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Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Cirque du Radio

Kooza is a Cirque du Soleil show currently underway in Vancouver. It combines two great traditions of the circus: mind-blowing acrobatic performances with the art of clowning.

Take a minute and watch this video.

I was at the show last night and saw this awesome assembly of remarkable talent. It’s a really, really talented troupe. A couple things struck me as it relates to radio.

The talents were unpredictable and diverse. All these people brought their own unique skills to the show, each was showcased, celebrated and included in the team.

tzoo.dp.media.20043.294169.koozaDespite having perfected their craft over many years and having insane talent in what they do, they didn’t just jump in front of the crowd and wing it. They prepared as a team, created a narrative, built anticipation, created suspense and paid it off for the audience time and time again.

The trust the team of performers has in each other is necessary and admirable. You don’t flip 30 feet in the air up-side-down and land on the shoulders of a guy on stilts if you don’t have trust. Trust is the key to a performer’s confidence and is the foundation for being vulnerable in front of an audience.

KoozaFinally, I know this was rehearsed a thousand times. I know they scripted much of it. I know the jokes weren’t spontaneous. And I didn’t care. I was surprised, delighted, entertained and just because it wasn’t spontaneous and organic for the performers doesn’t mean it wasn’t for me.

Logo Confusion

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I attended my first Canadian Football League game last week and not that it didn’t fully engage my attention, but my focus at times ended up on the end zone and sideline advertising. I was there with a season ticket holder and Canadian native and we ended up playing a game, “Hey Larry, based on that logo what do you think that company does?”

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Purolator. I guessed gas or petrol station. Maybe coffee.

Wrong. It’s the Fed-Ex of Canada.

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Smithrite. I guessed a lock smith. A special kind of pen?

Wrong. Waste and Recycling company.

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Fisherman’s Friend.  This one is easy, right? It must be a bait and tackle shop. A liquor store? Outdoor clothing!

Wrong. It’s a throat lozenge.

The exercise got me thinking about radio logos. Often times we use our logo for marketing and promotion campaigns with a focus on growing CUME. While WE totally get our logos and it’s “obvious” what it is, who you are and what you do – what if you’d never had listened to the radio station would you still “get it?”

As an industry we’ve shied away from using “radio,” “FM” and “AM” and maybe to our detriment. If you weren’t in the radio industry would you “get” these radio station logos?

Radio logo1 radio logo 3 radio logo 4 radio logo 5

Food for thought.

The ABCs of “U2 101”

U2101In Vancouver, Rock 101 rebranded as “U2 101” for 16 hours as part of a promotion for the opening night of U2’s “iNNOCENT + eXPERIENCE” 2015 world tour. It was a great way to reinforce the station’s classic rock brand and own a major event that already had the city buzzing. To get the story behind the story, I chatted with Ronnie Stanton, Corus Media VP of National Brands and Programming and PD of Rock 101.

GIFFORD: What elements made up U2 101?

STANTON: 7am on the day of their first concert in Vancouver, which was also the first concert of their new world tour through to about 8:30am we did an interview with U2, in-studio, with our morning show “Willy in the Morning,” played lots of songs as well, but lots of great questions and those guys were fully engaged like they loved being there. It was really authentic, human, it was terrific. For the rest of the day we gave away pairs to the shows that night and played U2 double-shots. It was really cool. We changed every single element. The words “Rock 101” did not appear on the website, they didn’t appear on the radio for that entire period. We were fully U2 101.

Grock101IFFORD: Why U2 101?

STANTON: U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world and at Classic Rock stations all around the world we’re trying to constantly reinvent the format to keep it relevant and keep it less nostalgic. So, when one of your core artists does a major tour you want to do everything you can to own the artist and own it in a contemporary way.

GIFFORD: How’d you pull it off?

STANTON: So, about six or seven weeks ago I started talked to the head of the record label, Universal, and I think it was more than anything about asking the pretty girl for a dance. This didn’t happen on other radio stations, because I don’t think other radio stations said, “Yeah we’ll change our name, yeah we’ll do whatever, like let’s get those boys in here.” And it turned into great radio.

GIFFORD: What was the reaction?

STANTON: Terrific. People loved it. In a PPM world if this doesn’t move the needle I’m going to just go buy a food truck.

The full conversation with Ronnie Stanton and some examples of the imaging will be featured in Radio Stuff Podcast Episode 102 (released 5/21/2015). Here are clips from the interview with Willy and U2. 

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Airchecks. Dreaded Airchecks.

Paul Kaye

Paul Kaye

One of the issues that I hear from talent quite a bit is how airchecks suck. They dread them. Talent feel like they’ve been slimed by negativity afterwards when they just want some support, strategy and a plan to improve. They know what sucked. How do you fix it?

Paul Kaye, Talent Development Director for Newcap Radio and Ops Manager for the Vancouver radio cluster has been writing a series of articles for AllAccess.com about airchecks; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. He talked to talent around the globe and is passionate about making radio talent remarkable. So, I invited him on the Radio Stuff podcast this week.

Our chat is about 30 minutes long. Some key take aways for me:

  • PDs, talent (and often GMs) need to agree on show goals to help focus the coaching sessions and set expectations.
  • Trust needs to be earned by both sides or it all falls apart.
  • Airchecks are not about “managing,” “nitpicking,” or listing negatives, they should be constructive, mostly positive, and helpful in achieving goals.
  • They should be as short as possible and as long as they need to be.
  • Hallway feedback; be timely, specific and supportive.
  • It’s never okay for PDs to throw coffee cups at the talent.

Paul and I also realized through out chat that there really is no system in place for training PDs how to manage and coach talent. It’s all trial and error with mostly error. If the industry is serious about talent being the differentiation between streaming radio services and satellite compared to local radio we need to address this and continue to invest in remarkable talent.

Click the image below to listen to the show!

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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.