearts and engage with true emotion.

Plus, automation systems, computer newsgathering, digital editors and wireless connections provide time to create more compelling content.

The media internal environment – is simply better and more efficient today!

Media positions are a privilege – and far from true hard work.


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Do You Believe?

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

Jim MathisBy: Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, MDiv
J&L Mathis Group, Inc.
www.jimmathis.com

To Those Who Say,
“It Can’t Be Done”

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” -Peter Drucker

First Timer?
I saw an episode of “Family Feud” the other night and one of the answers the audience gave was “Old School Pager.” Ten years ago, almost all business executives had to carry a pager or cell phone to take calls while out of the office. At that time, you may have even had a Palm Pilot or other Personal Data Assistant (PDA) to take notes and keep your calendar. If you listened to music you carried an iPod as well.

Then the world changed… In the spring of 2007, Apple introduced a device that combined the cell phone, the PDA, the pager and the iPod into one single device. They even included Internet access so you could research while on the go. We know it today as the first iPhone. There was much excitement around the announcement that Steve Jobs made in the public unveiling… but, there was plenty of skepticism, too.

“No one’s ever done this before!”

“People won’t carry all this information in one place…it’s too confusing!”

“Why don’t they leave my phone alone?”

and… “What if it fails to catch on with the public?”

Scott Stissel wrote, “They say that Apple Innovator and Pixar founder Steve Jobs would only become more emboldened when people told him that something couldn’t be done.”

This reminds me of a friend that I worked with in 1995 who was discussing our organization having a website to publicize our location and business. “I think we need to wait a few years to see if the Internet will catch on. It may pass away like CB radios!” It sounds funny today, but if you are old enough, you remember the push back the doubting public had to the Internet and business websites back then.

Just 10 years ago, the idea of small businesses and even individuals having their own sites on the Internet were as unheard of as WiFi in your house, affordable GPS on a phone, streaming movies and Bluetooth earpieces. Look at the movie, “Back to the Future,” and you will see how people relate to progress in a span of just 30 years.

Remember when Marty McFly is told by his grandmother in 1955 that nobody has more than one TV?

It Can’t Work!
I love the success stories that begin with someone saying, “We’ve never done it that way before!” Here are a few examples of people who defied negative public opinion and dared to do something never thought of previously:

  • J.K. Rowling became the world’s best-selling children’s author, despite living on benefits as a single mother. Her manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected by several publishers before someone took a chance on it.
  • Christopher Columbus believed that the fastest way to the East was sailing West.  He campaigned before King Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to finance his idea. Instead of India, he opened the door to the Western Hemisphere.
  • Jesse Owens experienced racial discrimination in the U.S. but became a hero at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. By winning Olympic gold in the 100m, Owens helped demolish the myth of Hitler’s Aryan superiority theory.
  • Kia Silverbrook is an Australian who invented digital music synthesis, digital video, digital printing, computer graphics, liquid crystal displays, 3D printing, image processing, DNA analysis, cryptography, nanotechnology, semiconductor fabrication and integrated circuitry. He is still alive and creating.
  • Philo Farnsworth invented the “image dissector” in 1927. Today we call his invention, “television.” There is at least one in every home, sports bar and hospital room.
  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a Union Colonel in the American Civil War.  He led a bayonet charge against an overwhelming force when his men ran out of ammunition at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. His brash decision was successful and he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Nolan Bushnell said, “Everybody believes in innovation until they see it. Then they think, ‘Oh, no; that’ll never work. It’s too different.’” Don’t let anyone tell you that your idea is impossible if they haven’t tried it themselves. Naysayers are experts in negative criticism. They most often desire to remain in their comfort zones.

Comfort zones never allow for growth or creativity.

Last year I spoke with my good friend and mentor, Joe Bonura, who has always been supportive of me. He presses me to move forward and take risks. One of his favorite sayings is, “You will succeed in direct proportion to your willingness to come out of your comfort zone.” The two of us discussed a marketing idea that almost nobody is attempting in our field.

He challenged me to contact corporations with a different method of increasing their income than they had previously attempted. I had tried this successfully several years ago, but not as an introduction to a new client. Do you want to know a quick way of upsetting someone’s comfort zone? Try pitching an unheard of idea to a person who has been in their job for more than five years.

Are You a Believer?
It is extremely difficult to try something that no one has ever attempted before. President John F. Kennedy challenged the U.S. to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the 1960s. While we look back on the “Space Race” and think it was very easily won, it was a daunting task.

The Soviet Union had already put Yuri Gagarin in orbit when Kennedy made this challenge in 1961. The U.S. had only sent Alan Shepherd up and down for 15 minutes.  Our space program was lagging far behind the Russians. The thought of taking a person to another world, landing him on it, launching again and coming home safely was thought to be unsurmountable in just under eight years.  But, the challenge was accepted and accomplished.

The problem you face from the receiving perspective is, “Will you think outside of your own box for a change?” Imagine if you worked at NASA and you heard Kennedy’s words for the first time… It’s your job to make this idea a reality. How would you have responded? Peter Drucker said, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

How do you react when someone “pitches” a new idea to you that requires doing your job different? How open are you to change and innovation in your life and career?

The real heroes are the people who accept an idea, whether they get the credit or not.

Risk-takers are often people who believe in the unknown because they know things haven’t been successful doing it the same way in the past, i.e., those who trained Jesse Owens… the officers and soldiers who charged down the hill with Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain… the publisher who worked with J.K. Rowling. King Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain believed in Christopher Columbus enough to finance three ships and crew. The investors who first believed in Kia Silverbrook and the “angels” who backed Philo Farnsworth were believers.

The U.S. hockey team faced long odds in the 1980 Winter Olympics. They were outexperienced by practically every team they faced. Somehow they made the medal rounds. In a deciding game against the Russians, they won the match before millions viewing on television. Al Michaels, sportscaster for ABC, was beside himself as the clock ran out with the team ahead. As the excited crowd in Lake Placid shouted, “USA! USA! USA!” Michaels screamed, “Do you believe in miracles??? YES!”

I was in Canada immediately after the Canadian Olympic hockey team defeated the USA at Whistler in 2010. As I deplaned in Calgary, the hockey team had just landed and thousands of excited Canadians were waiting in the terminal to greet their heroes of the previous night’s victory. They believed all along in their team.

The question is not always whether you will dare to do something different. The question is whether you will believe and support those who do, or turn and run. It requires a strong will and a belief in something greater than yourself. It requires being uncomfortable to make your results different and better.

As Joe said to me, “Jim, what’s the definition of doing the same thing over and over and getting no measurable results? Crazy!”

So, are you a believer, a risk taker or just crazy?

Permission is granted to reprint this article provided the following paragraph is included in full:

Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, MDiv. is The Reinvention PRO™, an International Platform Certified Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional and best-selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. To subscribe to his free professional development newsletter, please send an email to: subscribe@jimmathis.com with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject. An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Jim and his programs can benefit your organization or group, please call 888-688-0220, or visit his web site: www.jimmathis.com. © 2017 J&L Mathis Group, Inc.

Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders

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.

ChrisTarr2_300
Chris Tarr

By: Chris Tarr, CSRE, DRB, CBNE

Warning: This tactic requires a lot of self-confidence!  It’s an often-used adage: You’re only as good as your team.

The smart managers know this. They hire “A” players, coach them and (if they’re smart) grow them to the point that their employees could replace them. The not-so-smart managers fear this and hire “C” players or – even worse – hire “A” players and hold them back, in the hopes of making themselves look good.

Many years ago, I hired an Engineer for our Madison stations. He was just a kid, but I could tell that not only did he have a strong work ethic, he also had a pretty good head on his shoulders.

Through the years I taught him everything I know – nothing was off-limits or held back. He became extremely valuable to me. I could leave town on vacation or business and not give a second thought to whether or not things got done. They always did. I was diligent about letting him try new things, and often gave him insights into some of the “higher level” duties that I had to take care of in my role.

Then about two years ago, the inevitable happened. He was ready to grow beyond what I could offer him. He received a job offer for a position that was even far ahead of mine.

So, was there jealousy, or resentment on my part? Not at all. I look at that as one of my greatest accomplishments. I helped someone achieve their dream! How many people can say that?

A leader’s role goes far beyond just “getting the job done.” A leader insures that his team is always learning and growing, knowing that the people and the business benefit.

Have you taken the time lately to make sure the people you’re responsible for are growing professionally? It’s one of the best investments you can make!

Reprinted with permission of the author.

Chris Tarr, CSRE, DRB, CBNE is the Director of Technical Operations for Entercom’s Wisconsin stations. He is one of the industry’s biggest evangelists and dedicates himself to helping create great radio.  

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.  

Question Everything

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.

ChrisTarr2_300
Chris Tarr

By: Chris Tarr, CSRE, DRB, CBNE

I’ve seen a picture floating around the Internet lately – it’s a quote painted in a stairwell that says something along the lines of “The most dangerous words in the language are “We’ve always done it this way.” It’s an interpretation of a quote by Grace Hopper: “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say ‘We’ve always done it that way.’ I try to fight that.”

I like both versions, though I prefer Grace’s version better for several reasons. First, simply because it draws attention to Grace, who was an amazing woman and fellow geek: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper and, second, because I think it speaks much more directly than the first version.

There was a fundamental shift in my industry about 15-20 years ago. The last generation of Broadcast Engineers were mostly military trained and came from a time when Broadcast standards were much more rigid. Some of the rigidity was necessary due to the broad tolerances of older gear, some if it was due to over-regulation of technical operations by the FCC. Some of it was simply because the Engineers were used to that because of the military. That generation of Engineers started to retire.

I have a deep appreciation for those who came before me. In many ways the job was more difficult – all of that gear needed constant maintenance, and some of those regulations were pretty onerous. However, it did have the effect of creating some very linear thinking. Studios were designed to be very much alike. Design was very utilitarian. There was very little “thinking outside the box”.

Then guys like me came along. I came from the creative side. People like me who may not have been considered for such a job because we “didn’t fit the mold” were now getting hired. It really was necessary, since there was this huge wave of Engineers that were trained in the military who were retiring and there were more jobs opening than people available to fill them. A change in regulations meant that station managers were free to hire whomever they choose to fill those jobs (under the “old rules” the Engineer needed to hold a “First Class” FCC license). It was up to them to determine if the person was qualified or not.

The unexpected side-effect of this change? We began to see some *gasp!* creativity in the industry!

What happened was that people like me began to question the reasoning of utilitarian design. Sure, studios have always been designed the way they were, but why? Yes, we’ve always used miles of cable to run audio, but why not convert that audio to 1’s and 0’s and carry them over a network? All of a sudden we started to question everything.

That’s not to say that we questioned the people who made the decisions. Those that came before us are some of the brightest, most resourceful people I know. They go in my Rolodex under “People smarter than me.” Plus, some things have to be done the way they’ve always been done due to rules and regulations. However, the next generation is working with the FCC to re-think some of that as well.

The changes really benefitted the creatives in the building. For years, anytime an air talent wanted to “color outside the lines” by doing something different on the air, technical restraints created roadblocks. These days, I look at myself as the person who removes those roadblocks so that people can be as creative as they want. Instead of saying “we can’t do that,” it’s “tell me what you want to do, and I’ll get you there.” It has created some very interesting, creative and compelling radio.

It’s easy to default to “we can’t do that”. It’s the easy answer. It’s the fastest way to get on with your day. It’s also the quickest way to achieve adequacy. I choose to elevate everyone around me to “amazing” status by giving them the tools they need to be creative geniuses.

It all starts with a simple statement:

Question everything.

Reprinted with permission of the author.

Chris Tarr, CSRE, DRB, CBNE is the Director of Technical Operations for Entercom’s Wisconsin stations. He is one of the industry’s biggest evangelists and dedicates himself to helping create great radio.  

The Robinson Report: A Guy Named Scott

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.

Kevin Robinson will be speaking at this year’s Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) March 7-8, 2017 in Lansing.  Kevin will present two sessions: “Coaching The Coaches” and “#Branding – in a Social Media Age.”  More information and registration here.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

Say hello to Scott Ginsburg.

Scott is the guy who, since 2000, has worn a Hello My Name IS Scott nametag.

Every day, every hour, every minute.

He even has it tattooed on his chest so it’s on when he showers.

One visit to Scott at www.hellomynameisscott.com, and you’ll know who he is – instantly.

Memorable.

Imagine you – taking Scott’s affinity for name recognition and applying it to your brand.

In measured media, we ‘run for office’ every quarter – every month – everyday.

Making a face impact on the first meeting – audience | client | networking – is paramount.

Here’s a checklist for making the deepest in-person impact:

1. Upon greeting, extend your hand and announce who you are (and who you’re with) – first AND last name.

2. Create nametags, embroidered shirts or ID’s for your staff (magnets backs for nicer clothing/events).

3. Engage prior to station/client business (where are you from/where do your kids go to school?) That’s where relationships are built.

4. Give your New Friend FULL attention, being engaged ‘in the moment.’

5. Leave something – anything behind – memorable to create a lasting impact.

You can make an impact with the smallest details. Hand-written thank you notes?

Plus, dollars to doughnuts, you’ll be the only one in your brand lane paying attention.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

What Are the Goals of Your Radio Station’s Website?

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

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: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Your radio station has a website — but why? What is the website for? How does it fit into your radio station’s overall strategy? What do you want listeners to do when they come to your website?

It’s important for radio broadcasters to step back and think about these questions. If the best answers you can come up with are, “because everybody has a website,” or “because listeners expect it,” or “because branding,” then it’s time to sit down and articulate some better responses.

What do you want listeners to do when they come to your website? Ultimately, you want listeners to do something that impacts the station’s bottom line when they visit. With that in mind, here are some possible goals for your radio station’s website:

1. Stream the Station
You probably want listeners to, y’know…listen. After all, when they stream the station through your website, that counts towards your Nielsen ratings and your ratings directly impact the bottom line.

2. Sign Up for the Email List
We no longer live in a world where advertisers just want to reach a lot of consumers; now, they want to reach the right consumers. Digital outlets like Facebook and Google have a ton of data that allow advertisers to target people precisely. To stay competitive, radio stations need to be gathering data on their listeners as well (and not just relying on the data they get from Nielsen).

Data gathering starts by capturing email addresses. Sometimes you’ll be able to capture other information at the same time, sometimes you’ll have to re-engage with listeners later to capture more data. But once you’ve got a listener’s email address, your station is in a position to go back for more later. So one of the key goals of your website should be encouraging people to sign up for your radio station’s email list.

3. Enter a Contest
Contests are a great way to capture listeners’ data and build your station’s email list. Contests can also be used to encourage listeners to create online content (photos, videos, etc.) that can be used to share on social media and attract more visitors to your station’s website. Getting contest entries should be a key goal of your radio station’s website.

4. Click on an Ad
If your radio station generates revenue by getting listeners to click on (or view) ads, then this should be one of the stated goals of your website.

5. Buy Tickets to a Station Event
Many radio stations generate revenue through events — both by selling tickets and sponsorships. The more people that attend the event, the more revenue the station can make. So ticket sales is a key goal of the station’s website.

6. Buy Station Merchandise
If your radio station generates revenue by selling t-shirts, hats, or lunch boxes, this should be one of the explicit goals of the website.

7. Download the Station’s Mobile App
If you have a mobile app that allows you to drive listening (and ratings) or generate revenue directly from the app, then the number of downloads can impact the station’s bottom line. Use your website to encourage mobile app downloads.

8. Request Advertising Information
Many radio stations overlook the fact that their website can generate sales leads. But if an email or a phone call from a potential client comes in via the website, it can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. One of the goals of your radio station’s website should be to generate leads for the sales team.

A few notes on your station’s website goals:

A Website Can Have Multiple Goals…
There’s no rule that says your website can only have one goal. There may be multiple things that you would like listeners to do when they come to the website.

…But, Some Goals Are Worth More Than Others
All of your website’s goals should ultimately impact the station’s bottom line, but that doesn’t mean they’ll impact it equally. When you sell a concert ticket, the station may make $40 profit, while an advertising lead may generate $5,000 profit. Know the goals, but also know their value.

Just Because You Can Measure Something, That Doesn’t Mean It’s a Goal
Notice what’s not on the list of goals for your radio station’s website: Facebook likes, retweets, pageviews, email open rates, etc. These are all good stats to track, and they can help inform your decisions as you try to increase your website goal conversions, but that doesn’t mean they are important in and of themselves. They are a means to an end, not the end. Limit your explicit goals to the things that directly impact the station’s bottom line and don’t get distracted by other data points.

Everybody Should Agree on the Website’s Goals
In every radio station that I’ve ever worked in, there has been tension between the programming department and the sales department. That’s because the two departments have different goals: one is focused on ratings, the other on revenue. Most of the time, those two goals go hand in hand, but sometimes they don’t and that’s when issues arise.

Don’t make the same mistake with your digital strategy. Everybody — from the DJs to the digital team to the Program Director to the General Manager — should agree on what the goals of the radio station’s website are. If two people are looking at the same data and drawing different conclusions, you’re setting your station up for internal strife.

Review the Analytics Regularly
It’s not enough to define the goals of your website; you also want to sit down regularly and see how well you’re achieving those goals. I encourage radio stations to conduct a weekly website meetings to do this.

If your station hasn’t taken the time to explicitly define the goals of its website, get the appropriate personnel together and do this. Once you’ve decided what they are, type them up and post them where everybody can see them. You’re digital strategy will go farther if everybody is on the same page.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

Clutter Creep

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.

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
Albert Einstein

All brands eventually wake up from the malaise of sameness – to find it.

Our homes have it – mostly tucked in drawers or hidden in seldom used rooms.

Clutter.

Where you place a once-important item to be addressed later.

And, it creeps into a part of your natural habitat.

With media brands you’ll find multiple slogans or messages, assembled with inconsistency.

Or perhaps features that have been spawned without a serious mind-audit.

Or worse yet – a we’ve always done it that way brain freeze.

The BEST brands know that not EVERY thing is forever.

McDonalds’ – McRib (for a limited time).

Starbucks – pumpkin spice.

Netflix cleanses their feed every month.

With 2016 slowly dripping to a close, it’s time to de-clutter.

Your brands, your habitat and eventually – your mind.

Turn over every piece of your brand to clean up the message.

You can only be known for one (or maybe two) things.

Why pour anything else into your brand message?

Waiting for you and your consumer on the other end is a clutter-free, focused and consumable brand.


Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top 3 of the target – often times as the list leader. In his 35 years of radio, he’s successfully programmed or consulted nearly every English language radio brand. Known largely as a trusted talent coach, he’s the only personality mentor who’s coached three different morning shows on three different stations in the same major market to the #1 position. His efforts have been recognized by Radio & Records, NAB’s Marconi, Radio Ink, and has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.