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
As radio broadcasters, we create audio content day in and day out. Unfortunately, audio doesn’t go viral on social media. If we want our audio content to spread, it’s best to turn it into video before posting it to social networks. Fortunately, there are a host of tools to help us do that.
Radio morning shows routinely take an excerpt from their latest show and repurpose as a recorded promo. That same recorded promo can also be repurposed as an audiogram.
An audiogram is a video that combines a static image with a waveform to match overlayed audio. For example, here is an audiogram that I recently created for my podcast, The D Brief:
There are a number of tools available to help you quickly and easily convert your audio into an audiogram. The audiogram above was made with Wavve.co. You may also want to look into Audiogram, Repurpose or SpareMin. Many podcasters use Auphonic to polish up the sound quality of their episodes, and it is also capable of creating audiograms.
Ripl and Sweepers
Another tool that I like to use is Ripl. Ripl is a smartphone app that allows you to take a produced sweeper and turn it into a short video promo, like this:
Ripl is designed to be a full-blown social media marketing solution, allowing you to easily share videos to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. It also provides analytics so you can measure the engagement your videos produce.
Sometimes I use Ripl for generic promos like the one above. Other times, I’ll use it to promote a specific podcast episode:
Your radio station can use Ripl to promote upcoming interviews, contest or station events.
Note that these tools produce square videos. That’s because Instagram uses square videos, and because square videos take up more of the screen when viewed in Facebook on a smartphone.
Experiment with these tools and see if you can find one that fits best into your workflow. By taking a few extra minutes each day, you can repurpose your radio station’s on-air content as videos that are more likely to be shared on social media.
For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622.
I began my broadcasting career as a disc jockey when I entered the 10th grade in high school. Broadcasting would pay for my college undergraduate and graduate degrees. Anyone who knew me from the outset would have told you I was a real radio guy. I thought I knew it all.
That is, until I decided that if I were to ever to be promoted to the position of general manager, I would need to have proven myself in the area of sales.
The way I would become an account executive happened when I was approached by a general manager, at one of our competitors, who wanted to hire me to come work for him as his program director/operations manager; the same position I currently held. I thanked him for the offer but said my goal was to become a general manager and I wanted my next move to be in sales.
“Seriously?” he asked astonishingly. “Let me get back to you on that,” and the phone call ended.
Two weeks later, he called back and said, “I’ve got your sales job. Let’s talk.”
The offer to become a radio account executive would pay me the same money I was currently paid as a program director/operations manager as a salary with 10% more for each sale I made. I was stunned and wondered why I had not made this move sooner. I took the job.
Front & Back of the Building
From my earliest days in radio, I learned there were two parts to a radio station building. The front half and the back half.
The front had all the executives and sales people. The back had the DJs, production people and engineering. Both ends seemed to always get a rug burn when they met in the middle.
My First Week in Sales
When I was hired for my new sales position, I was told I would be given an active list of advertisers. That might have been the case, but my current employer wanted me to give them two weeks’ notice before leaving – unusual in broadcasting when a person is crossing the street to a competitor – and I did, which meant by the time I arrived at my new station, the active advertisers had now fallen in love with other account executives who had been asked to babysit those accounts until my arrival.
So, my first day in sales would see my list of active advertisers whittled down to three and on my first morning all three of those called in to cancel their advertising. But I was still excited to be in advertising and could not wait to hit the streets.
My boss told me at the outset, that since I would be using a lot of gas for my car driving around to prospect for new advertisers, I could sell a gas trade to off-set this expense. It didn’t take a lot of math skills to realize that such a sale would result in 100% commission to me.
All that first week, the only businesses I called on were gas stations.
I heard a lot of “NOs.”
Until Friday around noontime, I called on a gas station owner who was eating his lunch. He said if I would come back after he finished eating he’d listen to me. I did. He liked the plan I proposed and I signed my first sale, a gas trade.
Friday Afternoon at the Sales Office
At the end of a week, sales people are usually back in the sales office, taking care of orders and planning out the coming week before going home for the weekend. They also are sharing stories of their week in sales.
“So, how did your first week go in sales?” someone asked me. “Did you sell anything?” inquired another.
Yes, I responded. I sold a gas trade.
The room went deathly silent.
“You sold a gas trade?” they asked, almost in unison.
“Yes, yes I did.” I replied. “Don’t each of you have a gas trade?” I asked.
Don’t Tell Me It Can’t Be Done, Until I’ve Done It
It was at that moment I learned I was now the only sales person in that radio station that had a gas trade. And the reason was simple. They all knew what I didn’t. They all knew gas stations didn’t trade gas for advertising, but I didn’t know that.
Pam Lontos often says in her sales training, “Don’t tell me I can’t do something, until after I’ve done it.”
I was sure glad that I hadn’t been told that gas stations didn’t trade advertising for gas at the outset or I might never have had that gas trade for the entire time I was in sales and sales management at that radio station.
The Lesson Learned
The lesson I would learn from my first sale was not to let others tell me what I could or could not accomplish. If I was going to be successful, I would need to set my own goals, make my plan and work my plan.
I became a general manager at the age of 30. That job morphed into a market manager as the radio industry began consolidation.
My next goal was to use my college education in teaching to land a job as a broadcast professor at a university. That happened in 2010 when I joined the faculty of The School of Journalism & Broadcasting at WKU.
In 2014, I began this mentorship blog with the goal of paying-it-forward to others.
Throughout my life, so many people have been there for me, openly sharing their knowledge, wisdom and help to further my career.
That’s why I work every day to lead and mentor others in finding their own success in broadcasting.
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.
Entercom’s WWJ-AM (Detroit) raised more than $1.4 million in their 15th annual Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW, The Heat and Warmth Fund.
Along with our enthusiastic volunteers, the station took calls all day February 9, broadcasting live from our radio studios in Southfield, collecting donations to keep Michigan families in need warm this winter.
THAW assists families in need by preventing utility shut-off, providing fuel or restoring services. 91% of every dollar that THAW spends goes directly to help those in need and THAW’s utility partners match every dollar that THAW raises, so that $1 becomes $2 in energy assistance.
This support can be life-saving for struggling Michigan families facing a serious financial crisis — usually due to a job loss, a serious illness or other family emergency — who are temporarily unable to pay their utility bills.
On February 13, 2018, an application was filed with the Federal Communications Commission to assign the license of WMJZ-FM (Gaylord) from Darby Advertising, Inc. to 45 North Media, Inc. The purchase price was $750,000.
45 North Media has been operating the station under a Local Programming and Marketing Agreement since January 2.
The seller is owned by Kent Smith, who also owns WUPN-FM (Paradise/Sault Ste. Marie). The buyer is owned by Bryan and Joyce Hollenbaugh. Hollenbaugh most recently managed a cluster of six stations in Albany, N.Y.
Detroit Radio Advertising Group member stations paused for a moment of silence at 9 a.m. on February 14 to honor and remember a great friend.
On Monday, Art Van Furniture founder, Art Van Elslander passed away at the age of 87.
With the help of Detroit Radio, Art Van Elslander grew his company from a single store opened in 1959 on Gratiot to one of the country’s largest independent furniture retailers with more than 100 stores in five states, 3,500 employees, and $1 billion in revenue.
Art was a great businessman but also an unforgettably kind man that impacted the lives of countless people.
God bless the Van Elslander family and may you rest in peace, Art Van Elslander.
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) will be the inaugural recipient of the NAB Broadcast Champion Award. The award recognizes a member of Congress who demonstrates exemplary leadership and commitment to strengthening the future of radio and television, recognizing broadcasters’ vital role in our local communities.
As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee since 1997, Congressman Green has worked on a multitude of issues of importance to local radio and television broadcasters over the years. He has taken to the floor of Congress to champion the vital role local broadcasters play as ‘first informers’ during times of emergency, and appears as a frequent guest on Houston radio and television stations. Green also has been the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the Local Radio Freedom Act – a resolution opposing a performance royalty on local broadcast radio stations for free, promotional music airplay – since its inception in the 110th Congress.
Congressman Green is also a principal cosponsor of the Radio Consumer Protection Act, which would establish a fund to reimburse local radio stations impacted by the “repack” stemming from the broadcast spectrum incentive auction. Green will receive the award at NAB’s 2018 State Leadership Conference on February 27 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.
Michigan’s utilities would have to generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 under a voter-initiated act that could appear on the November ballot.
The Board of State Canvassers will consider the petition next week from Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan. The proposal would define renewable energy as solar, wind, biomass, hydropower and municipal solid waste or landfill gas and not petroleum coke, hazardous waste, scrap tires or coal waste. It would gradually raise the standard – 18 percent by 2022, 21 percent by 2024, 24 percent by 2026, 27 percent by 2028 and 30 percent by 2030. The 2016 energy law called for the percentage to be 15 percent by 2021 (PA 342 of 2016).
In 2012, environmental activists sought a constitutional amendment to set the renewable energy requirement at 25 percent by 2025, but it was defeated.
Many radio stations need to be considering the FCC requirement that their public inspection file be made available online in a system hosted by the FCC. From the calls I have received in the last few days, it appears that, even though the FCC adopted the requirements two years ago (see our post here), and station groups with 5 or more employees in the Top 50 markets had to covert to the online file soon thereafter, many smaller stations are only now realizing that the March 1 mandatory conversion date for all stations – commercial and noncommercial – is fast approaching.
We recently conducted a series of seminars for state broadcast associations on the online public file obligation. See the Michigan webinar here. The slides from the last of these, conducted for the Iowa and Indiana Broadcasters, are available here. In addition to those slides which provide an outline of the online public file obligations, there are many resources on the FCC’s own website about the public file. To summarize some of the last minute issues being faced by broadcasters, the Indiana Broadcasters posed 5 questions about the requirements – and our answers are shared below.
If a station is starting from ‘square one’ in preparing for the Online Public File requirement that kicks in for all radio stations on March 1, what are the first couple of steps one should do immediately? With the March 1 deadline fast approaching for having your online file up and activated , stations should now be actively uploading the required material to the FCC file, and making sure that the information automatically uploaded by the FCC is accurate. We have already heard reports that the FCC system for hosting the online public file is running slowly, especially during business hours, making uploads difficult. That is likely to get even worse as we get closer to the March 1 deadline. So if a station has not started to get its online public file ready, it needs to do so immediately.For a station that has done nothing, it needs to start by registering to get a password for the FCC’s site that hosts the file. A station first needs to go to the “Owner Sign In” page here. Using the station’s FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password will allow it to log in and set up a passcode for the public file. If a station doesn’t know its FRN or has forgotten its password, it can call the FCC’s FRN Help Line: 877-480-3201 (Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. ET). Once the station has its passcode, a station uses that passcode to log into the FCC-hosted platform, here, and start uploading its documents.
The FCC has a good set of Frequently Asked Questions about the online public file process here.
Are all radio stations now going to be required to use an online Public File?The online public inspection file is required for all stations, commercial and noncommercial, unless the station has obtained a waiver. Few if any waivers have been granted. Unless you are a very small station with real provable issues with Internet access, I would not expect waivers at this point, so late in the game.
What are the most important uploading obligations?The FCC has already uploaded many of the required documents, and those documents should be found already in the folders when you first log into the FCC’s hosting platform. The information already uploaded by the FCC includes pending applications, ownership reports, a contour map showing the stations coverage, The Public and Broadcasting procedure manual, and copies of the station’s license and renewal authorization. Look these over carefully and determine which of the FCC-uploaded documents need to be made available to the public. The FCC will upload all applications filed for your station going back many years – when only pending applications need to be made visible to the public. So you need to select which ones will be made available to the public by keeping them in the “On” position and toggling the rest to the “Off” position so that the public can’t see them. We have also heard reports that there have been instances where the FCC has not uploaded the most recent license into the authorization folder, so you should check to make sure that what has been uploaded reflects accurately your current operations.
A station will have two sets of documents that will take a significant amount of time to manually upload. Any station that is part of a Station Employment Unit with 5 or more full-time employees needs to upload all of its Annual EEO Public Inspection File Reports, back to the start of the current renewal term for the state in which the station is located. There will likely be 4-6 of these reports, depending on the license term for the state in which the station is located.
In addition, stations need to upload all of their Quarterly Issues Programs lists going back to the start of the license term. All stations, commercial and noncommercial, should have these reports. These are the only documents that the FCC requires to show how your station met the needs and interests of its community of license. As all of the Quarterly Issues Programs lists going back to the start of the license term need to be uploaded, you are looking at uploading more than 20 of these quarterly reports. Because there are so many, these will likely take more time than anything else to upload.
Unlike the EEO Reports and Quarterly Issues Programs lists referenced above, the FCC has said that you only need to upload “new” political file documents (i.e. those created after the file goes live to the public). If you decide not to upload the old political documents, you must maintain all “old” political file documents in a paper public inspection file for two years from the date that the document was created. If you are thinking of no longer maintaining a main studio open during normal business hours, you may want to consider uploading all political documents now so you no longer need to maintain a paper file available to local residents.
There are other documents commonly to be included in the file that station employees will need to manually upload. These include licensee organizational documents, contracts relating to ownership rights (e.g. options, pledges or voting proxies), and other contracts that restrict a licensee’s control over station operations (all of which are supposed to be listed on your ownership report) either need to be uploaded or included on a list of documents available for inspection upon request (with information as to how to contact someone at the station that can provide the documents within 7 days). Time brokerage or joint sales agreements need to be uploaded. And, for noncommercial stations, a list of donors contributing to support the broadcast of a specific program (as opposed to general station donors) is to be included in the public file.
The FCC has published a complete list of all of the documents that you need to have in your file here.
After uploading the documents, how long do I need to keep copies of these files? Retention periods vary for the various documents that need to be in the file. As noted above, EEO Public Inspection File Reports and Quarterly Issues Programs lists for the entire license term need to remain in the file until your next license renewal is granted. Applications need to be in the public file only until the application is granted and the grant is final (no longer subject to any appeal or review). Only the most recent ownership report needs to be in the file (as a reminder, the next biennial ownership report is due by March 2, 2018). Documents in the political file need to be maintained for two years from the date of their creation. Certain contracts and agreements (like time brokerage agreements) need to be maintained for the life of the agreement. So review the FCC’s rules on the retention of documents. In the slide deck we prepared here, many of the retention periods are provided.
What advantages and disadvantages of the online file? The obvious advantage is that you no longer have to maintain a paper file and give physical access to your studio to anyone who wants to see the file. Of course, by putting the file online, you make the contents of the file available for review by anyone, anywhere, any time. So public interest groups and the FCC itself can use it to assess your compliance – including looking at electronic date stamps on documents to determine whether documents were timely included in the file. Late filings could become a real issue for documents like Quarterly Issues Programs lists which were rarely, if ever, reviewed by the FCC when they were kept in the paper public file. Remember, on the next renewal application, you will likely be asked to confirm that you placed all required materials in the public file on time. The FCC and the public will now know whether your response is accurate or not.
The March 1 deadline is fast approaching. If you have not already completed the process and made your file available to the public, start working on that file soon. It will take longer than you think, so don’t run out of time to comply.
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.
There is a historical thought that reporters need to remove themselves from a story and be desensitized to everything. Joe Little disagrees and he will tell you why at the 2018 Great Lakes Media Show.
The Great Lakes Media Show, formerly the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference & Expo (GLBC) will take place March 6 and 7 at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. Register to attend by February 16 to take advantage of discounted rates.
Little is a television news reporter with KGTV 10News, the ABC affiliate in San Diego, Calif. He’s a proud Multimedia Journalist and often travels the country with his Garden Gnome teaching professionals and students his strategies for better storytelling and on-camera performances. Joe has been awarded 11 Emmys and was a finalist for the NPPA’s Photojournalism Award for Reporting in 2017. His creative stories have taken viewers as far away as Pakistan; to a story completely contained inside a dumpster.
His coverage of the 9/11 attacks is among Joe’s greatest accomplishments. He was four miles away from Shanksville, Penn., when United Flight 93 crashed. Little was one of the first reporters on the scene. His accounts are included in a book called Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report on 9/11. His expertise has also been included in a number of journalism textbooks.