Category Archives: Programming

‘Content’ or ‘Companionship’

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

OK, I’m going to say it. “Companionship” is more important than “Content.” Sure content is the buzzword these days but it takes a special something to be considered a “companion.” Yes, its great to have both but nothing causes more occurrences of listening on a daily basis than being a “companion” that the listener enjoys spending time with day after day. Content may get em sometimes. Be their companion, and they will always be with you.

Why is so much radio content “low hanging fruit”? Radio seems to always go for the easy to find, not always compelling material. One of the PD’s I work with refers to bad content as “low hanging fruit.” If you’re going to do content it must not only be compelling, but of high interest to your demos and listeners. After all, can you imagine “The Today Show” doing “This Day in History”? Not gonna happen! Unless you have killer content, another song will serve you better.

Do you have a “relationship” with your P1 core? The #1 and most important element to getting consistently 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 bonds the listener to your station, the ratings will most likely not be there. This is where your personalities come into play. They are “The Secret Sauce” between the music.

In sales they say “People buy from people they like.” In programming its “People listen to people they like.” Is your station likable? Think about “content or companionship.”

New Music is weak right now with AC’s biggest “feeder format” CHR. Don’t fall prey to “we have to freshen up.” Playing proven, familiar music still wins out every time. Discipline is needed now, and yes, this can change at anytime.

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

With April Fools’ Day Coming Up, Plan Your On-Air Pranks with Care – Remember the FCC Hoax Rule

David Oxenford - Color
David Oxenford

By: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP,
BroadcastLawBlog.com

With April Fools’ Day falling on a Sunday this year, perhaps the potential for on-air pranks is lessened. But, then again, who knows what weekend talent may be planning? So, as we do every year about this time, we need to play our role as attorneys and ruin the fun by repeating our reminder that broadcasters need to be careful with any on-air pranks, jokes or other bits prepared especially for the day. While a little fun is OK, remember that the FCC does have a rule against on-air hoaxes. While issues under this rule can arise at any time, broadcaster’s temptation to go over the line is probably highest on April 1. The FCC’s rule against broadcast hoaxes, Section 73.1217, prevents stations from running any information about a “crime or catastrophe” on the air, if the broadcaster (1) knows the information to be false, (2) it is reasonably foreseeable that the broadcast of the material will cause substantial public harm and (3) public harm is in fact caused. Public harm is defined as “direct and actual damage to property or to the health or safety of the general public, or diversion of law enforcement or other public health and safety authorities from their duties.” Air a program that fits within this definition and causes a public harm, and expect to be fined by the FCC.

This rule was adopted in the early 1990s after several incidents that were well-publicized in the broadcast industry, including one case where the on-air personalities at a station falsely claimed that they had been taken hostage, and another case where a station broadcast bulletins reporting that a local trash dump had exploded like a volcano and was spewing burning trash. In both cases, first responders were notified about the non-existent emergencies, actually responded to the notices that listeners called in, and were prevented from responding to real emergencies. In light of this sort of incident, the FCC adopted its prohibition against broadcast hoaxes. But, as we’ve reminded broadcasters before, the FCC hoax rule is not the only reason to be wary on April 1.

Beyond potential FCC liability, any station activity that could present the risk of bodily harm to a participant also raises the potential for civil liability. In cases where people are injured because first responders had been responding to the hoaxes instead of to real emergencies, stations could have faced potential liability. If some April Fools’ stunt by a station goes wrong, and someone is injured either because police, fire or paramedics are tied up responding to a false alarm, or if someone is hurt rushing to or from the scene of the non-existent calamity that was reported on a radio station, the victim will be looking for a deep pocket to sue – and broadcasters may become the target. Even a case that doesn’t result in liability can be expensive to defend and subject the station to unwanted negative publicity. So, have fun, but be careful how you do it.

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.

The Robinson Report – Different

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

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein

Coffee – Starbucks vs. Dunkin Donuts.

Smartphone – iPhone vs. Android.

Religion – Protestant vs. Catholicism

None of the above is “better” than the other, only different.

The “better” is determined by the end user, not the designer.

The human brain has seven slots of short-term memory (give or take two slots) at any given time. As brand marketers, our job is to grab just ONE slot and then print it to long-term memory.

Often times, “professional copywriting” is tremendously “same” and not different. The result washes over the end user and never “prints” in the “seven slots.”

While re-watching the historic and elaborate Naptown Rock Radio Wars, it’s clear that WIBC against WIFE was about who was  different. When WNAP came to morally disrupt Indy radio history it was clearly different and messy – far from “better.”

So do something about it.

Listen, read or see the brand you shepherd.

Of course you think it’s better – you designed it.

But is it ‘different’ – from your competition.

Are there aural activators, unique talent and surprises that create “differentiators”?

Different  is the new “better.”

A word of caution: being “different” carries a heavy tax.

You’ll initially be on an island, alone.

And sometimes that’s what makes it “better.”

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 Indiana with his wife of 32 years, Monica. Reach Kevin at (314) 882-2148 or robinsonradio@aol.com.

Programming, Promotion and Digital/Social Media Sessions at 2018 GLMS

Here’s a quick summary of the programming, promotion and digital/social media sessions at this year’s Great Lakes Media Show, March 6-7 in Lansing.  Full descriptions can be found on the schedule here.

Comprehensive Digital Strategy: How to Connect Everything from Google Analytics to Social Media
Wednesday, March 7 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.
Presented by Seth Resler, Jacobs Media Strategies

31 Things You Need to Know to Get a Job Right Now & 8 Reasons Why You are the Future of Broadcasting
Wednesday, March 7 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Presented by Jay Kruz, WREW-FM Mix 94.9 (Cincinnati)

What You Have to Know To Be A Program Director in 2018
Wednesday, March 7 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Presented by Kevin Robinson, Robinson Media

Double your Audience
Wednesday, March 7 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Presented by Paige Nienaber, Clifton Radio & CPR

Also of Interest:

Drones and Tools
Wednesday, March 7 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Presented by Brian Town, Michigan Creative

Radio Broadcasters and the Digital Dashboard
Wednesday, March 7 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Presented by David Layer, National Association of Broadcaster

And don’t forget the Exhibit Hall is open for a preview on Tuesday from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. and again all day Wednesday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m!

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.