Posts Tagged ‘Brand’

If Radio Was Like Blueberries…

September 21, 2015 Leave a comment

PattsBlueberriesI spent a good half-hour talking to a blueberry farmer the other day. He was passionate, knowledgeable, and eager to discuss the business. He talk about how blueberries are becoming more popular internationally in China and some countries in Africa in addition to North & South America and Australia. He knew all about his competitors both regionally and internationally. He was gracious towards them. He saw them as a teammate in the global distribution, promotion and consumption of blueberries — instead of an evil enemy.

Ever notice we don’t seek out varietals of blueberries? We go to the store and buy blueberries. In fact, there are several dozen popular kinds of blueberries. (I dare you to name two.) But the blueberry industry, the farmers and marketers, focus on getting blueberries in shopping carts and mouths. They aren’t pushing you to eat Bluegold, Chandler, Elliott or Legacy blueberries. Just Blueberries.

What if radio did that?

What if everyone who grew and sold radio was passionate, knowledgeable, and eager to discuss the business?

What if we talked about the growing appetite of radio around the world and the role is plays in people’s lives?

What if we really were knowledgeable about our radio competition home and abroad? And didn’t talk bad about them?

What if we just all came together and encouraged everyone to listen to radio?

What if…?

Don’t Run Your Station Like a Doctor’s Office

March 31, 2015 3 comments

the_doctor_is_not_in2-285x300This will eventually tie into your radio station, I promise.

One of the benefits of the pediatrician we go to is that they work early hours; open at 7:30am. I called this morning at 7:40am and it went to voice mail telling me they were closed and to call back during regular office hours Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 6pm. I usually wouldn’t care, but I needed to make an appointment. The bumps on my kid that we thought were mosquito bites seemed to be spreading. We feared chicken pox. Maybe a milder version we read about that kids get even if they’ve been immunized.

I called again five minutes later. “You have reached us outside of normal business hours. If an emergency, hang up and dial 9-1-1. If you want to speak to a nurse for $35 press 2. Otherwise, please call back during normal business hours Monday through Friday 7:30am to 6pm.”

I tried again. And again. And again.

We were way passed the window of time it would take to transfer the phones back from the answering service. I looked on the website and the hours were consistent; Monday through Friday 7:30am-6pm.

Are they suddenly closed on Tuesday?

I tried again at 8am, 8:05am and 8:10am. Same message. Frustration levels escalated.

They had to be there right?

I put on my shoes and zipped down the driveway with a plan to make an appointment in person. It’s only a 5 minute drive. I got there and on the door there were pieces of white paper overtop the operating hours which now read “Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm.”

Well, crap.

It reminded me how important it is for businesses and radio stations to have consistent messages across platforms, to live up to the promises we make to consumers or listeners and to deliver on our promises. This doctor office failed on all accounts. Radio stations often do too. I urge you to use this as a reminder to read and listen to the messages and promises your station is making, see if they are consistent and evaluate how well your station is delivering on them.

It’s Time For Your Station’s SNL Moment

February 16, 2015 3 comments

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.

Radio is Overloaded

September 10, 2014 4 comments

Radio Spots as TissuesThe 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.

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 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

You Are A Brand

December 5, 2013 1 comment

Cowherd GraphicIn 2013, it is no longer good enough for talk hosts to be a faceless voice in a dark room talking into a microphone.

“I’ve got a book now, I’ve got a twitter account. I’ve got a radio show. I’ve got podcasts. I do a TV show on Sunday.”

Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio Network host talked about the importance of developing your brand during an interview with the Radio Stuff podcast.

“I realize at this point and time in 2013 I’m not going to be your only source of information, I just want to be one of them. And so I’ve got to give you as many opportunities to find me as I can. We live in a multi-layered world of media. So, I’ve got to be on Facebook and twitter and radio and podcasts and TV and at different times of the day; morning-drive and afternoon. People are busy. My job is to find other avenues to connect with the public. And that’s what the book is and that’s what my Sunday morning show is.”

Colin’s book is “You Herd Me! I’ll Say It If Nobody Else Will.” He tells Radio Stuff it’s an important brand extension.

“I think, more than ever, now it is important — even Rush Limbaugh just came out with one (a book.) I mean Rush is making so much money it doesn’t matter, but he has the tea brand and the book. I look at twitter and I post a couple times a day. If I can get you to think about me once-a-day, when I’m off the air, that’s not a bad thing. I’ve got a book now, you’ll think about me during the holidays.”

So how does a guy like Colin have time to do it all?

“It seems like I put in these infinite, bizarre hours, but no more than an attorney, a doctor, or an executive. I’m very time efficient with things I do. I come in and grind my radio show and then I have time for a good 90 minutes a day to talk to radio stations and talk to advertisers. I think we all have time in our day; you just have to be more efficient.”

Lessons from the NBA

Radio managers, producers and talent show up and, for the most part, grind through each day. The stories change, but our process tends to remain the same. Too often things at a radio station are done or said without thinking of how it impacts the fans or clients, without considering the carefully crafted brand, and without a conscious awareness of the core values and unique attributes of the company, station or show. The very people who are responsible for embracing these concepts and working each day to reflect these defining characteristics often times don’t know what they are. It’s time to stop thinking of radio as a playground and become more strategic with what you do and why you do it.

A year ago, the NBA released its core values and unique attributes. They are as follows:


Regardless of age, sex, and race – fans agree that these four things are what attract them to the NBA.

  • Passion
  • Intensity of Competition
  • Power of Teamwork
  • Respect for History & Tradition


These are the qualities that make the NBA so special and differentiate it from other pro sports

  • Exhilarating – from the pace of the game to the in-arena experience
  • Progressive – the innovations, social responsibility of the players, teams and league, and willingness to evolve
  • Inclusive – NBA fans and players are from all cultures and walks of life and the NBA celebrates culture
  • Charismatic – the NBA has the most recognizable and magnetic personalities in all of sports

All of these values and attributes apply to a radio station too. Whether on the air, preparing for a live remote, throwing a party or in a pitch to a client, you should bring passion, compete with intensity, use teamwork to maximize effectiveness, and have respect for traditions and history. You should be exhilarating, progressive, inclusive and charismatic in your presentation and approach. Doing these things reflects a general fan perspective of your product and will allow you to engage more fully with our customers and clients.

 However, I would recommend you and your team (whether managers or show units) create your own core values and unique attributes. Doing this exercise gets everyone on your team on the same page; it focuses your daily efforts and gives you a way to judge your content (ie.  Is what you’re planning to do or say in congress with your core values and unique attributes?)

What are the four things that attract fans and / or clients to your station or show? Are you doing enough of these things? You do what you do to attract listeners and clients, so why not give them more of what they want?

What are the unique qualities that make your station or show so special and different from other stations or shows? How can you better capitalize on these points of differentiation?

If you haven’t thought about these things, you cannot know your product or brand well enough to maximize results.

411 on PPM

October 28, 2010 1 comment

hand showing arbitron PPM device“Newsflash: commercials aren’t CUME builders.” Gary Marince, Arbitron

Arbitron recently looked at the top talk stations in the country and found they average an 8.7% daily CUME, an average of 5.8 daily occasions, and a per occasion TSL of 10 minutes.

Top sports stations average 7.3% daily CUME, an average of 5.6 occasions, and a per occasion TSL of 10 minutes.

The results continue to show that efforts to attract new listeners or extend listening from 10 minutes per occasion to longer is actually more challenging and less impactful than increasing the listener occasions per day. Specific time tune-ins and event programming are key to continued success in PPM.

Bad News: When looking at FM band exclusivity among M18+ it has risen the past three years from 58.8% to 61%. That means for a male-focused format at the AM band, on average, you eliminate 2/3 of your potential audience before you open your mic because they never switch from the FM to AM band.

Vulnerability: Transitions are the most vulnerable time of your day; when a host goes from one topic to the next, goes to spots, returns from spots or one show ends and another begins. Programmers and talent need to work together to focus on making these transitions smoothly, quickly and without much fanfare.

Brand: When radio thinks of its brand, we often think of our product. We should think of brand as the relationship we have with our audience. What are you doing to impact or improve their lives? What can they count on you for? Do they think of  you when they aren’t listening to the radio?