Thursday, December 14, 2006

3 Almost Infallible Rules

Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban is a savvy entrepreneur and thought-leader on many issues regarding technology, media and sports and more. Anytime I read one of his articles or web postings, I’m enlightened by his insights. Mark brings a unique passion, point of view and level of engagement to everything that he’s involved in.

Based on his business-building experience, Mark has developed a lot of almost infallible rules that he follows religiously. Here are three of the rules that Mark checks off against before undertaking new elements of a business. They could help you, too!

Mark’s Rules:

  1. Everyone is a genius in a bullmarket
  2. Win the Battles you are in before you take on new battles
  3. You can Drown in Opportunity

Before adding new elements to your company/cluster, station or show—it may serve you well to check them off against Mark’s almost infallible rules. And you may also find those rules to be great guide for creating success when adding new elements to your life. Besides,the company that always gives you the best return on investment is YOU, Inc.

For more from Mark, click

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

TV Wonder

AMD’s TV Wonder™ 550 expands the capabilities of your pc, enabling you to schedule, watch and record TV or listen to FM stations. That functionality could make it a great tech tool for show prep and station monitoring. Check it out here.

High-Performance Teams

Organizational psychologist Robert Binnett of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) lists four leadership behaviors required in creating and sustaining high-performing teams:

  1. Spend time building the team up front – then let the team do the work
  2. Stay calm when the going gets tough
  3. Create an environment for learning from mistakes
  4. Develop team members through effective coaching

Robert discovered these leadership behaviors after studying airline crew teams, NASA teams, surgical teams, sports teams, executive teams, legal teams, and many more over the past two decades.

Improve the performance of your programming/management team by comparing its behaviors against the leadership behaviors for high-performance teams.

More at:

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Connection Between Music, Fashion And More Revenue

“We believe there are parallels between fashion and music.”
-Micheal Barber, Barber Entertainment

I’ve always thought that the radio and music industries shared many similarities with the fashion industry. All of them are trendy and focused on the next big idea—or personality/artist/model/designer. And each industry bears its influence on—and is influenced by—pop culture in an ever-evolving cycle of “what’s hot and what’s not.”

Now the retail industry is making the connection between fashion and music. Micheal Barber of Barber Entertainment is helping Nordstrom select music to sell in its stores because quote: “We believe there are parallels between fashion and music.” Also, Sears is trying to see how entertainment can play a role in its stores by selling more CD titles at its mall and stand-alone locations. Read more

Could all of this present a revenue-generating marketing opportunity for your station?

Here’s an idea: Work with your staff and a local or national retailer to create a custom compilation CD. Make sure it features the best of your station’s music/content while promoting/enhancing the retailers ideal customer experience. Done right, your custom-designed compilation will reach more of your listeners where they live and shop. And that could mean a connection between fashion, music and more revenue for your station and its clients.

Top 10 Talent Tips – How To Manage Talent

Media consultant Nik Goodman shares his top ten talent tips:

  1. Regular feedback
  2. Be prepared
  3. Pay attention to your talent
  4. Connect your talent to the real world
  5. Get to know your presenter’s [talent’s] personality
  6. Love the talent; Love the show (even if it’s tough love)
  7. Help them understand who they are
  8. Smoke and mirrors
  9. Never use a negative
  10. Listen to other shows together

Click here to download the handout [pdf] from Nik’s presentation at this year’s NAB Europe Radio Conference.

“Fall Finale” Phenomenon

“Fall Finales” can provide big ratings bounces for network television shows. But programming executives are still challenged to maintain audience interest while their hit shows are on hiatus for the holiday break. Click here to read about evolving programming strategies at network television that turn this obstacle into an opportunity. Then think about ways TV’s “fall finale” phenomenon could help boost your station’s ratings.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Will Google Sell Radio Better Than Radio?

Media Post’s Shankar Gupta reports:

Google has started inviting a limited number of search advertisers to participate in an expanded test of its radio advertising program.

Analyst Greg Sterling, principal for Sterling Market Intelligence, said that if anything, Google's participation might drive ad prices higher. "It's quite possible that you'll get a new class of advertisers trying radio advertising," he said.

For the entire article, click

Want to join the Google Audio Ads Team? Click here to go to the Google Ad Creation Marketplace.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Moonves on the Future of Radio

CBS President & CEO Les Moonves recently sat down with CNBC’s David Faber to discuss the future of radio.

Highlights from the conversation:

  • CBS Radio got over 14x EBITDA for selling stations in ten radio markets, there's no interest at CBS in selling off the entire division
  • CBS Radio is more focused now as a major market radio company
  • Howard Stern did a very good job, his numbers were high and hard to replicate
  • CBS Radio comps should be pretty good, better this January than last January
  • Opie & Anthony are doing terrific in many markets
  • "Jack-FM" is working in most markets

Overall, Moonves says: “We are expecting a very nice year in ‘07.”

To see the interview, click here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The State of Radio: 2007

On January 2, 2007, Bunzel Media Group will release “The State of Radio: 2007”—a full study of radio for the coming year. To see an overview now, click here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Greater Value

When Greater Media President and CEO Peter Smyth shares his views on media, he always reveals fresh, forward-thinking and thought-provoking insights. This month’s “Corner Office” column, "Interactive Media is NOT Value Added," is no different. Read it here and discover Peter’s wisdom on “value-building” with interactive media as opposed to giving it away as “value-added.” Share this article your staff and management team to remind everyone of the value that we provide to advertisers and listeners on-air and on-line everyday.

More at:

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mobile Media

Satellite radio? In the future, I don't think so. Like 30 is the new 20, "satellite radio" is the new "mobile media.” Mel Karmazin clues us in on the evolution of satellite radio here.

And what about terrestrial radio?

When you think about it, terrestrial radio is the original mobile (or wireless) medium. Ironically, in the future, with radio content no longer being constrained by the limits and antennae height and transmitter power, radio will be more mobile than before. We just have to make sure that that content is compelling and conveniently available to consumers when and where they want it.

After all, radio is more than "audio entertainment." It's the old and new “mobile entertainment.”

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Beyond Basketball, Broadcasting & Broadband

In his new book, Beyond Basketball: Coach K's Keywords for Success, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski shares inspiring insights from life on and off the basketball court. Some of the words Coach K uses to express his concepts: adaptability, communication, imagination, learning, passion and talent.

Here’s a little of what Coach K has to say about challenges:

Keyword: Challenges

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you've reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them. I am rejuvenated, I am nervous, I am eager, and I am so excited to discover that amazing things I will learn as a result of taking on this new challenge.

With so many challenges from new media, digital devices and emerging technologies, that’s practical wisdom that we in radio can apply, as we continue to vie for our share of listener’s time and attention.

For more from Coach K, click

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Who Is Talking About You?

People talk about fantastic stuff and great treatment from companies [radio stations] they like. In his new book, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Andy Sernovitz reveals insights on how you can a) give people a reason to talk and b) make it easier for the conversation to take place.

Create word of mouth for your station with Andy’s Word of Mouth Marketing Manifesto:

1. Happy customers are your best advertising. Make people happy.
2. Marketing is easy: Earn the respect and recommendation of your customers.
They will do your marketing for you, for free.
3. Ethics and good service come first.
4. UR the UE: You are the user experience (not what your ads say you are).
5. Negative word of mouth is an opportunity. Listen and learn.
6. People are already talking. Your only option is to join the conversation.
7. Be interesting or be invisible.
8. If it’s not worth talking about, it’s not worth doing.
9. Make the story of your company a good one.
10. It is more fun to work at a company that people want to talk about.
11. Use the power of word of mouth to make business treat people better.
12. Honest marketing makes more money.

Is your station boring or does it create buzz with your listeners and advertisers? Make sure your programming, promotions and marketing are worth talking about.

For more on word of mouth marketing, click here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

5 Rules

Jelly Helm, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, offers 5 rules of creativity that drive the success of the advertising agency. Apply these rules to enhance your station’s programming and marketing efforts, and you’ll create better ratings and revenue.

Here are their rules:

>> Act Stupid. "Our philosophy is to come in ignorant every day. The idea of retaining ignorance is sort of counterintuitive, but it subverts a lot of [problems] that come from absolute mastery. If you think you know the answer better than somebody else does, you become closed to being fresh."

>> Shut up. "The first thing we do when we meet with clients is listen. We try to figure out what their problems are. Then we come back with questions, not solutions. We write these out and put them on the wall. And then we circle the ones that we think are interesting. More often than not, the questions hold the answer."

>> Always say yes. "What I've learned from improvisation is to let go of outcome and just say yes to whatever the situation is. If you say an idea is bad, you're creating conflict--you're breaking an improv rule. You want an energy flow that moves you forward, as opposed to a creative stasis."

>> Chase Talent. "Find people who make you better. It's best to be the least talented person in the room. It's reciprocal. It challenges you to keep up."

>> Be Fearless. "Do anything, say anything. In the worlds of our president, Dan Wieden, 'You're not useful to me until you've made three momentous mistakes.' He knows that if you try not to make mistakes, you miss out on the value of learning from them."

More info at:

How To Succeed In 2007

Business 2.0 asked 50 of the brightest minds in business how they do what they do. A few of the media moguls who shared their insight include:

Richard Branson – Virgin Group
Sergey Brin – Google
Edward Brofman – Warner Music Group
Chris DeWolfe – MySpace
Chad Hurly – YouTube

To find out on how you can cash in on their advice—and many others—in the year ahead, click here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Starbucks Audio Experience

Starbucks phenomenal success is driven by the company’s intense focus on the customer and the special customer experience it creates. In his new book, “The Starbucks Experience,” psychologist, consultant, and radio talk show host Dr.Joseph Michelli shares his insights with 5 key leadership principles that transformed an ordinary idea into extraordinary experience.

Principle 1: Make It Your Own
Principle 2: Everything Matters
Principle 3: Surprise and Delight
Principle 4: Embrace Resistance
Principle 5: Leave Your Mark

Radio programmers, audio entertainers and marketers—think of how you can create an extraordinary audio experience for your listeners by applying your creativity to these simple rules.

More at:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Top 10 Secrets of the Marketing Process

Marketing guru Seth Godin reveals 10 Secrets of the Marketing Process. For better marketing results, try these 10 ideas:

1. Don’t run out of money. It always takes longer and costs more than you expect to spread your idea. You can budget for it or you can fail.

2. You won’t get it right the first time. Your campaign will need to be reinvented, adjusted or scrapped. Count on it.

3. Convenient choices are not often the best choices. Just because an agency, an asset or a bizdev deal are easy to do doesn’t mean that they are your best choice.

4. Irrational, strongly held beliefs of close advisors should be ignored. It doesn’t matter if they don’t like your logo.

5. If it makes you nervous, it’s probably a good idea. If you’re sure you’re right, you probably aren’t.

6. Focusing obsessively on one niche, one feature and one market is almost always a better idea than trying to satisfy everyone.

7. At some point, you’re either going to have to stick to your convictions or do what the market tells you. It’s hard to do both.

8. Compromise in marketing is almost always a bad idea. Extreme A could work. Extreme B could work. The average of A and B will almost never work.

9. Test, measure and optimize. Figure out what's working and do it more.

10. Read and learn. There are a million clues, case studies, books and proven tactics out there. You can't profitably ignore them until you know them, and you don't have the time or the money to make the same mistake someone else made last week. It's cheaper and faster to read about it than it is to do it.

Click here for more of Seth Godin’s remarkable marketing ideas.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Leading At A Higher Level

Do you want to make your station, cluster or company more people-oriented, customer [read: listener & advertiser]-centered, and performance-driven? If your answer is yes, it’s time to start leading at a higher level. Here’s some advice from leadership expert and author Ken Blanchard on how you can become a better leader:

  • Set the right targets and follow the right vision: Focus on the “bottom lines” that really matter.
  • Serve your customers at a higher level: Deliver your ideal customer experience, and create “raving fans.”
  • Go beyond your ego: Listen, praise, support, guide, and help your people win!

For more of Ken Blanchard’s leadership insights, click here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Re-Imagine! Radio

I believe that business—especially the business of radio [audio entertainment]—can be amazing. Here’s one of my favorite recent quotes from business guru Tom Peters:

"[The Radio] Business [at its "excellent" best] can be: An emotional, vital, audacious, innovative, joyful, frightening, risky, creative, entrepreneurial endeavor that breathes life & fire into our work & life & elicits maximum concerted human potential in the wholehearted effort to help others [employees, listeners, advertisers, communities, vendors, partners, corporate owners and shareholders] succeed & profit & imagine & reach places they'd never dreamed they could go."

That’s big thinking on business at its best. Let’s try to re-imagine radio this way starting today!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Digital Differences

If you are a manager, programmer, personality or marketer for a contemporary radio station or a cluster with one or more contemporary stations—CHR, CHR-Rhythmic, Hot AC or Urban/Hip Hop—read the following for insights into your listeners’ digital lifestyle. Then, think about two things: (1) how can you make your content more interactive and compelling to this “connected generation,” and (2) how can you expand the number of ways your content reaches this audience across multiple touchpoints.

The latest from the Center for Media Research…

A new study by Universal McCann, "The New 'Digital Divide', How the New Generation of Digital Consumers are Transforming Mass Communication," concludes that consumers are increasingly relying on non-traditional platforms for entertainment, news, social interactions, shopping, and other daily activities.

The Executive Summary reports that there was a time when music was the great divide between generations. Today, technology has become the source of the "generation gap." A younger, tech savvy segment adopting new media platforms, with the 16-34 age group leading the way in socializing:

  • The age group 16-34 is 25% more likely than ages 35-49 to use instant messenger, with over 75% of ages 16-34 currently using at least one service.
  • About 40% age P16-34 belong to a social network site; this is twice the percentage of 35-49 year olds.
  • Nearly 40% of are16-34 have met someone face to face after meeting on the Internet.
  • Yahoo, AOL and MSN Messenger are among the top Internet services in terms of awareness and use by ages16-34.
  • This is followed closely behind by social networking site, with 43% of 16-34's being current users. In comparison, only 16% of 35-49's are using Myspace.

David Cohen EVP, U.S. Director of Digital Communications concluded that "there is no doubt that we are moving rapidly from a world of passive receptivity to active engagement. No longer can we simply broadcast our messages to a mass audience and hope that our standard metrics of reach and frequency will guarantee success. Accountable engagement innovation is the battlefield of the 21st century..."

The younger set has adopted many of these emerging technologies at a faster rate with three out of four of the 16-34 heavy Internet users currently using instant messenger. Additionally, there are twice as many 16-34s visiting social networking sites than those 35-49. Other findings include:

  • 71% of the 16-34 year olds have participated in a blogging activity.
  • The 16-34's are three times more likely (25%) than those 35-49 to manage and/or write their own blog.
  • While personal and family/friend are the most common types of blogs among the younger group, more than 40% are developing photo and pop culture (music/film) blogs as well.
  • One third of 16-34's have participated in peer-to-peer file sharing compared to just 12% of those 35-49.
  • Thus far, just 10% of 16-34 year old heavy Internet users say they have used IPTV and only 14% have used voice over Internet protocol.
  • When asked which information source they would miss the most, television came out on top, with 27% of 16-34's and 29% of 35-49's saying they would miss this medium.
  • There are still low levels of usage and intention to use RSS feeds, with nearly half of our sample unaware of what they are.

Click here to see the full study.

Radio Show Replay

If you’re just back from The NAB Radio Show and are hungry for even more added value. Or, if you couldn’t attend, get a free taste of what you’ve missed during the hottest week in Radio.

Here are five “redefining radio” session podcasts now available at

NAB President and CEO, David Rehr's State of the Industry
Extreme Thinker Super Session
Redefining Radio
The Talent to Lead
The Technology to Succeed

Click here to download or stream the podcasts.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Media Meltdown

Since the consolidation of the radio industry in the mid-90s until now, the competitive landscape has evolved dramatically. Long gone are the days of just anticipating, tracking and responding to the encroaching moves of a direct, or indirect, format competitor. There are more formats due to fragmentation and more competitive media due to technical and creative innovation. Competition for listeners’ time, attention and ears is everywhere.

So, what’s on the horizon in 2007, 2010, and beyond? Well, be assured that there will only be more exciting challenges and changes ahead—including competitive threats we haven’t imagined yet. As they say, the only thing in life (or in business) that’s constant is change. But now, help is on the way. Leadership expert John Kotter and co-author Holger Rathgeber offer new strategies for dealing with change in their new book, “Our Iceberg is Melting,” a simple business fable with profound lessons for working and living in an ever-changing world.

Here are John and Holger’s 8-steps for Changing And Succeeding Under Any Conditions:

Step 1:
Create a Sense of Urgency
Help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.

Step 2:
Pull Together The Guiding Team
Make sure there is a powerful group guiding the change—one with leadership skills, bias for action, credibility, communications ability, authority, analytical skills.

Step 3:
Develop the Change Vision and Strategy
Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality.

Step 4:
Communicate for Understanding and Buy-in
Make sure as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy.

Step 5:
Empower Others to Act
Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so.

Step 6:
Produce Short-Term Wins
Create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible.

Step 7:
Don’t Let Up
Press harder and faster after the first successes. Be relentless with instituting change after change until the vision is a reality.

Step 8:
Create a New Culture
Hold on to the new ways of behaving, and make sure they succeed, until they become a part of the very culture of the group.

For more from these change agents, click here.

A Great General Manager

In my career, I’ve had the good fortune to work with, interact with or compete against many great General Managers. A few who have been influential to me include (in no particular order): Butch Guest, Cliff Fletcher, Alan Lincoln, Rick Caffey, Tony Washington, Ben Hill, Wayne Brown and Ron Davenport. Others like Barry Mayo, Judy Ellis and Dave Martin, I’ve followed closely to carefully observe their winning ways.

There’s nothing like working for a General Manager who “gets it.” An OM/PD can deliver superior results with the support of a great GM.

Broadcast legend Dave Martin writes:

“A great general manager is an advocate for ownership, an effective business leader who adds value and creates wealth. A great general manager understands leadership is an art, believes leadership is being then doing, and she/he knows you can’t lead unless someone is willing to follow. A great general manager values ‘people skills’ and is devoted to being a good and fair person with a reputation for creating a stimulating, positive and challenging environment...”

Everyone enjoys working with a great GM!

For Dave’s complete profile of “A Great General Manager,” click

Prescription for Ratings Success

Dr. Jerry Boulding has the right prescription for ratings success:

"Winning radio stations have to be inspiring, passionate, imaginative and caring. And they must offer compelling content. They should become something the audience looks forward to every morning and goes to bed with every night. They should be a part of the very fabric of people's lives."

For more of the doctor's orders, click on (free subscription required) here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ring The Alarm

“Brand Sirens” ring the alarm and bring attention to your brand! Think about what that means for your radio brand, especially CHR, CHR-Rhythmic, Hot AC and Urban/Hip Hop stations.

Here are insights from a new study revealing the influence of “Brand Sirens” as highlighted in Tobi Elkin’s article,“Study: Some 13-34s Show High Brand Loyalty,” from today’s Media Post:

Two in three "Brand Sirens" care about the brands they use, seven in 10 say they love some brands, and two-thirds of those surveyed feel there are important differences between brands. In addition, the study found that young people actually want to be brand-loyal; in fact, 43 percent of the Brand Sirens wish they could find brands they could stick with and more than 40 percent would switch brands if another brand came onto the market that seemed more enticing.

Even more striking, among the Brand Sirens surveyed, 82 percent indicated that they talk about brands with their friends; 87 percent enjoy sharing information about brands; 85 percent appreciate brands that keep their promises; and more than half (54 percent) wish they could find brands to stick with. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed send e-mails to friends about products and services, and 77 percent post reviews and product feedback online.

The research suggests that Brand Sirens are uber-influencers who indulge in passions and interests around which they develop a specific expertise. These passions motivate them to search all available sources for updates and developments in their areas of interest, and lead to in-depth knowledge about the products and services, and brands related to their interest areas. As a result, they become experts not only about a particular topic, but also the products that serve that interest and the brands within those categories. In fact, the study found that "the majority of Brand Sirens believe they are smarter than the brands or marketers themselves," observed Pip Marquez De La Plata, vice president, marketing, CNET Networks Entertainment.

The study also underscored how much this group values authenticity and candor in marketing with 6 in 10 (58 percent) participants saying they are pleasantly surprised when they discover a brand that lives up to its promises, and 7 in 10 (67 percent) indicating they will spend more to purchase a brand they know and trust.

For Tobi Elkin’s complete article, click here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

You’re Only As Good As Your Next Bit!

While legendary Los Angeles radio personality Rick Dees launched his new morning show earlier today on Emmis Communication’s new Rhythmic AC KMVN-FM (Movin’ 93.9) in LA, other stations, like Sheridan Broadcasting’s Urban WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh and Clear Channel's Urban WBTP-FM in Tampa, have recently opted for syndication over their local morning shows. (Both are now affiliates of the Steve Harvey Morning Show.) Programmers are under constant pressure to produce winning—and sellable—numbers in the morning drive daypart with local or syndicated talent. An investment in either type of show is expected to generate a return with increased ratings and revenue.

Although I am a big fan of several syndicated shows, including Opie & Andy, Mancow, Steve Harvey, Big D & Bubba, Tom Joyner and Russ Parr, there is nothing like a great local morning show that’s in-sync with—and truly reflects—its market. Live, local morning shows like Big Boy on KPWR-FM (Power 106) in LA, Donnie Simpson on WPGC-FM (WPGC 95.5) in D.C. have been able to produce consistent results against all competitors—syndicated or local.

If you are a programmer guiding a local morning show or a personality contributing to a local morning show, top radio producer Eric Rowe has ideas that can help your show better entertain and connect with its audience.

Here are things Eric believes can help make a Successful Local Morning Show:

  • Be Topical
  • Develop Benchmarks
  • Reflect what’s unique about your city
  • Reflect the Station’s attitude and image
  • Be Visible Around Town
  • Plan fun and entertaining bits everyday
  • Have everybody on the show play specifics roles
  • Include Listener interaction
  • Tease things that are worth teasing
  • Be LOCAL!!!
  • Create water cooler talk
  • Always generate publicity in the local media
  • Find your listener demo and aim for the Bull’s Eye
  • Be spontaneous & unpredictable at least once a day
  • Be LOCAL, LOCAL, and LOCAL!!!!


"One of the greatest threats that most companies face today is following so-called conventional wisdom."
– Steven Levitt, co-author of “Freakanomics” at 2006 Radio & Records Convention

During his keynote address at last week’s R&R convention, “Freakanomics” co-author economist Steven Levitt shared with the crowd that his own success was based on learning to ask questions that nobody else will. He advised attendees that in today’s business world they must learn to do the same if they want to remain competitive and successful. According to Levitt, "When faced with hard problems to solve, the answers can usually best be found through experimentation and randomizing."

Following Levitt’s problem-solving advice is where radio should begin to address the issue of 12-17 and 18-24 demographics' lower listening levels. Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth stated at the NAB Radio Show, "What’s happened to radio is that it has lost its hipness.” Indeed, it has, and this is a major brand/business problem for radio that must be solved creatively—and aggressively—to increase the hipness and relevance of radio with younger demos.

One of my favorite quotes from futurist Alvin Toffler is: “Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.” Well, the radio landscape has changed. The reality is, radio’s future will be filled with even more competitive media, and, in our increasingly time-squeezed society, listeners'/consumers' future lives will be filled with even more demands and distractions. The erosion of 12-17 and 18-24 demos we are experiencing now is due to the past, and present, lack of focus on these demos—all driven by a “Wall Street” mentality. Consolidation created an environment where even youth-targeted Top 40, CHR-Rhythmic, Urban/Hip Hop station programmers where programmed by corporate—more concerned with improving their stock prices, than improving their products—to contribute to cluster performance 25-54, almost to the exclusion of serving the true targets of the formats.

Now, corporate has come full-circle. Those in the big boardrooms understand that one of the many positive results of a renewed focus on programming is that improving product performance will lead to improving stock performance. In other words, if you don’t care about the product now, sooner or later you won’t have to care about the stock price either. As with all brand/business problems, the key to creatively solving radio’s “hipness” problem is a 3-step process: identify the problem, identify the solution and execute against the solution. We know the problem staring us in the face is the potential loss of a whole generation of radio listeners. But, we must delve deeper to determine, why? We can’t just focus on the obvious: listeners increased usage of—and affinity for—mp3 players, internet radio, satellite radio, electronic gaming, social networking sites, etc. We have to find out how people feel about radio and its role and relevance in their lives.

On the same NAB Show panel as Peter Smyth, Emmis chairman Jeffrey Smulyan, said, "It is incumbent on us to inject hipness. We need to take the chances and be creative.” I believe that creativity must start with changes in our approach to research.

If we continue to do conventional research in conventional ways, we will only get conventional answers—and these are not conventional times. Like the encouraging behest of a life-coach or motivational guru, we in radio must implore each other to ask better questions—provocative and evocative—in better ways to get better answers. Steve Levitt’s “Freakonomics” co-author and fellow R&R keynote speaker, journalist Stephen Dubner, cautioned that answers derived from traditional research methods can often produce a flawed picture of solutions because the circumstances under which people give answers to researchers impacts the data gathered. We have to research differently if we expect to achieve different research results to identify better solutions to execute.

For radio to solve its hard problems and remain competitive and successful, we must ask questions nobody else will. Steven Levitt is right. It’s time for more “experimentation and randomizing.”

Are you ready?

Be A NAB/R&R Conference Commando

Here's an email that I sent out to last week to attendees of the NAB/R&R conventions. You may find this information useful when planning your networking goals to make the most of the next conference or convention you will be attending.

Everyone in our industry is excited about the NAB/R&R conventions convening now in Dallas. While enjoying the standing room only sessions, take a moment to notice who is standing next to you. Could it be a new potential client or ally, or another industry insider or an old friend?

To make the most of your convention networking, here’s some great advice from master networker Keith Ferazzi on connecting with connectors.

15 tips to help you become a Conference Commando:

Tip #1: Remember the 7P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance – Get focused. Think about: Why you are attending? What you want to achieve? Who you want to meet?

Tip #2: Know your targets. Get a list of conference attendees and keep that list with you at all times during the conference so you will know whom you’ve met and who you still need to meet.

Tip #3: Gather intelligence. If you want to get to know someone, the first thing you should do is figure out how you can help them. Find your currency for them—your experience, knowledge, contacts or resources that can make them more successful.

Tip #4: Strike early. Don’t wait until the conference to start your networking.

Tip #5: Never attend a conference. Well, never just attend a conference. You should be sure to speak, too, even if your name isn’t on the program. Acquire a 30-second commercial for your brand by asking a thoughtful question during Q&A.

Tip #6: Slight the speakers. Don’t waste time standing in line to meet a speaker after his or her song and dance. There will be so many other brilliant people at the conference; go meet them!

Tip #7: Get a wing man. Start more of the relationships you want. Team up with a partner. You and your buddy can provide each other motivation, guidance and assistance.

Tip #8: Draft off a big kahuna. Get to know some of the most well-known folks at the conference or the conference organizers themselves and hang with them. The important people will rotate by them sooner or later. If you’re there, you’ll meet everyone who matters.

Tip #9: Be an info-hub. Get really familiar with the conference program. Then pick the brains of the conference staff and anyone else willing to share the ins and outs of what’s happening in and around the big meeting. If you’re in the loop on the private parties and after-hours special events, everyone will come to you for the goods.

Tip #10: Work hard on break. Don’t run off to stuff your face or check e-mail between sessions. You should attend to your bagel and BlackBerry while boring speakers are blabbing on and on, so when break time comes, you can get out there and do what you really came to the conference to do—meet people!

Tip #11: Hijack a dinner. True commandos aren’t constrained by the agendas they receive at registration. Arrange a dinner at a special place out on the town you’re visiting with people who care about a particular topic that matters to you, or modify a conference meal that’s already paid for by inviting specific people to join your table as you meet them during the day.

Tip #12: Let your guard down. When you engage at target contact, skip the small talk and dive into the stuff that really matters to you and them: interests, passions, struggles, and greatest needs. Intimacy and Giving are the two keys to making quick connections that jumpstart lasting relationships.

Tip #13: Master the Deep Bump. Once you’ve successfully taken your conversation with a new acquaintance down deep, past the shallow small talk, secure an invitation to reconnect later. Then bump! Move on and meet more people. You’ve invested too much time and money in this conference not to take the opportunity to meet many different people. You have a lifetime to build relationships with people at the conference, but only a few days to meet them.

Tip #14: Take names (and notes). Before you conclude the Deep Bump, and move on after making a new acquaintance, be sure to get a business card. Flip over the card and jot down a few words to remind yourself of what you two discussed, any relevant personal details you wish to remember, and, of course, when and why you’re going to follow up later.

Tip #15: Follow up or fail. Don’t wait until you return home from the conference to ping people whose cards you collect. Shoot out follow-up emails each night of the event or write them during your flight home.

For more from Keith Ferazzi:

Enjoy the NAB/R&R conventions and let me know your thoughts on the most inspiring sessions, insights and speakers.

Think strategically, act passionately and engage emotionally!

George “Geo” Cook
Audio Entertainment & Marketing Strategist
Phone – 843.278.5664
Cell – 843.513.9652
AIM – geometricmedia

No-Limit Thinking

Author, educator and businessman Stedman Graham inspires no-limit thinking with this quote:

"None of us is defined by our circumstances, nor are we defined by how other people perceive us. It is up to each one of us to define ourselves, and that is a life's work. Each of us has the ability to lead a dynamic life by pursuing our unique goals and dreams. There are no limits to what you can do."

There are no limits. Change your thinking and you will change your life.

For more from Stedman Graham, click here.