So Different. So the Same.


Jerry 2

Jerry Del Calliano

Along with good friend Bill Wolfenbarger of Jodesha Broadcasting in Aberdeen, I just returned from Jerry Del Calliano’s New Media workshop in Philadelphia.  The focus was on those rascals, the Millennials.
Let me distill what millennials are looking for down to what I took away from eight hours of pretty intense conversation.  And unlike most seminars this one was small and intimate with lots of audience participation.

  1. Authenticity – just look at their response to Bernie Sanders.  He’s the most authentic candidate in the field.
  2. Quit saying.  Just be. – They don’t like hype though that’s like not liking commercials. What else would they say?  “I love hype!!”  Not likely.
  3. Build consensus NOT confrontation – millennials will not likely to be as ‘in-your-face’ though this may not be the case in parts of New Jersey or New York.
  4. Dreams – they have more purposeful dreams – more socially tied to good deeds than the financial dreams of Gen Xers and Boomers.
  5. Fun!  – They want to be the ones that are fun to be with.

Let’s see…how different is that from what the boomers or GenX would have said?   I’d argue –  not much.   Every generation is idealistic and wants to change things (and few love listening to commercials)…and they do change things.  Millennials will be no different.

Radio is challenged to serve these young millennials.


Another dust biter…

It’s all a bit too much. The influx of music players, iPods, downloads and YouTube has really usurped radio’s place in the music exposure hierarchy. Add to that the uncertainty of performance royalties that radio seems destined to pay the record companies.  Then there is the decline in teen listening which presages the diminished impact of radio on the next generation.

Music radio is in trouble.

AM News Moving to FM Band

So today another FM station begins simulcasting it’s AM News/Talk brethren, WSB, the big Cox talker in Atlanta.

Just as Top-40 created a rebirth of radio in the 50s – FM rock created an entirely new series of formats and business models in the 70s – now we’ll see news and talk migrate to FM at a rapidly increasing pace. And we’ll also see the continued deterioration of both the value and audience level of AM stations.

A prime example is KNRS – Clear Channel’s talker in Salt Lake City recently moved to FM – replacing a long time AC format. The audience largely moved – but the former KNRS AM – a big signal at 570 now barely shows any audience and has removed another reason to listen to AM radio.

Cox is smart to stay ahead of the curve in Atlanta…we’ll see much more of it in the months to come.

Isn’t it time we Made some money…?

It was an aside…but a buddy at an NBC affiliate recently told me, “Yeh…we do about 3-4% of our revenue from digital media (his phrase not mine)…but most of it is accounting.  I’m not sure how much we really sell that is pure digital media…”

Value add in hot markets

As an industry, both radio & TV stations have struggled to make money with ‘new media’ – too often it’s a value add necessary to get share or even on the buy.  Radio has had ‘promotions’ thrown in for years…and TV has had spin or trips…now it’s new media that polishes the buy. 

I don’t want to hammer the reasons or castigate anyone for narrow thinking – because in truth it’s pretty daunting. 

The list from loyalty marketing to mobile and social media could all be their own business units and no one has the time or resources to do that.  Furthermore, the business has been collapsing around our ears – and while the slide has stopped, it wasn’t new media that hit the brakes.

A couple of  thoughts…

1) Step away from the station!  Not all marketing solutions have to be portaled (newly invented verb) from your website.  Most stations have websites as cluttered as a fishing dock at an Alaskan marina on opening day.

2) If you’re going to be in the content business – better make sure it’s unique. That’s not easy – most TV stations have the same news -but, for example,  at KOMO (Seattle) and KATU (Portland)  TV they are developing local neighborhood content that is often user-generated.  That’s unique – and they are making some money from it…also unique.

3) Please keep it simple.  Most of your audience are Luddites – embarrassed they don’t know more about technology.  This is particularly true outside of the tech islands of San Jose, Austin, Chicago, Boston and Seattle.  Think about the audience in Amarillo and Evanston….

4) Whatever you do – make it work on the web before you take it mobile.

5)  Bring someone in who knows the ‘new media’  business on an interim basis…this is TOTALLY self serving , but it’s a strategy more stations are looking  at as they realize it IS time to make some money. 

Good hunting…

Love the one you’re with…

“If you can’t be with one you love, love the one you’re with…” 

OK…Stephen Stills was a little opportunistic but you can’t fault his pragamatic solution.  And advertisers fling with social and new media is fabulous, but where do they turn when then want results.  TV.

For the past few years, if it weren’t for bad news there’d be no news at all in TV and radio. Both media have been pundited (a new verb?) to the curb just under the trash hauling signs.

Mr. Stills in his youth

But the pundits don’t buy media – and TV has been back strong lately – CBS TV just reported being up 31% – and even radio ain’t doin’ badly.

So for all the new media blather – social media explosion and tombstone carving going on – a funny thing happened. The clients needed results NOW and know that TV and radio have the power to deliver.

It’s that simple.

Fast, relatively cheap and easy to implement.

Is this a dumb question…?

You’ve used Hulu – right? I admit to loving Hulu…it’s a great way to catch up on past episodes of Lost or (yes, I admit it) Glee and also discovering gem shows like Damages (AMC) with Glen Close and Ted Danson .

So when the occasional ad pops up, what’s with the question in the upper right hand corner “Is this Ad Relevant?”.

Relevant? What does that mean?

Relevant, as in I want to go out and buy the new Buick LaCrosse in the ad?

Relevant, as in I liked what I learned about the Buick LaCrosse in the ad?

Relevant, as in I understand that ads pay for the service.

Why would they ask such a stupid, meaningless, irrelevant question….and how would they ever make any use of the resultant data?

Apparently, even the smartest guys in the room can ask dumb questions.

My personal HITS and MISSES (more of the latter…) …

Was the '60 Buick a HIT or a MISS?

The Zino Society, a Seattle based angel investment group holds a monthly meeting where new businesses in search of early round funding have a chance to pitch investors. These companies last night ranged from a Wine Superstore to an eHarmony service for real estate buyers.

It got me thinking about how often I’ve totally MISSED predicting the success of businesses:

MISS: Cell phones? Who needs a cell phone for $500 per month when there’s a phone booth on every street corner?

HIT: But I got cable correct when in the early ‘70s I realized it could dominate the business when it got to a reasonable level of penetration.

MISS: Porsche Cayenne. Who needs a 5,600 pound Porsche? I guess a lot of people.

MISS: Fast Forward, the TV show. This show was strong enough I even got my wife to skip The Bachelor. Love(d) it…but NBC has cancelled.

MISS: The Deepwater Gulf explosion – I thought that would be a short-lived crisis.

HIT: FM – even listening on my folks old Magnavox with the Tuning-Eye oscilloscope I could tell the fidelity was fabulous and stereo would be the killer app for the music crazy boomers.

HIT: World Wraps – couldn’t see that as a viable long term business. I was partly right.

MISS: Edward Bear – the song was “Down in Mexico’ and I hyped it to Number One at the station I was working (no payola, sorry) – it never made it past #68 on Billboard…but did get to #3 in Canada…so – ehh…I wasn’t too far off.

The point of this…? Keep swinging.

Fondle this…

Sara, my 20 year old daughter, while in school, has been working the past couple of years as an intern at Los Angeles Magazine, doing what all interns do…run for coffee and do photo shoots and run for more coffee.

Sara Weaver

This is a girl as technologically connected as anyone in her generation. But – she’s gotten the print bug and plans to find work (scarce as it may be) in the publishing business. She’s partial to Seattle or New York…her Dad is in denial.

What I think we’ve come to realize is that digital distribution denies us fondling – the tactile feel of a printed publication. Glossy 80 pound stock or newsprint yellowing before your eyes…it’s all part of absorbing – I’d say part of the communication – from the tactile experience. Digital ain’t got it…

If you’ve ever just printed something to read it, instead of reading it on screen, you fondle too…