Sunday, September 26, 2010


Radio personalities campaigning for votes (ratings) is very similar to Politicians who are campaigning. Getting out and meeting as many of your listeners as you can is extremely important. Shaking hands, kissing babies, showing up at events, and personally asking people to listen is a big part of your job and success.

Tim Johnson is a Republican Congressman in Illinois. He has made a promise and goal to personally call around 100 of his constituents every day. He calls them on his way to work, on his way home, during lunch, his morning walk, or time he sets aside each day. Some calls are 15 seconds, others are an hour. That’s well over 300,000 calls a year. Congressman Johnson gives his constituents a chance to personally talk to him, ask questions and share concerns or issues they may have. 100 each day. One on one. Personal.

By the way, he’s never lost an election.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


We have a format here at Dial Global Radio Networks called SAM "Simply About Music." Gary Thompson is the PD and came up with this promotion for one of our affiliates. It's great. This is from Mark Ramsey's BLOG.

There’s a SAM affiliate in Illinois that’s been with Dial Global for a couple years. Over the last year, the station had flattened out in the ratings. Earlier this year, we developed a plan to get some street buzz for the station. Like most stations they had no money for promotions. On Fridays instead of calling the station SAM, we rename it after a “facebook fan” that we select….its called FACEBOOK FAN FRIDAYS. We re-do new imaging for the station every Friday, calling it stuff like “Tina Smith-FM”. We run promos saying what we’re doing. We play up the fact that “all this great music is thanks to Tina”…and “if you see Tina today, thank her.” Turns out people like to hear their name on the radio ALL DAY, and end up telling their friends. The station’s Facebook friends have gone from a few hundred to a few thousand. And for whatever reasons, the ratings doubled in the last book. I’ve given this idea to other SAM’s, along with producing generic Facebook fan imaging for them.

Interesting tactic that’s less about gathering Facebook fans and more about generating some excitement and word-of-mouth out in audience-land.
Now if the station has a mechanism to “can” that word-of-mouth and make the whole process easier to share and communicate to friends (exactly the purpose of social media), you have a great opportunity to power the ability of an audience to share themselves with each other in your presence.

That, my friends, is called “branding.”

Will this branding yield ratings like it seemed to do in this case?

Try it and find out.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Doug Erickson printed this on his website It's written by John Hendricks and makes total sense.


As a career broadcaster, the thought that Radio could be over sends a chill up my spine. Those of us in the USA have, for the better part of a century, enjoyed FREE radio and television.

Now, in a very real way, Radio is the only free media still standing. Think about it...

•Internet Radio, at the very least, requires subscription to a high-speed ISP. Cost: around $60 per month.
•Cell phones with internet access cost about twice that.
•Even before television converted to HDTV, most viewers subscribed to either cable or satellite service. Now, for many to access local channels, they have to subscribe.
Anyone who has ever worked with Cable and Cell Phone providers knows that they understand the absolute basic premise of the media business: Distribution.
No matter how great the programming is, if you can't get it to a mass audience, it will fail.

And if they control the distribution, they control everything. Steve Jobs understands this.

Cable and Mobile providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars into developing their distribution platforms -- and they fully intend to see to it that nobody will make more money from the use of their platforms than they do.

As James Carville might say: It's all about distribution, dummy!

The day is quickly arriving when we'll be down to 5 major systems of distribution:

•Mobile phones
•Small dish networks, such as Direct TV and Dish Network
•Sirius/XM satellite radio, which is now using portions of many of the above
This leaves terrestrial RADIO as the only FREE service left. It seems to me this is something worth fighting for!

Before Radio tries to make 'friends' with the digital world, it should consider what that will mean:

•Radio will be at the mercy of out-sourced distributors.
•Radio will no longer be free, forcing us to compete with all other media, including video, on the same platforms.
•Radio will no longer have the ability to connect advertisers with 240 million American consumers on a free platform, and that will lead to huge losses in ad revenue.
To some degree, this loss of ad revenue is already happening. Don't believe me? Just ask one of your local account execs. Ask who's getting the budget your local station used to get?

You'll discover that cable television offers local insert rates (into FOX, CNN, A & E, and local network television) that are, in many cases, lower than your station can offer, and considerably lower than the local TV stations.

So, what can Radio do to protect its place in this new hyper-competitive media world?

Only one thing: Create programming content that people do not want to live without.

And there is a contemporary example we can emulate: HBO.

About a decade or so ago, HBO realized they had become just another 'movie channel,' and that they were forced to bid higher and higher amounts for the top box office films in order to keep them off competitor channels.

HBO was becoming a commodity with ever-increasing product costs that were out of its control. How would they survive and thrive?

HBO began creating original programming. At first, true hit shows were rare, but then The Sopranos hit Sunday evenings.

Suddenly, HBO was the "movie channel" everyone had to have, the premium TV they were more than willing to pay for.

You've seen the result. HBO continues to invest in original content, and to pay for quality programming that is not available anywhere else. HBO has increased its value, and its differentiation at the very time network TV is struggling to produce real hit shows, seen by fewer and fewer eyeballs, producing less and less revenue.

If Radio, as the last totally free medium, is to survive and thrive, giving in to cell phone apps and online streaming is not the way. Cutting costs, cutting talent, becoming music services with lots of ads, will only hasten our demise.

It really is All About Distribution, Dummy!

And with a weekly cume of nearly 240 million unique listeners, Radio's distribution far exceeds that of any of our competitors.

We already have the audience on the best platform available, because it's ubiquitous and free. Now we need to invest in original content that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

It's not the playing field that has to change, it's the plays.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ode To A Dying Breed - The Radio DJ

By Cory Cory

Radio DJ's going the way of the dinosaur

Sooner or later, your favorite local radio music format will be gone. One day, perhaps without warning, it will be replaced by talk, news, or some “contemporary” format. Popular songs you once enjoyed, or maybe loved to hate, first become oldies and suddenly one day a program director somewhere decides the demographic skews too old and those songs just vanish from the radio.

The final cut comes when the format’s premiere disc jockeys disappear. Recently, one of the country's top jazz DJs, Dick Buckley from Chicago, died. For several decades before his last broadcast two years ago, when it came to jazz he had few peers. Like the best DJ of any format - classical, country, rock, R &B - Buckley introduced old songs to new listeners and new songs to old listeners. Interspersed with his tales of hanging out with Count Basie and Duke Ellington, he typified the emotional hold a talented DJ with great music could exert over listeners.

Author Michael Chabon discusses the power of local radio in his essay, Radio Silence, “(The song) "Runaround Sue" by Dion & the Belmonts (1961) was my mother’s all-time favorite. We used to hear it sometime on WMOD (“Washington DC’s Goldmine”), and she always got a certain look when it came on, something between surprise and reverie. All those songs, and even more, their familiarity and evident importance to my mother- the associations and memories they stirred, the good feelings they engendered – came to mean something to me. Their lyrics, their instrumentation, the outmoded crooning or falsettos of their vocalists, their monauraul shimmer, became part of my understanding of the era that had produced them, and my understanding of my mother, and of the way she saw and talked about her life.”

Unfortunately, formats pass on. AM radio stations that once filled the airwaves with 1940’s favorites, the Andrews Sisters or Dorsey Brothers, are long gone. That music may as well be Gregorian chants. 1950’s formats that made their bones on doo-wop, Chuck Berry or the Everly Brothers have become distant memories like poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

The 1960’s, which popularized FM, were the decade that was supposed to change it all. But you don't even hear much 1960’s music on local radio anymore. A few warhorses like "My Girl," "Satisfaction," or "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" survive, usually on FM, but they are token exceptions. Even Beatles and Stones’s playlists have dwindled to an overplayed few. The legendary AM stations like WABC or WLS in Chicago, which once hooked Boomers on rock and roll, don't even play music anymore.

The 1970’s are on their way out, also. "Black Magic Woman," "Stairway to Heaven" and "Ramblin’ Man" may still be around, but it means scouring the dial to hear them, if you're willing and haven't grown tired of them yet. Take note, Billy Joel, Prince, and Phil Collins, your days on local radio are numbered.

Who cares, you may ask? Besides satellite radio, it’s possible to download any of these artists, and thousands of others, anytime on your iPod. Your MP3 player will play "Purple Rain" all day if you like. People with iPod buds wander ubiquitously through suburban malls (resembling nothing so much as those emotionless drones from the Invasion of The Body Snatchers, the original "pod people." Without question, musical choice is more varied and available than ever.

But something has been lost, which brings us back to the disc jockey. Chances are, no matter where you grew up, some DJ affected your life at some time - was it Cousin Brucie? Larry (Uncle Lar) Lujack in the Midwest? Early "The Soul Man" Wright in the Delta? (The Real) Don Steele in L.A.?

The best of them were shamans, communicating from a spiritual world, conjuring powerful magic. Their medium might have been Wagner, Beethoven, Hank Williams, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen or B. B. King. But the magician behind the curtain was that DJ.

Precious few shamans remain. Jonathan Schwartz remains one of the best things about satellite radio. For years, he could switch seamlessly between AM and FM, playing Sinatra and discoursing on Sinatra songs all the way back to Frank’s 1930’s Hoboken days. Then, he might segue smoothly on another show and play Frank Zappa (Google please, if you're under 40).

The best DJs, like Dick Buckley or Jonathan Schwartz, don't just play music; they are artists producing indelible aural memories. Soon, like their formats, they will disappear and we shall not hear their like again. The iPod and the MP3, and whatever technology comes apace will doubtless provide more music, better quality, and easier access. But no technology will ever recreate the great DJ’s and the intimacy of local radio. Future generations will be poorer for it, having missed out on one of life’s little pleasures.