Category Archives: Editorial

It’s Time To Go All-In With Digital Revenue: 5 To-Do Items For 2017

Paul JacobsBy: Paul Jacobs, President
jacapps, Bingham Farms, MI

It seems that virtually every day, someone writes a blog post or gives a speech outlining what radio needs to do to ward off threats that are off on the horizon. Radio faces many challenges, and it’s hard to come up with clear solutions that can be executed at the local level.

You’re not going to conjure up a competitive option to Spotify, nor are you in a position to negotiate with the car companies to ensure that radio will maintain its prime spot in the dashboard.

There’s a lot that’s out of your control.

But digital revenue is a significant opportunity for the radio business that is tangible and has a low barrier of entry. Every station can participate whether you’re in a big market or in an unrated one. On top of that, the shift of local dollars to digital is happening quickly and local radio stations can be in position to capitalize on it.

Whenever I visit with a new sales staff, I start the meeting with a simple question:

“How many of you would like to make more money this year than last year?”

It’s a loaded question, and of course, every single hand in the room goes straight up. These are salespeople and we all know what motivates them. But I then follow it up with a simple statement that stops the room dead:

“Then stop selling radio.”

Before I give them a chance to start pushing back, I then explain the obvious: radio revenue is flat, and there’s no projection of substantial growth on the near-term horizon.

So, if a radio station wants to grow its revenue, the only solution is to diversify the approach and go all-in to re-structure the sales effort. This translates to instituting a higher level of sales expertise, as well as digital product development in order to take advantage of where local dollars are heading.

BIA/Kelsey just released their local revenue forecast and you can sum it up in one word: DIGITAL.

Here’s how they start off the report:

If there was any doubt that the future of local advertising is digital, the latest local ad revenue forecast from BIA/Kelsey confirms that revenue from local-focused online ads will exceed that of traditional ads aimed at local audiences by 2018.

Please note that in the pie chart below, we aren’t talking about national data – this is where local dollars are going – the dollars that your sales team fights for every day. And if their main focus is on traditional spot business without a strong digital effort, then sadly, it’s not a fair fight.

jacobs-111516

Here are three key points from the study:

  • Advertising in local traditional media is forecast to fall 2.4% from 2016 to 2017
  • During this same time period, local digital advertising, including mobile, will increase by 13.5%
  • And while radio is taking a nice 9.6% of local over-the-air revenue, it’s digital haul is less than 1%

Click here for the rest of the study.

With this information in hand, here are five things to consider implementing in order to take advantage of the digital shifting of dollars:

1. It starts at the top – As someone who owns a mobile company, I have learned that a digital enterprise works very differently from a traditional business like broadcast radio. It has different rules, language, sensibility and culture.

In order to compete in this arena, your digital program can’t be an add-on feature. It requires commitment from top management of the station (or the company). Sales managers either need to become well-versed in the digital space or a Digital Sales Manager – possibly someone from outside of the radio industry – should be brought in. And it requires its own goals and P&L in order to provide accountability throughout the organization.

2. Create a digital sales culture – Clients who make decisions about digital media work by different rules and metrics than traditional media buyers. They use different language and assess value using different metrics. In many cases, it’s not even the traditional spot media buyer your AE is used to pitching. Nielsen doesn’t have currency in this world. While radio focuses on reach and frequency, the digital scorecard is based on measurable ROI. Traditional radio salespeople aspire to deliver hundreds of thousands of listeners in the hope that some of them respond to an ad. In the digital space, hundreds of listeners that take the desired action may be considered a success.

This culture shift requires a review of the way sales commissions and bonuses are paid, leading to the achievement of real digital revenue goals in order to increase compensation.

3. Create digital products – Making banners available for sales does not constitute a comprehensive digital strategy. They are weak advertisements that have the lowest value to clients. In order to generate significant digital dollars, we encourage you to invest in the creation of digital products. These are programs outside of your normal broadcast efforts.

For example, there is a major surge of interest in podcasting, and revenue has followed. We are working with many different clients on the creation of a local podcast strategy and are available to speak with you. There are many different approaches that we have studied and we have an in-house expert – Seth Resler – here to help.

It is also time to truly take advantage of the mobile revolution. BIA/Kelsey finds that mobile revenue has surpassed radio, yet most radio stations have an app. The problem is, too many stations are trying to sell mobile like it’s radio, with banners and ad insertions instead of by developing true digital opportunities in their apps.

Mobile presents so many other opportunities for radio. Stations should consider creating local guides (think Yelp). Hometown bar or restaurant guides with local listings create a scalable revenue opportunity through sponsorships and participation fees. Your mobile app should be able to accommodate multiple sponsorship and content enhancement opportunities that can be monetized.

jacapps has been in the app business for over eight years. We understand this space and no matter if we’ve developed your app or not, let’s get on the phone and discuss the multitude of ways your station can generate mobile revenue.

4. Change the scorecard – Historically, the only currency that truly matters in radio is audience ratings. It’s always been that way and not a whole lot has changed. Advertising revenue is dependent on ratings performance, so when asked to promote a stream or a mobile app, many programmers understandably balk. The success of their careers is based on ratings, not clicks. The same holds true for most air personalities, and by association, GMs and Sales Managers. I haven’t spoken to too many of our clients who enthusiastically share the number of podcast or mobile app downloads they have, or their streaming ranking on ComScore.

Realizing that radio cannot abandon its major source of revenue and the ratings results that pay the bills, it is still logical that in order to focus on growth, the definition of success needs to expand and evolve. Bonuses need to be broadened to reflect digital engagement and growth. Sales goals need to encompass all potential revenue channels. Research studies must include questions about digital and not just the music styles a station “owns” or its perceptions among the other stations on the dial.

The way radio does business is deeply entrenched. But the foundation that scales to produce revenue is shifting. A mindset change in radio won’t be immediate, but it is imperative in order to maximize this opportunity.

5. Modify job descriptions – Hiring salespeople with great contacts among traditional media buyers is no longer sufficient. Yes, these relationships are important, but marketing has devolved into a commodity-based relationship. Programmatic buying is removing the importance of selling, connections and relationships. And spot radio revenue is flat. The case for change writes itself.

In 2017, it’s time to review all job descriptions, especially on the sales side of the building. We are living in a digital world and salespeople who refuse to adapt will eventually go the way of the dinosaur – or the buggy whip maker. The status quo will cost your station revenue growth opportunities.

But it doesn’t end in the cubicles. Programmers and GMs that don’t understand or grasp the potential of digital also minimize the opportunity.

Job descriptions at all levels of the operation require reassessment. This is about changing a long-standing culture built around traditional radio. That’s the industry I joined back in the 1970s (yes, the ‘70s). But that world has changed and it’s necessary to think differently when hiring and setting expectations. There’s no going back.

This shouldn’t be taken as another think piece on what radio should do. It’s about what radio must do. If your station or company is already down this path, go all-in. If you haven’t, get started yesterday. This is where the dollars are moving and where growth lies. It’s not a theory. It’s not a bet. It’s reality.

I am available to speak with you about this in greater detail to identify ways your operation can take advantage of this opportunity. I hope 2016 was a successful year for you and your station and look forward to even greater success in the new year.

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

Trademark Basics for Media Companies, Part One: What Trademarks Are and Why They Matter

wbk_donohue-raju_300
(L-R): Kelly Donohue and Radhika “Ronnie” Raju,

By: Kelly Donohue and Radhika “Ronnie” Raju, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

In today’s digital economy, trademarks are often the most valuable assets that a business owns. For example, in 2015, Google’s trademark portfolio was estimated to be worth $76 billion, which constituted almost one third of the entire value of the company. Microsoft clocked in at $67 billion, with Verizon close behind at almost $60 billion. While you may not hit 11-digit figures like these intellectual property behemoths, a smart trademark strategy can put you on the right course. This blog is the first of a five-part series that will help you understand trademarks and how they function, so that you can maximize the value of your own trademark portfolio. We’ll run the other four articles in the weeks to come. So keep reading!

So, what is a trademark? A trademark identifies products or services as coming from a particular source. Although a trademark is usually a word, a phrase or a design, it can also consist of or incorporate features such as color, smell, taste, shape (product configuration), touch, motion and sound. But not all trademarks are created equal. A strong mark can preclude the use by others of somewhat similar marks for goods and services that may not be directly competitive. In contrast, a weak mark may only be entitled to protection against the use of an identical mark for the same goods and services. How do you select a trademark that will most effectively help you build your brand?

The equation is simple: the more distinctive the mark as applied to a type of goods or services, the stronger it is and the easier it is to register and protect. There are five categories in which trademarks can be classified, listed below from strongest to weakest:

  • Fanciful or coined marks are terms that are made up and have no meaning other than as a trademark. These are the strongest kind of mark and offer the broadest scope of protection. Examples of fanciful marks include KODAK for film, EXXON for gasoline and VIACOM for broadcasting services. The disadvantage to a fanciful mark is that it takes more marketing resources to help consumers remember and associate the mark with a particular company and create brand awareness.
  • Arbitrary marks are common words that are found in the dictionary, but do not have any connection with the goods or services that they brand. Famous arbitrary marks include APPLE for computers, LOTUS for software and FOX for television broadcasting services. As with fanciful or coined marks, arbitrary marks receive a broad scope of protection.
  • Suggestive marks suggest some feature or advantage of a particular product or service, but do not immediately describe the goods or services. It requires some thought or imagination for the consumer to reach a conclusion as to the goods or services. Examples include COPPERTONE for suntan lotion and GREYHOUND for providing transportation by bus.
  • Descriptive marks immediately convey some aspect of the goods or services. Examples include PARK N’FLY for airport parking lot services and YOUR #1 ROCK STATION for radio broadcasting services. Descriptive marks are entitled to no protection unless the owner of the mark can show “acquired distinctiveness,” which we wrote about here in connection with questions as to whether the podcast SERIAL could trademark its name. This showing can be made in a number of ways, such as a consumer survey, establishing exclusive use of the mark for at least five years and detailing the extensive advertising efforts that have been undertaken to create brand awareness among consumers.
  • Generic terms are words that are the common name of a particular category of goods or services, such as APPLE for apples or NEWS STATION for broadcasting services. Generic terms are incapable of functioning as trademarks and can neither be registered nor appropriated to the use of one owner. Sometimes previously strong trademarks become generic due to an inadequate protection strategy of the owner. If consumers come to understand the trademark to be the name of the product itself as opposed to identifying an exclusive source of the products, the mark essentially dies. Examples of this include aspirin for acetylsalicylic acid and escalator for a moving staircase.

Now that you have a better understanding of what trademarks are, why are they so important? In today’s world, where attention spans are reduced to the size of a Twitter feed, companies now more than ever need the ability to catch the consumer’s eye and cut through the crowded marketplace. A good branding strategy can help you convey a range of information, from price point to target audience to the types of goods and services you are offering. Likewise, it can help boost your online presence – having a consistent, thoughtful branding strategy across your media platforms and social media feeds can help your customers find you quickly. Finally, a good brand can lead to new licensing opportunities and revenue streams.

So, when you are choosing a mark, make sure that it is distinctive and strong, or otherwise be prepared to spend time and money convincing the Trademark Office or a court that it is protectable (and potentially fending off potential third-party uses of the mark; after all, if it is descriptive, others may feel that they can use it freely!). Consider how you use the mark online, on your website, social media, etc. to make sure you are branding across all of your online properties consistently. And finally, make sure you are keeping track of your trademarks, as these are valuable assets that can grow in value over time (like real property, they can be bought, sold, licensed, used as collateral, etc.). Also, make sure to have a trademark attorney conduct a clearance search before you start using the mark, to ensure that no third parties are already using and/or have already registered the mark. The last thing you want is do is to spend valuable time and money plastering your new mark all over your media outlets (commercials, websites, flyers, etc.) only to find that someone else had first dibs on the mark, forcing you to re-brand and go back to Square One. We will help you avoid this pitfall in our next installment, Trademark Basics, Part Two: How Trademark Searches Can Keep You Out of Legal Hot Water.

Reprinted  by permission.

 

Where You Should Be Recruiting Radio Talent

dicktaylorEditor’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/

For the past half-dozen years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with college students looking for a career in radio. It’s made me think about my own radio career and college education. Let me share with you some observations.

Recruit in High School

Most of the people I know who got into radio did what I did, built a radio station in their parent’s home and began broadcasting to their neighborhood. I did that in the 7th grade; in junior high school. By the time I was in the 10th grade in high school I had earned my 3rd Class Radiotelephone Operators License, Broadcast Endorsed, from the Federal Communications Commission; got my work permit from my state government and was working weekends at one of my local commercial radio stations.

Students today are more advanced than I was when I was their age, yet the broadcasting industry doesn’t start recruiting these days until young people are getting ready to graduate college. Why?

Bachelor’s Degrees

So many radio jobs I post on my “Sales Jobs Board” require a bachelor’s degree. Why?

My entire radio career I had a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and not one broadcasting company I worked for ever asked me about them. It wasn’t until I pursued teaching at my current university that anyone ever asked about my degrees or to provide them with copies of my transcripts showing my GPA – I graduated Magna Cum Laude as an undergrad and was president of my college Honors Society and my GPA in grad school was a 4.0, a perfect score.

Close to two million students today are graduating with their bachelor’s degree and sadly are working at Starbucks just like they were before they earned their degree and amassed a ton of student loan debt.

And, when I think about it, that’s what I did too. I went from working in radio part-time to pay for college and then upon graduation from graduate school went into radio full-time as a program director/operations manager/air talent. The big exception being I did it with no student loan debt because college was more affordable then than it is today.

College Education

I’m not saying a college education isn’t important; it broadens you in ways that don’t pay an immediate return on your investment. In college I really came alive as a student and developed the love of life-long learning. However, nothing I learned in college meant a hill of beans to my career in radio.

I learned programming and operations through regional and national broadcast conferences and by doing the job.

I learned sales, sales management and general management by attending regional and national sales conferences, plus the radio company I went to work for in sales was a very immersive sales learning environment. We were members of the Radio Advertising Bureau and the International Broadcasters Idea Bank and my owner took his entire sales/management team to learn from every sales trainer that came within a hundred miles of our property.

Just In Time Learning

What I had was basically a form of “just in time learning.” Just as manufacturers learned not to stock parts but to have them arrive at just the moment they were needed in the manufacturing process, is exactly how I learned the radio business, one piece at a time from the ground up.

The way higher education is today is like stocking parts in the days of manufacturing yore. So much knowledge is acquired that may never be used or when it is needed may be sorely out-of-date.

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

Where to Find Radio Talent

If you want to find radio talent you should be in the high schools, middle schools and elementary schools of your community. I really believe you can’t start too young in cultivating the radio talent you will need in the future. But waiting until our youth graduate college is simply too late.

Economically, this makes sense for both radio operators as well as students. A young person graduates high school with zero student loan debt; unlike a college student that accrues tens of thousands of debt in college.

As your young employee grows, your radio station could then support more formal education with your local community college, university or professional training through broadcasting’s professional organizations like the National Association of Broadcasters or the Radio Advertising Bureau. When the student is ready, the additional education is provided.

Wharton & Wizard Learning

I paid to attend the Wharton School in Philadelphia as part of the RAB’s Sales Management Training; training so good that I used it for the rest of my professional radio management career and at the university in my classrooms.

Roy H. Williams’ Wizard Academy was inspirational, motivational and exceptional in learning more about selling radio and writing persuasively (something not taught in colleges, except in my sales classes).

Degrees, Wisdom or Experience

Colleges and universities have no metric for wisdom or experience when it comes to hiring/retaining professors. They hire/retain based on degrees, not experience or wisdom or teaching ability.

Broadcasters could care less about degrees. What they care about is results. If you’re an air talent, can you get ratings? If you’re a sales person, can you make sales? Those are the things that are important to broadcasters.

Where “once upon a time” universities were measured by enrollment numbers, the metric is moving to one of graduating students and improving the graduation rates; which were anywhere from 27% to 60% for students graduating after six years at four year institutions.

Colleges need to change the way they hire/retain faculty in the 21st Century as the focus goes to getting results versus just filling seats in classrooms.

Unfortunately, while what employers’ needed never perfectly aligned with what a college education prepared graduates’ skills for; the mismatch in 2016 has reached a tipping point. All the more reason that the broadcast industry needs to re-think how it recruits talent and when it begins the process.

Broadcasting is a great business, but it’s a people business that needs to attract talent to stay great.

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.

Spectacular!

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

The year – 1883.

Under construction – The Statue of Liberty –with detailed supervision by designer Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

As metal workers banged out sheets of Lady Liberty, the curve on TOP of her crown received the same detail – as her feet.

This is significant as commercial flight – was decades away.

Bartholdi wanted every inch to be spectacular – even if no eyes would see much of the top.

Spectacular happened when Top 40 radio was – a baby.

Don Steele.

The Real Don Steele was one of the original Boss Jocks on the legendary KHJ-AM/Los Angeles.

He could be spectacular in 8 seconds – and treated every break as an audition for the next show.

Self-help – from Tom Peters.

Being Spectacular requires minute-by-minute excellence.

Sculpting – entertainment – personal improvement.

Everyone has the same 168 hours a week.

The same 1,448 minutes in a day.

The same 3,900 heart beats in an hour.

During our time, why endorse mediocre now – or ever?


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.

Find It

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

“Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.”  -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hungarian physiologist

Sometimes it’s right before your very eyes – or ears, in some cases.

The traditional media world screams for new, fresh talent but fails to pull the trigger and resorts into the well of ‘the usual suspects.’

What would the music world be without Stevie Nicks, who was discovered in 1967 at a Young Life meeting by Lindsey Buckingham – no Fleetwood Mac, as we know it today.

If Columbia Records had not directed contract producer Jim Messina to work with a new kid named Kenny Loggins – well, you know. No one home in the House At Pooh Corner.

In Los Angeles, Jimmy The Sports Guy on the KROQ morning show summoned the random services of a personal trainer named Adam and struck up a conversation about our business.

Now, Adam Carolla is a household name and a podcast superstar.

And, that Jimmy The Sports Guy, who carries the last name Kimmel, also unearthed, as his intern, another talent named Carson Daly.

Looking for that spark to jump-start YOUR talent bank but think that there’s ‘a big lack of talent out there?’

Listen to Brad Booker tell his story about who he found serving pizza in Evansville:

“I stopped into the big pizza joint, Turoni’s. After ordering the beer sampler, the server carded me and inquired why I moved to Indiana from New Orleans.

I told her I was there to do a morning show on (Hot 96) WSTO. She proceeded to inform me that she recently graduated from Ball State University, with a degree in Media Communications and was proficient in Pro Tools.

WHAT? The girl bringing our pizza knew Pro Tools?

She wanted to break into the business but had no experience. Sarah was so witty and entertaining, I brought my boss in to meet her. Weeks later, she was producing our show and the third voice.”

Sarah Pepper then rocketed from market size #162 (Evansville) to #6 (Houston) – simply by what others saw but what no one else thought.

With turmoil swirling in legacy media, it’s prime to take chances again.

It’s out there – let’s find it.


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.

Are You Down, or Different?

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

Leading in the New Economy

“Many businesses are facing economic earthquakes, tsunamis and meltdowns.”

Last year, Japan suffered a series of cataclysms that would put almost any country into the Stone Age: an earthquake, followed by a tsunami, followed by a nuclear meltdown – all within a few days. Today, many businesses are facing economic earthquakes, tsunamis and meltdowns. It is your choice as to how severe your crisis is, and, how you react to it determines your future in business.

You choose how you react to the news you read and hear daily. You can either wait, wait and further wait for the economy to come back to where it was four years ago (it won’t) or you can choose to act on what is different about it now and make your own difference. It’s all your choice.

Oh, and for those who opt to wait, you should know that the economy won’t return to its previous state. Things have changed so much that nothing will ever be the same again!

Panic at the Pump
With gasoline and oil prices soaring this year, the economy seems to be teetering on the brink. Panic sets in as supply decreases and demand increases dramatically. It is cyclical… and expected.

If you woke up this morning and said, “The economy is down.” Then I imagine that your spending is down; your budgeting is down; your staff/employees are down and your customers, too, are down; and your business is down. But, if you woke up and said, “Everything today is different than it has ever been” then, probably your spending is different; your budgeting is different; your staff/employees are different; your customers are different; and, yes, your business is different than it has ever been.

Why do I say such a bold statement? Because many businesses have been UP in the past three years and have taken advantage of value they present in the eyes of the public to soar to new heights. Lexus has made money. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have made money. Apple has made money. Dollar General Stores have made money. Toyota (with all of the problems it had from faulty gas pedals, an earthquake and tsunami) has made money.

The companies who have struggled or have gone out of business altogether were struggling in the “good” economy of six years ago – Saturn, Pontiac, Sears, K-Mart and Blockbuster to name a few. There are many more.

We are very short-sighted when it comes to economic reactions. We see the immediate and not the overall picture and it causes us to panic and stumble into the dark. We lack a long-vision for what is going on in the environment around us.

You are either up or down and that influences every decision you make. Only you can decide the attitude which determines your altitude.

Print or Not To Print!
Carol Burnett in paying homage to Betty White on her 90th birthday held up a copy of Variety with a review of Betty’s appearance on her show in the 1970’s. Carol smiled and said, “Remember this kids? We used to call this a ‘newspaper.’”

Newspapers constantly remind us that the stock market is down, gas prices are climbing and carry negative information slanted for their political or personal biases. It is no surprise that newspaper sales are lagging today. But their negative news isn’t the sole reason for this.

Print media is being reinvented to digital format. If you are in the newspaper or magazine business you are seeing a “tsunami” that is wiping away the foundations your industry was built on. The next three to five years will probably change the way we receive and digest news forever.

I heard a conference attendee say to the crowd: “If you want your news NOW, go online with your smart phone. If you want your news later, wait on a television newscast. If you want it tomorrow, buy a newspaper. If you want it next week, subscribe to a magazine.”

No wonder people are tired of hearing bad news about unemployment, lack of jobs and financial crises from an industry that is in panic mode. They tend to want us to panic with them. There is camaraderie in suffering.

If you are down, then your spending, budgeting and business results are down. That isn’t a motivational formula – it’s a fact.

How are you different?
I won’t argue with you that these times are tumultuous for business. They are rough and many people have found themselves out of work, out of business and out of luck. I meet them every day. I can also tell you that many people have to face challenges that they would have never have faced had things remained unchanged. I can say without any doubt that had I not had the difficult times in my life, I wouldn’t be the strong person I am today. Had I not changed colleges, I wouldn’t have met the people I know now who are major influences in my life. Had I not decided to quit my previous occupation, I wouldn’t be enjoying what I now do for a living. Had my business not fallen apart, I wouldn’t be The Reinvention Strategist™. You get the idea.

Every one of those changes was traumatic in my life. I could have buried my head in the sand and pretended they weren’t there, but that wouldn’t make them go away. I could have sat around in a funk of depression for months on end, but that wouldn’t have made me or my situation any better. You choose how you react to what is going on in your environment. You either choose to act positively or negatively.

Either way, it’s all your choice.

Don’t misunderstand me; I am in the business of helping people to make their lives better. I just got tired of doing all the work for people who didn’t want to change. So, I changed my focus. I only work with people who want to reinvent themselves in a challenging economy. And, fortunately for me, every economy has challenges in it.

If you don’t reinvent yourself in the next year you may be extinct in two years.

It can happen. It already has to Circuit City, Pontiac, Schlitz, Gateway computers, Borders, Aloha Airlines, Mercury, Palm and many others. They refused to change and succumbed to the nuclear meltdowns of a different economy. The vultures are gathering for AIG, the Gap, Sears, K-Mart, Blackberry and Eddie Bauer.

It’s a competitive world and just in the time you were reading this, many other businesses closed their doors permanently. They couldn’t adapt to a challenging economy and they got swept away with no loyal customer base to support them or their brands. They failed to create a culture that would stand the test of change or the test of time. They failed to be different and settled for down.

Many more organizations have changed successfully. They were faced with a choice and they chose reinvention over extinction. Companies like Motorola, Novell, Autodesk, Domino’s, IBM, Dollar General, Toyota, Ford Motors, Apple and many, many more reinvented themselves and carved out new industries and market niches.

So, what can you do where you are sitting right now?

Study those who have taken common-sense ideas and turned them into their personal difference.  Look for ways you can adopt their ideas, methods and concepts. Their techniques aren’t very deep or difficult. In fact you might be surprised at how simple and easy they are. Most will seem like common sense. They are so easy, in fact that they will make you angry at yourself for not thinking of them on your own. They are so obvious that they will make you frustrated that you didn’t see them and act before now.

They are so simple that they will make you uncomfortable with the way you have been living and running your business. Good. Now go and find a comfortable place to become UN-comfortable, face your cataclysm – and be different!

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. © 2016 J&L Mathis Group, Inc.

Rethinking the Radio Station Promotions Kit for the Digital Age

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

Many radio stations’ street teams have a standard kit that they take to promotional appearances which includes everything they might need on site. When I was a Program Director, we packed gray rubber tubs with everything from clipboards and entry forms to banners and prize wheels.

The purpose of these Promo Kits was simple: To provide the street team with ways to entertain listeners at events. But now that we’re in the digital age, the goals of our promotional appearances have changed, and our Promo Kits should evolve to reflect these new goals.

Here are the new goals of our street team appearances:

1. Create Compelling Content
In addition to entertaining people on-site, we now have the ability to use promotional appearances to create content that entertains people online. We can do this in a number of ways, but two of the most effective are by sharing photos or live-streaming video of the event. For this content to get a reaction online, it’s going to need to be visually compelling. We need toys and games that look good on camera.

When we reevaluate the promo kit through this lens, it becomes apparent that some of our old standbys are no longer up to the task (“Goodbye, prize wheel!”), while others still make the cut (“Great job, banner roll!”).

Moreover, we may need to add some new weapons to our arsenal. While the tiny thumb-wrestling ring may no longer meet our needs, large sumo wrestling suits, Chinese dragon costumes and oversized gongs may fit the bill. Additionally, you may need support equipment to create visual content, such as camera tripods or selfie sticks. At your next Promotions Department meeting, brainstorm a list of things you’ll need to produce compelling visual content at every on-site appearance.

2. Collecting Contact Info
On-site appearances are also a great place to collect contact info — either phone numbers or email addresses — from your listeners. Don’t use pen and paper to collect email address; somebody on your team will be stuck with the thankless job of entering all of that data into the computer, which is time-consuming and prone to errors. Collecting business cards has the same problem.

Instead, get a tablet with an iPad and install an app on it which allows people to type in their email addresses. The app should upload these email addresses directly to your database. Many email service providers offer an app for collecting data this way. You’ll also want a stand that allows you to lock the iPad to your table so nobody walks off with it. Some models cover the buttons on the tablet, preventing people from exiting the email collection app.

Text messages can be a great way to collect contact info because listeners usually have their phones on them. You can set up a service that allows them to sign up for your email newsletter by text message. When they send a keyword to a specific number (such as “WKRP” to 55555), they will receive a reply asking for their email address. When people respond to the opt-in message, they will be added to the database.

To enact a text messaging opt-in program like this, you’ll want to include a short explanatory phrase (e.g., “Get our email newsletter! Text WKRP to 55555.”) on your table skirt, your banners, your hand stamps, the back of your bumper stickers, etc. The more you promote it, the more you’ll grow your database.

Text messaging has presented issues for some broadcasting companies because trolls wait for broadcasters to run afoul of the law and then pounce. Always check with your legal team before adopting any course of action involving text messaging.

The Promo Kit has been a staple at radio stations for years, but it may be time to overhaul yours. For more digital strategies that you can incorporate into your radio station’s events, check out our recent webinar on the topic.  Watch the webinar here.

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

Shrink The Audience

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 

“At stadium shows, we connect by shrinking the audience, reducing the place so the guy in the back row of the balcony is the one left.”  –Dave Murray, Iron Maiden

No, this isn’t about losing audience. Rather, this is about GROWING audience by connecting with an audience of ONE.

The key to building a relationship with the audience – any audience – is communicating to ONE person and NOT thousands.

You remember your favorite radio or TV personality growing up – he or she was talking to YOU – not everyone else.

Whether it was Cousin Brucie, John Records Landecker, The Real Don Steele or (insert your favorite here), they were doing their show for YOU – and no one else.

Broadcast Talent (unlike stage actors) must break the ‘4th wall’ and connect directly with the target. They have the unique opportunity to be one with the audience.

Talent grabs audience – just by showing up. Get them to LOVE you by bonding in a one-on-one relationship.

As they say, you get audience ‘one at a time.’

Accomplish this by telling stories – reducing trite ‘bits.’

Eliminate words that build the wall (‘everybody,’ ‘out there;’ ‘where you are’) and simply employ the word ‘you’ with intimate regularity.

Deliver content as though the audience is sitting in the room with you!

Eradicate nonsensical language such as ‘radio’ and ‘station.’

Your show should be an experience – not a box or building.

Doing so will increase your Audience Eye Contact, galvanize the relationship with the audience and GROW your brand by connecting with the audience of ONE!


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.

Uncover Your Customer’s Needs

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:  Brian Marriott, P1 Learning

Sales opportunities don’t just spring up out of thin air. You have to uncover them. If you aren’t prepared to ask the right questions, they could be precious opportunities lost.

Finding the problem will lead you to the best solution for your client. Here are four important reminders when uncovering leads.

1. Build trust and rapport
Nobody likes to be interrogated with questions; it can make them uncomfortable – or even worse- defensive. Start the meeting casually, as if you were meeting with friends, but don’t be overly familiar or waste their time. People like doing business with people they know, like and trust. Let the prospect know the purpose of your questions – they should see that you’re trying to genuinely understand their business and determine if there’s a solution that your company can offer.

2. Ask the right questions at the right time
Have a list of questions prepared before the meeting, but don’t be a slave to your script. Their answers to your questions will likely bring up follow-up questions. By being prepared in advance, you can shift the conversation in the direction that will uncover their true need. Remember to always ask open-ended questions (who, what, when, where, why, how). Questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ won’t necessarily get you the information you need – you don’t want to limit their ability to answer in any way. Take notes, it’s a sign that you’re truly interested and engaged.

3. Dig deeper
Once you’ve uncovered areas of opportunity, continue to ask questions, repeating some of the words that they’ve used to show that you are listening and understand what they are really saying. Delve into the opportunity and continue to ask open-ended questions. In fact, remember to Always Ask Why (AAW). If your customer is opening up about their biggest challenges, don’t be afraid to follow up with something like, “why is that?”, “why has this not been fixed already?”, or “why is this a priority now?”. The more they talk, the more you’ll learn.

4. Summarize and set the stage
Once you’ve uncovered the opportunity, state it to your prospect clearly – again, trying to use as many of their words as possible. Confirm that you ‘got it right’ and then suggest how you could help solve this problem. Most often than not it’s okay if you don’t have an immediate solution. Tell your prospect that you need a day or two to reflect, but get back with them in a timely fashion. Then, once you both agree that your solution may be a fit, set a clear expectation of what happens next.

It’s one thing to assume you have their needs, it’s another to know you do. Time is precious, and your chances of getting the right deal from a qualified buyer requires the right questions from the get-go. Go deeper into discovering your client’s needs by logging into P1 Learning today and watching the course, Conducting the Needs Assessment.

P1 Training is a member benefit on MAB.  Don’t miss out on your opportunity for free, online training.  Sign your staff up today!

What I Learned About Being a General Manager

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.

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

I loved being a general manager of radio stations. It wasn’t the job that first attracted me to radio however; it was to become a disc jockey. From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a DJ on the radio. My first radio microphone was made out of tinker toys. Then I got a Caravelle (pictured below) transmitter for Christmas from Santa Claus and I took to the air waves.

radio_240I started in commercial radio when I was in the 10th grade in high school, getting my FCC 3rd Class Radio-Telephone Operator Permit. Due to my age at that time, I needed to get a work permit. The Massachusetts employment office that issued those types of permits for underage workers asked me what type of employment I would be doing. I told them, I’m going to be a DJ. They didn’t have a category for DJ in their book, so they wrote “Talent” on my work permit and sent me on my way. I never mentioned that I would also be taking transmitter readings every half hour standing next to a 1,000-watt broadcast transmitter. If I had, they would never have issued me a work permit, as that environment would have been considered to hazardous for a person who was only 16 years old.

As I look back on it, it almost seems ironic that I could have a license to operate a commercial radio station, but my mother would have to drive me to work and pick me up because I couldn’t get a driver’s license to operate an automobile.

In time, I would learn that what I really wanted to do in radio was not be the person who was the product, but the person who ran the whole enchilada; also known as the general manager. To get to that lofty office, I would need to leave the air and programming and go into sales.

Once in sales I quickly rose through the ranks to sales manager, station manager and finally general manager. Yes, at the ripe old age of 32, I was a general manager in Atlantic City, New Jersey; the world’s famous playground.

Lessons Learned

So what did I learn almost three decades later? A career is not a sprint, but a marathon. You never know everything you need to know. Every day is a learning experience. That your attitude becomes the attitude of your employees, so keep it positive.

Success

Like making a baby, you can’t speed up the process of success in life. It takes time. Repetition is key. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers wrote it takes about 10,000 hours of repetition and practice to master anything.

While Radio Ink Magazine named me one of the best general managers in radio before I left the industry to become a broadcast professor at a university, I would find that I would learn even more about my craft trying to teach it to others. So today, I think I’d be a much better general manager than when I took a sabbatical to enter teaching.

Love

They say if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. That was true for me about my radio career for over four decades and it’s been just as true for my teaching these past six years. But here’s the big take away: You can love your career, but it will never love you back. So you have to make time for the things that do love you back like your family. I may have been a hard working, successful radio general manager, but I never missed any of the special moments in my boys’ lives as they were growing up.

But the real credit goes to their mother. She made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom – the most important and difficult career choice on the planet – and the credit for the successful men both of my sons turned out to be, goes to her.

Marriage

Sadly, while I tried to be a good dad and a good radio general manager, I probably was lacking in the husband department. The mother of my sons and I would divorce. My life was not in proper balance. Don’t let this happen to you.

Stay Curious

When you’re starting out, you are very curious about how everything works. You’re like a sponge trying to soak it all in. Don’t lose that curiosity. Always pitch in and do whatever needs to be done. Always listen to the ideas of others; it might surprise you how much they know. Make every day a new day to learn and grow and be better than you were yesterday.

Management

When you manage people, unlike things, know that each one is different. Each person is an individual and there’s no “one size fits all” approach. Celebrate your people’s victories, benchmarks and life events. Empower your people to not need you. Compliment in public, correct in private. Compliment in a note, correct face-to-face.

Listen

You were born with two ears and one mouth. Listening is what you should be doing twice as much as a general manager. Just because you’re the GM doesn’t mean you have all the answers. You don’t. Collaboration is the 21st Century Skill Set. It’s been my experience that often the answers to the problems confronting my radio stations were inside my own workforce. As manager, it was my job to get the answers out of them.

My Boss is a Bastard

This is a tough one. You never really want to work for a boss who’s an S.O.B. But sometimes family obligations put you in that uncomfortable position of just having to tough it out until you can make a change. I tell my students when we go over case studies of employees working for a bastard that unlike now – when they are students with no other people they are responsible for – it seems like it would be easy to just walk away from a terrible employment situation, but when you have a mortgage, car loan, kids, etc. you can’t. But what you can do is begin your job search and get out of there as soon as you can. Bad work relationships are toxic. Don’t stay in one.

It’s About More than Work

New managers sometimes have a hard time understanding why everyone isn’t as dedicated as they are to their job. But often, the reality is, your employees have lives outside of their workplace and those lives aren’t always smooth sailing. Each of us has a finite emotional capacity. So if their home life is stealing more than 50% of their emotional capacity, it leaves less capacity for the office. So if one of your best employees is suddenly under-performing, explore what’s going on in the rest of their life and how you, as their manager, can help them through this rough patch in their life. People will never forget how you made them feel when they needed your help and understanding the most. Even better, when that rough patch is over, you have one of the most empowered and dedicated employees now on your team.

Does Everyone Share the Same Mission?

Every company has a “Mission Statement.” Most are too long and rarely remembered, let alone embraced and understood by every employee. And that’s a BIG problem for you, the general manager.

There’s an old story about President Kennedy visiting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration complex when he stopped and asked a person cleaning the floor what his job was. The person said their job was to put a man on the moon. Now that’s a focused workforce. What would your people say they do in your radio station if someone were to ask?

Don’t wonder what the answer is, ask your people. Get everyone on the same page.

Facebook

The world we live in today has blurred the lines between our work life and our home life. Our computers, tablets and smartphones now mean we are always available to our employer and always able to connect with our social networks. So should you ban Facebook? I was asked do to that once by one of my employees. My response was “no” I would not ban Facebook. And here’s why: First, that person got all their work done and done correctly. That person was available to me at any time 24/7 if I needed something fixed regarding our program logs. If I could invade their home life, if necessary, then their home life could invade my work place.

The good news is recent research has shown that employees who take social network breaks online are more productive than those that don’t. Everyone needs to take a break and refresh to continue to perform at the highest levels they are possible of achieving.

Sales people are known to take a break after a lot of “No’s” and hit some golf balls at the driving range to refresh and get back to closing sales.

Personal Ethics

You know right from wrong. Never let any work place or manager compromise your personal ethics or values. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. And if that “duck” doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Take a stand. Speak up, especially if you’re the manager because your people only have you standing between them and the top management of your company.

Failure is Learning

Want to learn more, fail more often and more quickly. Sounds counter-intuitive but research has proven that failure is all part of the way we learn. We only eliminate the unsuccessful paths by finding out if they lead us to success or not.

I had the opportunity to visit the Thomas Edison laboratory in New Jersey. A sign in the lab where Edison had invented the light bulb had this Edison quote: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” Don’t fear failure. Learn to take risks.

Management vs. Leadership

In the end, what you really want to become is a leader. What’s the difference you ask? Peter Drucker says it best:

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

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.