Tag Archives: Social Skills

A New Direction for Broadcast

rogers-pastoreLast week I told you about how our world is exploding with media to the point of over-saturation. Not only are we drowning in a plethora of media, the rate of new ways to communicate keeps accelerating at an unfathomable pace.

For one form of broadcast, RADIO, I believe it has a super power that it can wield to cut through the clutter.

Radio’s Advantage

Radio’s biggest strength is its ability to make people aware of things. More than 300 radio stations across America annually participate in “Radio Cares” to support St. Jude Children’s hospital, raising tens of millions of dollars every year.

Radio has the power to make people aware of the need, and listeners respond with their dollars.

Artificial Intelligence

Radio grew up with the strength of connecting with the radio listener by power of the human voice and a talented personality behind a microphone.

Radio is an art form. When you remove the artists, there’s not much left.

The development in the field of AI (artificial intelligence) is incredible. Amazon’s Alexa now has a “news voice” to deliver the latest goings-on in our world with the authority of a network newscaster.

But, the curious thing is, as artificial intelligence grows, we find human interaction takes on even more importance.

Radio needs to automate the backroom and other areas unseen or unheard by the listening consumer, and return to live personalities 24/7 that connect and engage the listener on an emotional level. Personalities that can not only sell the music, but the advertiser’s goods that support the radio broadcasting station.

The Radio Listening Experience

The 21st Century world is filled with people seeking out the best customer experience. And what comes through the listener’s speaker, is critical.

Radio programmers sweat bullets over their OTA signal while completely ignoring the programming that streams over the internet. The radio listener’s experience in those long commercial stop-sets is painful. Often with the same advertisement running multiple times in one of those gargantuan breaks.

This IS NOT a great listening experience.

Radio Needs to Be Personalized

Radio needs to stop worrying about reaching the most people and instead personalize its programming to a specific target audience. A specific group of people with like interests, needs and desires.

Radio that personalizes itself to an audience that shares common beliefs and/or lifestyles will deliver an advertising platform for products and services that wish to reach these same people.

Social Intelligence

Radio needs to learn how to turn its social media data into social media intelligence that can be leveraged to personalize their programming and keep it fully aligned with the target audience.

80% of people’s decisions are based on emotion.

Emotion is data too.

Fred Rogers

Back in 1968, public television in America was worried that Senator John Pastore’s Subcommittee on Communications was going to gut its congressional monies. Public television’s head selected Fred Rogers to champion its cause before Senator Pastore’s committee. Mr. Rogers testimony is still considered one of the most powerful pieces of emotional persuasion ever filmed.

Fred Rogers appeared before Senator Pastore on May 1, 1969 and it will definitely be worth your time to view and analyze it HERE

Rogers secured public television’s full funding without a single penny being cut.

During Mr. Rogers presentation, Senator Pastore remarked: “Well, I’m supposed to be a pretty tough guy, and this is the first time I’ve had goose bumps for the last two days.”

When Fred Rogers concluded his testimony, Senator Pastore’s closing statement was “Looks like you just earned the twenty million dollars.”

Radio’s Mission for the Future

Radio can’t win by being artificial.

Radio needs to be earnest, authentic and live in the moment.

Radio needs personalities that are personal, informal, and that speak to human feelings and emotions using the words that the listener uses and understands.

The radio personality who becomes an extended member of the listener’s family can be powerful in making the listener aware of everything they need to know, even advertised merchandise and service.

Radio’s best investment to secure its future is creating the best listener experience both over-the-air and online.

11 Comments

Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

Different or Better?

In education, we measure students by GPA (grade point average). The higher a student’s GPA, the more everyone believes that student is the higher achiever. In school, that measure is usually pretty accurate, but what about when the student graduates?

The best baseball players don’t always become all-stars. The best scientists don’t always win a Nobel Prize; the best known do.

Stanford’s business school once tried to learn what their most successful graduates had in common. They found two things. They all graduated in the lower half of their class and they all were very good at socializing. Being able to work a crowd, it turns out, is a skill-set that leads one to be successful.

Lee de Forest wanted to be called “the father of radio.” He even tried to use the “Miracle on 34th Street” concept having the post office make that determination. Only unlike in the movie, the United States Post Office did not deliver the mail addressed “the father of radio” to de Forest. Worse, de Forest never really understood his own Audion tube that made the radio we know today possible.

Edwin Howard Armstrong, the creator of FM radio (that is also the way the audio on your TV set gets delivered too) did understand the science that made the Audion tube work, but most people don’t know Armstrong.

Armstrong was better than de Forest, but de Forest was different.

Nielsen Audio measures better, something audiences really can’t distinguish. However, different is something that audiences can distinguish.

Think of top rated radio personalities. Were they better or different? Howard Stern? The Real Don Steele? Salty Brine? Dale Dorman? Paul Harvey? Jean Shepherd? Wolfman Jack? Etc.

I’m sure you will say they were better, because they were different. They were also all well promoted; either through self-promotion or a radio company that promoted them.

Today, every streaming audio service calls themselves “radio” and they’ve all copied the best practices of radio stations and one another that eliminate their differences; except one. Pandora. Pandora uses their “Music Genome Project” to put together their stream. Is it better than a music format that a person curates? Probably not. But it’s different.

Radio used to be filled with innovators dreaming up different. We need to let those folks back into the business and turn them loose. It’s why FM radio finally got traction and HD Radio never did.

It’s time for radio, like Steve Jobs did for Apple, to “Think Different.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Radio