Saturday, July 28, 2012


Kenny Jay who is the Program Director at Bob 106.9 in  Savannah, Georgia read my blog on cliches and sent me this video.  It's awesome and so true.               

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


After nearly a week of soaking everything in, I thought I'd write about the shooting in Aurora and how I thought radio handled it.

Friday was a surreal day.  I live about 15 minutes from the theatre in Aurora.  While I work and live in Denver, Dial Global has nothing to do with Denver radio, we are only based there.  So I have the advantage of working in radio, but not being involved in Denver radio.  I get a really clear 30,000 foot view of the stations and the market.  I get to "listen" to the radio, not "monitor" it as I would if I worked in Denver radio.

In Denver, it was wall to wall coverage on TV and radio.  I first heard about the shooting from my clock radio as I always wake up to 850 KOA.  I listened to their coverage as the facts were just starting to roll in (it was about 5:30am, only a few hours after the shooting).  I then turned on the TV and flipped back and forth between local and national TV.  On my way into work I flipped around and listened to KEZW, KNUS, The Wolf, The Fox, KYGO, KBPI, and KOA. 

After comparing the radio coverage to the TV coverage, radio by far had the advantage over TV.  Here's why:
  • Radio was able to truly capture the emotion of the day with the listeners and personalities.  TV was all hard news with not much emotion (as the days went on, TV became more emotional with tributes to the victims.  Radio reacted a lot faster).

  • Typically, radio personalities are better at ad-libbing and knowing what to say and how to say it.  A lot of TV anchors and reporters have a tough time being natural and ad-libbing.  There was far more real, raw emotion (from both callers and personalities) on the radio. 

  • Radio was able to have far more "real people" on the air.  Not only giving reports, but telling their stories, sending out condolences and sharing.  Radio was truly a voice for Denver.

  • TV was too polished.  At times too slick.  Radio was more organic, genuine and real.  TV became "Hollywood" pretty quick.  Big graphics and sound effects.  Some TV stations/networks felt a little too produced to me.

  • I listen to a lot of talk radio, but the music stations were able to help the healing process with music and lyrics.  TV couldn't touch that.

  • TV news (both locally and nationally) were competing with each other to have the most updated information.  In doing that, they were too fast and there were mistakes.  ABC News had a couple of big ones.   Radio was more about reaction, sharing feelings and being the place to go to talk about what happened.
While at work, I continued to listen to local radio, watch a little TV and do my best to keep up to date.  I honestly feel the Denver radio stations were right on top of it (unfortunately, many had been through this before with Columbine and knew how to react).

Denver radio really played a part in the healing process that needed to start as soon as possible.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


KATZ recently did a study of more than 600 radio listeners to examine the relationship between radio listeners and personalities. The findings are no big surprise to me and I was happy to see the outcome. Stations may want to think twice before saving a few bucks to be just a jukebox.

Here are the highlights from Inside Radio:

  • The survey sample consisted of 70% women and 30% men, with 66% of participants reporting their age as between 18-34 and 90% between 18-49 years of age. Survey sample respondents were 45% Hispanic, 8% Asian, 4% percent African American and 43% “other.”

  • The study found three out of four respondents reported that they turn on the radio because they know their favorite personality is on the air.

  • Nearly as many (72%) talk to their friends about their favorite personality or what they heard on the program and 70% of participants said they follow their favorite radio personalities and/or radio stations via social media channels.

  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they considered or purchased products recommended by their favorite radio personalities and more than half (51%) considered or purchased a product advertised during their favorite personality’s show.
I think this quote sums it up from the USC-Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism professor Paula Patnoe Woodley..."Our findings underscore the depth of the relationship, loyalty, and trust between listeners and radio personalities.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I was in a neighborhood coffee shop the other day and noticed they had a local Denver radio station on. I thought cool, here's a trendy, hip coffee joint that isn't listening to Sirius/XM, Pandora or an IPOD.

Then I got a look at the radio. It was an old beat up, early 90's boom box that looked like it was on its last leg. Part of it was duct taped together, some knobs were missing and it had a wire hanger for the antenna.

This got me thinking. What happens when that radio dies? What will they do? With all the options available now, I had a hard time believing that they will run to Target or Best Buy and buy a new radio. Would they give up on listening to local radio and then go with an internet radio station?

I wonder how many other 1980's and 90's radios are out there and on their last leg. What happens then?

That scared me...a lot.

Radio needs to be more than just a music jukebox if we want to build enough listener loyalty that they go out and buy a new radio when the old one dies. The listener needs to love us that much and simply paying music won't do it. We need to build loyalty with personalities, one on one connection and community involvement.

We need to be more than just a music machine.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I just got back from a road trip with the family.  We ended up spending a few nights in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where I listened to a lot of radio.  One station stood out (which will remain nameless).

Listening to this station I heard them tout how they are "live and local."  One of their liners actually said "we have the only live and local midday show in The Black Hills."  This peak my curiosity, so I listened close and I didn't hear one thing that was local.  It was all just "that was...this is...coming name is" and "rip and read" show prep that anyone, anywhere could do.  No mention of time, things happening in the area or current temps (they did do a local weather once per hour buried at the end of the long stop set).  Nothing local, just a dumb liner that said "live and local."

Why do I think the liner "live and local" is dumb?  Let me tell you.

For one, I would argue that the average listener really doesn't care that you are "live."  What does that mean to the listener?  To us radio people we think of a live jock playing music in the studio, taking calls, doing contests.  I've never been sold that the average listener thinks of "live radio" the same way we radio people do.  Being live isn't a big advantage.  Being a relatable, genuine and real COMPANION is the advantage.  You don't have to be live to be those.

Second, while I think it's important to be "local", you just can't say it and not prove it.  Just announcing songs with generic, non topical show prep that you got from the internet isn't being local.  As researcher Mark Ramsey says, "being local isn't where you are, it's what you do."  Prove to me your local.  Don't just say it.  Back it up with actually being local and talking about things that affect your audience in the area you serve.  You can tie nearly every national story into something local.

I listened to this station for most of the "live and local midday show" and heard nothing that was local.  It was just another radio station with false claims and no proof.   It was all hype.  Nothing real or genuine.  They weren't even topical.  If you can't be local, then be topical.  Talk about what your listener is talking about.  Being real and topical is just as important as being local.  Look at Howard Stern or any nationally syndicated talk show host.

If you're going to make a claim on the air, you better prove it.  Listeners are smarter than that.