Larry Gifford, Author at Airchecker
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Jul
21
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: One Thing Radio Has That Everybody Else Wants
Larry Gifford 0 , , , , ,  

liveEvery day radio DJs and talk hosts do something that strikes fear into others…

They crack a mic and talk to thousands of people at one time “live.”

That’s right, “live!” and without a net (other than a 7-second delay for dumping curse words.)

I can hear your sarcastic mumbling from here, “Woo hoo! Wowzers. Big deal, buddy. Why’s that something to write about?”

Well, it turns out people like “live” and radio has it in droves. However, for some reason we are taking this huge attribute and for the most part scuttling it.

Meantime, others are scrambling to capitlize on ”live.”

knock-knock-live
Ryan Seacrest is building an empire on “live.” He has “live” voting on American Idol and “live” performances, a “live” radio show (sometimes replayed and repackaged), a “live” countdown to New Year’s Eve and tonight he launches a new TV show called, “Knock! Knock! Live.” It’s billed by Fox TV as “the show where anything can and will happen.” They can say that because it is “live.”

“Live” is more thrilling. It makes it more dangerous, more daring, and more exciting. Though somehow radio doesn’t feel that way. We no longer view “live” as special, so our listeners don’t either and I believe that’s a mistake.

But even more than how it feels, “live” creates an instant community of people experiencing something at the same time. It makes it more special because we aren’t just watching or listening to something, we are bearing witness to it. There is something powerful to having a shared experience. Media companies of all shapes and sizes get that and are trying their best to capture it.

It is in fact one of the cornerstones of Apple Music’s Beats1 channel. It’s a shared, global, listening experience. It’s “live” from London, New York, and L.A. and you are listening “live” wherever you are anywhere and everywhere in the world.

After a successful and funny “live” show in the spring, NBC renewed the fairly average sit-com “Undateable” for 13 episodes this fall with the caveat that all the episodes are broadcast “live.” Let us not forget the enduring success of Saturday Night Live.

TV and radio networks also spend hundreds of millions of dollars for the rights to “live” sporting events, because historically those are the most watched and listened to events – ever.

Tom Leykis has a bit called “Be Funny Live” on his New Normal Network internet radio show and it is so successful he created a sold-out event at a comedy club around the premise.

You can listen to your favorite band or artist on your device as often as you want, but seeing them “live” is light years better.

What’s the attraction to Periscope? It’s “live” video that you can interact with in real-time.

“Live” tweeting events and pre-recorded shows is almost more entertaining and enjoyable than the actual event or show.

I could go on…

At this very moment in time when “authenticity” is one of radio’s most buzzy buzz words, the industry has a real opportunity to own the “where anything can happen” moniker. Unfortunately, we seem so restricted by our companies, brands, managers, and stock holders that rarely anything does. And the audience doesn’t anticipate that it will.

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Jul
17
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: 10 Things To Do In A Radio Job Hunt
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , , ,  

RS 109This week I’ve been talking to radio folks about searching for and applying for jobs. It coincidentally or not comes as CBS Radio layoffs several hundred employees. So I’ve assembled a list of 10 things to do while searching for your next radio gig.

1. Network. Most people end up getting jobs because of who they know. And you never know who is going to be the perfect “in” to get each job. So, connect with friends, colleagues, and old bosses on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Comb through your address book and reach out to folks from three markets ago. The key is don’t ask or beg for a job, don’t bemoan your situation, simply ask for advice. When you ask for knowledge people are more emotionally vested in your success. Take people to lunch or coffee and pick their brains and ask them if there is anyone they can think of that you should know and see if they’ll introduce you.

2. Apply for jobs. You are not above the hiring process. If you don’t apply managers assume you’re not interested. Don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. When you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind no matter how successful you were at one time. Find jobs that interest you and apply for them.

3. Update your resume. If it has been awhile since you’ve applied for a job make sure your resume reflects you most recent work experience. If you’re light on experience you might consider creating a functional resume over a chronological one. That allows you to focus on your skills and abilities and takes the focus on your tenure at each position. (Bonus Pro Tip: Spell check. Many hiring managers will eliminate candidates for spelling errors. The attention to detail you put into the materials you assemble to get a job is assumed to be as great or even superior to the attention to detail you’ll actually put into performing the job.)

4. Customize materials. Having one cover letter or introduction email, one resume and one demo for all positions is a sure fire way to get placed into the circular file (garbage bin.) Do some research and address your materials to the hiring manager. Avoid generic phrases like, “I’m seeking fulltime employment at a media company” and be specific about each job you’re applying for, “I want to be the nigh host on Crazy 96.6 WGIF.” Rearrange your resume so the experiences and skills that apply most to the position you are seeking are reflected towards the top.

5. Learn something new. Take this down time from employment as an opportunity to learn a new skill. Maybe you want to explore digital editing, know more about how PPM works or become an ace at snapchat or Pinterest. Expand your skillsets while you have the time to dedicate to it. It will also ultimately make you a more attractive candidate.

6. Don’t leave social media. One guy I recently spoke to told me he was waiting to see where he got hired to be active in social media again, because he knew he’d have to change his handle. It’s your personal brand and your responsibility to cultivate it. In this new world of media, it is important that you remain active and engage on social media regardless if you’re employed.  It helps you to remain relevant to fans and evolve your personal brand. It’s also a key factor in hiring. Hiring managers look at how many followers you have, how engaged you are with them, how often you post and what the content of your posts.

7. Vanity search. Do a google search of your name to see what comes up. You want to type in some keywords too. Try it a couple different ways “Larry Gifford,” “Larry Gifford, radio,” “Larry Gifford ESPN” and so forth. See what shows up and be prepare to address anything that does. This is one of the first thing hiring managers will do if your application peaks their interest.

8. Dress up. If you get an interview, dress up a notch or two from what you’d actually wear to the job. Trust me, how you present yourself matters. It just does.

9. Ask questions. Always be curious. At the end of a phone conversation or in-person interview when the person interviewing you asks, “Do you have any questions?” Be ready to ask some questions. Curiosity is one of the most important attributes of a talent. This is a test. Don’t fail it.

10. Sell yourself. This is not the time to be humble. The key is to leverage all the great attributes, skills and traits you bring to the table by positioning them to the hiring manager through the lens of “this is how the company benefits with me in this position.” It’s actually less about you and more about how you help the company achieve its goals.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, so if you have more tips and suggestions please feel free to share below. Good luck on your job hunt.

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Jul
9
Larry Gifford
(AUDIO) GIFFORD: Secrets to Radio Success
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , , , , , ,  

RS 108 coverIn the latest Radio Stuff Podcast, I talk with long-time host John Kiincade (CBS Sports Radio, 680 The Fan in Atlanta, Big Podcast with Shaq). He’s celebrating 15 years of the Buck & Kincade Show this year and we explore how success like that is created, who contributes to it, what roles mentors and producers play in the day-in, day-out success in addition to big picture. Plus, John shares his thoughts on Radio in 2015 and has some fairly critical analysis of what he hears. (CLICK TO LISTEN)

Jul
3
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: It’s Not Beats1′s Fault, Blame Steve Jobs
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , , , ,  
RS 107 cover

Click image to listen to my review of Beats1.

Beats1 is on the air!

I’m underwhelmed thus far and I blame Steve Jobs. He taught me to expect the unexpected. He created products that at first blush seemingly made no sense (an iPad? I have an iPhone. Why do I want something bigger?), but were nearly instantaneous culture changing innovations. He created a brand expectation that sadly Apple can no longer live up to.

In my mind I was really hoping Beats1 was going to be revolutionary, be a paradigm shift for radio, inspire a new generation of broadcasters and push the industry back on it’s heels a bit. I imagined that they would figure out a way to integrate a song an hour from everyone’s personal iTunes collection weaving it seamlessly into the fabric of the radio station making it a truly personalized experience. I envisioned a XAPP Media type vocal recognition program which would allow you to say out loud, “buy this song” and it would instantly download to your iTunes account. I counted on Apple to create the fully integrated, connected, social savvy, second screen radio has been struggling to create. My expectations were too high.

Instead, so far, the bigger impact of Beats1 is for rising artists who get a global spin and ideally, for them, an instant international fan base. (Also, Pandora founder Tim Westergren’s dream. AUDIO)

As it impacts radio, Beats1 seems more of a blast of the past than a quantum leap into the future:

Shouting city names over records.. Radio does this.

Live reads. Radio does this.

Pre-Recorded outdated promos. Radio’s got those in droves!

DJs that talk too much. Radio’s got ‘em.

DJs in multiple locations. Yep..

Dead Air. Sure.

Celebrity DJs. Requests. Listen call-ins. Social media engagement. Radio does all that too.

What exactly is the innovation here?

It’s week one, so we’ll give them time to get settled and check back in next month or so. Meantime, if you hear something truly unique let me know (Larry@LarryGifford.com).

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Jun
22
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Peering Into Periscope
Larry Gifford 0 ,  

periscopePeriscope continues to gain traction as real-time video interaction with a round-the-world audience is too big of an opportunity/novelty/ego-boost to resist.

I’ve tested it out a couple of times, talked to folks using it and done some research. Here are some keys for radio folks looking to use Periscope.

BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

Power up. Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have a strong wi-fi or 4G connection.

Have a purpose. You will want to know WHY you are initiating a Periscope session. There are many ways you can use it. Here are some:

  1. Impromptu Q&A sessions. Great way for listeners to chat with hosts or debrief reporters of a big story.
  2. Live news coverage / press conference. Let the audience see what you see when news is breaking.
  3. Introduce new show features / characters / hosts to your fans.
  4. Make announcements about your station or show.
  5. Get feedback/information/ideas on show topics, events, contests, etc.
  6. Go behind the scenes of the radio station.
  7. A regular mini-show; “Today’s Big Idea” “The Bonehead of the Day” or “The Daily Session.”
  8. Tell stories to engage fans. Storytelling is as much of a key to a successful Periscope as it is your radio show.

Write a title that entices. This is your tease, but it should also give the audience a snapshot of the video session they’re joining. Many have luck asking a question so the audience engages from the get go.

Example. What is the worst part of Mondays? Who is your man-crush / woman-crush? How do you make a good cup of tea?

This keeps the session focused and people can immediately play along.

 

periscope-screenshotDURING YOUR SESSION

Steady the phone. There is not a stabilizer built into the Periscope app, so many of the video sessions I’ve joined are blurry, vomit-inducing messes. Either steady the phone by holding it with two hands or set it up against a computer screen, some books, or a put it on a tripod.

Keep the phone vertical. Unlike most apps and cameras on your phone, Periscope doesn’t work so well when you try to flip the phone in the landscape mode. It is seemingly incapable of readjusting once the session is started. Keep your phone straight up and down.

Frame your shot. Keep the focus of your video in the top 1/3 of the screen, because the lower 2/3rds is fill by comments and hearts. (Pro Tip: Hearts are like an infinite “like” button. Viewers can tap the screen as many times as they like and each time they tap a heart appears.)

The talking part. There is no need to begin talking at the beginning of your session, unless you enjoy light banter with yourself. Wait until people start arriving to your Periscope session before diving in. And when they show up, talk to them. Answer their questions. Ask them questions.

Trolling. This is still the internet and your Periscope video is not contained to a small group of your best friends. All Periscope videos are available to anyone. If you attract a troll, just ignore them.

If you’re using Periscope for radio or radio-adjacent projects I’d like to hear about your experiences and would appreciate you passing along any tips by emailing me at Larry@LarryGifford.com

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Jun
16
Larry Gifford
Canada Unplugs Voltair
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0

The Voltair is suddenly banned in Canada. Or at least “suspended.” This is not good news. The Voltair actually equals the playing field. Audio watermarking is an imperfect science and this device improves the readability of the station’s inaudible PPM watermark.

If you are in radio, you need to educate yourself on what’s going on. Here are some resources.

I wrote about it last week on the Larry Gifford Media blog.RS 105 cover

I also talked to Harker Research Sr. Analyst Richard Harker about it on the Radio Stuff Podcast. (His RadioInsights blog is chock full of critical analysis of PPM)

When “what is Voltair?” was yelled out at the Talkers conference last week in New York, it inspired a  kick-in-the-pants open letter to the radio industry from AllAccess.com’s Perry Michael Simon.

Want to really go down the rabbit hole? Spend 25-minutes with 25/7’s Dr. Barry Blesser and learn how audio watermarking works.

Radio should be mad as hell. PPM’s inaccuracies are costing people jobs, livelihoods, and impacting radio families across the country. Programmers, myself included, have made “strategic” adjustments to shows, personalities, and formatics based on inaccurate PPM data. Where is the outrage?

Jun
3
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: The Controversy of Making Radio Sausage
Larry Gifford 0

Originally posted on www.larrygifford.com 

I’m not a country radio expert. I do know radio and understand there is a science to programming music logs for appealing to core listeners and maximizing CUME, AQH and TSL. I get these things are researched and researched and researched. Radio music programming may actually answer the question every 10th grader asks, “When will I ever use Algebra in real life?”

However, I am also fascinated by the bluster this week over comments made to Country Aircheck Weekly by consultant Keith Hill.

This One’s Not For The Girls: Finally, Hill cautions against playing too many females. And playing them back to back, he says, is a no-no. “If you want to make ratings in Country radio, take females out,” he asserts. “The reason is mainstream Country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75%, and women like male artists. I’m basing that not only on music tests from over the years, but more than 300 client radio stations. The expectation is we’re principally a male format with a smaller female component. I’ve got about 40 music databases in front of me and the percentage of females in the one with the most is 19%. Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.” - (excerpted from the May 26, 2015 edition)

The backlash was swift.

After reading that Hill was getting mean tweets from outraged country star Miranda Lambert, death threats from fans and garnering negative headlines in USA Today, The New York Times and others, I saw another country artist, Martina McBride, talking about it on CBS This Morning.

My first instinct was, “Great. Here’s radio in the national spotlight again for all the wrong reasons.” I actually tweeted something like that at the time.

and Keith Hill (@unconsult) tweeted back at me. Later that morning we spent an hour on the phone. I wanted to hear his side of the story. Here’s our full conversation.

HIGHLIGHTS OF #SALADGATE DISCUSSION:

He’s been using the salad analogy, for various formats, for the better part of 25 years. His mentor used to use a soup analogy. “It doesn’t matter what the format is the first thing I tell them is to put in the salad bowl of the log: lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and peppers.”

He insists he’s not sexist or bias. ““Trust me, if playing 80% of females got me the highest ratings, I’d run over you in the hallway to put a female record on the air. I would walk over broken glass and chew razor blades to get to the studio to deliver what the audience will line up for.”

He wishes he would have considered his word choice more. “I wish I would have said make sure you don’t have too few females. Add until you get at least 15%.”

He believes the outrage focused on him is misplaced. “Their country radio that they were happy and satisfied with as a product was tuned to their taste by professionals like me to trick them and make them listen as long as possible. And then when somebody shows them our internal dashboard of metrics they go, ‘God! That’s bias.’”

Hill has also offered any Top 100 country radio station in the U.S. currently ranked #5 or better $5,000 to play 50% female artists for 6-months. He insists no station will take him up on his offer, because they know it will “tank.”

HOW MANY TOMATOES ARE ON THE SALAD?

I was curious. What is the percentage of males to females on country stations in the U.S.? I googled a handful of stations that share playlists of the last 50 songs on air (about 2 ½ hours of music) and did some quick math.

NASH FM 94.7 in New York City played 15% female solo artists including Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, Reba McIntyre, and Miranda Lambert

KNUE in Tyler Texas played 10% female solo artists including Miranda, Carrie, Kelsea Ballerini, and Jana Kramer.

KFROG in San Bernardino, California played 18% female solo artists including Miranda, Carrie, Kelsea, and Gretchen Wilson.

KISS Country in Shreveport, Louisiana played 6% female solo artists limited only to Miranda, Carrie and Kelsea.

WYRK in Buffalo, New York was at 16% female solo artists including Carrie, Miranda, Kelsea, Taylor, and Maggie Rose.

Three of these stations are operated by Townsquare Media, one Cumulus, and one CBS. iHeart stations only show the last 12 songs played but were right around 16% female solo artists. No station played solo female artists back-to-back.

The TopHitUSA.com “Country Radio Airplay Charts” only features 12% solo female country artists.

It turns out, like every radio format in the country – even spoken word – “country radio” is playing the hits. Finding out what listeners want and feeding it to them consistently is how radio stations generate ratings. Yes, there is a bias to it. We’re only going to feature artists, songs, stories, or sports that appeal to the most people in the listening demographic. Next year that 15% could be 45% if the listeners tastes evolve and change or if radio goes back to the old days when DJs were hit makers and aided listeners in music discovery. Neither is likely to happen anytime soon.

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Jun
2
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Country Radio Controversy #SaladGate
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0  

He called female country artists the “tomotoes” inside the country radio salad. (The male artists are the lettuce.) He also suggested programmers keep male artists at an 85% rotation, female artists just 15% and never back to back — IF you want to increase ratings.

HE is country music consultant Keith Hill. And he’s getting an earful from female country music artists and fans after his comments went viral and made headlines around the world. Here I spend about an hour with Keith getting the whole story, the context, no apology, and one regret.

(CLICK FOR PODCAST)

kh3

 

Jun
1
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Lessons From The World’s Oldest DJ
Larry Gifford 0

sally hille

In the 1940’s Sally Hille made her debut on the radio. Today she is, according to Guinness, the oldest DJ in the world. I was lucky enough to chat with her last week on the Radio Stuff podcast. Three things really stuck with me.

She was a writer.

Sally’s first role in radio was as a writer. How did our industry ever turn our backs on that? TV shows and news programs have writers, movies have writers, Broadway has writers why does radio seemingly insist on winging it and/or using “whoever is available” to write sales copy, station production, and bits for radio shows? This is something that has frustrated me as a programmer over the years. While at ESPN, I tried to do my part by hiring a fulltime writer who worked primarily for Mike & Mike. It was an underappreciated position that disappeared soon after I left. Radio needs every advantage it can get and impactful writing will increase the impact of commercials, increase TSL and likely occasions. It’s hard to quantify the impact of a writer on the success of a radio station, but I believe it is the quickest way to make a noticeably positive impact on the listening experience. Hire writers.

Women are still getting shafted.

“Don’t you know people don’t want to hear women on the radio?” That was the PD’s reaction after Sally snuck on-air in the 1940’s to identify the radio station. The conversations haven’t changed over the years. When I started (and still today) I hear arguments that people won’t accept women doing play-by-play or being a lead host on a show. (I often hear similar arguments as it pertains to different races and ethnicities.) There are exceptions to the rules, but within the past few weeks I’ve seen sports radio networks and stations get banner headlines in the radio industry trade publications, because they hired women to host weekend shows. Most women on FM morning shows remain relegated to being the traffic gal, the news chick, or the bimbo. We need to do better.

RS 103 coverPodcasting isn’t too technical.

I encourage aspiring broadcasters to make a podcast and record it regularly (weekly or daily) in order to find their voice and style. The great thing about podcasts it that they are as long as you want, you can experiment with new ideas, you typically get positive feedback from listeners and you begin to build a following. For many reasons, most never do it. Usually, I hear something to the effect, “I’m not that technical” or “I couldn’t figure it out.” Sally’s show is essentially a podcast that is then broadcast later. She has a Yeti microphone ($129 or so), a free audacity editor and she uploads her podcast to Podomatic (I prefer SoundCloud.) She’s 95-years-old. No one has an excuse anymore.

Conclusion

The other thing I take away from my conversation with Sally is that the men and women who came before us, in radio and life, have much to offer in terms of experience and insight. Take time to sit with family and friends and ask them about their life. You’ll both be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

 

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May
22
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Catching Up With Eckford
Larry Gifford, Net News, Radio Stuff Podcast, Uncategorized 0 , , ,  

Last week, CKNW afternoon drive host Mike Eckford quit his radio show. On this week’s Radio Stuff Podcast I called him up to see how he’s doing. Among our topics of conversation was what he thinks his legacy at CKNW will be. He was very frank, “I don’t think it will be much to be perfectly honest. I came to the station at a real transitory time for them and I was part of that transition. You know, hopefully, a positive part of that transition for people internally. Externally, I’m very gratified that some people enjoyed it and I understand that some people didn’t. But, I think my legacy if anything will be part of the internal transition of CKNW to whatever it is next.”

Listen to his full comments below.

May
21
Larry Gifford
Top 10 Lessons Radio Can Take from David Letterman
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , ,  

Top 10 Lessons Radio Can Take from David Letterman (as heard on Episode 102 of the Radio Stuff Podcast)

10. People like lists.

9. Try new things. Crazy things. Challenge conventional wisdom.

8. Surround yourself with a team you trust.

7. Sometimes you have to leave a job to find greater success.

6. Produce. Plan. Prepare. Script. Rehearse. And then do what feels right in the moment.

5. Bring guests into your world. Own your interviews.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail.

3. Self-deprecation is an effective tool to win over an audience.

2. Surprise the audience.

1. Even a kid from small town Indiana can be a big time talk host.

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May
18
Larry Gifford
ABCs of U2 101
Larry Gifford 0 , , , , , ,  

U2101In Vancouver, Rock 101 rebranded as “U2 101″ for 16 hours as part of a promotion for the opening night of U2′s “iNNOCENT + eXPERIENCE” 2015 world tour. It was a great way to reinforce the station’s classic rock brand and own a major event that already had the city buzzing. To get the story behind the story, I chatted with Ronnie Stanton, Corus Media VP of National Brands and Programming and PD of Rock 101.

GIFFORD: What elements made up U2 101?

STANTON: 7am on the day of their first concert in Vancouver, which was also the first concert of their new world tour through to about 8:30am we did an interview with U2, in-studio, with our morning show “Willy in the Morning,” played lots of songs as well, but lots of great questions and those guys were fully engaged like they loved being there. It was really authentic, human, it was terrific. For the rest of the day we gave away pairs to the shows that night and played U2 double-shots. It was really cool. We changed every single element. The words “Rock 101″ did not appear on the website, they didn’t appear on the radio for that entire period. We were fully U2 101.

Grock101IFFORD: Why U2 101?

STANTON: U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world and at Classic Rock stations all around the world we’re trying to constantly reinvent the format to keep it relevant and keep it less nostalgic. So, when one of your core artists does a major tour you want to do everything you can to own the artist and own it in a contemporary way.

GIFFORD: How’d you pull it off?

STANTON: So, about six or seven weeks ago I started talked to the head of the record label, Universal, and I think it was more than anything about asking the pretty girl for a dance. This didn’t happen on other radio stations, because I don’t think other radio stations said, “Yeah we’ll change our name, yeah we’ll do whatever, like let’s get those boys in here.” And it turned into great radio.

GIFFORD: What was the reaction?

STANTON: Terrific. People loved it. In a PPM world if this doesn’t move the needle I’m going to just go buy a food truck.

The full conversation with Ronnie Stanton and some examples of the imaging will be featured in Radio Stuff Podcast Episode 102 (released 5/21/2015). Here are clips from the interview with Willy and U2. 

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May
15
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Are You Really Done With That Great Radio Talent?
Larry Gifford 0 , , ,  

This week a disturbing trend creeped into my consciousness. Radio is losing great talent at an alarming rate. It started with Stern, Leykis and Corolla. Apple is plucking great radio talent from the UK. I talked with three guys that previously worked for me who are out of work and they aren’t even getting nibbles. One of them said, “I’m not sure radio has a use for me anymore.” These are all really talented folks. There are dozens and dozens of these people who are now cranking out great, inventive and creative podcasts to keep sharp and selling insurance or cleaning pools to help make ends meet.

I and others have frequently asked, “Where is the next great radio talent coming from?” But, really we should be asking, “are we really done with that great radio talent?”

Radio needs to find ways to use all these discarded personalities turned podcasters that has either fled radio out of frustration or were pushed out the door. We need guys and gals who love radio, get radio, are good at radio and are ready to reinvent it.

02-larry-wachs

Larry Wachs, sinner

Larry Wachs is one of those guys. For 20-years he hosted the Regular Guys radio show, entertained listeners, and made companies like Clear Channel and Cumulus lots of money. Now he’s like too many other great radio talent: out of work and off the air.

“I think I committed the sin of making too much money for the Cumulus people. They don’t like their talent making money,” Wachs talked about the end of the Regular Guys on Episode 101 of the Radio Stuff Podcast. “I was also burnt out. In all fairness to Cumulus, I did sit down with them a year before and them pretty much gave me the hint that this run was coming to an end.”

For now Wachs is podcasting, redefining his style, honing his craft, and building his storytelling muscles, because he wants back on radio.

“Oh yeah, absolutely. I love it. It’s the best medium. It is so warm and intimate. And when done right it is extremely powerful.”

Great talent is out there just waiting for radio to give them another shot. We’d be shooting ourselves in the foot not to give it to them.

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May
14
Larry Gifford
Radio Stuff Episode 101: Radio’s Great Talent Exodus
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , , , , , , , ,  

Radio Stuff Episode 101 featuring former Regular Guy Larry WACHS who is now MODcasting the show “House of WACHS.” We talk about radio losing great talent (*sniff* bye Mike Eckford), his career, storytelling, podcasting, and more. I dive into the series of headlines flowing out of ESPN headquarters and speculate some. We finish with a great chat with Compass Media Network’s Michelle Salvatore about sports on radio. LISTEN:

RS 101 cover

May
8
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Inside Radio Stuff #100
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , , , , , , ,  

RS 100 coverI just recorded and edited the 100th episode of the Radio Stuff podcast. It features an extensive interview with Cumulus and Westwood One personality Jonathon Brandmeier. It also marks the milestone by sharing memories with original co-host Deb Slater and listening back to a few favorite moments. I realized of all 100 episodes this one is among the most challenging. Primarily due to production. This experience reinforced the importance of caring about the details and asking for help when you need it. Here’s how it all came together.

LANDING BRANDMEIER
I had been talking to Brandmeier and his team about doing the podcast even before the new show was announced on WLS and Westwood One. We have mutual friends and had some business dealings in the past year so it wasn’t really ever about IF he’d do it, but WHEN the timing would be right. They wanted to wait until about a month into the new show. Last week I suggested the 100th episode and Johnny made it work.

Our call was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. PDT immediately following his syndicated show. I asked for 30 minutes, we talked for an hour. I started rolling tape and talking to the Radio Stuff listeners while waiting for the phone to ring. I don’t have a phone coupler, so I plug the phone directly into the board, place the phone on the desk. I record my part into a microphone and the phone mic sends my voice to the guest. In this case, I was talking for about 8 minutes before he called. Rolling before the interview is an NPR trick to capture everything. I blogged about it with Anna Sale a couple of months ago. My monologue and our opening exchange become a teaser clip I released 24 hours in advance of the podcast. His opening line to me after I answer the phone is the first thing you hear on the podcast.

 

THE CLIPS and DROPS
Brandmeier uses a lot of audio during his show and our interview was no different. However, the phone distorted the audio he was sending down the line. So, I had Brandmeier send all the clips after the interview to insert in post. The clips, for the most part, are longer than what he sent down the line, so I had to find the parts he used, edit, insert them and silence the phone version. For example, I used about 20 seconds of the audio from this video in the show.

THE LEVELS
After recording, even though I thought the levels were perfect, my voice entirely dominated Brandmeier’s, so I went through the entire interview and adjusted all my parts to blend more seamlessly with Johnny and then raised the gain on the whole file.

DEB SLATER
Deb recorded her voice on her end and I recorded my voice on my end. She then sent her file to edit in a higher quality audio. I recorded her right after Brandmeier and forgot to unplug the phone from the board. So, that means I recorded her too. I tried to silence the phone quality version of Deb, but I couldn’t get it all. You’ll hear it switch back and forth especially when she’s laughing or talking over me. My mistake. Won’t do it again.

During our chat she mentioned several moments from early Radio Stuff shows that I found after our call and inserted in post production.

ASKING FOR HELP – PART 1

After receiving that tweet from John Collins about the return of the fake town crier after the second Royal baby was born, I put an all call out for audio of the town crier.

It worked! I received this email a few days later;

Dear Larry,

You asked on Saturday for a clip of the town crier announcing Kate’s baby.
Here’s how 680 News in Toronto reported it.

soundcloud.com/bandanachap/royal-birth-town-cryer

Downloadable WAV (but from internet feed), 12MB, 1:10.

There’s a lesson in how radio has no borders any more.

Journalists in London capture the sound, and beam it around the world.

An all-news radio station in Toronto edits the announcement into their piece, broadcasts it to their listeners in Toronto, and right around the world on the internet.

A listener travelling on a train in Britain hears the piece, thinks “that might be interesting”, hits rewind on his mobile app, records it for posterity, and makes it available.

Congratulations on Radio Stuff 100, and here’s to many many more.

All best,
Weaver

ASKING FOR HELP – PART 2
After realizing the town crier was going to be a topic of discussion, I again asked twitter followers for help.

Geoff McQueen saw it and tagged DJ Dapper Dan and within an hour it was done. DJ Dapper Dan also had some thoughts on the fake town crier.

“That chap Appleton did not have the permission to cry from the Royal Family, they just said they didn’t object and that he should consult the relevant local authority which he failed to do as far as we know over here. Anyway he is not a bona fide Town Crier as you have to be appointed by a Lord of The Manor, A Local Authority or Similar level of accepted Government Body. He is not, never has been and is not likely to be. But fair play to him, he got a lot of publicity!”

ASKING FOR HELP – PART 3
I also reached out directly to Radio Today host Trevor Dann to see if he would offer a toast for the 100th episode. Trevor has been a supporter and reoccurring guest over the course of two years and I was happy he agreed to record a little something for the show.

CONCLUSION
I sometimes wonder why I go through all the hoops I do to create a show each week, but it is because I want it to be great. I don’t always hit out of the park, but when all is said and done I’m usually extremely satisfied with the product and proud to put my name on it. Johnny said it in the interview and I believe it to; you have to do the show for yourself first and not worry about who is listening.

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May
1
Larry Gifford
Eight Ingredients of Remarkable Radio Shows
Larry Gifford 0 , , , , , , , , ,  

There are a lot of remarkable radio shows in America and they each have found success their own way. Which means there are far more than eight things to consider when trying to build a show up, but this is a great start.

These tips ring true to me which is why I isolated them from original interviews I conducted with each of these hosts. All the conversations can be found on the Radio Stuff Soundcloud page.

Notice none of the talent talk about billboards, bumper stickers or social media. Great shows can benefit from those things, but bad shows cannot be made great with marketing.

RELATED: SEVEN INGREDIENTS OF GREAT RADIO TALENT

And now, eight ingredients of remarkable radio shows.

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Gene “Bean” Baxter

Be consistent, but not predictable. “Show up every day, be prepared, and evolve.” Gene Baxter a.k.a. Bean of Kevin & Bean explains, “We’re not the guys, generally, that are doing the same bit we did 10 years ago or 20 years ago. We’re looking for new things to do and new things to talk about. As hard as it is to get young people to listen to FM Radio these days I think that’s why we’ve had some success bringing them along because we are still trying to talk about contemporary things.”

Be authentic. “There’s a lot of fake conservatives on the air, a lot of comedians disguised as political pundits, and I avoided the temptation to do that,” Tom Leykis remembers when he was offered an opportunity to be a conservative talker. “I chose to go my own road and that means to not lie about who I am, to not pretend about stuff, to say what I mean and mean what I say.”

Build a team you can trust. I chatted with Elvis Duran about this at Radiodays Europe this year, “Being surrounded by people who get the message and understand that what we do is monumental to so many people. The people we work with and support us are the most important people without them I could never see myself going to work every day by myself. I couldn’t do it.”

Strive to be interesting. ESPN host Colin Cowherd advises host to stop worrying about being right, “Just try to be interesting. It’s not about being right. Guys tend to want to be right instead of get it right. Just be interesting. Try to get it right. Try to find compelling topics that everybody can play along with.”

BJ and Larry

BJ Shea, Larry Gifford, Producer Steve

Everyone knows their role. The BJ Shea Morning Experience in Seattle has a big crew, but everyone has a job. “What I do right is not get in the way, because what I used to do is get in the way” BJ explains his job is to be the host – NOT the producer, “I would think that I have to run the show, I’d have to be part of the planning and I’m an attention-deficit mess. I disrupt everybody else. My ideas are good in the moment, in that manic, bi-polar high moment where, “Holy Cow! This is the greatest idea ever!” and my entire life I have ruined everything because I really shouldn’t be that guy. I should be performing. So, Steve truly is a producer. He is in charge of the whole show. If Steve doesn’t like it, it doesn’t air. And I would say probably – honestly – 10% of my ideas get used. And I give Steve a lot of ideas. But, I also empower him to say this is it. I’m kind of afraid of Steve now. It’s kinda cool. I’ve made Steve the boss of the show to the point that I don’t want to disappoint him.”

Appreciate the audience. “More radio hosts, especially new ones getting into the business, have to get back to basics, understand sports and connecting with their audience,” JT the Brick of Fox Sports Radio refers to sports talk, but his point is actually format-agnostic. “I think there is a big disconnect now between the super successful sports radio hosts who don’t go to any games, don’t meet their audience, and preach to their audience about how good they are or how good their show is or what they believe is the future of sports. Compared to the hosts, hopefully like I am, who continues to want to touch, and shake the hands and kiss the babies and meet these guys, because that is the connection I think you need to have.”

Tom Leykis in his Burbank studio.

Tom Leykis

Create a show filter. A filter helps your focus on the right stories and influence HOW you talk about them. This may not seem like a formula for success for an active rock morning show, but BJ Shea swears it works, “The soul of the show is relationships. Whenever we’re talking about anything I’ll always bring it back to relationships and basically the key relationships are familial, you got your husband/wife, brother/sister, mother/father, and then that of course can translate into the work place. That’s the soul of our show, because it hits everybody.”

Remember radio’s mission. “I’m a radio personality,” says Tom Leykis. “I’m not here to get people elected or get people impeached. I’m here to generate revenue. So many people in our business now have forgotten what our mission is. My mission is to get as many people to listen to your station as possible and then to get advertisers to buy those ears and compensate us so were drowning in money.”

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Apr
30
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Spilling the Beans
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff Podcast 0 , , , , , , ,  

A few weeks ago, KROQ morning team Kevin & Bean were inducted intno the NAB Hall of Fame. I talked to Bean, Gene Baxter, about the honor, radio’s influence on his life, how the show came to be (and seemingly never leave), his donation of a kidney to a co-worker, hosting a show in LA from his house in Seattle and more. It is split over two episodes of Radio Stuff.

Episodes 98 and 99; The shows also feature CKNW’s Drex talking ot a PD of a radio station in Colorado that has created a new format around marijuana, former Saga Communications programming exec Steve Goldstein on his new venture and secrets to spotting great talent, and Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs shares insights from the recently released TechSurvey 11 which surveyed over 41,000 listeners of over 220 radio stations from Canada and the U.S.

RS 98 cover

RS 99 cover2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr
24
Larry Gifford
GIFFORD: Seven Ingredients of Great Radio Talent
Larry Gifford 0 , , , , , , ,  

The recipe for being a great talent on radio is really a witch’s brew; a pinch of this and a touch of that. Everyone I talk to seems to have a bit of the trade secret to share, but tragically there is no mysterious vault where the “great talent formula” is locked-up. From my experience at least some of it is gut instinct, DNA-related, or luck.

But, we do have the start of a recipe thanks to some heavy-hitters in the radio world who’ve been gracious to give time and insight to the Radio Stuff Podcast. So, here is the start of a winning blueprint for being a great talent.

Steve Goldstein Amplifi

Steve Goldstein

Have something to say.  “Point of view. That tops the list,” says former Saga Communications programming exec and Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein. (audio) “There are a lot of good mechanics out there and they can make a DJ show work, but somebody who has a point of view and something to say that’s where personality comes in.”

Make eye contact with the listener. This is hard to manufacture if it doesn’t come naturally. It’s not actually looking into the eyes of your listener, but as Goldstein explains, “the ability to say, ‘I know who you are and I know what you’re going through.’ It’s tough.” This authentic connection to an audience is paramount to greatness.

Be hungry. The best talent are insatiable. “Everybody should be hungry. If you know what you want to do – do it. Be hungry and just get there,” says iHeartMedia VP of Talent Development Dennis Clark. (audio) He has worked with the likes of Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran and Bobby Bones and they all have this in common. “They’re hungry by just performing and doing a quality show and they just love the business of radio. I think a guy like Kane in D.C. or Fred in Chicago they really have a bunch of different places they’ve been to become better and better along the way and really grow their personalities and grow their acts. Same thing with Elvis, he went from Texas and New Orleans to Atlanta, Philadelphia and then finally New York. Ryan too, you know? If he could’ve been hired in any job in radio he would have taken it at the time when he was just starting out at Star in Atlanta.”

2015-03-17 10.31.19

Dennis Clark and Larry Gifford

Be now. We live in a world of rapidly decreasing attention spans. Frankly, I’m surprised you’ve made this far into the blog. Being “now” is a mantra you hear from Clark a lot. “The one thing that is a demanding factor from our listeners in radio is what’s going on right now. What’s happening? What’s the latest? I need a friend right now, I need companionship. Whether its music or a talk show or a personality morning show or it’s a vibe or feeling or something like that – “now” is crucial.”

Social currency. I preach this to my clients. Social currency is a detail, a nuance, an observation, an opinion, a theory or a revelation. It’s radio’s equivalent of a meme. Something you include in your show because it arms your listeners with information that is sharable when they’re at work, play or home. Dennis Clark also talked about this. “Radio gives people such small talk pieces that they can take to their family at home and “oh, I didn’t know that about Taylor Swift” or “I didn’t know that about the New York Yankees.” So, they can hear things from people they relate to and bring it to their conversations.”

david-g-hall

David G. Hall, Media Strategist

Create a partnership. Success at a radio station demands you to be on the same page with management. Media strategist David G. Hall believes trouble is inevitable if you don’t. (audio) “More often than not what happens is the leadership of the station doesn’t really know what the target is or they don’t do research. They’re not really sure who they are trying to go for. So, then they have a morning guy who’s not clear who he is trying to talk to and he goes on the air and does something that he thinks is pretty good and then he gets in trouble for it, because it is so far out of whack of the expectations of the manager – who never shared those expectations to begin with.”

So what does a talent do?

Hall explains, “The best thing to do is to ask for the expectation. Be really clear.” Hall suggests you ask the following questions of your program director and it will make a huge difference in how you go on the air and will really focus what you do;

  • What do you expect of me?
  • What is the target audience?
  • Where are we trying to go with this radio station?
  • Who are our competitors on either side?
  • Who am I trying to take listeners from?

Storytelling. This is my addition to the list.  Stories are an effective way to transport an audience and share important information and values. Learn to write and tell stories in short form and long form; from 140 characters to an hour-long production. Stories that are personal and emotionally compelling engage more of the brain and thus are better remembered than simply stating a set of facts. When we experience emotional stories it also produce two chemicals in the brain; Cortisol which focuses the audience’s attention and Oxytocin with makes them more empathic. (Watch a video on it here) It’s science people! If you’re not a great storyteller, practice becoming one.

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Apr
20
Larry Gifford
What Do You Do With an Idea?
Larry Gifford 0

What do you do with an ideaIn recent weeks, clients have been sharing with me the anxieties associated with following their gut or executing on an idea.

The internal conversation goes something like this, “What do I really know about doing radio? I’ve only been at it for “X” years… If I’m thinking of doing it this way, others likely have too and it probably didn’t work which is why no one is doing it… It’s safer to go with what I know and what people are comfortable with it. Besides we always do it this way. There must be a good reason… I don’t want to be wrong. How embarrassing to go out on a limb and fall on my face. What if people don’t like my idea? What if they laugh at it? No thanks. Go away idea.”

And the talent ends up doing it the regular, ordinary way. And regretting it.

TRUTH: One of the hardest people to trust in radio is yourself.

Your ideas, your passion, your individuality will create your success. Your station hired you for YOU and YOUR IDEAS. If they wanted the status quo they would have kept what they had.

If you have a great idea own it. Pay attention to it. Nurture it. Who cares what other people think about it? It’s YOUR idea not theirs. (Just some of the great lessons learned while reading the children’s book “What Do You Do With an Idea?” to my son the other night – <video here>)

At our core many of us fear failing because it could be embarrassing, humiliating, infuriating, or job-ending. But, really it’s usually a moment of “Well, that sucked. Let’s try something different next time.” Your failures are the building blocks that your success is built upon. Successful companies produce failed products all the time because they’re trying new things; New Coke, ESPN the Phone, Apple Newton, Bic Underwear, Sony Betamax and on and on and on.

Building out a radio segment a little differently next time doesn’t seem like such risk now does it?

Radio should take a page from app development and build radio stations and shows with the 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 mentality; improve features consumers like, keep trying new things, keep tweaking, keep evolving, eliminate what doesn’t work.

So, what are you going to do with your next idea?

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Larry Gifford is an international radio consultant and talent coach at www.larrygifford.com. Subscribe to the weekly “radio stuff” email here.

 

Apr
16
Larry Gifford
6 Seconds
Larry Gifford 0

2015-04-16 10.03.05There is a new app called “6 Seconds” created by digital music pioneer Michael Robinson. I’ve blogged about his DAR.FM service before. This new app turns thousands of digital radio streams from around the world into an instant Spotify or Pandora with one advantage – unlimited skipping.

“It’s a free app for Android and IOS that takes a totally new approach to internet radio,” Robinson tells the Radio Stuff Podcast. “We put the artist and song first, let users indicate what style of music, artist or even specific song they want and then we go find the station’s that match that.”

Essentially, ”6 seconds” allows people to listen to the music they want while discovering new radio stations around the globe. When the song ends, the listener hears the next song or commercials or whatever the radio station is playing until they “left swipe” to skip to the next song that relates to your initial search.

 

In my test of the app (see screenshots below),  I searched for The Beatles and was given a list of about 20 stations currently playing Beatles songs.

2015-04-16 10.02.11

I chose ”Come Together” on KVRW (a Lawton, Oklahoma station I would never have listened to otherwise) and then tested the skip feature.

2015-04-16 10.02.46

Next came, “Do You Want to Know a Secret.”

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That was followed by “Sister Golden Hair” by America (not the Beatles but same genre).

2015-04-16 10.03.19

Next up was “Jumping Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones.

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So far, so good. And then the Beach Boys. On the surface it seems to fit until I realized it was a Christmas tune, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

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Perfect? No. Clever? Indeed. I love that I’m not only discovering new music, but new radio stations (many seemingly online stations) and I like can favorite stations I like to return whenever I want. Go ahead and download it and try it out.

 

Apr
2
Larry Gifford
(PODCAST) CKNW’s DREX:

What It’s Like To Be Fired

Larry Gifford, Net News, Radio Stuff Podcast, Uncategorized 0

No, Drex has not been fired from CKNW. But he’s been fired several times in his career. The host of Drex Live on CKNW in Vancouver sits down to chat about ONE of the times he was pinkslipped. We hear the whole story, listen in to the question he posed to a sitting Premier, his reaction to his suspension and firing and how he rebounded. The interview is part of Episode 96 of the Radio Stuff Podcast.

RS 96 cover

Mar
31
Larry Gifford
Don’t Run Your Station Like a Doctor’s Office
Larry Gifford 0

the_doctor_is_not_in2-285x300This will eventually tie into your radio station, I promise.

One of the benefits of the pediatrician we go to is that they work early hours; open at 7:30am. I called this morning at 7:40am and it went to voice mail telling me they were closed and to call back during regular office hours Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 6pm. I usually wouldn’t care, but I needed to make an appointment. The bumps on my kid that we thought were mosquito bites seemed to be spreading. We feared chicken pox. Maybe a milder version we read about that kids get even if they’ve been immunized.

I called again five minutes later. “You have reached us outside of normal business hours. If an emergency, hang up and dial 9-1-1. If you want to speak to a nurse for $35 press 2. Otherwise, please call back during normal business hours Monday through Friday 7:30am to 6pm.”

I tried again. And again. And again.

We were way passed the window of time it would take to transfer the phones back from the answering service. I looked on the website and the hours were consistent; Monday through Friday 7:30am-6pm.

Are they suddenly closed on Tuesday?

I tried again at 8am, 8:05am and 8:10am. Same message. Frustration levels escalated.

They had to be there right?

I put on my shoes and zipped down the driveway with a plan to make an appointment in person. It’s only a 5 minute drive. I got there and on the door there were pieces of white paper overtop the operating hours which now read “Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm.”

Well, crap.

It reminded me how important it is for businesses and radio stations to have consistent messages across platforms, to live up to the promises we make to consumers or listeners and to deliver on our promises. This doctor office failed on all accounts. Radio stations often do too. I urge you to use this as a reminder to read and listen to the messages and promises your station is making, see if they are consistent and evaluate how well your station is delivering on them.

Mar
22
Larry Gifford
Secrets to Podcasting Success
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff 0 , , , , , , ,  

death-sex-money-1400In May 2014, Anna Sale launched the podcast “Death, Sex & Money” from the studios of WNYC. She had been working in news for public radio in New York City when they asked for ideas for podcasts and she was given a green light to pilot her concept.

In the 10 months that has followed, Anna’s podcast has hit #1 on iTunes and she’s learned a ton about producing a successful podcast. Lucky for us she shared her revelations at Radiodays Europe and with the Radio Stuff Podcast.

“If you’re thinking of starting a podcast just start recording,” Anna told me in the  echo-filled hallway following her session. “When I came up with the idea of “Death, Sex and Money” it was this idea on a piece of paper and I had a sense of what I wanted it to feel like, but the step between that sense and then making something that actually is taped and scripted — that’s the place where you need to be experimenting. So sit down, book an interview, tell somebody you’re in a pilot phase for your podcast, but just do it. That’s going to get you into using those muscles of learning how to make your podcast. I would not think about strategy. I wouldn’t think about audience growth. I wouldn’t think about anything before I started trying to make the show and making sure it was something that I could get really in to and that I’d be proud of.”

During a session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes,” where we both presented ideas, she shared these ideas around the production of a podcast. (Here they are listed as documented by our friends at Earshot Creative.)

RDE2015-23701. Record everything. Always. Start your audio recorder before anything happens.
2. Not getting somewhere in an interview? Just… wait.
3. Edit mercilessly but keep the space. Take out whole chunks of dullness, but retain the human pauses that add to the dramatic tension.
4. Don’t suppress your natural reaction, even when it makes noise. It gives the listener permission to smile and it builds your personality.
5. End with a bold set of compulsory questions. Anna always asks standard, personal, powerful sometimes rude questions that could ruin the dynamic earlier, but provoke great answers at the end.

In our one-on-one discussion Anna and I talked about a few other lessons she has learned.

Podcasts are intimate. Be vulnerable. I asked her how vulnerable she’s been. Anna didn’t hesitate, “I’ve talked about being adrift in my relationships and not knowing if I was ready to commit and having real big questions about what I wanted my life to look like, because I’m a woman in my 30s figuring out if I’m going to have a family, if this was going to be the guy I was going to be with and that was one of the first episodes so that felt pretty vulnerable.” Listen here.

Podcasts are what grow other podcasts. Despite being featured on NPR radio stations across the country through ”This American Life,”  the “Death, Sex, and Money” podcast didn’t see an audience impact until the “This American Life” podcast was posted. In hindsight, it makes sense to Anna, “Podcast listeners know how to use podcasts. And so why not go to those listeners first? People are still learning how to use on-demand audio. If you’re not already a podcast listener figuring out that you need podcast player on your phone and how to search and how to download and how to subscribe — there are some steps to that.”

People are still discovering the world of podcasting. Case and point; this was tweeted out this week by ”P!nk” who is familiar with radio, but brand new to podcasts;

Podcasts are not broadcasts. Podcasting gives you permission to “go there.” You can presume the audience is ready to go there with you. When doing a radio show you have to assume there are kids in the car, mixed company, and there are the FCC guidelines to consider. Not so much with podcasting. And those weren’t the only differences for Anna, “The thing that was hard was losing all the constraints of radio. A clock is your friend in radio, because you know at a certain point — you just have to talk until 12:01 and the next show is going to come on. And you just have to avoid dead air for that long. In podcasting, you can go for however long you want. You have the freedom to make the podcasts as long as they need to be instead of filling the clock.”

Sharability matters more than news hooks. “I never knew how long the tail of episodes can be, because coming from news it is like you put something up, it goes out and that’s its moment,” Anna said.  ”In podcasting, the discoverability is so much longer. So, the idea of making something evergreen and when someone is going to find your podcast — you can’t presume they’re finding it right around the time it comes out. Because, what I’ve noticed is when people discover the podcast then they’ll listen to several episodes and binge listen.”

Add your podcasting tips, insights and secrets to the comments below. Check out all the Radio Stuff Podcast interviews from Radiodays Europe by listening to Episode 94 and Episode 95.

Subscribe to the Larry Gifford Media “Radio Stuff” email and each Tuesday you’ll receive an email with all sorts of stuff about radio. Sign up here.

 

 

Mar
17
Larry Gifford
Radiodays Europe – Day Three
Larry Gifford 0 , , ,  
2015-03-17 10.31.19n

Dennis Clark & Larry Gifford

Day three of Radiodays Europe in Milan, Italy kicked off with super insightful presentation by Dennis Clark, VP of Talent Development for iHeartMedia.

“These are the good ole’ days,” he started. Afterward I asked him for the Radio Stuff Podcast why he believes that. “Because if you’re good and you have an audience and listeners are connecting to you that is a product and they’ll follow you.” Clark referenced Howard Stern’s successful move to SiriusXM and Chris Evan’s jumps from BBC Radio 1 to Virgin Radio to Radio 2.

On stage, Clark offered a road map to building a successful radio show.

 

2015-03-17 09.20.47

 

He talked about the importance of defining roles and shared the initial roles outlined for Ryan Seacrest’s Show in 2005. He suggests revisiting personality profiles two times a year because life changes and you need to be able to reflect those changes on air. For instance, you might get engaged, divorced, lose a lot of weight, or your young child starts going to school.

 

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Clark made it clear there can only be one captain on the show and that is the host. “Every time you open the mic you have a new listener. Like a good party only one person opens the door to welcome the new people to the party. (On radio) that is the host. Introducing the around. Make them feel included.”

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It’s also important to Clark for shows to identify what they do as either “branding” or “humanity.” In the slide below, the bigger the cloud the more dominant of a role it plays on the show.

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There were great presentations throughout. Even I got a chuckle from the big room on Tuesday when I reimagined opening lines of famous novels to make a point about the power of a declarative sentence vs. asking a question.

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Here is a link to a blog written by Steve Martin (Just as funny and talented, but this one blogs) for Earshot Creative summarizing the “30 Ideas in 45  Minutes” session. Thanks to James Cridland for snapping the photo (really you should sign up for his newsletter: JamesCridland.net — you know it’s a smart piece because it ends in .net) and loads of appreciation to Nik Goodman for having me on his session. You can check out his fine company BOUNCE, right here.

Some of my takeaways… 

You can’t innovate without action.

To do social media well you need to invest in people and technology. And you need to do social well. (Sidebar: Snapchat is where it is at right now. Though that trend could vanish in the next six seconds.)

Your enemies and your flaws aren’t terrifying and gruesome. Think of them as future partners and your true distinctive features. Embrace them both.

Visualizing radio is unneccessary and getting less clunky and more exciting to do and do well. Make sure it enhances the on-air content and the show brand.

Up Next

The convention concluded with the announcement that Radiodays Europe 2016 will be held in Paris, France.

paris2016

Loads more Radiodays Europe talk on Thursday in this week’s Radio Stuff PodcastSubscribe to the Larry Gifford Media “Radio Stuff” email and each Tuesday you’ll receive an email with all sorts of stuff about radio.

Mar
16
Larry Gifford
Radiodays Europe – Day Two
Larry Gifford, Radio Stuff 0  

2015-03-16 08.53.29

Elvis is in the Building!

Whoa! Talk about information overload. What a crazy day. It started early for me paling around with my new buddy Elvis Duran. The Z100 and iHeartMedia syndicated morning host kicked the morning off with a chat in front of 1,200 delegates. But, before he took the stage he chatted on the Radio Stuff Podcast. (As did all the speakers I’m featuring here today.)

Sneak preview! Duran on Program Directors, “To be a coach as if I’m in a sporting event — if I’m a football player. I need someone to whisper in my ear what the play is, what our goal is for that play and for that game, and be there to be a cheerleader for me. And when I have a bad show I want them to come up and say, ‘Hey, you know what? You’ll have a good show tomorrow. You’ll have a good game tomorrow. Let’s work on these things and you’ll be better tomorrow. That’s what I need from a manager.”

G Whiz

2015-03-16 10.40.31Media Strategist David G. Hall (Former PD of KFI and others) offered up “Five Simple Tools to Make Your Show Better,” including the idea of “partnership.” This is one of the first thing a show, a host and management need to do. Work together to express expectations, roles, and responsibilities. It goes both ways and trust is one of the key ingredients to make it work. He also suggested shows prepare their shows as early as possible and then upgrade it throughout the day as your show prep marinades in your brain and new (better) ideas surface.

Does Anyone Have Ira Glass’ Phone Number? 

2015-03-16 11.58.29This was a great session by WNYC producer and host of the Death, Sex and Money podcast Anna Sale. If you can’t get Ira Glass to plug your podcast that’s okay, but use other podcasters to promote your show, “podcasts are what grow other podcasts.” It’s simple logic really. It’s more meaningful when podcast listeners hear about your podcast on another podcast because they can download it immediately. If they’re driving and hear about it on a radio show they’re likely to forget by the time they reach their destination. She preached the importance of keeping podcasts intimate which includes the hosts being vulnerable. And shareability is key. So, it’s preferred podcasts are more evergreen than pinned to a news hook, because the tail of listening is so long and episodes are consumed during binges.

Hey Facebook Listen Up!

“Facebook needs us, more than we need Facebook.” Those words are still echoing through my head. Danish Broadcasting Corporation Audience Researcher Rasmus Thaarup was full of social media insights. He believes as Facebook clears the clutter of cat videos and such, quality content — the kind radio provides — will be cherished by Facebook. And he’s already seeing results in increased impressions as they use it to deliver visual add-ons to their radio content (pictures, videos) without paying for them. His group also closed over 100 social media profiles this past year and are focusing on pages for true personalities / characters and radio station main pages.

He’s also big on SnapChat. Here’s his slide explaining why it’s a great fit for radio:

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Radio is Sick in the Head

Consumer psychologist Adam Ferrior diagnosed radio as borderline personality order. This session was one of the most interesting and creative.

For instance, Ferrior contends radio’s competition is not other radio or audio or video or TV or movies — it is people doing nothing. We need to change people’s behavior. The easiest way to do that is to get people to do something for you. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s real and it’s called the Ben Franklin Effect. Ikea implements it and creates massive customer loyalty by making you assemble your own furniture. What then would a radio station look like that was run by Ikea? I’m glad you asked.

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No More Pranks

2015-03-16 16.50.33This is M2015-03-16 16.24.51-1el Greig aka the “Royal Prank DJ.” Read about the incident here if you’re not familiar. I am impressed with how open and honest she is about the whole incident and aftermath. She shared death threats that she received through social media, admitted she spiraled into a 12-month depression, and she is  adamantly opposed to radio hosts pranking unsuspecting victims in the future. “Don’t do it. The joke has to be on us. Take the piss out of yourself.”

Day 3 of Radiodays Europe is Tuesday. Follow along with #RDE15

 A reminder all of these guests will appear on the Radio Stuff Podcast, which flights and jet-lag willing will post on Thursday. Subscribe to the Larry Gifford Media “Radio Stuff” email and each Tuesday you’ll receive an email with all sorts of stuff about radio. Sign up here.