I’ve started to wonder if twitter is inherently negative. Don’t get me wrong, I love twitter. But, recently I’ve noticed an avalanche of stories involving radio and twitter’s dark side; threats, trolls, listener backlash, industry bullying, and firings over tweets. We talk about it extensively on this week’s radio stuff podcast.
Is it Twitter’s fault?
“You really can’t say it is all twitters fault,” says Lori Lewis, Jacobs Media’s Digital and Social Media Strategist, on the Radio Stuff podcast. “All of these folks are not using Twitter constructively, nor are they using it strategically. So when they shoot off at the mouth, they say in appropriate things, if it just backfires on them or nobody is interacting with them, it’s absolutely not Twitter. It’s every individual’s use of the platform.”
Oh. Okay, so why do this? Why put yourself out there? Why participate in social? And if you choose to do it how do you do it right?
WHY BE SOCIAL? IT’S A RATINGS THING.
“I can’t tell you how many talent I get to work for and their ratings correlate their social use. It’s amazing and could be coincidence, but there is a major market radio station, they have one talent that is a social brand – the midday personality – he outshines the entire radio station weekly after weekly after weekly — he’s always number one. Now, he’s the new person on the radio station. Everybody else is legendary. Everybody’s been there for decades and they don’t participate in any of the social tools and while their ratings are good, isn’t it ironic that the social brand really outshines them?”
AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA AT YOUR OWN PERIL
“You’re just making room for your competitor. You don’t have to Twitter. People don’t have to embrace social, but all you’re doing is making it harder for yourself and making it harder for your future. This is where the puck is going and if you think it’s cute to say you don’t know those apps, you don’t use those platforms – that’s your prerogative, but there’s someone younger and faster ready to take your place.”
USE COMMON SENSE
“It takes skill to humanize a brand and come off naturally. You really should watch your grammar. There is nothing attractive about using the letter ‘u’ for you. We don’t have to look like 12-year-old girls when we are tweeting. I think you have to remember at the end of the day that social is as public as face-to-face and it’s almost louder than it is face-to-face. Because, when your tweet shows up in my live feed and you are cussing or you have bad spelling or grammar or it’s just not funny – it’s just substandard – it’s almost more offensive.”
STUDY THE PLATFORM
“Twitter is the most simple platform of all the social tools out there. Yet, you really have to study it. You really have to listen. Listen to the founders of Twitter, listen to the CEO Dick Costello, and listen to all the VPs of brand development. How are they expecting users to use the platform? And then when you have studied it enough and you have watched people who are really winning on Twitter, you start understanding the strength and you start using twitter appropriately.”
BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT YOU TWEET
“So many people think the social space is an unrestrictive playground and they can say and do whatever they like. And you know what? You can, but so can your bosses. And if you are the voice of a radio station, if you are the face of a brand, — it doesn’t matter if you are on the air or not on the air – it doesn’t matter who you are, if you have any affiliation with a brand and you say something that is questionable, that gets a rise from a lot of people, your boss also has the right to do and say whatever they wish too. And people really need to get over themselves.
TAKE CONTROL FROM THE TROLLS
“One of my favorite things is just to block people. But there’s no golden rule out there. I see this happen more on Facebook, because the comments lay there more publicly than looking at tweets. There’s no rule that you have to let those comments sit there for everyone to read. Delete that stuff. If it’s inappropriate, if it’s vulgar, if it just doesn’t fit, if it’s weird…there’s no rule that it has to stay. Trolls will bait you and they will get you to say things you would never ever say in public.”
A traditional radio company, a big one, finds that after years of success revenues are dropping and they’re losing a significant share of media buys — maybe even half as much as previous years. The suits get nervous. Something must be done. So a meeting is called. There’s a brain storm. Someone pipes up, “Hey, how about something to do with the internet?” People nod. But, quietly they are concerned that there’s no money there and it will likely cannibalize whatever is left of the traditional radio business. Smarter, cooler heads prevail. Imaginations run wild. Ideas are hatched. A vision is shared. Two years later, this big, old radio company is running the eighth biggest music streaming platform in the world — shattering expectations, goals, and super-serving their audience with a social radio experience unlike any other.
Sounds inspiring, no?
Okay, I took some dramatic liberties but that is essentially the story behind Karnaval.com, the number one start-up in Istanbul, Turkey according to Wired Magazine. It’s a multi-media, digital radio service created by the largest radio group in Turkey Spectrum Medya.
“It’s great to be singled out like that,” said Spectrum Medya CEO Ali Abhary. “But, it is even more poignant as a radio station, with radio being one of the oldest and not necessarily the sexiest mediums out there, for us to be on that list with those other great companies is a wonderful testament to what radio can be and that radio doesn’t need to have this dodgy, old image that it sometimes does.”
On this week’s Radio Stuff podcast, Abhary explained why Karnaval.com was an important business extension for the radio company.
“Just like in any other market, in Turkey we see radio revenues flattening and in fact radio’s share of the advertising pie has reduced. Historically about ten years ago it was about 6% and now it’s about 2.8%.”
Abhary’s challenge was to create a digital business that complimented the terrestrial radio stations, but didn’t cannibalize their traditional revenues. Enter Karnaval.com – a “radio rich,” digital platform that streams their five FM stations and 11 niche formats (Jazz, Classical, hard to find Turkish music among them.)
It wasn’t an easy sell for the traditional radio employees.
“It did take some time, but I think everyone has bought into it now. We promote our stations now as ‘Metro FM is a Karnaval.com station,’ our radio IDs are broadcast that way.” Abhary understands the trepidation, “Seeing this sort of disruption in their business is a little disconcerting at first, but I think they all understand now the value and the power the digital element can give and the great story that it gives to advertisers and listeners alike.”
Employees were the first hurdle. Listeners caught on quick and loved it straight away. So much so, they expanded the vision to include social interaction through the San Mateo, California company Jelli. Now listeners can vote songs up or down in real-time influencing the streaming radio’s playlist.
The next challenge was advertisers.
“It took a while to get it out there. Are you trying to sell ads to digital buyers or radio buyers? We’re able sell advertising on a targeted basis whether it’s targeted by device or by demographics or geography of listeners. The digital buyers are able to understand that. We’re also able to price it on a cost-per-listen basis. And they get that as well. But, the challenge is they don’t have audio creative, typically. The radio buyers on the other side, they have the audio creative but they don’t have necessarily the understanding of targeting or the digital capabilities that digital radio has. So, we actually did a two-pronged approach. We have our terrestrial FM team selling the Karnaval.com inventory that we have to regular FM buyers and we’re saying, ‘Who cares whether sound people are listening to is being transmitted on FM frequency to an FM receiver or via a Wi-Fi to a mobile phone or to a laptop connected to the internet? It doesn’t really matter as long as the sound is there.’ And the radio buyers have now bought that on and they’re starting to send us old-fashioned radio buys to the platform. The digital buyers at the same time whether it’s using audio or not using audio through rich media, pre-roll videos and whatnot, are also buying on from there. For a business that’s about a year old we’re doing fantastic revenue growth right now. ”
In just over a year, Karnaval.com is meeting and exceeding its goals and serving over 6.5 million unique users each month accounting for 21 million hours of listening. Karnaval.com uses its FM stations to promote the platform in addition to social media, TV commercials and sponsoring concerts. Through the concerts they can create unique content for the digital users such as back stage artist interviews and acoustic sets.
“The great thing about the service is that it has a lot of rich experience as you listen to radio that is beyond just listening to audio. So, as a song is playing you have artist biographies, discographies, a lot of photo galleries, we have an integration with Ticket Master where if an artist has a concert in town it will let you buy tickets to see that artist as you are listening to the song.”
Karnaval.com is not trying to compete with the Pandoras and Spotifys of the world. But, interestingly enough one of the “big services” in streaming music approached Karnaval.com this week in an effort to buy advertising for their own online music service.
I would encourage you to check out Karnaval.com or download the app, And you can try, but be forewarned it is all in Turkish. Regardless, it’s a great model for radio and new media success.
(Credit: I was first introduced to Karnaval.com from UK radio futurologist James Cridland)
Just some of the questions flying my way following Next Radio 2013 in London.
Briefly here are my answers: perhaps a little, yes, and radio has a future.
For those interested in the details read away. (or listen to the podcast)
Radio is full of ideas people.
This became clear quickly by just talking to the people seated around me. But on stage the creativity oozed at times. Towards the beginning off the day, there was a presentation about creating open source, personal radios from a box of doodads and thingamajigs which will allow you to avoid shows you don’t like to hear.
“I created Team Rock by looking at what I need from radio.”
He emphasized it’s not a radio format, it’s a community. Radio serves as a marketing arm for the popular rock magazines he also acquired.
And Absolute Radio presenter Geoff Lloyd brought his quick wit, quirky insights and a very long pointer to explain that as long as we treat our listeners as idiots, they will be have as such. Which means it’s okay to talk about that things that may not be obvious for your target demo.
“People’s big passions fall through the cracks of research. Everybody has a thing that you wouldn’t expect about them. Great radio is interesting people being their authentic selves.”
Radio’s problems and opportunities are universal.
Mobile. Like most radio conferences “mobile” was buzzing around the room like a bee hovering over lemonade.
From field use:
James Cridland declared, “mobile is massive!” as he shared escalating numbers of people who access websites through mobile devices. And not so subtly nudging radio stations who haven’t optimized for mobile to get with the program.
Mobile was one of the keys to electing President Barack Obama in 2012 according to Blue State Digital‘s Gregor Poynton. He talked about how his team’s digital media strategy helped to re-elect the President. And with everything they did they kept this mind:
“Tell a great story and let them be apart of it.”
It’s fairly easy to argue that radio isn’t always telling great stories on mobile and other platforms, and we’re even worse at engaging listeners.
It’s about them, not us
Over and over the mantra “know you audience,” and “use your data” were repeated by men, women and at the end by a computerized voice who unapologetically ripped radio for it’s “shit social media” practices.
“Only post stuff they will care about. Post stuff that will turn people into listeners. Be useful, meaningful.”
Bruce Daisley, the managing director for Twitter UK also beat the drum.
“Users first, last and always.”
And Michael Hill from UK Radio Player has designed the latest iterations of that platform with a fans first mentality.
“It’s about discovery, getting them to listen to the radio they love.”
Ratings systems aren’t perfect no matter where you live
About half way through the day a gentleman from RAJAR (the UK equivalent to the Arbitron diary service though it measures listening on all devices) took the stage and the collective eye-rolling and faintly audible sighs let me know that no matter where you are in the world, ratings systems aren’t perfect.
“There have been some useful and some inspiring sessions at NextRadio. This is isn’t one of them.
Beer and Radio bring the World Together
Finally, I learned that despite our distances radio people from the UK, Germany, Serbia, Sweden, the U.S., Zimbabwe, and places in between are generally smart, fun, passionate, enjoy talking radio and love share stories over a drink.
I realized the other day how much time, energy and money I’ve saved thanks to online, iPad and phone apps. I have more apps than I need, but some seem especially useful for radio work. So, from one radio guy to you — here are five apps that you may never have heard of that just may change your life or at least make you more productive and effective.
DAR.FM (a free website with an option to upgrade to commercial free and more storage)
This is radio’s DVR. And it’s FREE! I use DAR.FM almost everyday. This is a digital audio recorder for radio. The geniuses here have figured out how to assemble nearly every radio stream you can imagine and gives you the ability to record what you want, when you want. They deliver it to you in nice 15 minute chunks, which are transferable to iTunes if you wish.
You’ll see in the image I’m set to record Bill Handel on KFI and Steve Allen on LBC 97.3 (London’s Biggest Conversation). Anytime there’s big breaking news somewhere I start rolling on a radio. Anytime I’m consulting a talent or station, this is how I can record the station and listen to it on my time.
This is a great $19.99 app that replaces the 360 system’s “Instant Replay” machine which retails for as much as $3,000. Seriously, this is great. It syncs with iTunes and is easy to use. It’s what Deb Slater and I use each week with the Radio Stuff podcast. You can change levels, pause and re-start, organize your audio in the order you want it or color code it. Seriously, why haven’t you started to use this yet?
All the bells and whistles of a digital recorder, see the audio wave while you’re recording and it’s on your phone. It’s pretty good quality – not studio quality – but pretty good especially for a phone. There are also a number of ways to access the audio files on other devices including a file specific URL. A feature that catapulted this app from “alright, this is cool” to “now, that’s awesome.”
Since it is right on your phone – and free – there’s no excuse to never be able to report from a breaking news situation, interview someone interesting, or send notes to yourself.
This was the app that Deb used in Amsterdam to conduct her interview with the English Breakfast Radio show. (Listen FF to 34:00).
Seriously, it’s free. Just download it in case you need it. Soon you’ll be using it because you have it. It’s the 2013 version of a reporting carrying a pen and a pad of paper. You can’t afford not to have something like this handy at all times.
TRANSCRIBE (Google Chrome App) A free app via Google Chrome with an optional upgrade.
If you are someone who transcribes audio — and if you’re in radio that’s happening more and more as you need to file stories on-air and on-line, then this is a helpful tool. You identify the .mp3 you want to transcribe, you play it and being typing all on the same screen. You can slow down, speed up, pause: all the things you want to do while transcribing audio.
I use it for air checks. I like to use actual words and phrases as examples of what really worked in the segment. I don’t want to use only my impressions of what I heard, but what was actually said that made the impact. This tool helps with that. I also use the transcript to create Word Pictures (see next app).
WORDLE.NET (Website) Free and customizable.
This is a handy tool to make word pictures. I take the transcripts of air checks and put it through Wordle.net and SEE what the segment I just heard actually LOOKS like. The bigger the word, the more often the host said it. It can catch filler words and phrases, which is nice. It can also reflect for the host what the listener is hearing most versus the message he/she is trying to send. Here are two examples of segments I recently reviewed. Just by looking at the biggest words you should instantly get a sense of what the focus of the segment is. One of these works, the other doesn’t and it was apparent in the audio too.
You can see in the first example the hosts use “just” as a crutch word and it’s fairly unclear what the focus of the segment is. In the second example, there’s not doubt these guys are talking about A-Rod being “back” and what the “fans” think about it.
The application allows you to customize color palette, word direction and eliminate words that you don’t want to register. It’s pretty cool. You can also enter a URL or blog RSS feed to create a word picture.
WHAT ELSE? What online, iPad, or phone apps are you using that you can’t live without? Add them to the comments section.
So, I’m headed to London, England in September for the Next Radio conference. Why? Because I’m really interested in what’s happening to radio around the world, I want to meet new people, hear voices and messages that are different than what I’ve been hearing, and just as social media has helped to make the world a smaller, more intimate space – I believe radio can do the same.
I’m not going there instead of (enter your favorite U.S. radio conference), I’m going there for different perspective, different experiences, and to force myself out of my comfort zone. Lucky for me, it’s also a country that enjoys a good pint, so I should be able to make friends. If you’re planning to be there drop me a line.
Here’s a list of others who’ll be there that’s just been released.
Sharon Green from Radio Results International will talk about creating a ‘love mark’ out of your radio station brand
Gerry Jackson shares her experiences running a radio station in Zimbabwe
Absolute Radio’s Geoff Lloyd tells us why you shouldn’t underestimate your listeners
The RAB’s Simon Redican and Mark Barber give us the bigger picture of radio’s digital opportunities
Rob Blackie from Blue State Digital – the folks that did the digital activity for Obama’s presidential campaign – on what they learned about word of mouth marketing and ‘big data’
UK Radioplayer MD Michael Hill shows us how the Radioplayer is evolving
John Simons, currently Real & Smooth Group PD, shows how to give your breakfast show a ten-point health check
The editor of new community website N14.net tells us how to be part of your community
John Shorter from Hallett Arendt tells us how people really listen to the radio
Steve Martin from BBC Global News brings us ideas from radio in Africa
TeamRock’s CEO Billy Anderson lifts the lid on the UK’s rock radio station
Matt Deegan from Folder Media shares a new, innovative idea
Twitter’s Bruce Daisley talks about innovation and what drives us
From MBMI, Paige Nienaber tells us to “Seize The Carp” when it comes to sounding topical
Camilla Wahlman from Swedish Radio‘s P4 Jämtland discusses how to get listeners involved in making your news more local
Peter Niegel from Denmark Radio knows how to make sure your listeners don’t get bored
Sam Bailey and Philippa Aylott from the BBC talk about digital coverage of big events like Glastonbury
HIVIO is a made up word pronounced as a mash-up between hive and radio (HI-vee-oh). While billed as radio’s FIRST ideas festival, this is a concept that is going on its third year in London with radio futurologist James Cridland and “NextRadio.” Regardless, Mark Ramsey assembled an invite-only gathering of radio folks in San Diego to sit and listen to thought leaders and brand builders from outside the radio industry; from Google and Pandora to the San Diego Zoo and Uber. The festival was live streamed and is now being carved into individual videos to be released in the coming weeks.
After sitting through the six hours or so of streaming video, I was agitated, inspired, embarrassed, hopeful, and at times confused. Here are eight of my big takeaways.
1. For radio to thrive it needs four things: strategy, innovation, creativity, and unique content. These concepts were echoed through the day in part of whole by every presenter. Mark Ramsey’s opening presentation set the tone, “It’s time in this radio industry of ours to stop saying, ‘where did that work?’ and start saying, ‘why not here, now?’”
Chad Robley, CEO of the digital agency Mindgruve touched on those ideas too saying radio’s advantage over digital competitors include established listener engagement, brand equity and reach – and he pointed out, “you have permission to innovate on top of that and reach across platforms.”
2. Radio is losing respect from people who want to be fans. Presenters were at times laughing AT – and at times speechless of — radio’s inability to “get it.”
Michael Warburton of San Diego Zoo snickered at the prospect of radio pitching website banners ads as a digital solution.
Patrick Reynolds, Chief Strategy Officer of Triton Digital, was dumbfounded, literally speechless for five seconds and visibly taken aback when a radio person asked if they had plans to compete with PPM-type measurement devices.
3. Radio is afraid. Mark Ramsey calls them hard questions that need to be answered, I call it resistance to innovation and change. The fear radio has of the unknown keeps us rooted in the past. This was most evident to me during the presentation of the Google + hangouts, when the women presenting could barely finish their prepared remarks due to constant haranguing from radio folks worried that Google + is going to swipe their listener databases. Really? Aside from what the women pointed out, “Google’s motto is do no evil,” Google + has 500 million users – I’m guessing their not looking to pinch the data of a couple thousand P1s you’ve collected. It also confused me, since Google+ is a social network and the industry happily hands listeners over to Facebook and twitter with reckless abandon.
4. Radio is losing listeners, fans and supporters, because it’s hard to listen to. This point was hammered home by Bryce Clemmer, Founder of Vadio.
“When I rented cars on trips for meetings, I never use Sirius or anything, because I felt like I was a loyal listener to broadcast itself and therefore I actually went through this thought process: I want to support the broadcasters that I’m trying to innovate. But, at the same time, after I’ve been traveling for a year now, it kind of became unbearable. And the reason being is because there were so many commercials, the experience itself — there was so much repetition, and naturally as a human you can’t deny if it’s not a good experience, you’re not going to use it. No matter who you are.”
5. Radio isn’t trying hard enough to be great. Shows need to worry about every detail. It’s not good enough to be “good enough” anymore. San Diego Zoo Global brand manager Michael Warburton talked about why they spend so much money and time to make things great.
“Because it matters to a lot of people. If a consumer or client or anybody sees that you’re willing to put ‘all in’ and make something as great as it can be, they are going to appreciate it that much more.”
More specifically, Gary Cramer, the founder of the National Comedy Theater, pointed out the problems with most ensemble talk shows…
“You don’t have some person who is an intern who you throw on air, because you need ‘three’ and they’re just all over the map. So many morning zoo shows are just a nightmare to listen to, because they don’t have a cohesive plan as to where to go. I think they’re just chattering and saying whatever comes to their mind. And they’re not going one direction.”
(For an idea who of who’s doing it right, Cramer points at Mark & Brian, Kevin & Bean, and Phil Hendrie)
6. Pandora has keyed in on radio’s advantages. While radio is bemoaning PPM and FM in cell phones and crying over lost placement in the dashboard, Pandora is busy studying what radio is doing right. Pandora CTO Tom Conrad said there are “all kinds of things” radio does especially well that Pandora hasn’t touched yet..
- Local community integration
- On Air Personalities
- Spoken word content
When pressed on one thing Pandora may key in on, Conrad was cautious, but his personal ambitious is to make it feel less robotic and add more life to the music service. 7. Radio needs to emulate Pandora’s filter for hiring people. I blogged about how radio and internet competitors are taking different approaches to hiring for similar positions here. Conrad has a few filters that are worth stealing: HIRE PEOPLE WHO ARE:
- Passionate about some aspect of their work
- And who are… not assholes.
8. Radio needs to step up in a big way. Triton Digital’s Patrick Reynolds has these words of wisdom for radio broadcasters.
“Be everywhere, starting with mobile. Anything that plugs in is capable of delivering audio and you have to be in all those places.” – even if it’s your toaster.
“Invest in understanding (your) audience. Where does it come from – geographically? When does it come – day part-wise? On what device does it come? What registration data do I know about it if anything?”
“Where sneakers to work, because it’s going to get disrupted on an ongoing basis and you’ll be running around ragged.”
And eight other things overheard…
“Radio is in a great position to disrupt itself.”
“Radio needs to operate more like start-ups.”
“Why are you on Pinterest? Facebook? twitter? vine? Why do you even have a website?”
“There is an expectation of having a higher purpose… a “return on mission” as important as “return on investment””
“…build a relationship with consumer, be relevant in their lives, tell stories, be innovative, always do and try new things.” (Talking about San Diego Zoo, but could just as easily be radio)
“It’s not the new devices that are innovation, it’s what people are doing on those devices.”
“Get in the middle of transactions.”
“They’re all going for your audience. It is critical you invest mind share and invest in resources to fight for your audience.”
Cumulus Senior Vice President of Programming Mike McVay knows a lot about radio. He’s been in the business since 1969 as a talent, PD, consultant and futurist. In his current role, he heads up programming for over 500 radio stations nationwide.
Deb Slater and I chatted with Mike this week on the Radio Stuff podcast. It was a wide-ranging interview that went well beyond the ten minutes he had promised us. He was gracious, accessible, frank, funny, and insightful. You should really listen to the whole thing. Really.
Here are my seven big takeaways from Mike McVay.
1. If you are on-air at a Cumulus radio station bring your “A” game each day, don’t phone it in, because he’s listening.
McVay: “I still dial in on a radio when I travel. I carry a Sony ICF-SW1; a small, 10 channel, digital radio. And the reason I carry it on the road with me is I want to hear the local station and their commercials and the imaging.”
McVay: “Lew Dickey said it best in a recent weekly meeting I had with him. Air talent that are live and local are fewer and fewer, so those air talent who are live and local need to really make every break count. They really need to be in the community, they really need to show why live and local is so valuable. Because where we have live and local talent we do excel. If we’re going to be live and local, the air-talent need to grasp that every time they turn on the microphone it is a rare opportunity and a privilege that they should take advantage of. “
2. If you are an air talent looking for work follow Mike McVay (@mikemcvay) on twitter and get his attention.
McVay: “I find myself actually finding new talent on twitter. One of the reasons why I tweet so much and I’m so involved in social media is because other people at the same level or same position I’m in in our industry don’t. And so I thinking making me accessible is a good thing.”
3. If you are a PD at Cumulus you are being closely watched.
Slater: In the 20-months you’ve been there what impact have you made?
McVay: “…and I’ve been able to help educate and direct our program directors. Having been a consultant for so many years, I’ve become a teacher. If anything I hope I’ve helped to make our PDs better.”
Slater: What keeps you up at night?
McVay: The greatest thing that worries me is individual programmers and individual air talent who are going through the motions, who don’t share the passion that we at the top of the food chain at Cumulus share.
Gifford: What’s your biggest programming challenge?
McVay: Getting your people to use the tools and resources you give them and then have connectivity to a market. I can show you markets where our program directors take the tools we give them and they excel in the market and stations in the market are highly rated. I can show you other markets where the PDs take the exact same tools and for whatever reasons stations don’t excel. Now in some cases, one could argue the competition is better, but other cases I think I could argue that our PDs don’t embrace the systems the way they should. They don’t use the tools they way they could. As a result, the stations don’t perform as well.”
McVay: “Someone challenged me that putting Huckabee on, putting Geraldo on, hiring Michael Savage are crazy ideas and my response was I’ve been coming to these conferences for ten years. I hear all of you sitting in this audience complain there isn’t change, that we need to do something to get new and younger demos. Well, if nothing else, give Cumulus credit for trying something. Some things we try are going to fail. Some of the things we try are going to work. Everyone should be hoping that what we do works, rather than belittling it, because if it works, in this lemming business everyone will then run off the cliff and do what we’re doing.”
5. Rush Limbaugh isn’t going away anytime soon.
McVay: “He’s not done. We are continuing to be big fans of Rush. You have to keep in mind that many of the things you read in the trades are taken out of context. And we are fans of Rush Limbaugh and, you know, the demise of Rush Limbaugh is greatly exaggerated. He continues to be one of the highest rated talk talent in America and all of us should want to have the ratings that he has.”
6. It’s a great time to be in the radio business. Believe it!
McVay: The opportunities are greater today, because there are so many more outlets. There are 12,000 radio stations, limitless internet radio stations, and opportunities for you to be heard. You may not make the type of money that people in broadcasting made in the past, but the opportunity to be on the air is greater than it’s ever been before.
If someone sits down and believes there is no opportunity for them in radio, then that is a person who is not creative. They are closed minded. If you really want to get the message out, you’re going to find a way to do it.
7. And one final thought…
McVay: People in broadcasting mostly need therapy, because they have a great inferiority complex.
Everyone is getting excited, because Twitter reported the death of Whitney Houston 45 minutes before traditional news sources. Actually it didn’t, some guys named Big Chorizo and Aja Dior M. did. Social Media sites don’t break news, they allow others to break news through them.
The graphic below is from mashable.com.
An unscientific survey of friends shows most found out about Whitney’s death through social media (Facebook, twitter), though most can’t cite the source behind the information. Surely, Twitter doesn’t want to claim credit for Big Chorizo’s breaking news, or it opens the social media site up to massive legal issues. But, that doesn’t diminish the power of twitter.
To me, this is the shifting news paradigm; People are learning about and talking about breaking news stories in break-neck speed.
For years, news organizations have spent millions building news brands (first, fast & accurate — eyewitness news — on your side, etc), yet in today’s world we consume the information so quickly we don’t stop to see where it came from – and in most cases we don’t care. In fact, an initial prank report that Whitney Houston had died from a bee attack was believed by several dozen twitter users before it was debunked. And keeping up with the speed of news is a dangerous game as CBS Sports discovered by prematurely reporting the death of Joe Paterno.
A friend of mine was espousing how TMZ was ’the source’ for the Whitney Houston story and how amazing it is TMZ has established their brand with celebrity news in six years or so. However, just because TMZ reports something is it automatically worth repeating? My observation is that TMZ is willing to report on stories and facts with limited confirmation, paid information, or single source. Which is why everyone else gives TMZ credit for developing celebrity news and facts in situations like the deaths of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. If TMZ gets it wrong, the brand isn’t tarnished. If CBS gets it wrong, the world sits up and takes notice.
UPDATE: Here is a real example of how TMZ puts credible sources in jeopardy.
Whitney’s funeral is in Jersey and there is still debate over where she’ll be laid to rest – Newark NJ or Atlanta GA – even according to TMZ. Makes me wonder if the “debate” is real or a way for TMZ to save face. Sure, it is a minor detail, but it is a microcosm of a larger issue; followers think they are getting information from a trusted source “WSB” and may not remember pr notice that WSB was sourcing TMZ. So, if Whitney is ultimately laid to rest in Newark some WSB followers will think WSB got it wrong.
So, what is a credible news team supposed to do in this out-of-control, I-want-it-first-I want-it-now society?
At the radio station I program, we removed most of the TV monitors from the news room and replaced them with tweetdecks about a year ago. We use them to see what’s trending, mine and develop unique stories and keep us on the front edge of the artificial news cycle, instead of chasing news papers and TV stations.
News teams (and talk hosts) should strive to tell an interesting story or share a unique detail instead of breaking the news. As we are learning, when the news breaks, most don’t recall where they learned it. It’s what you do with the story after it circles the globe in 23 seconds that will define your brand.
UPDATE 2/15/2012: Two concepts: “Verification” and “Curation”, are key to the future of news. More on Twitter as a breaking news source from CNN
Weclome to the blog. Larry Gifford is a radio management consultant and talent coach. He is available for ongoing or project based consulting for U.S. and International radio groups, stations, and talent
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