These are reminders, thoughts, takeaways, interesting observations and things I want to remember from the national RTDNA Canada conference.
Great stories are built around moments, take the audience somewhere and decode jargon or spin. Those three areas are what have helped to make CBC journalist Susan Ormiston such an impactful international correspondent. She shared her secrets on storytelling with the crowd at the RTDNA Canada national convention.
Stories evolve around moments. Ormiston explains, “Creating environments for moments to happen or simply focusing on a moment” is what she attempts in her storytelling. There is a warning, “moments cannot be manufactured, but they can be managed.” For instance, building trust with an interview subject helps create an environment where vulnerable moments are more likely to take place. “Trust,” she says, “It’s a relationship. Never persuade yourself that someone won’t want to talk about something.”
REMINDER: Don’t Be A TV Anchor…
The TV news anchor is dying.
The head of CTV Wendy Freeman fired the first shot across the bow, “in 5 to 10 years will there even be TV anchors?” Corus/Global VP Troy Reeb added, “The asking price for a good anchor has been in decline and will continue to be, the asking price for a good reporter is expected to climb.” He also noted brands aren’t being built on the shoulders of anchors, but around the credibility of reporting. And then Ali Velshi hit it home, “I don’t think the highly paid TV anchor is a sustainable creature.”
Buzzwords – words and concepts that dominated discussions.
“Multi-platform” – I blogged about that here.
“Mobile” – 94% of millennials have smart phones, mobile first thinking, reporters using phones for everything…
“Monetization” – how do we make money with… native content, snapchat, etc…
“Change” – the industry is changing, technology is changing, audience expectations are changing and if you/we aren’t changing fast enough we will lose.
Apps and Devices Speakers Love…
Twitter – it’s changed the game for distributing and curating content and for live moment-by-moment coverage where microphones aren’t allowed like courtrooms.
iMovie – great for radio reporters also tasked with filming and editing video pieces on the run.
Voddio – Voddio, is a professional-grade video and audio editor App for mobile journalists and story tellers, that supports rich editing of two tracks of video and up to four tracks of audio.
Favorite Quotes of the Conference
“$150 million dollars is what’s going to go to the bureaucratic morass that is the CBC.” – Troy Reeb, Corus/Global
“I bemoan the day when we decide we don’t need context anymore.” – Susan Ormiston, CBC
“It’s Facebook and the 7 Dwarves.” – on Social Media platforms
“We need to start thinking about big stupid ideas. We’re not an industry that typically thinks up stupid ideas. We need more stupid ideas. Stupid ideas are stupid until they are breakthroughs.” – Ali Velshi, Multi-platform Content Creator
“I’ve never given up the thought of returning home to Canada , but it won’t because of a man named Donald Trump. He can’t bully me.” – Ashleigh Banfield, CNN. She dedicated her entire keynote address to the “human wrecking ball” Trump and trying to explain how he’s in the position he’s in.
Beats1 is on the air!
I’m underwhelmed thus far and I blame Steve Jobs. He taught me to expect the unexpected. He created products that at first blush seemingly made no sense (an iPad? I have an iPhone. Why do I want something bigger?), but were nearly instantaneous culture changing innovations. He created a brand expectation that sadly Apple can no longer live up to.
In my mind I was really hoping Beats1 was going to be revolutionary, be a paradigm shift for radio, inspire a new generation of broadcasters and push the industry back on it’s heels a bit. I imagined that they would figure out a way to integrate a song an hour from everyone’s personal iTunes collection weaving it seamlessly into the fabric of the radio station making it a truly personalized experience. I envisioned a XAPP Media type vocal recognition program which would allow you to say out loud, “buy this song” and it would instantly download to your iTunes account. I counted on Apple to create the fully integrated, connected, social savvy, second screen radio has been struggling to create. My expectations were too high.
Instead, so far, the bigger impact of Beats1 is for rising artists who get a global spin and ideally, for them, an instant international fan base. (Also, Pandora founder Tim Westergren’s dream. AUDIO)
As it impacts radio, Beats1 seems more of a blast of the past than a quantum leap into the future:
Shouting city names over records.. Radio does this.
Live reads. Radio does this.
Pre-Recorded outdated promos. Radio’s got those in droves!
DJs that talk too much. Radio’s got ‘em.
DJs in multiple locations. Yep..
Dead Air. Sure.
Celebrity DJs. Requests. Listen call-ins. Social media engagement. Radio does all that too.
What exactly is the innovation here?
It’s week one, so we’ll give them time to get settled and check back in next month or so. Meantime, if you hear something truly unique let me know.
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There is a new app called “6 Seconds” created by digital music pioneer Michael Robinson. I’ve blogged about his DAR.FM service before. This new app turns thousands of digital radio streams from around the world into an instant Spotify or Pandora with one advantage – unlimited skipping.
“It’s a free app for Android and IOS that takes a totally new approach to internet radio,” Robinson tells the Radio Stuff Podcast. “We put the artist and song first, let users indicate what style of music, artist or even specific song they want and then we go find the station’s that match that.”
Essentially, “6 seconds” allows people to listen to the music they want while discovering new radio stations around the globe. When the song ends, the listener hears the next song or commercials or whatever the radio station is playing until they “left swipe” to skip to the next song that relates to your initial search.
In my test of the app (see screenshots below), I searched for The Beatles and was given a list of about 20 stations currently playing Beatles songs.
I chose “Come Together” on KVRW (a Lawton, Oklahoma station I would never have listened to otherwise) and then tested the skip feature.
Next came, “Do You Want to Know a Secret.”
That was followed by “Sister Golden Hair” by America (not the Beatles but same genre).
Next up was “Jumping Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones.
So far, so good. And then the Beach Boys. On the surface it seems to fit until I realized it was a Christmas tune, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Perfect? No. Clever? Indeed. I love that I’m not only discovering new music, but new radio stations (many seemingly online stations) and I like can favorite stations I like to return whenever I want. Go ahead and download it and try it out.
Looking for an anoter review? Radio futurologist James Cridland test drives the app too.
The other day I was flipping through the dial and every one of the ten stations I flipped to was in commercial at the same time. Yesterday, I was air-checking a new morning show and between the commercials, traffic, weather, and canned commentaries I listened for 30 minutes without so much as a “good morning” from the new personality.
Tragic. Opportunity missed. Quarter-hours lost. Radio listener’s discouraged.
I listen to quite a bit of radio. I love radio. I should say I WANT to love radio, but I am increasingly dissatisfied with the return on my investment of time. Gang, we got a spot problem. There’s way too much clutter. We’re strangling content to squeeze blood from a turnip. Enough already.
I know I’m not the first to bring it up. I just watched a talk Jerry Del Colliano gave at Talkers 2014 and he brought it up too.
It was also a discussion in the #SRCHAT (Sports Radio Chat) on Twitter last night too.
A2: re: breaks per hour. Listening to a national show this morning and it felt like they were constantly going to break. No content. #srchat
— Owen Murphy (@SportRadioCoach) September 10, 2014
A2) too many breaks and not enough content kills all. Even Rush. Content is king #srchat
— Matt Perrault (@sportstalkmatt) September 10, 2014
— Brent Dougherty (@brentdougherty) September 10, 2014
That last one caught the attention of many on the chat. We are willingly sacrificing what’s best for the listening experience to accommodate a revenue model that was introduced in 1921.
Let that sink in.
The same year radio began to sell spots; World War I ended, Warren G. Harding was inaugurated as President, and KDKA created the first radio news room and broadcast the first ever baseball game on the radio.
Radio commericals have had a good run. But, the time has come to rethink the way we monetize our content. We don’t need to eliminate them altogether, but we need to value our platforms at a much higher rate, creatively collaborate on projects with advertisers and be willing to say “no” a whole lot more often to spots that don’t match our brand or meet our production quality standards.
(Insert a spit take from GMs and GSMs across the country)
The more we load up our hours with limitless units of :05s, :10s, :15s, :30s and still even :60s, the faster we’re pushing the next generation of radio listeners to competing audio content providers.
Think about this. The #1 thing in every research project radio has EVER conducted (hyperbole intended), commercials are what listeners react the most negatively too. And you know what we say? “Oh, they always say that. Just ignore it.”
I’m afraid we can’t ignore it anymore.
It’s going to take creativity, guts, leadership, ideation and innovation. Raise your hand if you have an idea. The solution isn’t going to likely arrive from the corner office. I’m looking at the board ops, producers, talent, reporters, street-teamers, and sales assistants. We need to start asking different people how we can solve this problem. So, I’m asking. Do YOU have any ideas?
- Co-branding opportunities / strategic partnerships (studio, phone lines, text, street team, events, etc.) I know this is happening in some stations already but usually it’s undervalued and tragically it’s often flighted-in instead of signing an annual.
- Multiplatform solutions or coordinated Brand Takeovers (audio, video, text, web, stream, podcast, app)
- XAPP Media – interactive online/mobile spots
- Creating exclusive online stations for partners co-branded with radio station featuring exclusive promotions/access/messaging for partners. (Listen to the Jones Honda Hits Music Channel on thisradiostation.com for your chance to win a trip to the Honda 500)
- Invest in great copy writers.
Add your ideas in the comments below or email me at email@example.com