Fred Jacobs on the Emotional Attractions to Radio

In this highlight from the Jacobs Media TechSurvey8 poll, Fred Jacobs summarizes the key ways broadcasters can tap into the emotional benefits of radio to improve the lives (and the listening) of its audiences.

Fred’s points remind me of a regular theme in this blog and his own:  That radio’s advantages over competing technologies do not require doing the same thing the other guys are doing, but rather doing what radio does really well that those other guys can’t or won’t do – as long as it’s solving a problem or fulfilling a need for our consumers.

This clip is from a session I recorded (with Fred’s permission) at the 2012 Worldwide Radio Summit in LA (I’ll have more clips from the WWRS coming up next week).


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  • Anonymous

    So, can you make that emotional connection voice tracking 1000 miles away? Seems to me more local production would help make that connection. 

  • I do not think emotional connection requires proximity necessarily.

    Just watch a good movie and you’ll see what I mean. That’s separation in time, place, dimension, and scale – and yet it moves you.

  • Anonymous


    The movie analogy only works if the radio industy gathers a staff for creating programs.

    Watch the credits at the end of a movie and you’ll see that it takes dozens-upon-dozens of people to make that emotional connection effective over time, place, dimension, and scale.

    Then, we also have this issue of the size of paychecks. You can’t equate what radio pays with what the movie industry offers its employees – especially those with responsibility on the creative side.

    Very few talent make a connection through voice-tracking – especially with the limitations placed on them for what can be said (and the time a microphone is open).

  • Casey Kasem’s show is still compelling – even after the many years between the voice and the tracking.
    We can say he’s a scarce one or an expensive one if we want, but absence of compelling talent is not the same as an argument for live talent.

  • Wallace Johnson

     I appreciate both points, but the absence of great talent is directly related to the argument for live talent.  More and more supertalented folks are leaving the industry due to voicetracking and the undercutting of what we bring to the table.  You can’t expect 50 dollar service in a 5 cent coffee shop. 

  • “Great” talent doesn’t have to be “live” talent, it has to be “great.”
    You’re right, you can’t expect fancy service in a cheap restaurant. But budget and “live” are two different things.

  • Anonymous

    Mark, you set this up very well.  Whether radio is doing this well – or not – isn’t the question.  Our hope is that key players in the industry will take these takeaways to heart and reconnect with the values and assets that truly matter. 

    Thanks for showcasing this segment from the Techsurvey8 presentation.  A more detailed explanation of radio’s “emotional triggers” is on our blog – http://jacobsmediablog.com/2012/05/02/inside-techsurvey8/

    And thanks for capturing my good side!

  • Freddy Vette

    Nobody ever turned on a radio to have a bad time.

  • The Drone

    go ahead keep defending VT. Real talent have had enough of being on the hamster wheel. There is nothing that can replace the psychological aspect of being live, once said it’s gone to Mars. VT takes the spontaneity out of it. How many of your great live breaks involve you tripping over yourself and sticking the landing. Now we just go, “crap gotta re-cut that one”. You can certainly be compelling but the unpredictability of a live break is gone. Just what programmers and consultants love.

  • I guess I would ask exactly who enjoys the “psychological benefit of being live”?
    The consumers who take almost all of their audio and video content either pre-recorded or on-demand (and thus pre-recorded)?
    Or the personality who objects to an editor and gatekeeper?

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