09/21

The Future of Radio is Between (or instead of) the Songs

What’s the future of radio?

The answer is not “technology,” although that’s part of the answer.  The answer is to leverage what can’t be easily duplicated by people who are much more knowledgeable about and committed to technology than you are.

The future is between – or instead of – the songs.

Southern Cross Austereo’s extraordinarily bright and talented Craig Bruce talked with me about this very topic.

We discuss:

  • Are listeners less engaged in radio than they used to be?
  • What will be the impact of pure-plays like Pandora or Spotify on radio?
  • Why can’t we find and nurture fresh talent?
  • Is the current state of radio in the US “bleak,” as Craig describes it?

The very definition of radio is the problem, I argue. Nowadays we are all in the media business – and more specifically (to quote my friend Tom Asacker) in the idea business.

Watch this video, which was part of Craig’s “Content Director Grad School”:

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  • http://profiles.google.com/buzzbishop Buzz Bishop

    AGREED.

    With the evolution of AC to adding Kesha and Lady Gaga and even Jack-type oldies stations adding more currents, it’s not a shock to find 5 or more stations in a market with serious playlist overlap.
    What’s the difference? The jocks.  Your PPM PD may only give you 15 seconds, but dammit those are YOUR FIFTEEN SECONDS. 

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    Actually those are the audience’s 15 seconds. They’re on loan to you with the expectation you will care for them like your own. :-)

  • Lee Cornell

    On point as always! As you note; since the advent of TV, the “radio” dialogue on-air became centred around the music played; and that effectively changed the thinking in terms of talent development and what ”radio” content “genericized” into. With everything tecnologically at our fingertips now, there’s a whole raft of new-thinking opportunities for both re-opening the doors on talent cultivation; and creating content. And that can be as much user-generated, as it can be fresh-talent created and multi-platform or platform specific. Having a real-time knowledge base of the fans of all this; who they are, where they are; when they engage; is just media common-sense and opportunity… once we venture down this path.
    It’s “bleak” when this isn’t embraced.

  • Lee Cornell

    On point as always! As you note; since the advent of TV, the “radio” dialogue on-air became centred around the music played; and that effectively changed the thinking in terms of talent development and what ”radio” content “genericized” into. With everything tecnologically at our fingertips now, there’s a whole raft of new-thinking opportunities for both re-opening the doors on talent cultivation; and creating content. And that can be as much user-generated, as it can be fresh-talent created and multi-platform or platform specific. Having a real-time knowledge base of the fans of all this; who they are, where they are; when they engage; is just media common-sense and opportunity… once we venture down this path.
    It’s “bleak” when this isn’t embraced.

  • Lee Cornell

    On point as always! As you note; since the advent of TV, the “radio” dialogue on-air became centred around the music played; and that effectively changed the thinking in terms of talent development and what ”radio” content “genericized” into. With everything tecnologically at our fingertips now, there’s a whole raft of new-thinking opportunities for both re-opening the doors on talent cultivation; and creating content. And that can be as much user-generated, as it can be fresh-talent created and multi-platform or platform specific. Having a real-time knowledge base of the fans of all this; who they are, where they are; when they engage; is just media common-sense and opportunity… once we venture down this path.
    It’s “bleak” when this isn’t embraced.

  • John Parikhal

    Hi Mark,

    It might be helpful to reframe the “either talk or music” discussion that is starting to gain traction in the industry.

    When you think about it, it’s not a choice between music OR talk that’s the issue. It’s the relation between them.

    Sometimes this means mostly music. Sometimes all talk is best.

    However, consider Elvis Duran.

    He has lots of talk and quite a bit of music on his #1 morning show.

    What makes the show great?  All the talk is engaging. It MATTERS to the audience who is listening. The moment it gets BORING, Elvis changes gears and moves it along.

    If you are on air, you can learn his techniques. These are teachable skills.

    That’s why I’m a huge fan of Valerie Geller’s 3 rules for success. Tell the truth. Make it matter. Never be boring.

  • Kim

    If there is ‘good talent out there’ and struggling stations can’t find it, does it come down to that management’s ability to recognise it? Hence your station could continually be sabotaged by people who don’t know how to recruit (?)

  • Kim

    If there is ‘good talent out there’ and struggling stations can’t find it, does it come down to that management’s ability to recognise it? Hence your station could continually be sabotaged by people who don’t know how to recruit (?)

  • http://www.markramseymedia.com Mark Ramsey

    This is not a station problem, it’s an industry one, I think. And “sabotage” is too strong a word since everybody wants their station to win.

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