WEMU hosted its sixth annual State of the Station breakfast Thursday, January 25, at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor. Vocalist Sarah Casello sang with the Paul Keller ensemble and Jacobs Media VP/General Manager Paul Jacobs delivered the keynote address to WEMU’s key stakeholders that included elected officials, EMU administrators, arts leaders, and WEMU major donors.
WEMU Manager Molly Motherwell gave an update on WEMU’s highlights and accomplishments from 2017, which included a yearlong celebration of WEMU’s 40 years of jazz broadcasting, a $133,000 increase in donations from the previous year, new content partnerships with the Civ City initiative, the Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County and Concentrate Media, and the retirement of WEMU’s award-winning music director Linda Yohn.
WEMU’s goals and challenges for 2018 are to strengthen and expand its major donor program, address its aging infrastructure and equipment, and maintain its strong presence as part of the local civic and cultural community through more content partnerships, more local news coverage, and an ongoing commitment to presenting jazz and blues from live and local hosts.
As we wrote here, the FCC recently adopted a new Blue Alert code to be added to the warning codes in the EAS system. This code is to be used for warnings about imminent danger to law enforcement authorities. The FCC’s Order (available in full here) has now been published in the Federal Register, making the rule changes effective. However, the FCC has provided one year for new equipment or upgrades to existing equipment to be rolled out, meaning that broadcasters will need to implement these new EAS codes and be prepared to use them by January 18, 2019. Start your preparations to implement these new codes now.
David Oxenford is MAB’s Washington Legal Counsel and provides members with answers to their legal questions with the MAB Legal Hotline. Access information here. (Members only access).
There are no additional costs for the call; the advice is free as part of your MAB membership.
I recently saw the latest Star Wars movie “The Last Jedi.” It was powerful in many ways, not the least of which was because it was the final film for actress Carrie Fisher, who was excellent.
In film, the way to connect with the theater goer is with close-ups of the faces of the actors. It’s powerful and we respond, as human beings, to another person’s face.
When radio was born, people could not see faces, and the connection radio listeners would make would be with people’s voices.
Radio People’s Memories
I belong to a bunch of radio groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. One of the things these groups have in common is a desire to have things be the way they used to be, like they were when they were growing up. (Spoiler Alert: Ain’t gonna happen)
The other thing that they share, is that the memories everyone has that are the most vivid about radio, are about the people’s voices they listened to.
What made their favorite radio station(s) so loved, were the personalities.
What Makes a Voice Attractive?
In the early days of radio, microphones and everything they were connected up to, to transmit the human voice, were by today’s standards, pretty crude. Men with deep, strong, resonating voices were preferred for traveling through the ether.
As technology improved, other voices entered.
Listeners would now find themselves attracted to people who sounded more like they sounded. Research shows that the reason apparently is because it makes us feel like we’re part of a certain social group.
“The voice is an amazingly flexible tool that we use to construct our identity,” says Dr. Molly Babel, a linguistics professor at the University of British Columbia.
Is a Pleasing Voice More Attractive than a Pleasing Face?
When we hear an appealing voice, our feelings of attraction are heightened. Attractive voices cause us to perceive those individuals with more pleasing personalities.
So, while the real emotion in movies is transmitted via close-ups of the face, on the radio it is the human voice.
So, which is more dominate? A face or a voice?
Turns out, researchers tell us, that “the effects of vocal attractiveness can actually be stronger than the effects of physical attractiveness when each dimension appears alone” (Zuckerman et al., 1991).
Alexa, Siri, Cortana
I’m sure the power of the human voice was not lost on Amazon, Apple or Microsoft as they developed their AI digital voice assistants.
My fiancé Susan gifted me an Echo Dot for Christmas. (I already have been using Siri on my iPhone.) The ease with which it sets up and you begin using it, is remarkable. It quickly becomes a member of the family.
When going to bed our first evening with Alexa in our home, Sue said “Alexa, Good Night.” And Alexa responded with “Good Night, Sweet Dreams.”
Sue came into the bed room walking a cloud beaming how real, how sweet, how comforting it made her feel.
And I knew exactly what she meant.
Anyone who has one of the devices will too.
The power of the personalities on your airwaves are critical to your station’s future success in 2018. How do their voices make your listeners feel?
It can happen in many different ways.
Let me offer a couple of examples: It can be via stationality like the JACK format, (done very well in Nashville) or it can be like the voices and style cultivated by NPR.
It just doesn’t happen by accident.
It takes planning and continuous execution of the plan.
The Battle for Attention
In the end, every form of media is battling for attention.
And to paraphrase the lesson taught in “The Last Jedi,” radio needs to stop trying to defeat what it hates about the competition and save what it loves about radio.
Reprinted by permission.
Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure. Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.
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
When I was the Music Director at 107.7 The End in Seattle, I spent every minute of my workday trying to achieve the right mix of on-air content. Like most radio stations, we had expensive software that enabled me to a balance of new and old, hard and soft, fast and slow. The goal was to create an on-air product that appealed to a wide swath of listeners.
The goal of your radio station’s website is the same. But do you invest as much energy into getting the mix of content right?
Just like the music scheduling software you use for your on-air content, it’s helpful to have a tool to get the right mix of online content. Fortunately, it’s not going to cost you anything.
Next, turn to new business: The analytics you just reviewed can help you decide what new blogposts to write. In place of music scheduling software, use a spreadsheet to schedule the week’s blogposts. I recommend posting this spreadsheet as a shareable document in the cloud — as a Google Spreadsheet, for example — so everybody can log in at any time and see the latest version. This way, you don’t have to email back and forth about every blogpost.
Once you’ve decided what blogposts to write, assign the posts to your staff members with the appropriate due dates.
Encourage your staff to check the Content Calendar regularly throughout the week. This way, not only will your blog writers will know what’s due when, but your on-air staff will know when there’s new blogposts that they can talk about on the air.
In short, it’s time that your radio station put the same amount of careful planning into your online content as you do your on-air content. A Content Calendar can help you do that.
For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.