FOR ONE DAY ONLY; ELVIS WILL BE IN THE BUILDING

elvis-duran1Elvis Duran, one of America’s most popular radio personalities, is a headliner at this year’s Radiodays Europe in Milan, Italy (March 15-17, 2015). Duran will take the stage and pull back the curtain on the Z-100 Morning Show which is based in New York and heard in 70 markets across the country.

Duran is excited for the opportunity, “I’m honored to be participating in this event. This is a great chance to show how connected we all are through the power of radio.”

Joining him on stage is the Vice President of Talent Development for iHeartMedia, Dennis Clark. Dennis’ role is to nurture the best and most talented radio people in the industry and he works directly with key radio personalities, such as Duran and Ryan Seacrest. They’ll discuss how to create a show that consistently delivers huge audiences, and will reveal the ingredients that makes Elvis Duran the most listened to Top 40 Morning Show in the states.

GIFFORD HEADS TO MILAN, TOO

In a much lower-profile billing, I will be a workshop leader on Sunday (“Fast & Furious”) and co-presenting a session on Tuesday (“30 Ideas in 45 Minutes”). In addition, I be blogging here and on Airchecker.com, filing exclusive reporters for Talkers.com, recording the Radio Stuff podcast in Milan, tweeting whenever possible @giffordtweet, @theradiostuff and facebooking on the Larry Gifford Media page.

RELATED: Radiodays Europe founder and manager Rolf Brandrud featured on the Radio Stuff Podcast

BUT, WAIT! THERE’S MORE

I’m excited that the U.S. radio industry will be well represented this year’s. Here are just some of the other notable U.S. presenters and workshop leaders making the pilgrimage to Milan March 15-17.

  • Anna Sale, producer at WNYC, is leading a session on “Death, Sex and Money; How to Start and Succeed with Podcasting.”
  • David G. Hall, media strategist, is presenting a session titled, “Five Simple Tools to Make Your Show Better.”
  • John Vorhaus, creative consultant, is leading a workshop on “Your Radio Brand” and presenting a session on “How to be Funny When You’re Not.”
  • Steve Jones, music industry veteran, is hosting the session, “Be Like a Rock Star!”
  • Larry Rosin, Edison Research, is diving deep into the “Stream Battle.”
  • Marty Garrison, VP Technology for NPR, is co-presenting “What if Technology Was Your Best Friend After All.”
  • Joel Sucherman, Sr. Dir. Digital Developments for NPR, will discuss “Mobile Apps; More Than Just Live Radio.”
  • Dennis Clark, VP Talent Development for iHeartMedia, is presenting a session on “Making Radio Personalities Relevant in 2015.”
  • Warren Kurtzman, President & COO of Coleman Insights, is discussing, “Aristotelian Dramaturgy – How to Create Compelling Personality-Driven Content.”
  • Bryce Clemmer, CEO of Vadio, is co-presenting a session on “Radio Worth Watching.”
  • Rob Green, VP of Streaming for WideOrbit, is presenting “From Linear to Digital.”

The complete list of sessions and speakers and ticket information for Radiodays Europe is available at www.radiodayseurope.com
Radiodays Europe

Launched in 2010, Radiodays Europe is the largest and most important international radio conference in the world. It is also considered to be the best with high quality content, great speakers and a huge program with over 100 speakers in 55 sessions over 2½ days. In 2014, it attracted 1300 delegates from over 60 countries.

The Changing Tone of Sports Radio

I came across this tweet tonight from Fox Sports Radio host JT the Brick

I responded and our conversation turned into the makings of a good joke: A host, a consultant, a producer, a PD, and a newsman walk into a bar… Here’s the back and forth:

The lesson here is that there is more than one way to host and produce a (sports) radio show. Let me say for the record, in MOST cases, the listeners are tuning for the host – not the callers, producer, or board ops — all of which (sweeping generalization) are not quite ready for prime time.

Yes, of course, YOU are the exception, I’m sure.

Categories: Uncategorized

When Copyrights Trump Commercial Creativity (Spoiler: Always)

copyrightI was listening to radio this morning and heard a spot for a local restaurant trying to be relatable by exemplifying how hard it is for working adults to find time to eat breakfast. They preached the importance of the first meal of the day. And wouldn’t you know it? They have a quick, easy, affordable breakfast sandwich you can pick-up on your way to the office to help solve your problem. Not a bad spot overall, but at one point the announcer says, “before you know it Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho it’s off to work you go!” and then fairly quietly layered underneath was the unmistakable original recording of the seven dwarfs singing the song.

That’s a problem.

  • It’s not an original work created by the advertiser.
  • It doesn’t qualify under “fair use” exceptions.
  • The song isn’t in public domain. The only songs that are public domain in the USA are songs and musical recordings published in 1922 or earlier. This song was released in 1937. (Check out the website here with examples of public domain works http://www.pdinfo.com/)

So, that means either Disney licensed copyright permissions to a local breakfast joint in central coast California or the restaurant and radio station stole it. It probably wasn’t intentionally and in fact, it was a solid creative choice, but the law doesn’t factor in intent, creativity or ignorance.

What should they have done? Here’s some advice from business law firm Brooks/Pierce:

“To secure a license for a musical work, you will need to contact the publisher directly. You can obtain publisher contact information using the repertory databases maintained by ASACP (www.ascap.com), BMI (www.bmi.com), SESAC (www.sesac.com), and/or the Music Publishers’ Association (www.mpa.org). If a sound recording license is also needed (e.g., for dubbing an original recording), you will also need to contact the record company directly. Record company contact information can sometimes be obtained by the music publisher and is often also available on the copy of the recording (e.g., the CD liner notes). Publisher and record company contact information may also be located on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website (www.copyright.gov).”

That’s a lot of time, work and likely money for a :07 sample of a song in a :30 radio ad that you’re charging 50-bucks a spin for on your radio station.

Here’s the kicker. Even if the radio station didn’t produce the spot they can be held liable for copyright infringement. (Production Directors and Traffic Directors listen up!) Penalties can range from $150,000 to $250,000 per infringement and up to 10 years in prison. And in this case, Disney doesn’t shy away from going after little guys, because once you knowingly allow one entity to infringe a precedent is set. Typically a cease & desist will be the first action taken, but I wouldn’t press your luck.

Be careful out there.

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It’s Time For Your Station’s SNL Moment

snl40Love it or hate it Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary show can serve as inspiration for your next radio event. Paying tribute to the music and personalities that built your radio station into what it is today is a great idea. Celebrating your heritage is a powerful brand builder, but too often in radio we are quick to white-out the names who no longer roam the halls. If you’re not a heritage station you use the event to begin to build your station’s mythology or you could pay tribute to business leaders in your community, scholar athletes, or community volunteers. SNL40 had its hits and misses, but the idea was right, it owned the night on social media and it helped remind people why they love the show.

Here’s what SNL did right which applies to your radio station.

  • Engage fans: Multimedia and social media cross-promotion, voting on “favorite moments,” live broadcast, launched new app.
  • Engage partners: VIP reception/red carpet before the event. Big events like this are a great way to thank partners and attract new clients. Use several levels of credentials and events before and after to add gravitas to your radio event.
  • Engage staff: Pitching ideas, rehearsals, celebrating their talent, post-show party. The staff must be included in the creation and execution of the event. They’re smart, talented and know the audience.
  • Entertain: Showcase the great radio talent of the past or celebrate a current talent as “hall of famer” or create your own version of the Hollywood star and walk of fame. OR – special audio / video, or on-stage feature of whomever you are honoring.
  • Entertain: Live performances whether spoken word or music based are essential. You could do anything from a host debate, an “Inside the Actor’s Studio” behind-the-scenes interview, a radio station band, or a concert of a band that has a history with your city or station. Personalities can also share the stage, tell stories, honor or interview others. Whatever you choose be sure it reflects your brand.
  • bradley-cooper-betty-white-kiss-in-californians-snl-40-sketchElement of Surprise: Figure out your version of French kissing Betty White on stage.
  • Make it Big: The SNL40 event was impressive for the star power alone, but a ½ network red carpet special was one additional detail that kicked it up a notch.
  • Details: Details. Details. Details. Imagine the chaos involved in herding all those comedians, musicians, politicians, and actors. Make sure your event has a Lorne Michaels.

It doesn’t matter the size of the market. I’ve seen ratings, revenue, brand reinforcing success for events  like these in markets #1 and #2 to #33, #139 and unranked. Think big, be bold, take chances and don’t listen to the critics. The P1s will love it and so will your staff.

***more lessons from #SNL40 on Radio Stuff Episode 90 “Interviewing Do’s & Don’ts from NBC’s Red Carpet Show”***

Subscribe to the Larry Gifford Media “Radio Stuff” email and each Tuesday you’ll receive an email with all sorts of stuff about radio. Sign up here.

The Real Difference Between Colin Cowherd & Dan Patrick

Patrick v Cowherd 3It is well documented now that ESPN’s Colin Cowherd and DirecTV’s Dan Patrick have their differences. But, this article isn’t about which guy displays superior work ethic. This is about how truly unique and differently talented they are.

As background: I worked with both guys at the ESPN radio network in the early 2000’s. I arrived as a program director in Bristol, CT in January 2005. I oversaw four shows; Mike & Mike, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, The Dan Patrick Show and SportsBash with Erik Kuselias. At that time, Cowherd was still relatively new. He replaced Tony Kornheiser in 2003. Patrick’s show was the established show and evolving; Rob Dibble was let go in December 2004.

Creator vs. Reactor

What I discovered after working with both hosts is that they are different animals. Colin is a natural creator. He’s constantly writing, working on angles and metaphors, and figuring out where sports and life naturally interconnect. He would bounce ideas off of anybody who would listen. He’d come to my office and throw a few things at me, gauge my reaction, grab a piece of candy and be on his way. His goal is to provoke you, to make you think differently or as he told me in an interview on Radio Stuff, “be interesting.” He’s an extrovert who will talk your ear off.

Dan is a classic reactor. He loves hearing what other people have to say; friends, callers, producers, commissioners and then parse it for what’s interesting, find inconsistencies, and explore it further. He’s rather introverted, formulating thoughts, opinions and angles internally. He’s a collaborator whose opinions are often masked through his curiosity. In show meetings, we would stand around in the bullpen and throw topics and suggested angles at him. If you didn’t have anything to contribute, you weren’t needed. Even me. He would stand there, listen and react. When we started working together he would open each show with 5 or 6 big questions. His true opinions, suppressed for years behind an anchor desk, were apparent only by the phrasing of the questions. He’s evolved, but that is where his strength lies. That’s why guests, regular contributors and the “Danettes” are so valuable to his show. He lets them shine, because he loves reacting to them.

The difference is exactly how this “feud” has played out. Colin ripped Dan for his work ethic and Dan responded.

Creators and reactors are equally talented and valuable to a radio station. It’s more complicated than this, but in essence; Colin creates unique content, Dan curates unique content. Keep in mind, Dan’s ability to react is what makes him so effective during live TV broadcasts whether it’s the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or SportsCenter. Colin’s skill as creative opinion-maker allows him to be more of a character on radio which opened doors for him on TV, Pixar, and writing a book.

They’re both smart guys, they both have healthy egos (which is a critical element for their jobs), they both work at their craft and demand excellence around them, and they both are finding success beyond their radio shows.

It was an honor to work with and learn from them and I hope over time they can put aside this pettiness and be comfortable with each other’s success. There is plenty of room for everyone at the sports buffet.

I also discuss this and play audio of the feud in Episode 88 of the Radio Stuff Podcast.


Subscribe to the Larry Gifford Media “Radio Stuff” email and each Tuesday you’ll receive an email with all sorts of stuff about radio. Sign up here.

I’m Just Here So I Don’t Get Fined

Marshawn-Lynch-Candy-Testing-MachineI’m not upset, angry, or  bothered by Marshawn Lynch’s silent treatment to reporters. And you shouldn’t be either.

By now, if you’re at all interested in the Super Bowl, you’ve seen or heard about Seattle Seahawk’s running back Marshawn Lynch and his media day posture. With each question he just answered, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” It’s consistent with his stonewalling reporters all season and last season and the season before that. He might say something like, “thank you for asking. Next question?” and then when that question is asked, “thank you for asking. Next question?” For a reporter it’s has be mind-numbingly frustrating. And I see the media backlash on-line.

“It’s not funny.”

“It’s classless.”

“It’s part of your job as an athlete.”

“The guy is an ass.”

ESPN rabble-rouser and truth teller Stephen A Smith even poked the Beast, “Marshawn Lynch, he saddens me, to be quite honest with you…incredibly selfish.” And Deadspin.com found this.

Okay. Enough.

MarshawnLynchMediaDay2015I’m good with this. It actually provides a storyline. Maybe reporters don’t like it, because they have a job to do and they see it as personal failure they couldn’t get a Lynch quote. Or, maybe they’re not used to people stiff-arming the mic.

But, who cares about a meaningless quote? Our job (as reporters, anchors, hosts) is to tell stories. He’s giving us ammunition to do just that. Would we rather he say, “The Patriots are a good team, we’ll try our best?” Not a chance. It’s not authentic, genuine or revealing of his personality. It likely wouldn’t even be edited for playback.

Most assuredly we all realize by now that Marshawn’s plan is working. He’s getting more media attention by not talking. Well, actually he does talk. He did a Skittles press conference, he appeared on First Take, he sang for Entertainment Tonight and talked about his charity, and last year he was interviewed by a Japanese reporter about his favorite candies. We just don’t like they he doesn’t want to answer our questions.

barrel_boy_super_bowlIt’s also worth noting that as panelists chastise his stalemate with the media, they’re running b-roll of his highlights and rattling off his stats. Everyone is being reminded what a stud this guy is – everywhere. Selfish? Maybe. But, really there are few pro-athletes who aren’t driven by ego, fame, a trophy or a ring.

And frankly gang, there was a naked guy in a barrel conducting interviews with players this week at media day. Where is the outrage to the NFL for the mockery it is making of the media?

Categories: Uncategorized

10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else

The other day my wife and I were talking about my new weekly email (see: email #1) and were throwing around possible enticements to get people to sign-up. I wasn’t sure I wanted to promise anything more than the weekly communication and blurted out, “I’m not sure I want to promise them 10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else to get them to sign up” It was a flippant, off-hand remark that got us laughing and then I thought, “hmm. It would be fun to write.” My wife cautioned that if I did it would need to be helpful too. (Always the voice of reason.)

THE PITCH

Sign up for the email if you like. It’ll be chock full of links to radio stories, audio and video, radio related pictures, plus my observations, discoveries, and insights. I promise I won’t give away your information. And it’s free. Let’s call it viral swag. Wait! Let’s not. That sounds like an STD. Let’s just say if you like radio stuff as much as I do, you may like this too. For easy sign up click here.

THE LIST: 10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else

game of life1. Stop keeping score. Ironic considering the list this item appears on. But seriously, this will free you from the chains of ego – at least in part. So much of what riles us up is constantly comparing ourselves to the people around us. We compare our talents, which can be motivating. But, we also take stock of who got which desk, who got a new computer, who went to lunch with the boss, who is in the PDs office and for how long, who gets more air time, which show gets more promotion on air, who is voicing more commercials, what show got bumper stickers or billboards, who is on stage at the station concert and which bands are they introducing and on and on and on. Stop it. You’re going to drive yourself insane. If you’re not being treated fairly, take your official compaint to human resources. But, by fairly I don’t mean equally. Not everyone gets a parking spot, a performance bonus, a cushy office, or even a free t-shirt. Be supportive of each other’s success and opportunities. Trust me, if you stop keeping score and start cheering each other on you’ll feel better about yourself and find your job more personally fulfilling, because of the impact your actions have on the success of your team.

asshole2. Don’t be an a – – hole. This might seem cheeky, but really there’s no need to terrorize your co-workers, bully subordinates, or stride through the building like you are above it all. We all deserve better. And more and more people I talk to are instituting a “No a – – hole hiring policy.” (Like this guy) So, finding and keeping your job is getting tougher and tougher if you insist on being a sphincter.

3. Be present. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually (if you are inclined.) I know some will say this is mumbo-jumbo. Okay, move on. For the rest of you… being in the present moment will make you more engaged, more reliable, more likable, more productive, more balanced, more mindful and the list goes on. This means letting go of what happened last hour, yesterday or last week so you can focus on what’s happening right now. It also means to stop thinking about what’s next or getting emotionally engaged in events that haven’t happened, but might. Sometimes the easiest way for me to shed those nagging thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow is to make a list of what’s racing through my brain so I don’t forget it and I can address it at a later time in a more focused, productive way.

greatness4. Aspire for greatness. People like to be around positive people who believe dreams can come true. I actually had someone tell me after a coaching session they didn’t want any more feedback on improving their show, because, “it’s good enough” they just wanted me to grow their audience. What a buzz kill. When I took over as program director at ESPN in Los Angeles I was quoted in the trades predicting the station would be #1 in the market. Lots of people laughed. But at the end of the day do you want to work with people who believe greatness is possible or work with pessimists (they like to disguise themselves realists) who are satisfied with the status quo? Greatness please. I always want to work with those people who dream big and take action to achieve it.

5. Present solutions not problems. This is what I call “being an owner” or “see a problem, fix it.” Too often people carry their problems across the radio station being sure to let it spill a little on everyone’s desk before dumping the mess and all their attached emotions in the (insert manager position here)’s lap. This instantly relinquishes them of the responsibility of whatever is going on and leaves it up to management to solve. Or so they think. We are adults, right? Trust me, the results will be swifter and more satisfying if, before you march in and demand resolution, you consider what that might look like. I would even approach it as a pitch to solve a problem at the radio station that will; increase morale, save the company money, increase efficiency, etc. Management has enough problems to solve. If solutions are offered it’s easier to act on them in a timely manner. Vice-versa is true too. Management can’t tell employees to work smarter, collaborate or increase output without offering tools and solutions to do so.

listen6. Listen. This means actually hearing what people are saying. Studies have shown only 7% of communication is verbal, 93% is non-verbal (55% body language, 38% tone of voice.) So, put down your devices, move away from computer screens, and communicate with people face to face as often as you can. Focus on what they saying. Listen. Don’t just use the time they’re talking to figure what you’re going to say next. Communication only works when the message sent is the message received, otherwise it is miscommunication. This also applies to listening to the radio station you work at. Hear what is going over the air tell people specifically what you like.

7. Make “what,” “how” and “why” equal partners in making decisions. I’m a big proponent of strategic thinking. Knowing what you want to do, why you want to do and how it can be done seems logical enough, but in a radio station atmosphere I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of knee-jerk reaction decisions based on nothing but spite, fear, or an attempt to save face. Regardless if you’re a board operator or the chairman of the board, keeping this in mind while making decisions is key to garnering internal support for changes. It’s human nature to want to know WHY a decision is being made and if you are the decision maker you should have an answer other than, “Because.” This applies to all levels of employees.

Second-Chances8. Give people second chances. The old adage is you only have one shot to make a first impression. But, what if we just declared that old. Some people get nervous, have bad days, always make a horrible first impression or are simply miscast. I know I’m as guilty of anyone as painting someone with a broad brush on a first impression, putting them in a box, or diminishing their value to me based on a single interaction. That’s silly. Humans are fallible. Be human and realize you may be the one who made the mistake this time and give people a second chance before writing them off.

9. Be open to uncomfortable ideas. No need for any safe words here. Get your mind out of the Cosby gutter. This is about challenging conventional wisdom. This guy is doing it and I only wish he wasn’t so combative, angry and intent on hording his solutions until you hire him. But this can apply to changing where you sit in the studio, what color the walls are, experimenting with new bits or talent, or rebranding a heritage station to be more in touch with the way people consume radio today. Be the guy or gal who encourages evolution. The person who says, “Yes, and…” and add to the discussion instead of shutting it down with a, “no!” or even worse, “we’ve never done that here.”

10. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. We’re in this big crazy world together so why not pitch in to help make it a better place to be. You could volunteer at your favorite charity, share knowledge with people who could use it, raise funds, raise awareness, or help find solutions to community issues. It could be as simple be creating a personal mission in how you want your actions and activities to impact others. When you are selfless in your actions the energy you exert is minimal in the scope of life, but the impact can be life changing for you and others. It also gives you a broader perspective on how your actions make a difference. And I believe when we are conscious and purposeful with our actions the impact is greater and more positive than if we take action in a vacuum and let the chips fall where they may.

Purpose

And those are 10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else. Feel free to share additional items, feedback and stories below.

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