Tag Archives: Issue 20

WQON-FM Hosts Radio Forum on Energy

WQONOn June 17, Blarney Stone Broadcasting’s WQON-FM (Grayling) hosted an on-air forum on energy moderated by station co-owner Jerry Coyne, featuring local leaders from the energy community.

Sheryl Coyne, President of Blarney Stone Broadcasting, said her radio network is proud to serve as host of such an important event designed to educate listeners on the energy issues facing Northern Michigan. “We believe in providing as much information as possible on issues that affect our listening audience,” Coyne said. “We’re in the communications business, and we take that seriously. We believe passionately that to bring this important issue into focus is the best use of our airwaves.”

The program has been archived and available as a podcast on the station’s website.

MPRN Completes I.T. Transition

MPRN_300The Michigan Public Radio Network has completed its transition from MSU-hosted email, listserv, and FTP services to services now operating under its own management.

The transition started in May with Email and listserv functions moving to cloud-based Google Apps.  This past weekend, MPRN’s FTP site, used for swapping audio and other files between member stations, moved to a server housed inside the Michigan Association of Broadcasters building in Lansing.  The older server reached the end of its useful life recently and was due for replacement.

Dan Kelley, MAB Director of Technical Services/Digital Communications Manager oversaw the transition.  MPRN Member stations having any difficulties or questions concerning the services should contact Dan at [email protected].

Michigan Radio Holding Garrison Keillor Celebration

Last week, we wrote that WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant) was hosting a listener party to celebrate Garrison Keillor’s retirement from “A Prairie Home Companion.”  We have since learned that Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor is also hosting a listener party:

mir-ann-arbor-logo-bwAfter more than 40 years, Garrison Keillor is stepping down as the host of “A Prairie Home Companion.” Michigan Radio is celebrating Keillor’s final performances as host with “Garrison Keillor’s Retirement Celebration” at the station’s studios in Ann Arbor.  Listeners are invited to stop by and enjoy a slice of cake, sign a retirement card, and watch part of his final live show with fellow fans via video stream. The station is also giving away some “A Prairie Home Companion” prizes during the event.

The celebration will be held Saturday, June 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Information online here.

John Gay Joins WDZH-FM

JagCBS Radio’s WDZH-FM (Detroit) has announced the hiring of Jon Gay as the station’s new midday air talent.  Gay, known on-air as “Jag” comes to the station from New Orleans, where he was program director and afternoon drive host at KVDU-FM.

Gay previously worked at WKQI-FM (Detroit) between June 2011 and December 2012.

CBS Radio SVP/Market Manager Debbie Kenyon told All Access: “I am thrilled to add Jag to the 98.7 AMP RADIO lineup.  We are dedicated to keeping the station live and local and I can’t wait to hear Jag during the workday. I look forward to his fun on-air demeanor and know he’ll make a lot of listeners’ workdays go by a lot faster!”

Gay began his new position on June 15.

WWMT-TV Welcomes Mara Thompson

marathompson_300WWMT-TV (Kalamazoo) has hired former WPBN/WTOM-TV (Traverse City) news reporter Mara Thompson.  Thompson joined the station on June 6.

Thompson is a 2014 graduate of Michigan State University, majoring in journalism with a concentration in electronic news.

While at MSU, she was an announcer for the Big Ten Network Student U and was an anchor and reporter for the Emmy award-winning student news program Focal Point.  She also interned at WLNS-TV in Lansing, as well as WPBN/WTOM-TV in Traverse City.

Editorial: Stand Out From The Crowd

JohnLund_200By: John C. Lund
The Lund Consultants, Inc.

Many companies make cell phones and computers, but Apple managed to cut a unique path that led to sales numbers all other companies covet. In the process, the Apple name gained strength as the “i” moniker became a marker for innovation. Apple has mastered standing out in the crowd. Winning stations are like that: a unique edge or identity that becomes part of the brand. We call it Stationality.

What is your unique edge? If you say your music, then this can be attacked easily by a competitor in order to steal your audience. Is it market longevity alone, or have you coupled that with other unique desirable listener benefits?

An even bigger challenge is properly identifying your station’s unique offering and marketing that to listeners. In your next staff meeting, ask every employee to describe your station and then list a key attribute or offering. Chances are that some of your own staff have trouble defining what you are. What can we expect from a listener in that case? Conversely, you may find a description or approach that becomes your new marketing campaign.

The value of your brand rests with being easily identified and offering something exclusive or more attractively packaged for your audience.

Do you own your image in your market? We work with stations and groups to build unique positions and stronger brands that anchor ratings and revenue. Contact [email protected] to discuss your market. See the Lund Stationality Stylebook for ways to make your station unique.

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.

Editorial: Here’s What Your Radio Station Should Be Sharing on Social Media

Seth Resler
Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

Social media can be a powerful tool for radio stations if it’s used as part of a Content Marketing strategy. Think of your website as a radio station. Just as you are continually airing content on your radio station — songs, DJs, contests, etc. — to attract an audience, you need to continually add content to your station’s website: blogposts, photos, videos, podcasts, etc.

Resler_ShareOf course, you want people to know that you are broadcasting this great content on your radio station, so you might put a billboard up by the highway to promote your station. After all, a lot of people drive along that route every day. By the same token, when you post great content to your website, you want to let people know by sharing that content on social media. That’s the “highway” they’re on every day.

If your website is like a radio station, Facebook is like a billboard by the highway. Posting to social media without continually creating content on your website is like putting up a billboard to advertise a radio station that isn’t broadcasting anything. Without content, social media loses most of its value.

What Content to Post to Social Media

Of course, if all you post on social media is links to your own station’s content, your social media presence can appear self-serving. Moreover, it can limit the scope of your social media presence. Some of your listeners may be passionate foodies, but if you don’t have anyone on staff who can create content around food, you won’t be able to engage them on this topic.

Joe Pulizzi, the founder of The Content Marketing Institute, popularized what’s known as the 4-1-1 Rule for sharing content on social media. (He credits Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping, with the rule’s creation.) The 4-1-1 Rule says:

“For every six pieces of content shared via social media (think Twitter for example):

  • Four should be pieces of content from your influencer target that are also relevant to your audience. This means that two-thirds of the time you are sharing content that is not yours and calling attention to content from your influencer group.
  • One piece should be original, educational content that you have created.
  • One piece should be sales-related — like a coupon, product notice, press release, or some other piece of content that no one will likely pay attention to.”

Jacobs Media Strategies Example

What does that look like in real life? At Jacobs Media, we practice the Content Marketing strategy that we preach. Every weekday, Fred Jacobs publishes a blogpost. But we share much more than just Fred’s posts on social media. Here’s a closer look:

4 Pieces of Influencer Content: The target audience for Jacobs Media is radio broadcasters. I follow the blogs of several other content creators that are also of interest to broadcasters. These include:

  • Industry news sites
  • Major companies, such as Nielsen
  • Thought leaders in specific niches, such as broadcast law, streaming, or podcasting

I have also set up Google Alerts, both to call my attention to stories on specific subjects, such as “connected cars,” and to alert me to general topics like “radio” in mainstream publications such as Forbes, the Huffington Post, and Business Insider.

Every morning, I spend 20 minutes scanning through all of this content and share out the stuff I think would be most interesting to our followers. I try to tag the author of the content in the social media post so they see we are sharing their content. This is particularly important when sharing content created by an influencer that we do not already have a personal relationship with. For example, if I see a great article written by a technology reporter for The Guardian, I will tweet it out and include the reporter’s Twitter handle in the hopes they will want to learn more about Jacobs Media.

I don’t adhere strictly to the 4-1-1 ratio; I simply share more content created by other people than I do content created by us.

1 Piece of Original, Educational Content: I always share our latest blogpost on social media. We also use a WordPress Plugin called Revive Old Post to share older blogposts, spread out throughout the day.

1 Piece of Sales-Related Content: I think of this as “Content that Converts“: While you don’t have to jump through any hoops to read our blogposts, we also have some “freemium” content on our website, including webinar recordings, guides, and research results. To access this content, you must fill out a form to sign up for our email database. So for Jacobs Media, the 4-1-1 Social Media Rule looks like this:

  • 4 pieces of content written by other radio broadcasting influencers
  • 1 post from our blog
  • 1 piece of “freemium” content

Remember, 4-1-1 is a ratio, not a hard a fast rule. We often post more that six social media posts per day, but they tend to loosely follow this ratio.

Video Tutorial

Radio Station Example

So how would the 4-1-1 Rule apply to radio stations? In much the same way:

4 Pieces of Influencer Content: A radio station’s list of influencers will include anybody in the local market creating content aimed at the same audience. This could include local:

    • Journalists, columnists, and TV stations
    • Sports teams
    • Schools and universities
    • Bloggers
    • Bands, musicians, and venues
    • Comedians and comedy clubs
    • Festivals and events

Create a list of local influencers who are creating content and share their content when it is appropriate.

1 Piece of Original Content: These are your blogposts, videos, photos, etc. Anything that does not require people to fill out a form to access.

1 Piece of Content that Converts: It doesn’t make a lot of sense for radio stations to regularly post sales-related content (“Advertise with us!”) on their social media channels, because your followers are mostly listeners, not clients. Instead, this last type of social media post is a Call to Action; in other words, it encourages people to complete one of the goals of your digital strategy. Those goals may include (among other things):

  • Streaming the station
  • Signing up for the email database
  • Entering a contest
  • Purchasing tickets to a station event

Here are some examples:

  • “DJ Dan will interview Drake at 5:00pm. Listen: [LINK TO AUDIO STREAM]”
  • “Get the details on all the hottest shows in the area. Sign up for our Concert Calendar Email: [LINK]”
  • “Want to see Muse at the Palladium? Enter To win tickets here: [LINK]”
  • “Kid Rock is headlining our Big Picnic concert this summer! Get tickets here: [LINK]”
  • “Did you miss the Zoo Crew’s interview with Nick Cannon? Listen to it here: [LINK TO THE RECORDING, WHICH IS BEHIND A FORM]”

When your radio station shares content on social media, keep the 4-1-1 Rule in mind. It’s a helpful rule of thumb.

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.

Editorial: “Utility”

KevinRobBy: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media 

It rings inside – like it was yesterday.

As a young talent and just off a record ratings book, the ‘consultant’ came to visit and outlined that the big audience, during my show, was a product of – the music.

NOT personality.

The explanation was classic – radio is like any other ‘utility.’

Listeners turn it on, expect it to be a service for a short time, and turn it off when they are through.

Just like the power company, the sewer district, or the gas provider.

Through the years, even in the pre-consolidation world, this thought has been announced and endorsed at countless seminars and conventions.

Regrettably, it’s often become the self-filling prophecy – reflected by lifeless brands all over the country.

Media across our country is homogenized, syndicated, and voice-tracked, resulting in a benign, utilitarian state.

We continue to be in love with our digital assets – while not mastering consistent local, compelling content for our mother-ships.

You can craft recorded audio – even syndicated – with a local and compelling sound.

I challenge you to listen – actually HEAR – your brand for 20 minutes, today.

Does your station sound custom for your local market – and reflect what’s happened in the last 24 hours?

Or, do you find your product simply a background service for your listener?


You can choose – Utility.

Or choose to develop a compelling brand that makes the switch harder to flip.

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 [email protected].

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.

Editorial: Clear & Simple Call to Action

Jeffrey Hedquist 2013By:  Jeffrey Hedquist
Hedquist Productions, Inc.

Clients, advertising agencies, producers, broadcasters, and writers – have all (me included) done it. It’s a common, but detrimental mistake:

Including more than one call to action in a commercial.

Multiple call to actions can work in print and can occasionally work on TV, but attempting it on radio can delete your effectiveness.

It happens when we mistakenly assume that people are poised, writing instruments in hands, awaiting the vital information that will change their lives. Most of your listeners are engaged in other activities – driving, talking on their cell phones, working, cooking, performing craniotomies…

Giving them a choice of ways to respond is a bad idea.

Hopefully your message is compelling enough to make them want to respond. Now, make it easy for them.

When you’re advertising consumer products, the task is fairly easy. These products are usually available at many locations. People need only ask for the item or have the message that you’ve reinforced in the commercial brought to mind at the point of purchase.

With other kinds of advertisers there are several response vehicles to consider. The listener can call, vote, write a letter, visit a location, attend an event (concert, seminar, free demonstration), or visit a website. Often, in an attempt to cover the bases, we include them all. It’s like throwing several objects to someone simultaneously. Rather than catch even one, they’ll lose focus and catch none. Toss just one object to them and they’ll probably catch it.

You only have 60, 30, 15,10, or 5 seconds to elicit a response. Don’t confuse your audience. Narrow their choice of responses to one.

Only minutes ago, I left the recording studio having recorded a series of radio spots for a major national advertiser created by a large international advertising agency. The spots included two calls to action: a 10-digit phone non-memorable number and a moderately long URL. Both repeated twice. In my not-so-humble opinion, including both will reduce their response rate significantly, but in this instance; I was only the hired voice, not the advertising consultant.

If a website and/or telephone call (this should be rare) are the only ways for a prospect to respond, then create and air two versions – one with the phone number and one with the URL. See which pulls more responses. It’ll usually be the one with the website.

Don’t include both in the same commercial. Dividing the mind will divide your results.

Here’s one way to tell me if this was useful and what you’d like to hear about in the future: email [email protected].

© 1997-2016 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Broadcast Auction Bids Heat Up

The FCC is stepping up the pace of the bidding rounds in the forward part of the incentive auction. Beginning June 13, the agency started conducting three rounds of bidding per day, up from the previous two. Initially, experts suggested that the reverse auction could run a maximum of 51 rounds. However, the new schedule may mean that the auction could end in late June – early July.

While it’s not clear when the forward auction begins, the agency has now set July 1 as the deadline for wireless auction applicants to make their upfront payments.