Eight Things I Takeaway From HIVIO
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.”
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