View Full Version : If I Owned a Radio Station Right Now

Colorado Media Newsroom
June 17th, 2014, 09:10 AM
By Jerry Del Colliano
Inside Music Media

http://www.talkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/delcolliano.jpg (http://www.talkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/delcolliano.jpg)SCOTTSDALE, AZ — This is a question I get all the time especially because I have devoted my career to generational media.
When 95 million millennials are rejecting radio, music, network television and disrupting everything they can, operating a radio station for profit seems like a bad business.
One thing I can tell you upfront.
I wouldnít run my station the way the biggest majors run theirs.
Nor would I go brain dead not knowing whether to go or grow.
I sure wouldnít be wasting my time streaming the stationís signal or hollering for an FM chip in a cellphone that would never ever become todayís version of a Walkman anyway.
Or doing deals with record labels.
Give me a break.* This is my station, remember.
You might ask yourself, what would you do if you had to run a station today and wanted to make money?
Would I cut the commercial load like I always advise others to do?
And how would I handle competing in a digital world where advertisers are already making their move toward digital.
Here goes.

Triple the sales staff.* Mel Karmazin said this when he spoke at one of my conferences.* Hire more people to sell.* Not fire them.* You canít increase sales by cutting salespeople no matter what youíre smoking.
Give generous commissions.* As sellers make me more money, they should make more money.* The owner still makes the majority of the income and everyone is happy.
But I must have something unique, compelling and addictive to sell.* So Iíll start with a morning team but I wouldnít do the usual morning show loaded with crap like traffic and weather when there isnít any traffic and weather other than to allow a station to run spots. Mornings should return 50-60% of the revenue to your bottom line.
Iíd stop and start as much as possible.* No big music sweeps.* Todayís attention deficit audiences like the disruption not the smooth flow of non-stop music sweeps.
No record would be played all the way through Ė thatís right, watch me stick to this one.* If you look at audiences under 35, they never listen to songs on their iPods, music streams or anything all the way through.* Youíd hear variable length versions of songs in a mix-type environment including lots of short snippets of new music that is not heard on my competitors.* Donít tell my competitor because they donít have the guts to do this and I want to do it while they tremble in fear.
Live jocks who are having fun so I guess I couldnít threatened to fire them all the time or take away their health care benefits.
Contests all over the place but not the dorky contests radio wound up doing before they stopped entirely.* This is a generation of gamers and I think I can offer some fun that would engage audiences in ways radio stations used to engage them in earlier generations without being so retro.
No voice tracking.* This one is easy.* No one likes voice tracking except greedy owners looking to save a few pennies more.
News.* You heard me.* News!* If radio was made for anything, it is news.* But here is the key.* I wonít make the mistake of doing news the audience already knows and believe me, theyíre connected.* Hell, a Twitter feed does a better job of keeping you informed than any radio station.* Just as with what I do in my Inside Music Media column every day, it would be things that are unique, compelling and addictive that you canít get anywhere else.
Thought I was going to sidestep the issue of eight-minute stop sets?* **Not I.* You wouldnít hear them.* Eight spots max per hour and they will not be run in one eight-minute stop set.* I donít care what the length.* It doesnít matter.* Wake up!* Listeners are not running a stop watch.* They know when it is too much and it is too much when you run more than two.
I like to disrupt so I would set a standard for local commercials.* Iíd hire someone damn good to run write and produce them and Iíd test the commercials before they ran.
I would double the rates on day one.* Radio is too inexpensive.* Price it like you expect success not like you expect another recession.
Find a great manager and let her come up with great ideas.
Oh, bet you thought I was going to forget digital.* Well I am in a way. Forget how radio does digital today because it is a joke.* No streaming. No podcasting.* No stealing the content of others.
Watch how I would run a separate digital business based on short form video involving paid subscriptions and advertising models.* And donít be surprised if my music station has nothing to do with what my video business looks like.* All the revenue comes to me after expenses and that means it does to my wife.
Then Iíd sell to Lew Dickey.
Just kidding.* I wouldnít do that.* Thatís no fun.* Radio is a fun business unless youíre having your balls cut off by present corporate conditions.* Jerry Lee is rolling in dough and all he has ever done is run one radio station for over 60 years.* If I had any problems, Iíd call Jerry Lee before Iíd call the consolidators.

So there.
Radio is dying not just because 95 million Millennials have changed but because radio is a cottage industry for a bunch of venture capitalists who donít care about it.
One more thing.
I love NPR but Iím getting the feeling they are becoming an imitation of themselves.* Iíd be careful.
Hope this helps and you found it worthwhile because Ė I really mean every word.
Adopt one of these strategies and you are ahead of your competitors.
http://www.talkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tbugk1.jpg (http://www.talkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/tbugk1.jpg)
Jerry Del Colliano is publisher of Inside Music Media.* He can be phoned at 480-998-9898 or emailed at jerry@insidemusicmedia.com.* Meet Jerry Del Colliano at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.

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June 22nd, 2014, 02:51 AM
I understand his comments about not doing retro radio, but it seems like his comments about song fragments point back to the 50s and early 60s, where songs under 2 minutes were common, and occassionally under 1:40. That's what I liked about Elvis Costello in his early days: Rare was the song that ran more than 3:00, more generally under 2:30.

Might this portend a change in popular music where the mega-long mixes will be reserved for the dance floor and radio edits will clock in under 3:00?