August 9, 2019

As the political debate season is in full swing, what are the biggest issues we as an industry should be debating about these days?

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: I have a few of them. Bridging the gap between research and streaming. Connecting with millennials in an increasingly crowded multimedia landscape. Finding ways for our personalities to continue to evolve and grow into the next leaders of the medium. How radio as a medium continues to lead the charge when (inevitably) the connected driverless car becomes a reality.

Rick Vaughn, KENZ: Our biggest issue is are we programming to advertising agencies or the actual audience. It used to be that the 18-34 was a bonus sellable demo for the Top 40 and Alternative formats, but everybody keeps chasing 25-54 because that’s what agencies are buying. If we’re going to ignore what 14-22-year-olds think, then we’re screwed. It’s definitely something we need to talk about.

Buster, WIOQ: Content versus jukebox radio programming.

Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: It’s a long and controversial list: spot loads, competing with streaming services, digital and social engagement from talent, audience measurement sample sizes, research tactics, showcasing our attributes to the advertising community. I’d start with those.

Jagger, WKSS/WKCI: The value and usefulness of available data like streaming numbers and the various metrics. I think more than ever we have to have a close eye on it. We can’t ignore any of the metrics. It’s a matter of how to use the data and balance it with traditional research. Can’t be all one or the other.

Josh Wolff, WAEB: An ongoing conversation about continuing to stay relevant as an entertainment option and as a career choice for younger generations.

Buzz Knight, Beasley Media Group: We should continue to align on the fact that we are a tremendous medium with great reach and quality content.

Randi West, WMTX: Why exactly can’t we get healthier snacks in vending machines these days?

Max Volume, KOZZ: Repealing the Telecommunications Act of 1996!

Kobi, WNRW/WLGX: Music rights/licensing issues.

Java Joel, WAKS: Mental illness, texting while driving and (don’t @ me, bro) gun control.


Brian Mack, WXXL: Given the current political issues at hand like open borders, legalized marijuana, and gun control, among others, I think a major issue of debate in our industry could be: Where does radio get involved with these types of issues at the Pop Culture/Top 40 level? It’s hard to say, most people come to us to get away from those issues. But I feel like a moment might be coming, and if incidents like these shootings continue, I think we might find it all starts there.

Matt Johnson, KSLZ: I think the top issue is how to attract and maintain the younger audience, especially the millennials, who we need to grow up with us. They’re the future of the medium and we need them on board now. We can’t wait until they’re 28 or 29-years-old and aren’t as passionate about music anymore, because by then they’ll have other habits.

Sassy, WKXJ: There are two. One is that there is a value to play K-Pop artists because right now the biggest, most popular fanbase in the world is the BTS Army, and they spend money and attend concerts in droves. They are will to spend if you show intertest in their group which has benefited our station. There are plenty of coop advertising revenue ops. The caveat is that the bands have to be genuine, not manufactured. They have to start at the bottom and work their way up. The other issue is not waiting for the Sound-Cloud Tic-Toc songs to crossover three months later. We shouldn’t have to wait; we should play them now.

Chris Michaels, FM100: We should be debating about how the perception of radio is decreasing, because it’s all about streaming services, podcasting, and others. Over 90% of people still listen to radio. Higher than TV viewership, which is in fact declining with the rapid growth of cord cutters.

Mike “OD” O’Donnell, WKRZ: How streaming numbers on songs really apply when it comes to radio. I think it’s a good gauge, but I think we’re chasing our tails a lot and we’re not applying the best practices for the overall health of our stations when we dig too deep in chasing streaming songs. Obviously, it’s here to stay, but the issue is how we should be using the data and how deep we need to go on an ongoing basis.

Mike Miller, WZFT: Whether a streaming hit is a radio hit.

Chris K, The End: How are we able to develop talent if there are no entry level positions. Also, it’s almost a debate when someone gets into their car as to what audio entertainment option they choose, we have to scream louder than the other digital options, so what are we doing to remain compelling to people in their cars. The way a lot of radio is run these days, many radio stations are just not compelling.

Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: The upcoming debt crisis from public and private sectors over-leveraging. If you think the last couple of big bankruptcies in our industry were something, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Kobe, WWHT: Whether traditional callout is still as an effective tool as it was in the past with the emergence of all the other data we have at our disposal.

Rod Phillips, iHeartMedia: Hoping it’s not a debate as much as a collective conversation about the radio/audio industry thriving in a world where consumers’ time is more valuable than ever. Radio is doing a remarkable job maintaining relevance, growing excitement for the content you can only get on a terrestrial radio, and extending our station and personality brands into other mediums where listeners are spending time when they can’t tune in.

Lenny Diana, WAQY/WLZX: Deregulation.

Next Week’s Question Of The Week:
What fictional character, from any era and any medium of entertainment, do you wish you could meet and hang out with and why?
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