Tag Archives: Techsurvey 2022

Listeners Don’t Care

If you think listeners hang on our every word – surprise – the reality is quite different.

Listening is a Habit

Radio listening, like many things in our lives, is on auto-pilot. When someone makes listening to your radio station part of their daily habit, you’ve struck gold.

However, two years of a global pandemic changed everyone’s routines and replaced them with new ones.

People who study people’s habits, usually say that it takes at least three weeks for a person to form a new routine and COVID forced changes on all of us that lasted for two years.

Award Winning

Go ahead and pound your chest that your radio station has won awards for its news coverage, its public service and its ability to break new hit songs, but appreciate that listeners don’t care. What is important to them is having your radio station deliver what they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it, and on the media platform they want it delivered on.

The Best Ads

It’s interesting that the ads listeners remember most are usually for products or services that have been around for decades and used the power of repetition to burn their ear worm into your brain.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean:

  • I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid.
  • The best part of waking up, is Folgers in your cup. (Oddly, the brand actually sold the rights to this 38-year old jingle for $90,000.00.)
  • Plop, plop…Fizz, fizz…Oh, what a relief it is. This Alka-Seltzer ear worm was penned in 1976 and was so popular that Sammy Davis, Jr. actually recorded a version.
  • I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, and I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company, it’s the real thing.
    • I actually still play on my radio show, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” a song by Hillside Singers and it still makes me crave having a Coke, even though the hit record version never mentions Coca-Cola.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Your Brand Messaging

You will never be all things to all people.

If your radio station uses multiple positioning statements, I’m willing to bet that your listeners, at best, can remember only one.

Back when I started in the broadcast business, radio stations spent a lot of money promoting their air personalities; they were the draw then, and they are the draw still, maybe even more so as Fred Jacobs TechSurvey 2022 so vividly points out.

Your personalities are your brand, and unique to your radio station; coach them, grow them and promote them.

If you don’t understand the listener’s needs, from the listener’s point of view, then you’re just spinning your wheels.

Your goal is to be the radio station a listener thinks of first,

and makes a daily habit.

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Best of the Blog 2022

It’s been my tradition since I began this blog eight years ago to look back on the year just past and share with you the Top 5 Most Read articles over the last 52-weeks.

To date, 400 articles have been published and have been viewed over 273,800-times from folks around the world; maybe you missed them or perhaps you’d like to read them again.

Most Read Article of 2022

Radio’s most important assets are its broadcast radio personalities, yet the big radio owners continue to eliminate that very advantage. Worse, our industry has no plan to create a farm team of new broadcasters that will replace personalities who are retiring or have retired.

It’s this critical fact that prompted me to write Radio’s Leaking Listeners.” Apparently this article struck a nerve with thousands of readers when it was published in May 2022.

Second Most Read Article of 2022

I started off 2022 with a bang in my first new article of the year titled “Why I Stream ALL My Radio Listening.” Since my wife Sue (who edits this weekly missive) bought me an Amazon Echo in 2017, streaming has been my preferred way to listen to all thing’s audio and Alexa now inhabits four Echo devices and three televisions. Simple voice commands control what station I listen to and at what volume. In 2021, all of what was happening in our home was added to both of our cars using the Nulazy KM18 Blue Tooth receiver that immediately pairs with both Sue’s and my iPhones and our car radios have become nothing more than audio amplifiers.

Since I wrote that article, my good radio friend Gary James gifted me a C Crane Internet Radio that I’m thoroughly enjoying.

Third Most Read Article of 2022

Once upon a time in a land far away, a radio station had a team of people fully focused and dedicated to a single radio signal. Think of the incredible radio stations you listened to in your youth: WABC, WKBW, WRKO, WLS, WPRO, WDRC, KHJ, KFRC, CKLW etc. These were standalone radio stations with dedicated staffs that numbered ten or more times larger than today’s radio clusters, which are made up of 4 or more stations.

John Frost says that “Culture always changes in the hallways, before it changes out the speakers.” It’s a philosophy I’ve lived all my radio life, and was the genesis of “Great Radio Starts in the Station’s Hallways.”

Fourth Most Read Article of 2022

I often think about how much radio has changed since I began my career as a professional broadcaster in February 1968, 54 years ago. Local radio at that time told us who was born, who died, whether school was open or closed, what happened at the city council of school board meetings, what was going on in the world, our nation and our community. We depended on our hometown radio station for news, weather, sports and entertainment.

With so many of these needs now filled by other means, “What Purpose Does Radio Serve in 2022?

Fifth Most Read Article of 2022

Everywhere you turn you see “Help Wanted” signs, yet we see a radio industry that continues to eliminate people. In the article “Where Have All the People Gone”, I tackled the logic behind radio owners eliminating the very element that not only differentiates it from pureplay streamers, but is the attraction for most listeners – it’s radio personalities.

Most Read Article The Day It Was Published

Back on September 6, 2015, an article I wrote in the early days of this blog continues to hold the record for the most readers and comments the day it was published. Looking back, I see that it dealt with the same issue eight years ago that has only gotten worse, that being the elimination of the very thing that makes radio great – it’s radio personalities.

We Never Called It Content is the story of how a radio industry inspired me to make this my life’s career. It’s an article that’s now had over 5,000 views.

 Radio is an art form.

When you remove the artists, there’s not much left.

Why I Blog

I blog for broadcasters, educators and students, I blog to provide media mentorship and to pay-it-forward to the broadcasting industry that I have been a part of for over 50-years. I’m grateful for the more than 204,400-people from all over the world who have visited this blog (https://DickTaylorBlog.com) and have read an article that caught their interest.

Thank You for reading, next week I will begin my ninth year of blogging with all new articles.

Together we can all learn from one another by sharing our experiences, knowledge and wisdom. Feel free to contribute your thoughts to the discussion in the comments section. I read every one of them.

Happy New Year!

Dick & Sue

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UPDATE 1-7-2023: Both Sue & I found ourselves testing COVID+ as we started 2023 and are now focusing on our health to try and put this behind us.

The good news is that we’re both vaccinated and boosted and on medication that should have us back on the road to recovery.

While we were both very careful to always mask up when shopping and when we did dine out, we would go at off hours to avoid crowded restaurants, the new strains of COVID appear to be as reported, very contagious.

I will resume writing this blog soon.

Stay tuned.

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Radio’s Leaking Listeners

The results of Techsurvey 2022* was presented in a webinar this week and two things about the latest data and the trend lines of the last five years struck me.

“We have met the enemy and it is us.”

-Pogo

Walt Kelly coined that phrase in a poster he made for an anti-pollution poster for the first Earth Day in 1970. He would later repeat it in a comic strip he created for the second Earth Day in 1971.

Sadly, the similarities between what needs to be done to preserve our planet and the radio industry are striking. We all know what the answer is, but aren’t applying the solution.

Personalities

Jacobs pointed out that “over the past four surveys, broadcast radio personalities have stayed ahead of the music as a key attribute of the medium.”

Yet, the big radio owners have done more to eliminate the very advantage broadcast radio has over its many audio competitors. Worse, our industry has no plan to create a farm team of new broadcasters that will replace personalities that are retiring or have retired.

Instead radio has tried to compete in areas where, at best, it’s a distant second; like music discovery.

Besides Personalities Radio’s Positives are Under Attack

Radio, we are told is easiest to listen to in the car. Unfortunately, when a person buys a new car, they learn SiriusXM is just as easy to access. Plus now everything on their smartphone easily connects to their dashboard. In fact, Fred Jacobs points out that in Techsurvey 2022 the feature most wanted in a new car is Bluetooth (76%) followed by an FM radio (70%) and having a smartphone connector or auxiliary input (57%).

My first blog article of 2022 told how even with older cars, like our 2009 Honda and 2006 Subaru how easy it was to make them connected cars. You can read that article here. https://dicktaylorblog.com/2022/01/09/why-i-stream-all-my-radio-listening/

It doesn’t take a Mensa to realize that this is another hole in the radio listening bucket.

Radio is “free,” with the tradeoff being forced to listened to very long commercial breaks, which radio listeners say is the thing they most dislike about listening to broadcast radio.

Radio’s covenant with its listeners was, you give us your attention to our advertisers, and we will entertain and inform you. Sadly, radio owners kept adding more commercials to each hour while eliminating the very programming elements that attracted listeners.

There’s nothing wrong with advertising, that is when it is in balance with programming content sought by the user. Podcasts understand this and enjoy increasing listening with advertisers seeing a positive benefit from sponsoring them.

Trends

No one called Paul Revere’s warning that the British were coming as being negative, and neither should anyone who cares about the radio broadcasting industry call those who are trying to promote positive change, “negative.”

Techsurvey 2022 should be a wake-up call to radio people with trends that show eight in ten people that can now connect a smartphone in their cars. Those who own a car with a “connected system” now spend the majority of the in-car time with digital audio or SiriusXM.

The car is the last beachhead that broadcast radio has left, and it is under Sirius attack.

SiriusXM

Techsurvey 2022, like all the surveys that have been done before, use as their database, fans of radio broadcasting. They are the core of our industry and so when we see these folks leaving us for other forms of media, it’s like seeing the canary in the coal mine lying on the floor of its cage.

One of the reasons given by people who still listen to broadcast radio, as to why they continue to listen is, it’s become a habit. When a person buys a new connected car and gets SiriusXM to listen to for free, what is happening is that a new habit is being formed. Not only do they now have access to a myriad of content options, but often their favorite radio personality might be rediscovered hosting one of the music channels.

During the pandemic, SiriusXM removed the paywall for their App as well as listening on a smart speaker, both of which had been available for an extra charge. What Fred Jacobs showed on his webinar was how this positively impacted listening at home, at work and other places for the satellite provider. The habit of listening to SiriusXM was now something that could be done everywhere, and that should keep any radio broadcaster awake at night.

The tipping point is that magic moment

when an idea, trend, or social behavior

crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.

-Malcolm Gladwell

I fear we are at the tipping point.

*Watch the full presentation of Fred Jacobs webinar on Techsurvey 2022 here: https://jacobsmedia.com/techsurvey-2022-results/  

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P E R S O N A L I T Y

In 1959*, Lloyd Price released the song “Personality.”

It was about a girl and what made her special.

Here’s a sample:

            ‘Cause you got personality

            Walk, with personality

            Talk, with personality

            Smile, with personality

            Charm, with personality

            Love, with personality

With the exception of a daypart or two, it’s what most radio lacks today – PERSONALITY.

Rewound Radio

Every Saturday, Rewound Radio, a streaming-only radio station features its “DJ Hall of Fame.” They are air checks of some of America’s best radio personalities, like Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, Robert W. Morgan, Charlie Tuna, The Real Don Steele and so many more. While everyone of the personalities I just mentioned are now in radio heaven, their recorded radio shows sound as vibrant and exciting as ever. That’s why people from all over the globe dial in to hear them, and not just radio people, radio listeners who grew up with them.

People like me.

Techsurvey 2022

So, it wasn’t really a surprise when Fred Jacobs gave us a sneak preview of his latest research on why people listen to over-the-air (OTA) radio.

People today listen to OTA radio for the very same reason that they always have, to hear their favorite radio personality. The unfortunate thing is, the radio industry talks the talk, but doesn’t really walk the talk.

Radio’s ultimate strength as a medium is dependent

on the power and popularity of its personalities.

-Fred Jacobs

Club DJs

When I walk the boardwalks in New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland in the summertime, you can’t help but be very aware of how important it is for each club to have a popular DJ. Club DJs get people dancing, having fun and spending their money in that particular club for hours.

The longer club patrons stay, the more money club owners make.

The reality is the role of a Club DJ could be easily automated and the music would be non-stop, but it is the special magic a live personality delivers that makes all the difference. Great performers make people feel things. They deliver an emotional experience that can’t be duplicated by automation.

“People are always neglecting something they can do

in trying to do something they can’t do.”

-Edgar Watson Howe

Living in a VUCA World

The world today is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous; it’s a VUCA existence. Many businesses are told they must innovate or die.

In radio’s race to stay relevant, it tries to compete with streaming audio services, where at best it can only be second best when it plays on their terms. What OTA radio should be heavily investing in is the development and promotion of outstanding, compelling, relatable radio talent.

“Treat talent with respect.

They are the reason radio remains so important.”

-Lori Lewis

Family Feud

Sue & I love watching Family Feud with Steve Harvey. This TV game show debuted on ABC on July 12, 1976 with host Richard Dawson. It would be broadcast for nine years before the network pulled the plug,  but would continue to air periodically over the following decades. The show has had six hosts, but only its original host and the current host have seen the show be an audience hit.

In fact, it was when Steve Harvey took over as host in 2010, that Family Feud was finally resuscitated. His hosting abilities with his stand-up comedy and radio background has the audience always wondering what he will say next and almost always producing laugh-out-loud moments on the game show. It also doesn’t hurt that Steve Harvey is as nice as he seems. Being genuine is always an asset in the media world.

I said there were six hosts of this show over the years, Richard Dawson was the first and Steve Harvey is the current host, but you probably can’t name the other four without looking it up on Google. And that’s my point.

Personalities are the difference maker.

Radio leaders talk a good game when it comes to telling us how important local talent is to the power of great radio, but it’s time they put their investment monies where their mouths are, by hiring and training the next generation of radio performers.

It’s time for the radio industry to focus on a change that matters.

Family Feud Hosts: Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O’Hurley and Steve Harvey.
*Note: an earlier version of this post stated the date of Lloyd Price’s hit record “Personality” as 1957. It was updated to 1959 after a reader pointed out this error.

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Subscription Media

The inspiration for this week’s article came from a blog written by Fred Jacobs titled “When will ‘Netflixification’ Come To Radio?” Fred’s article revolved around Netflix’s innovation of a subscription model for its entertainment offerings, which got me to thinking about when the subscription business model for media began.

The Subscription Model

We would have to journey back to the 17th century to find the earliest records of book and periodical publishers pioneering a subscription business model for print media.

The subscription business model is one where the customer

pays a recurring price

at regular intervals to access a product of service.

Most recently, Apple is said to be working on a subscription model for its hardware; iPhones, iPads, computers etc. Why? Well customers are good, but it turns out that subscribers are even better. Emarsys’s Chris Gooderidge writes that over the last nine years, “the subscription economy has grown nearly 6x (more than 435%),” with subscription businesses growing five to eight times faster than those with a traditional business model. The two years the world closed down due to COVID only served to accelerate companies’ and consumers’ digital transformation.

On Demand & Subscriptions

What most of us want, as consumers, is convenience. We want what we want, when we want it. The subscription business model fulfills this desire. It enables us to listen to music or play games, as well as watch TV shows and movies.  

The more customers gain a taste

of truly personalized repeat services,

tailored specifically to them…

they won’t want to go back to what they had before.

-Chris Gooderidge

Subscription Radio

In 1923, in Dundee, Michigan, an early radio entrepreneur offered subscribers a wired radio system, that would provide radio programs from several radio stations for $1.50 a month; which would be $24.75/month in 2022. While it didn’t succeed, it was the precursor to what later would become the cable television industry.

Subscription Television (STV)

Back in the 60s, over-the-air television experimented with a subscription model. Companies in Connecticut and California each found themselves in court with theater owners when they developed a subscription business model that offered recent movies to be viewed in the home. The battle in Hartford, Connecticut made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

In the end, the pay television model was taken over by cable television, which learned in addition to providing a community antenna to receive distant broadcast television signals, could also create original programming. These new program channels could be offered on a subscription basis, like CNN, ESPN, The Weather Channel etc.

Is a Subscription-Based Business Model Right for You?

Like most questions along these lines, the answer is: it depends.

The subscription model is dependent on products and services that have a high perceived value to the consumer. (Note: things offered for “FREE” often don’t have a high perceived value)

On the blog, Billing Platform, they list four common successful subscription based business models:

  1. Consumables and Retail Models in Subscription Billing: companies like Dollar Shave Club and Blue Apron
  2. As-a-Service Subscription Billing Models: companies like Microsoft with their Office 365 and Dropbox
  3. Digital Entertainment Subscription Billing Models: companies like Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Peacock etc for video and Spotify, Pandora, Radio Tunes etc for audio
  4.  Maintenance and Repair Subscription Billing Models: companies like landscaping, pest control, heating & cooling, as well as other common maintenance needs

Peak Subscription

Which brings us to the million dollar question, when do we max out on all of these monthly/annual subscriptions? When do we reach, “peak subscription;” that light-bulb moment when we realize we need to start eliminating some of these expenses.

It was that very question that finally got me to sit down and review our monthly household subscriptions and total things up. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do anyway, but Fred’s blog was the spark that put me in action.

Here’s our entertainment subscription list:

  • Amazon Prime
  • Frndly TV
  • Netflix
  • Disney+
  • Apple TV+
  • Washington Post
  • Time Magazine
  • The Atlantic
  • Consumer Reports
  • Radio Tunes
  • Pandora Premium
  • Sling TV

Now, to make most of these digital entertainment subscriptions work, we need to subscribe to an internet service and since we use many of these services on our iPhones, we also need to add in our monthly call/text/data plan too.

Our monthly cost is $228 or $2,736 annually.

Fred reveals that in the upcoming Techsurvey 2022, two-thirds of the people in his survey now agree with the statement, “I am concerned about the growing number of subscription fees I’m paying for media content.”

I urge you to sit down with your bills and do an audit of your household’s entertainments subscription expenses. If you are like us, you didn’t subscribe to all of them at the same time, but added them one-by-one over a period of years.

Sophie’s Choice

The problem for all of us, comes to making a “Sophie’s Choice” of our media subscriptions. We love them all and trying to decide which ones to eliminate is NOT an easy decision.

What one learns when they are faced with this decision is that we are “happily hooked” on all of them.

Commercial radio and TV operators also need to realize as the subscription economy for entertainment continues to grow, the number of hours in a person’s day is finite, and our time with subscription media means little is left over for OTA radio/TV.

People will spend their time, on those media services

they spend their money with.

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