Category Archives: Programming

The Robinson Report – The Black Mirror

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

Kevin Robinson

By: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for the purpose of diddling with his computer.” –Dave Berry

The Black Mirror is a dark series – found on Netflix – which explores the danger of techno-paranoia and all things “computer.”

Spring 1989.

As a large market content creator in Phoenix, hours of the day where dedicated to generating research, program management, event scheduling and media staffing.

Utilizing an IBM 236 with 10 meg hard drive (!!), all critical issues – solved.

Research reports – employee memos – program management.

All behind the CRT.

Late one day, the boss stuck his head in my office and said…

“…You can’t create greatness staring at a computer screen…”

It was as right 29 years ago – as it is today.

Before Windows – before Internet – before iPhone.

We can all learn from those words – today.

Daily, we bunker down – waiting for the next big thing.

When – we need to be creating – the next big thing.

The tools we use remain simply another tool, not a content creator.

Intoxication our technology generates allow us to miss early great opportunities.

Why not – just one day a month, migrate away from our Black Mirror(s).

Free your mind from the noise of our business.

Justin Bieber (talent – discovered on You Tube) launched Carly Rae Jepson’s career – with a Tweet.

Model Kate Upton – discovered on You Tube – doing The Dougie at a Clippers game.

Comedian Bo Burnhan – practiced in his bedroom before posting his funny at age 16 – on social media.

The Olympians we’re watching – thousands of hours creating GREAT – before they make it to our screen.

So – go.

Now.

Leave.

Create your next – big thing.

Kevin Robinson will be speaking again this year at the Great Lakes Media Show (GLMS) March 6-7 here in Lansing.  For details, click here.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three 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 he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

The Robinson Report – Prep

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

Kevin Robinson

By: Kevin Robinson
Robinson Media

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” -Benjamin Franklin

Everyone, everywhere needs to prep.

Executive ChefHockey PlayerFlorist.

If you’re a speaker,  you need an “Elevator Speech.”

Check out what coach and educator Fred Miller says about that here.

Sellers (and we all are):  Sandler Institute’s Jody Williamson has pre-call tips for you  here.

We’re often asked, “Does Robinson Media do a prep sheet for their clients?”

The answer:  No.

We recommend that when prep services are up for renewal, drop them.

Most of which are typically soaked with The Daily Horoscope, Today In History and The Impossible Question.

With our ‘Three in Three’ prep exercise we teach, you quickly learn you don’t need them.

Plus, when talent develops their own prep,  there’s emotional equity.

You literally can prep content in the time it takes to read this article.

Audiences are engaged by the stories, topics that emotionally resonate and the theater of your show.

Look to  the Internet, a local paper or simply by obsere the world around you.

Still think you need prep sheet? There’s plenty of free stuff out there.

If you can’t find it here, you probably don’t need it.

Just so you know: It took over 60 minutes to prep this article.

Uncomfortable about cutting the prep sheet lifeline?

I know a guy.

Kevin Robinson will be speaking again this year at the Great Lakes Media Show (GLMS) March 6-7 here in Lansing.  For details, click here.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three 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 he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Old-School Marketing That Still Works

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

I spent many years working with Bob Morgan at CBS Radio in Rochester, N.Y. He had one belief that really impacted me to the point that, all these years later, I still use this line once or more each day.

Bob always said, “Be brilliant with the basics.”

With that in mind, check out these six easy-to-implement ideas for a better-sounding radio station:

  1. Fill out your Nielsen SIP (Station Information Packet). They may say you don’t have to, but I say do it. Make sure your SIP is correct, every book. You never know when an editor may need clarification. Why take chance that your information is out of date? You need every quarter hour you can get!
  2. Do you have a “relationship” with your P1s? This the number one way to achieve strong ratings. You can play all the right songs, have all the right sweepers, and the best jingles in the market. If you’re missing that hard-to-describe link that reflects the old saying “People Listen to People They Like,” you’ve got some work to do. Is your station likable? P1s always fuel their favorite radio station with lots of 1/4 hours.
  3. Listener databases still work. A little “old school” can go a long way. Take advantage of technology that is sitting on your desk today and is free. A listener database is a great way to speak to listeners and thank them with special offers that mean something to them. Many stations are wasting this by dumping worthless promotions into these databases. “Here’s what’s happening at WAAA” does not mean anything. It sends out a message that communication from my favorite station is really spam.
  4. Better: Send out an e-mail blast on Wednesday that says when you will play a secret song on Thursday. Give a “special number” to call to win $100. Make sure they understand that this contest is only for them. For $100 a week (less than some spend on lunch) you could set yourself up for a ratings spike.
  5. Change is not adult radio’s friend. About to make an adjustment? Think about it carefully. When changes in programming are made on a whim they might ultimately hurt, or even worse, open up an opportunity for a competitor. By the way, listeners are more aware of on-air changes than we think, so yes, they do hear that “extra spot.” The earlier the better with marketing. If you are marketing for the book, starting early in the book is preferred. Many believe that it takes 60-90 days for changes to affect a rating book. By starting early, you allow the cumulative effect of your marketing to affect the book.
  6. GMs & Owners: Programmers need love too! Have a weekly meeting or lunch out of the station to catch up, and allow your PD quality time for important matters. Tell a jock you heard a good break. Send a note after a jock does a nice job at a remote. Walk by the studio and give thumbs up.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

The Robinson Report – The Interview

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

“Don’t ever do an interview … make it a conversation.” That’s the advice Jack Paar gave to Dick Cavett.

It almost seems without effort. His execution is flawless.

And again this weekend.

To watch CBS Sunday Morning’s Steve Hartman interview REAL people, you’d think they were long lost friends.

Which is exactly his gift.

You might not know Jack Paar or Dick Cavett from a bucket of chicken.

Watch them work. And learn.

Even facing cantankerous John Lennon, Dick Cavett’s conversation with the famous ex-Beatle and his Yoko – made history.

It certainly was far from an interview but a clear, intimate look into their lives.

The art of the interview eludes most radio talent because we make it an interview, not a conversation.

We’re faced with diverse sets of “interviews” – local city officials, charity leaders along with regional and national stars.

First – do your homework.

Nothing tells the Listener you don’t know what you’re doing if you’re not in control of the answer – or can regain control if a fastball flies by you.

Second – put the interviewee at ease.

Perhaps a nugget of personal information not previously in the spotlight that lifts them up.

Finally – always record the conversation.

Or at least delay.

Imagine if  Diane Sawyer were ‘live’ with her conversations.

Messy, messy, messy.

Yet, we do it in broadcast – every day.

Cancel the interview. Book the conversation.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three 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 he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin was a featured speaker at the 2017 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) in Lansing.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

10 Programming Predictions for the Next 25 Years

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

Are you ready to change our industry?

Are you a decision maker? Do you have the courage to take these predictions and make them happen? I’m looking to partner with “Lets make it happen” owners and managers who are ready to make 2018 the year that radio history is made!

1. Some of the big groups will start to breakup once they realize that radio is a local media that needs “local care and tenderness.” Investors will lose patience and station sales will be made to local operators.

2. Somebody will figure out radio’s next revenue model. The era of 8-10 commercials in a row will end and we will get into a whole new system of presenting advertisers messages. Long, hard to listen thru clusters will no longer exist.

3. Radio will figure out how to monetize demo’s other than 25-54. Preteen stations will pop up as well as 50+ formats.

4. Since it will be owned by local operators, radio will go back to a 24/7 operation. This will increase the need for talent and also give new talent a chance to get on the air in overnights and weekends.

5. More and more stations will drop Nielsen. Since radio will move to a local model, results will matter more over ratings. Programming pressure will be on sounding great, getting results and being out in the community.

6. Programmers will look back at the golden era of top-40 radio and adapt many of its practices. Great DJ’s and exciting imaging will once again be a part of every radio station.

7. DJ’s will matter more than “10 in a Row.” Good ones will be in demand. Salaries will once again rise.

8. Programmers will realize the power of strong jingles for branding their image. Memorable and fun jingles will once again appear all across the nation. Smart programmers will listen to PAMS cuts and ask, “How do we take the idea behind these and make it work today?”

9. Radio will go back to being more “full service.” Information will be a big part of that mix. Many stations will go back to “News” all day long.

10. Realizing that commercials can be a tune-out, radio will adapt programs that test and improve the quality of commercials. Jerry Lee of WBEB, Philadelphia is ahead of the curve, as he is doing this now.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

The Robinson Report – Time

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

“So Much Wasted Time.” – David Cassidy’s last words (according to his daughter, Katie)

Riding through the belly of America this past weekend, the billboard in Central Illinois blazed Black Friday sales.

But it was Sunday, rendering it useless.

When the horrific, unthinkable shooting developed last month – just off The Strip in Las Vegas – the next mornings’ newspapers were already being delivered.

The deadline for print – long passed.

As hurricanes swallowed America’s southern border this fall, radio saw a dramatic spike in listening.

Radio remains the ONLY medium, still portable, that can harness the power of time – with NOW.

Yet, radio continues to backpedal from the power of NOW.

With thousands of unmanned studios and companies embracing nationwide voice-tracking, radio is only diluting our greatest advantage.

Now.

Radio is the only medium that can launch a campaign, change copy or freshen a topical message.

Within minutes.

While we can’t physically ‘make time’ – we CAN choose how we invest time.

This week, take three minutes to evaluate your brand.

The strength of your music library – sonics between the records – so-called ‘evergreen’ promos.

Listen carefully but move quickly.

Don’t waste it.

You have the TIME.

You can improve it – NOW.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three 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 he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin was a featured speaker at the 2017 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) in Lansing.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Listeners Speak… Are We Listening?

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

As a radio professional, I’m sure you have often wondered what your listeners are really thinking about your station. Based on countless research studies and in-market focus groups, here are some of the most common points that come up with female AC listeners.

Title & Artist is a major benefit to the female listener. In focus group after group, when you bring up back-selling of music, all agree that it is very important and their favorite station does not always do it. We think they know all the songs. They disagree. In many cases, the listeners brought this up as a negative. They wonder why their favorite station does not tell them the songs played. Having this info on your website is a step in the right direction, but not what they really want, which is to hear it on the air. As always, this especially applies to newer and recurrent songs.

“Good chemistry” is #1 in AM Drive. When asked why they liked their favorite morning show a lot, the word “chemistry” came up time after time. The relationship of the players and the way they get along on the air is critical. Other important issues in the morning are “fun” shows (not to be confused with funny) as well as shows that they are “used to and comfortable with.”

Music is still important in the morning. As usual, listeners want it all. They want a show loaded with fun people having a good time, but they also want a lot of music. Please do not overlook the power and importance of music in the morning.

Local is more important than ever. It is amazing how aware people are of radio ownership. In some markets, they can name the commonly owned stations as well as where they are located. They are also more aware than ever of the use of voice tracking technology. In one market, they talked about the “former owners” who sold to a “conglomerate.” Stressing that you are live and local is a positive. Talking about local landmarks and knowing the area can have a positive effect. People see radio as a local, hometown media. One woman said how she liked it when the traffic reporter explained where the accident was by using business locations as reference points (“On the corner of Maple and Orchard Lake across from McDonald’s”).

Morning and night personalities are the best known. In most groups, listeners were very unsure of the midday and afternoon personalities. For stations that have their own love songs host, there is usually good familiarity.

With music: “More tempo and more contemporary” is what they want. Many ACs are finding out that they need more tempo and need to be more contemporary with their music. Please remember, more contemporary is not about playing more current, unfamiliar music. Think familiarity and recurrent here.

AC radio is a “safe haven” for women 35-54. Clean lyrics and G-rated content is still important to these women. No need to call the station “family friendly.” They say they know which stations follow this practice.

P1 Women like to play contests. The prize is not always as important as “the chance to win.” If they feel they have a chance to win, it is good. Prizes such as theater tickets, weekend getaways, dinners at restaurants and tickets to concerts are all good. “Entertaining contests” seem more important to many of these listeners versus the actual prize itself.

Stopping fewer times for spots is preferred. Most listeners like the two-stop clocks, but are aware that they will “pay for it” (their words) in the end. They do however feel it is better to stop less often even if it means more spots. The one common comment heard in market after market is they feel “all stations play too many commercials.”

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

The Programming Meeting: 6 Ideas to Make your Station Sound Better!

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

Here are 6 ideas that, if implemented will not only make you sound better but you’ll probably raise your numbers too! Your consultant will be checking back to make sure they’re all done by the end of the week (lol)!

BE LOCAL. Build in positions on the clock to mention people, places and events. Take advantage of traffic reports to sound local. Former KVIL, Dallas morning man/PD Ron Chapman did it best; “The accident is at Main and Second, right in front of McDonalds.” Dallas listeners could always picture exactly where the accident was. Being local is important, but being good is key. Always strive for the best product that reflects local tastes.

BE HUMAN. Remind your talent that they are like actors. Actors use scripts. Their “interpretation” brings the words to life. The same applies to station benefits. If jocks just read them they will not work. Adding the human touch and not losing the message brings them to life. But, be careful not to allow jocks too much room to “interpret” the liners. Many times, in their attempt to do this, the focus and point gets lost.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? PROMOTE YOUR BENEFITS. Every time a jock opens the mic they should promote a benefit of the station. It is hard enough to get listeners to hear our message. Frequency is key here. Music quantity and at work use are essential.

THE LOST ART OF AIR-CHECKING. It is so important that talent understand what you expect. It also strengthens your relationship with them. Doing an aircheck session will alert you to things you may not normally hear. This goes for live, in-building jocks as well as voice-trackers. Do one today and hear the difference tomorrow.

STAY CLOSE WITH PROMOTIONS. Seems like every advertiser wants a promotion to go with their schedule. That’s why the program director should be the final link in all promotions. Make sure they are right for the station, and executed properly to help improve ratings. Example: How does this promotion increase occurrences of listening or cume? Are we talking about it enough/too much? More and more we learn: Promotions are the icing on the cake. Music is still the #1 reason people listen.

ARE YOU OVERUSING YOUR VOICE PERSON? If your voice talent is on the air more than your jocks, you may want to review that. Use your jocks to sound live, local and vibrant. Trust me. Your listeners like your DJ’s.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

Traffic and Weather Together: Quick tips to Make it Sound Great!

Gary Berkowitz

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: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

Doing traffic and weather may seem simple, but its easy for both of these services to become “wallpaper” or just be done the wrong way. Since most radio stations do both of these daily elements, check out these tips and instantly see how great they sound on your station. Your listeners will appreciate it too!

TRAFFIC

GIVE ME THE TRAFFIC REPORT, PLEASE. Nothing annoys listeners more than hearing the traffic intro and then the jock goes off on a tangent, talking about everything but the traffic. When the intro hits, get directly to the report. Save the “schmooze” for other places.

WHAT DID THEY SAY? Have your traffic reporters developed their own language? Make sure they speak with easy to understand words. At the news station here in Detroit, they always refer to I-75 as “The Chrysler.” Problem is, nobody calls it that. People call it 75. Traffic reporters are the only ones who use that name.

SLOW DOWN. Many traffic reporters speak so fast to include everything that you end up hearing nothing.

THEN WHY DID THEY DO THE REPORT? Avoid “Nothing is going on.” If that is the case, why are we doing a report? Avoid this traffic reporter crutch: “Things are winding down.” What does that mean?

BETTER TSL. Avoid using traffic reports as a tease unless you are going to site a specific problem. “There’s a problem on 95 South by Salty’s billboard at exit 56. We’ll tell you why next on 92 PRO-FM.”

RATINGS HINT: Get credit by attaching your call letters to traffic reports. Avoid “We’ll check traffic next.” Better: “We’ll check Lite 101.9 Traffic next”

WEATHER

ONE PUNCH JINGLES SOUND BETTER. Two-punch weather jingles never sound as good as one-punch versions. Have a longer emergency bed only for use on bad weather days when necessary.

ELIMINATE PARTLY TO MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH HI’S IN THE MID TO UPPER 60’S. Use fewer words. Eliminate use of words such as Hi’s, Low’s. Do the weather format the same, all the time. This is a great one from Don Kelley when he was PD at Magic 106.7 in Boston.

Sunny & Warm Today, 78

Clear Tonight, 66

C’MON, I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO DRESS. Like with traffic, once the jingle hits, get to the weather. This is not schmooze time. Now that we’re into Fall, how about “What to Wear Weather.” or “School Day Weather.”

RATINGS HINT WITH WEATHER: When doing weather back to music, make sure your format includes a strong station benefits.

“Sunny and 89 with another 30 minutes of Today’s Best Music starting now.”

TV PEOPLE ARE GOOD FOR YOU. Have a relationship with a TV station and its meteorologist in AM Drive. Use their name on weather reports throughout the day. Make sure they do not get too technical and involved. Keep it fun, simple and concise (TV weather people are notorious for going too long).

Once you get these on your station, let me know how it’s working for you.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

The Robinson Report – Legend

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

“I won’t be a rock star – I will be a legend.” – Freddie Mercury

Tom Petty – Dead.

The news swept the music industry and shocked the world.

Not a Bucket List concert for me – but I still have a bright red disc of “Change of Heart.

Legend is fleeting – and mortal.

You can learn much by associating with legend, if you identify them.

Like Bill Drake.

Bill Drake was a large figure – in stature and legacy.

Click HERE if the name stumps you.

Bill was considered one of the fathers of music radio as we know it. His talent stable was legend – Boss Jocks on Boss Radio.

Bill held school on music nuisances with names like Diddy Bop, Chin Boogie and his detest of “story songs.” From his “corner office” in a San Fernando Valley strip mall, the tall Texan, who paid cash for everything while living in a motel, passed somewhat quietly nearly nine years ago.

I’m a better programmer because of those 3 p.m. “sessions” in The Valley.

Also, I’m reminded of a few legends I’ve had the honor to call – colleagues.

Dick Biondi, John Records Landecker, Clark Weber, Bob Hale, George Johns, Glenn Beck, Bob Dearborn, Guy Phillips among many others.

I am the broadcaster I am today in large part because of these associations.

Which leads me to this.

There are living legends – today – from which YOU can learn.

These top-of-gamers are insightful, engaging and accessible.

Fred Jacobs – who invented many things, among them Classic Rock – shares ideas weekly (if not MORE often).

Tracy Johnson – offers webinars on talent development – FREE!

Lori Lewis – radio’s digital Gold-Standard – shares what she’s learned – and applicable in all businesses.

Dick Taylor – now spreading his genius in academia – writes a transparent and brutally honest blog – which you can read – FOR FREE!

Roy Williams – “The Wizard of Ads” – will add YOU to his Monday Morning Memo – FREE!

Seth Godin – has been blogging before it was a thing as his stuff transfers not only to media but all creative (and business) – also FREE!

Connect then learn from the talent above and who you consider genius while they are still  accessible.

Kevin Robinson is a record-setting and award-winning programmer. His brands consistently perform in the Top Three 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 he has coached CMA, ACM and Marconi winning talent. Kevin was a featured speaker at the 2017 Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) in Lansing.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife of 30 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.