October 18, 2019

Given major entertainment and tech companies’ ultra-focus on creating original content and developing an app that has limitless streaming options, how should this influence radio strategy going forward?

Jimmy Steal, WTMX: Terrestrial radio: We have amazing personalities who live and work in the same communities as our listeners! We have great experiential giveaway for our local listeners! We have brands that radiate fun, offer curation and companionship! We produce local community concerts/events! We create local branded multi-platform digital content! As long as our industry continues to prioritize these five critical things, radio will sustain a level of ROI that is healthy no matter what the competition. If our industry does not prioritize and excel at these crucial things, well, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Matt Johnson, KSLZ: At one point it was about the transistor radio, then it was about the Walkman, now it’s about the myriad of current distribution platforms, because people are deciding not only what content they want to see and when they see it, but how to consume it. There’s a college professor sitting on my shoulder right now saying, “The medium is the message!” And right now, I don’t know if those words were ever truer. You have to take your brand and content and slice it up into the appropriate size for the correct venue of delivery, and as long as we continue doing that we’re going to be okay. I feel really fortunate to be working for a company that is on the forefront of that.

Todd Shannon, WAPE: Fortunately, we were there in the infancy stages with our company. We’ve all had high functioning apps for all of our stations for the past 4-5 years. They do more than just link to our social accounts. We have podcast pages, we promote them on-air and on the website, and of course on the apps. We are very much into app integration on-air and just about everything we can possible do.

Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: It should cause programmers and talent to focus even more on creating exclusive, entertaining content daily and look for brand extension opportunities in the digital, social and podcasting space.

Brian Mack, WXXL: Back to basics…Live and local, one thing few of these apps can execute.

Buzz Knight, Beasley Media Group: Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerX gave our industry an important wake-up call this year at the NAB Radio Show. He urged us to capitalize on a golden opportunity for audio content by resisting our “romantic” notions of how we distribute and be focused on every opportunity for diverse distribution. We need to be conscious of new platform opportunities and continue to build amazing content that separates us from every competitor.

Sassy, WKXJ: You can’t get trapped into thinking that everything that’s worked before for radio will continue to work. Many still do work, but certain things have to be changed and radio must evolve and keep moving forward to maintain our pace with digital competitors.

Kobe, WWHT: We need to be thinking bigger picture moving forward. Our brands need to transcend beyond the dial. We need to find new ways to take original content, and have it live on as platforms as possible. This means not just audio with podcasts, and clips, but video as well. We need to have a flag planted in as many social media platforms/apps as possible.

Mark Adams, KYLD: It should be of paramount concern. There’s a raft of related discussion and action points, but near the top is the need to (continue to) locate, coach, and develop strong personalities and shows that offer unique content (both on-air and on-line) to both supplement and differentiate our base music positions and various brand propositions.

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: It just challenges us to do what we’ve always done, but in a more complete and thorough manner. Radio personalities are the kings and queens of original content…the original influencers. We just have to expand beyond what we do in the studio for 4 hours a day and make sure that our content is being seen and heard on podcasts, YouTube, Instagram stories, TikTok, etc.

Jagger, WKSS/WKCI: It’s very important for radio to address all online and digital needs relative to our content and talent. Instead of focusing on hiring promotion kids, lets focus on hiring online kids that can also do promotions. We need to make an emphasis on drafting in more millennials and Gen Z-types into radio. They’re in this lane, speak the language and have a full understanding from the consumer side.

Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: Your only currency of value is creativity. Don’t worry about delivery system. If you have the most interesting content, you’ll win. But that means radio needs to invest in content creation and welcome creative people into the fold far more than they have over the last twenty years…THEN LET THEM ACTUALLY PERFORM! Real performers may not be the most conformist employees, which means radio companies need to learn to properly manage and work with creative types on THEIR terms, and accept some of the maintenance that comes with creative people.

Chuck Damico, WMMR/WBEN: I have the answer for any company willing to have the guts to do it.

Max Volume, KOZZ: Radio rates very high on the ease and convenience of use. “Set it and forget it.”

Kevin Kash, WWEG: Radio should continue do two things: evolve and maintain. Evolve by offering creative options like podcasts. Maintain by offering free local content that is also available on the go through mobility.

Justin Chase, Beasley Media Group: Radio should have a clear digital content and distribution strategy to remain relevant long into the future. It’s highly important that we’re focused on more than what’s coming out of the transmitter. Our strategy should include amazing original content and repackaged over-the-air content on platforms like websites, apps, smart speakers, podcast & social media networks and more. With all that said, it’s important to leverage platforms we don’t own (like smart speakers, podcast networks, social media networks, etc.) to benefit the assets we do own. For example, it’s important that we’re not just creating content for Facebook but rather creating content that benefits us thru Facebook.

Rick Vaughn, KENZ: The more platforms we can be on and the more original content we can create, the better chance we’ll have of not being sliced and diced up by digital competitors. We have to continue to develop new creative talent.

Toby Knapp, WASH: Be relentlessly original. Do what nobody else can do and that’s be you… and be the most compelling you that you can be. Make sure people have such a great time that they can’t wait to come back for more. And then, do it again. And again. And remember, it’s not about you… but about your listeners. Rinse and repeat. If the fever doesn’t break, call the doctor in the AM or go directly to the emergency room.

Mike “OD” O’Donnell, WKRZ: Entercom is on the right track with our radio.com app. We’re creating more original content and I’m asking my full-time talent to create not only exclusive content that we can feed on our website and on the radio.com app on our station page, but also content that’s not being used on the air. I’m asking each of them to also create some podcasting ideas. I want to roll out podcasts that aren’t necessarily going to be related to our daily radio agendas and to focus more on their personal interests to help expand our reach and engagement with more people.

Valentine, WBHT: We’re already there in the lifestyles of listeners and consumers but we need to continue to evolve and attract the next generation of listeners. Radio has always influenced Pop culture and always will, we now need to make sure we’re presenting our content on a wider array of platforms, and doing it with consistency.

Josh Wolff, WAEB: We should be available where, when, and how consumers want our content.

Next Week’s Question Of The Week:
Given the influence of InstaGram and TikTok in Pop culture today, do you think a drop or mention by an influencer on either of these platforms is an effective way to increase your brand’s relevance digitally?
e-Mail your responses to: jodorisio@fmqb.com or bburke@fmqb.com