Thursday, July 31, 2008

Exposing Your Content

What are you really doing with your content?

Are you just putting it through the transmitter?

While most of our audience uses the transmitter we all know and see all the expansion of distribution channels.

For example look at a cable TV show like Mad Men from AMC. The whole first season can be watched on DVD, On Demand/Comcast Cable, and on the web site. You can also watch the shows on Mondays (it airs on Sunday night) on line or through On Demand.

With all that distribution you may wonder - isn't this killing their ratings. Why would anyone tune in on Sunday nights for the regular broadcast? Well the reality is that it doubled the numbers for the show as the new season began a couple of weeks ago. They went from around a million viewers to 2 million and now the award winning show is starting to catch on. Watch as AMC pulls off a hit. Much of the work was done by spreading the distribution. Now that the audience has started to discover the show from all the distribution channels they are developing P1s. Otherwise AMC would have had another award winning show that got missed in the maze of 300 cable channels and so much other media.

Could Rock Radio benefit from a similar strategy. You bet.

1. Pod casts - Some stations use them but I bet 90% of you have only 1 or no podcasts on your site.

2. You Tube clips - How much as your station or team posted from station events, guest shots on the morning show, or even just a tour of the station with some pranks from the staff.

3. Collections of morning show bits.

4. Replay the phone calls from your afternoon show.

5. How about a new rock pod cast every week that doesn't air on the transmitter but only on the web with comments on new artists and songs.

6. Maybe a place for local bands to showcase their videos and music complete with reviews and chats.

Most sites I visit don't have much that really pertains to the station or it's content. In Rock we seem to have lots of girl pages (as if there isn't any more revealing content in this genre on the web), RSS music news feeds (wow Billy Joel is on tour), some corporate stuff (the Clear Channel web feeds), the link to streaming, maybe a list of the last songs played, a chart so you can buy songs, hype for the database, bios of the jocks, and hype for the contests.

Where's the audio - this is supposed to be RADIO. And is it local? In the content arena this is supposed to be our biggest card to play.

Are we worried that if we leave the content on the web that the audience won't dial us in to hear it? We are way past being exclusive - now is the time to be INCLUSIVE.

We all know the problem here. Most stations have no resources to get their content to the web. It takes human effort to get it there and with so many stations running so bare boned on staff we can't get ahead. As we come out of these tough times hopefully we can put asside some of the resources to start building a purposeful world here. AND SOON.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sales Solves All Problems?

In the 80s as a programmer I heard the claim in a station strategy/budget session that 'SALES SOLVES ALL PROBLEMS.' In that case we had a solid product and really the sales effort was doing well but the potential to grow was clearly there and the team responded. While the revenue gains didn't really solve ALL problems it did exceed the budget and on paper we had won.

At that time we all bought in as the extra sales effort meant more resources to keep the product competitive and ahead. That statement has popped up a number of times and in many ways it became the mantra of business strategy for many station and group strategies for our industry.

Clearly sales generates the revenue and that is the lifeblood of any business. But, you still need a product to sell. In our case we still need a strong and healthy audience.

Does the business plan of your station or group still living in a world where you expect sales to solve ALL problems? It's obvious that we need content and product to sell. With all the new media in the advertising holding and building an audience has never been more challenging. Are you investing enough to get the job done? It's a simple question, but one that we are obviously not asking enough as we watch new media invading on our shares of the market more and more every day.

Building a product that draws both audience and advertisers is a careful balance. Throwing money at the product or making it all product and slighting the sales side doesn't work but, making it all sales and ignoring the product doesn't work either. It's all about balance - are you balancing your resources?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Air Staff Critique

Sitting down with the air staff one on one with a trusty air check is probably not on the top of most PDs punch list most days. Over the years it's become almost a forgotten PD art. With voice tracking, digital/computer studios, and more and more formatic rules I bet most of the talent on the air has had very few of these meetings in the last few years.

In fact I've run into studios where you can't even run an air check, unless you tape the whole show off air. These are important meetings and you probably should be meeting on on one at least twice a month with everyone.

So where do we start? Just cue up the breaks and hit play?

Really the better meeting comes when the PD has taken a half hour or so and reviewed a show before the talent arrives. Although I usually review a whole station over a number of dayparts one of the tricks I use is recording the station's stream and going back with a generic wave editor and running through a couple of hours of breaks. You can get stream recorders from a bunch of on-line download sites ( - Absolute Sound Recorder 3 - is one of many shareware programs you can use).

The keys to look for in most presentations:

  1. Is the talent COMFORTABLE on the air?
  2. Are they talking TO the audience or announcing over them?
  3. Do they know WHO the audience is?
  4. Are they TOPICAL to the target audience?
  5. Are they PREPARED?
  6. Are they EXECUTING the basics - call letters, billboards, liners, and most important interfacing with the music.

The key is picking one of these topics for each session and focusing on just that area.

To get the talent into it - try brainstorming instead of preaching to them. Get them involved in answering these questions and let their ideas and thoughts jump out. If you do you will make a lot more progress with each session.