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Radio’s 2014: A New Year – A New Quest


Stop the pity party, broadcasters! It’s a new year!

All year long I hear tons of complaints that “radio is not doing this” and “radio is not doing that.” I’m asked if I ever get frustrated that maybe, just maybe, industry titans aren’t listening to me. Well of course not!

First of all, tons of people in the industry are doing amazing things, many beneath the media radar. Second, I listen to me and you listen to me, and – judging by the 30% growth in my subscription list over the past several months – that’s plenty.

Folks, there is no such thing as “radio.” There is only you and me and everything we imagine and everything we create for the benefit of our clients, our consumers, each other, and ourselves. That may look less like “radio” and more like “connection” across any number of platforms. But because this connection happens in the presence of your brands at scale it’s immensely valuable to you, your clients, and your consumers.

You, my friend, can’t sway the direction of an industry any more than I can, but you have huge influence over what you think, what you dream, and what you do. In other words, the only “industry” that counts is the one that’s within your “circle of influence.” And there’s no better time to get a fix on this than right now as 2014 dawns.

When I was a kid my favorite animated tv show (or, as we called it then, “cartoon”) was Jonny Quest. No, not the regrettable 80’s revamp, I’m talking about the true 60’s original, full of adventure and violence and weapons and villains and creatures and gadgets. An action-packed story about a boy and his buddy and their dog circling the globe on dangerous and exciting adventures with his scientist dad and his dad’s bodyguard.

Jonny (whose voice came courtesy of future Animal House star Tim Matheson) was always curious. He was always trying something new. He knew how to improvise in any situation – he had no choice! The world around him was ever-changing, volatile, and disruptive. Jonny couldn’t shape the world to his whims. But he could shape his actions to his world – he could respond and adjust. And adjust he did.

In my own world, the creation of hivio, the audio future festival, was a Jonny Quest moment. Created out of nothing, this live-streaming, free event was a huge success. And when we do it again it on June 4, 2014, it will be even bigger and better (the lineup is shaping up to be incredible and utterly unique – sign up at to stay in the loop).

As you jot down your annual resolutions, make room for this one:

What’s your 2014 Jonny Quest moment?

If everyone reading this imagined one single Jonny Quest moment in 2014 and put in the effort to make it real, there would be no more radio industry navel-gazing. We wouldn’t have time for it. After all, our navel is what we gaze at when there’s nothing worth seeing before us.

The difference between the hotshot startup and the average broadcaster is that the hotshot startup is founded by enthusiastic risk-takers bent on adventure, Jonny Quests all.

While the average broadcaster, like the average anything else is, well, average.

So if I could close this year and open a new one with a single small wish for you and me it would be this:

Don’t be average.

So what’s your 2014 Jonny Quest moment?

And Happy New Year.

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