Sunday, October 21, 2012


Clear Channel Entertainment CEO Bob Pittman recently said he's looking to make radio cool again.

I'm all for it.  But it's not easy.

Now, I don't think radio is totally uncool.  94% of all Americans still listen to the radio each week.  That's a huge reach.  But if you want to really make it cool it will take money, patience, time and a big set of balls.

This isn't directed specifically at Clear Channel, but any one and any company that wants to make radio cool.

Here's how you start:

Be prepared to spend money to attract talented people who can move the needle and get people talking.  This includes not just personalities, but programmers, producers, promotions and social media experts.
Don't be afraid of big personalities.
Don't be afraid of creativity and out of the box ideas.
Take chances.  Big ones.  The ones that make you uncomfortable.
Be a leader, not a follower.
Think WAY beyond just the music you play (they can get that anywhere). 
Give lots of focus to imaging and the overall brand of your station.
Treat employees better.  Let them breath, relax, experiment and not worry about getting downsized.
Market and promote your station.  Constantly spread the word.
Of course, these are just the tip of the ice burg.  Everyone will have their own ideas and thoughts about how to make radio cool.  These are just a few of mine.

Bottom line from me, give people a reason to listen and talk about you that goes beyond the music...the imaging, the promotions, the marketing and most importantly, the personalities.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Researcher Richard Harker's recent blog that was featured at All rings so true.  Stations are spending way too much time on TSL and not enough on cume.  Want to win in PPM?  Focus more on cume.

What's the best way to build cume?  IMHO, here's a few of my thoughts:

1) MARKET YOUR STATION.  I know that's nearly impossible for many radio stations, but doing consistent and focused marketing campaigns is the easiest way to build audience.

If you are lucky enough to have marketing money, make sure your station is dead on and tuned up before you do anything.  That will help with TSL.

But, most likely you don't have the budget to consistently market your station.  There are still ways to building cume.  Read on.

2) BE COMPELLING.  Have compelling, relatable and entertaining content all the time, not just in the morning show.  This goes beyond the music you play (they can get that anywhere).  Your station and personalities should always be compelling and entertaining.  Make the listener talk about you and the word will spread.

3) HIT THE STREETS.  Be everywhere.  When you are at an event, look great.  Hang tons of banners.  Have the van in the most visible area.  Get your logo on everything.  No event or appearance is too small.  You never know who may have a meter or a diary.

4) USE SOCIAL MEDIA.  Use social media to get new listeners to check you out.  Travis Moon at KAJA in San Antonio is really mastering Facebook and how to get shares, fans and likes with the station's posts.  KAJA's ratings have been huge in PPM. Their cume is up to 658,000, which has gone up every month since April.  Same with their share.  They are #1 6+ with a 9.5.  I was with Travis a few week's ago and watched him work Facebook all day.  He defiantly has a strategy and it looks to be working.

4) INVITE LISTENERS.  Sounds basic, but it works.  Think about politicians asking for votes.  When you meet people face to face, ask them to listen.  Give them your business card.  Spread the word in a grass roots sort of way.

5) CONSISTENCY.  Your station and show needs to be consistent.  People go back to Starbucks because they always know what they are going to get every time.  Same thing should be true for your station.  Give the listener what they expect from you 100% of the time.

6) HAVE BIG PROMOTIONS.  Design your big promotions and contesting to get people talking.  Use your listener to spread the word to build cume.  Promote and sell your promotions relentlessly on the air.

Richard Harker sums it up best in his blog, "do you want to gain share?  Do you want to beat your competitor?  The only way to do it is to grow your audience.  Focus on cume."

You can read Richard's full blog here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Chad Rufer is the program director at Now 100.5 in Sacramento.  Earlier this week he posted the following on his Facebook page.  With his permission, here's his post. 

He couldn't be more right.
Chad Rufer
I am truly sorry that some of you have lost your passion for the radio industry. This industry, just like many others, has evolved. We’ve had to learn how to do more with less, adapt to new technology, learn new ways to do things and market our product. 
We’ve learned through PPM that the audience doesn’t like four minute breaks about a survey you read in a show prep service with a “stupid kicker line at the end."  Now, you as a talent are challenged to come up with a relatable way to deliver that information to your audience in a way that they care about, or you might just want to scrap the break and find something better. 
Programmers now can’t just add records to help friends.  There are no more 5 day, 40 hour work weeks. Oh, and that thing called “Facebook” that you have been asked to spend some time learning so you can better market to your audience, it will require some of your time; yes even at night and on the weekends. 
Sorry. I’m over the bitching about how the industry is a mess, and it’s a dinosaur and how it will never come back. I’m still as in love with it today as I was 20 years ago when I started. I’ve taken on the same situations that people said “couldn’t be won” and put the right team in place to WIN! Guess what? The industry still makes a profit, good companies take care of good people, your audience has passion for your product (when you do it right), and it’s going to be around for another day to keep fighting. 
If you are not happy with your job in the industry, or you’re disgruntled about the added responsibilities you’ve had to take on, I’m sure no one will complain if you depart. 
There are lots of people who still have the passion and drive and will pick up your slack, run with it, and WIN!