January 19, 2018

What are your predictions for 2018 in any of the radio, music, and/or social media fields?

Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: Radio will continue to battle perception challenges during 2018 but it should motivate us all to tell everyone our story and focus our brands on what makes us unique. We’re the #1 reach medium in America because of the unmatched companionship that we offer our listeners through the “predictable unpredictability” of our talent and we’re still the #1 mechanism for music discovery. Our programmers should focus on making our brands more than something listeners can stream in a “private experience.” Our sellers should realize that we’re a bargain for our advertisers and be able to speak to how clients can utilize us for much more than radio spots. And our talent should utilize digital and social media to extend their brand and not dwell on the past but focus on how they maintain relevance with their target listeners.

Mike “OD” O’Donnell, WKRZ: Musically, I think this will be the year (and I see it already) of a strong Rhythmic comeback. It’s going to be a big year for Urban crossover music. For the business in general I think music streaming is going to continue to grow big, I radio needs to focus on what sets us apart from streaming radio which is what goes between the songs.

Kobe, WWHT: Hip-Hop will become mainstream again. We’re going to see more collaborations between Hip-Hop and EDM. In social media, there will be a huge increase in podcasts. I think everyone will start podcasting (if they aren’t already). Hopefully radio will adapt by embracing original content.

Randi West, WMTX: I hate predictions. I’ll say this…All platforms need to be real and authentic because everything else is just noise.

Fish Boy, WKRZ: I think in 2018 locality comes back more. Given everything that’s going on right now in the merger field, I feel that other companies are going to follow what we’re doing. I feel more of a local vibe returning to radio in general and less the national kind of protocol that’s been going on in the industry.

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: The FCC’s net neutrality ruling will affect streaming services, as ISPs cut backdoor deals with certain services or try to create their own and end up splintering the industry.

Reid, KZZP: Radio: More people will pay attention to streaming and consumption metrics in their market. Music: The year will be jammed with even more new releases. Social Media: SnapChat will go away since Instagram has made it so much easier to manage its live/story feeds.

Tony Waitekus, WHTQ: Radio: Probably not that much different from where it is now. There will probably be change from bankruptcies, and smart speakers. Music: Hopefully, more hits. Perhaps more crossovers from alternative a la Portugal. The Man. Looking forward to the rebirth phase in the future. Social Media: That change is super fast and can’t really be predicted.

Brian Mack, WXXL: There’s been dramatic growth over the past few years alone in the way consumers are using technology more to consume their music. Teen listening especially has really drifted toward streaming music. It doesn’t make radio less important necessarily, I just think the overlap continues to increase with each passing year and I would expect more of the same this year. Radio needs to recognize this and we need to make sure we do radio better than we’ve ever done it before…on multiple platforms.

Toby Knapp, WASH: Radio: Compelling personalities will continue to be the strength radio has in the content wars, although I do think that talent, as influencers will be headhunted by outside content firms/etc which could create an issue with talent and their home employers. I also believe that now, more than ever, listener-centric personalities who get the art of one-on-one communication who are more in tune with others than themselves while still being larger than life… will continue to win, and will be radio’s weapon against all who come against us. Music: As artists realize they don’t necessarily need the traditional ways content distribution in this ‘brave new world,’ we will see artists take their art directly to fans on Spotify / Pandora / Apple Music and more. Apps like iHeartRadio will pivot to allow for this ‘discovery’ culture to also thrive and we will truly partner with artists to get fans what they want. We will also see more and more artists break from the YouTube / Facebook / Instagram side of the world, too. A&R is changing… labels need to keep up or adapt/change the norms and models to reflect the reality of now. Social Media: We’re on the frontier here… all of us. Companies counting on other platforms to ‘grow metrics’ will find that they’re on to us, and they’ll keep changing algorithms, etc… which won’t make life easy. However, if we stay compelling, and embrace the personality which brought us to the microphone in the first place, as content artists, we’ll be fine. Change is happening. New is normal. Today will be old tomorrow. Get with it. Get ahead of it. Be ready for what comes after it. And own it. All of it. Because it… is where we’re going and we need to be all over it. Create. Live out loud. Be bold. Be real. Be emotional and connect. Do so and we will continue to win.

Derrick “DC” Cole, WAEB: I predict a song will be played on the radio from a movie sound track that will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I also feel like a lot of people will try to disconnect more from social media this year.

Sassy, WKXJ: BTS will be the first Korean Pop group to go top 10 and have a sold-out tour in America. I will continue to be a black person. More Pop stations will lean Rhythmic. Radio stations having concerts will continue to decline due to fewer new artists to fill the bill and high pricing for B+/A- artists.

Java Joel, WAKS: If we learned anything in 2017, it’s that major A-list superstars are capable of making big, fat stiffs. Hope the trend moving forward is CHR getting back to a “song” format, rather than being hung-up supporting the Big Name Superstars. They are certainly nice to have, provided they have the songs to back up the hype.

Kobi, WNRW/WLGX: Streaming will become an ever bigger deal. Less albums will be purchased. And, *NSYNC and Jay Z will be Justin Timberlake‘s special guests at the Super Bowl.

Rick Vaughn, Power 94.9: I think we’ll continue to see too many projects rolled out to CHR and Alternative radio in too quick a succession, leading to missed opportunities and unnecessary waste.

Jeff Hurley, WHKF / WLAN: More disruption and unfortunately radio doesn’t have a choice in this, we will be the disrupted ones. 2018 will be the year where radio companies will have to make a watershed decision. You’re either going to have to realize you’re a digital brand now or you will easily be left in 2005. There are a lot of companies that aren’t ready to make that step and they are about to lose a big chunk of their audience. If your sales force is only selling ads on the radio, you’re not in the 2018 business. They have to sell full digital products and take a 360 approach to sales. We’re now a media industry, not a radio industry. There will be a clear line of delineation made by advertisers as to who are media companies and who are old school radio companies.

Chris K, 106.5 The End : It’s not a prediction, but I’m very excited to see what Entercom has on the table going into this year now with our new structure. It’s going to be real interesting, with all the great new stations we now have, to see where the company’s new direction and synergy we now have among all these great stations.

Brian Michel, iHeartMedia / Atlanta: Facebook will change their algorithm no less than three times sending groans through the entire radio industry.

Chris Michaels, FM100: 2018 is going to be the greatest year yet for Entercom. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the combined forces of Entercom and CBS Radio thrive in 2018.

Next Week’s Question Of The Week:
With the Grammy’s celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, what have been your most favorite Grammy performances of all-time from any era?
e-Mail your responses to: jodorisio@fmqb.com or bburke@fmqb.com