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NAB Blog – Day 2 from Philly

6am: Awoke and put on telly to see that the NBC station is now promoting real-time traffic cams in High Definition. Who wants to see a jam so clearly?

These conventions bring together an odd mix of people. There are some very sharp, clearly management types wandering about trying to be the big shots in a way that you wouldn’t see in a UK or European convention. And then there’s the jocks who wear Hawaiian shirts. Where do they get them from. Hawaii possibly.

I didn’t go the breakfast session. It was the industry’s top execs explaining what they felt the future would be. Been to those before. You don’t get anything but P.R flannel.

Still some interesting stuff on the sales floor.

Lots of new Automation systems. To be honest, I haven’t seen anything that offers anything new. The Google Radio Automation people have been sold an rebadged.

Coolest application I saw was an app you rent for your iphone for $10 a month and it lets you edit video and audio in a Cool Edit looling interface. They make little mics too for the Iphone. Cant find the blurb right now but if you want it, email me.

Lots of streaming companies but no apps or technology you don’t know about already. The US Airforce are at the show. They make market-specific spots that you run for free. I guess you could do a contra and get really cool airborne traffic.
The FCC are there with a stall too offering info on how you go for a new licence in an Auction. Can you imagine an Ofcom stall at The Radio Festival?

[b]9.00 AM[/b]

Nipped into a morning session. Winning strategies for local Radio. I can sum it in a few words. Ad sales are tough. Papers are dying and following sales tactics like “it is 1955”. Yellow Pages (in the US) have cool products but sales staff go into the market for 3 weeks and flog flog flog then leave. Radio can play on our client knowledge. We should understand the clients’ businesses as well as they do and offer knowledge. That will help us sell smarter. Then, with a click of the mouse the overhead projector listed how the consultants hosting the session, BIA Kelsey can help you if you pay them. I feel like I am in a time share presentation. But I’m getting a sales consultant instead of a fortnight every February in Fuertaventura. There’s nothing more to add from this session. They say content is king. You need content to drive a brand. They don’t say what it is but if you cross their palms with silver…

I walk out. Still clutching my free bagel. Ha!

Quite an uneventful morning. I do feel sorry for any radio listeners in the States using Twitter. They will be bombarded with concert promo tweets when the delegates get back. Twitter is, clearly, the wholly grail. Just as , in 2006 in Dallas, everyone was on about Podcasting.

It is a great tool though.

[b]10.30 AM[/b]

Wiating for the Group PD’s super session. In the Ballroom. Quite Grand. Just need Len Goodman to give someone 7. A woman has been given award for services to radio accompanied by very-American incidental music on the electric piano.

There’s a woman on now, introducing the sessions called Zoburdeen Fly. Wow. Worth coming just to gear a voiceover say that.

Here we go.

RC: Rick Cummins, Emmis Boss. JF: Jim Farley, WTOP (Good newstalk station in Washington). SG: Steve Goldstein from Saga Communications (nothing to do with coach trips or radio stations that used t play Doris Day). Gene Romano- VP of Progs at Clear Channel and Jay Stevens of their Radio 1.

JF – says he loves complaints about WTOP. Half say it is too right wing, half too left!

JS – First mention of Twitter today. Kerching. Good for realtime promotion in ratings time.
Encouring people to go online ASAP . helps recall with their Personal People Meter digital ratings research.

SG- Best use of twitter – was a cable only news operation in Orlanda. A night time space shuttle launch was planned after it has been cancelled a number of times. People go and watch but nobody knew whether it would go or what. The cable channel said all day “follow us on twitter to see if launch is on or off”. SG says he could see people looking at Iphones all day. He assumes they were checking their Twitter for this.

Moderator – Is is tacky to sponsor Facebook Page

SG: We have text sponsors. He heard Wmmr say they had a discount for a window co if you texted a number “right now”

Moderator – New Ipod with FM Tuner

RC- they are giving them away as they now say IPODS are cool on air as they have FM radio

JS- They had meetings with Microsoft over the ZUne. (their Ipod rival) They didn’t get anywhere. Scrap em and promote the IPod. He says. We have to get FM tuners in all these gadgets.

Moderator- some people would say AM tuners too

Applause –mainly from old bearded guys in Hawaiian shirts

SG- The RDS needs updating here for many stations as it needs to scroll song names. (obviously can’t do that in UK). Many stations don’t even have RDS in the US.

RC- if your station hasn’t got RDS you need it now.

(We haven’t got it at Radio Scilly , in case anyone picks me up- but we don’t have enough cars!)

JS- radio is 1/12 places where people can get music and ents. We need to do more to bring radio to people. Anyone tried to buy a radio, a tuner. He went into a Target and wanted a radio. The guy didn’t know what he was talking about.

In a Best Buy he was shown IPODS. We need to get kids into the habit of radio. When they are older, in 10 years, they will control our media and they need to be engaged.

MODERATOR- what about IPOD and Itunes if you are a talker like WTOP

SG-We need to be on all devices. You see the tell-tale white headphones cord. You know we need it. Every device needs radio as we are the emergency voice in times of trouble.

JS-I heart radio is an App that lets you listen to your favo(u)rite Clear Channel station. It also has an Elvis Duran Channel so you can hear him all the time. Deliveirng content with a diff device. They track their streams.

MOD wants to know who is biggest performer

JS- Wont be specific

MOD- anyone else using I phone apps

HD radio now.

Interestingly most of the bosses I talked to here think it is bad quality- mushy Mpeggy. And Signal poor and no real content. Now where have you heard that?!!

HD Radio needs real time data to the dashboard. Specialty programming and data will be key

JF- NPR and not for profit has been clever with HD

On the floor question- what are trends for future. Localisation and not syndication is what people want . What do panel say.

SG- spoken word is what many people want. Morning shows are spoken world. Move a talk station from AM to FM and you drop the median age by 10 years. Some national and some local.

JF- wonders why more music stations don’t have news on the hour as with the PPM meters this could be a bonus

JS- depending on targeted usage and strategy, PPM allows for talent driven and just music driven formats to coexist and succeed.

JF- Everyone in PPM market should thank Arbitron. The old diaries were just a memory test and programmers spent too long working out recall. Analogy to education. Learning to recite information rather than understand. PPM means good radio is scored and is relevant.

JS- Listeners win with PPM

SG- cut the foreplay and get to the sex. It is a 6 second world. Give people the best stuff, right away.

JF-Newstalk works well with PPM- Atlanta, Phoenix. Doesn’t work so well in Baltimore.
It isnt the format that wins or looses. It is good radio stations.

JF- Radio no longer has the incubator for the jocks of the future. It is all voicetracked overnight.

JS- argues against this but is using baseball metaphors and I don’t understand. Small markets are the training ground.

JF- So will the floor question guy , from NYC, take a pay cut to cut his teeth in small market. (Some heckling! –where’s Jeremy Kyle when you need him )

RC- young people are not interested in the business or radio

SG- He went to morning show bootcamp in Nashville and there were 300 people there who had self-funded and wanted to go an improve. They were playing tapes of terrible radio. Dumb stuff that needs to go if we are going to improve. It was revitalizing for SG to see people working on the craft. Saga are in small and medium mkts but they pay morning shows a great deal in small mkts so ppl can live a nice life. You can make money there over time in smalltown radio.

JS- find someone who can take the business forward. Figure out a way to pay them, coach them and grow them. They need “the next us”. It is older, seasoned pros. When we came to this event 20 yrs ago it was loaded with kids.

MODERATOR-Are you trying to find people

JF- we have to recruit interns as the feeder of small mkts has dried up as there are fewer stations with news now. The new interns have better ideas. While a WTOP reporter was on the phone to a Senator’s office, the intern texted a mate, who texted a mate and go the answer before the phone brought a response. JF loves younger people in radio.

Floor speaker- Her daughter’s radio show is Pandora. No ads. She has a talk show. 42 minutes talk in a 60 min hour. Too many ads. How are bosses going to bunch ads and break up the ads to make things acceptable in a digital era.

JF- says WTOP has more than 20 minutes ads an hour (!!!) on a newstalk. It is how you play the ads and the stop set placement

Floor woman- says that isnt a good enough answer. There are too many ads that turn off kids. Look what DVR (their Skyplus) has done to TV

JF- Do a podcast

Floorwoman – I do

RC- would love to take the ads off but no one will pay subs for radio. They will listen to certain number of ads if they get something for free. 10-12 minutes for a music station and 18-20 on talk, if the content is there they will listen, The format of selling the same commercials , year-on-year, isnt going to work. They had ideas but they are exchanging digital dollars for analogue dimes.

SG- the papers have the same dilemma. Are we going to have content for free. Can we live with 14mins an hour? I don’t see how that works long term, Most of us are public companies and we have to meet the bottom line. I don’t see how tv survives Hula and DVR. Pandora is a nice option but no talent on it. Facebook and twitter are making no money. They need to find a way too.

SG- ads are getting worse. Sales people are writing ads.

Floor question- John Landecker- an vintage radio guy says the small market jobs where talent was developed are being eroded.

What do we need to preserve and achieve

JF- we have an unlimited world with the net. We have new possibilities. Twitter is, according to kids, passé!

SG-it is an ecosystem now. I am a glass-half-empty-guy and I am encouraged that we can turn things around. Yellow pages wrecked by Google.

JS- In any other business we’d be fired. We need a way to figure it out and turn it around.


Just seen Valerie Gellar- Radio Guru. Going to catch up.

After lunch, the guy who helped elect Obama will tell us how to use social networking.


A fun lunchtime trying to get into the sessions. I left my conference badge at the hotel. I had the plastic digital business card (they run it through a reader instead of you needing to give a business card) and a passport and redundant business cards on me as I.D. Not good enough. Computer says no. I am declined entry unless I go back. B*llo*ks to that. I am registered, but I ain’t going back.

So I sneak in, quickly, when the door guard is dealing with someone. I’m in. Now I cannot leave. I’m like Tom Hanks in that movie about the guy trapped in the Terminal Buildin. I make it to the regisration desk without being shot or shipped to Guantanamo Bay. They don’t ask how I got in.
They will re-issue a piece of paper for me so I can leave and come back. $50. B*llo*ks to that.

Valerie Geller kindly steps in to help. You wouldn’t mess with Valerie. She’ll get her way, but with a smile. Honestly. This is nuts. It makes me feel like I have jumped the wall from Mexico. She leads me to an NAB concierge. He cannot help. He hasn’t the authority to issue a piece of paper. I am led to the NAB office. A stern woman with a crew cut but bright clothes (kind of like the sort that would be on Sesame Street counting to 7 with Grover) makes a gruff phone call to someone and I have to go back to the people who wanted the $50 from me. Now though, I get my piece of paper for free. Thanks Valerie. Buy her book. She’s good and can almost spring you from jail. The irony. All the way through this conference, we’re being told how radio should excel in customer service and going the extra mile. Clearly, the industry body here sucks as it.

Anyway, session time.

[b]14.00[/b] The man who helped elect Obama on radio social marketing.

“It was an honour to work on the campaign that got it”. A slight understatement to start the afternoon session from the guy whose social networking skills helped elect Obama against “the biggest brand name in history”- The Clintons. That’s how Scott Goodstein has kicked off his session. Biggest brand? I guess they preceded Heart Bristol. It was interesting but very much geared to the US audience as it gave detailed examples of the US election process and how they targeted voters. If you like West Wing, you’d have loved it. Text messaging is a newish phenomena here so what was said won’t be too illuminating if you are reading this in the UK.

A fact, demonstrating why the politicos needed to find new methods to message would-be voters: In 1978, 90 per cent of household viewing taken by the 3 networks. In 2008, the share including new networks like Fox and UPN was 38 per cent.

People no longer ‘consume tv’ like your parents would have. They do other stuff, make calls, pack lunches. They don’t give undivided attention. So how could they get the message of a political campaign over when nobody wants to watch them?

Mobile texting was the big force . Chris Anderton’s “The Long Tail” is a recommended book. But it was two-way and that was the difference. And that’s how it can help radio. If you think text message is about sending concert tickets, it is not.

The Obama campaign allowed consumers to engage and validate. The PR was outbound and inbound

They had thousands of pics of people sending in pics of themselves volunteering for the Obama campaign. “We can deepen the interaction with the conversation with texting”.

A fact: In the US, you are charged to receive the message, so few people use it. There is no Spam in the US on text, apparently.

42 per cent of teenagers say they can text when blindfolded. Interesting, if not odd, fact! Wonder what teenagers could be doing that makes you go blind?

Questions from the floor: What does Scott think of myspace and facebook?

Scott says, don’t want to get hung up on names facebook v myspace. The concept is what matters. It is 2 way conversation not 1 way. If we put something up on F-B then there is a dialogue. If you sent the Obama campaign a question on Facebook, twitter or email they answered it. They had a position and the same view on every topic that would be consistent in every reply. Radio should do this. If you share the twittering or web updating you need a house style. A small army of volunteers answered the questions every day. They were authentic. They didn’t pretend to be Obama but answered as aides. The campaign was authentic and transparent and radio should be the same. You shouldn’t pretend to be the on-air jock if you are the producer. Say you are the producer.

FLOOR Q: should we sell the Facebook page if we have thousands? And will it kill transparency if we sell ads? He says we didn’t try and monetize everything but some of the stages at rallies were sponsored.

The OBAMA website was simple and elegant but radio likes fancy flashy graphics. What should we do?

Scott says, Flash looks good but text on it doesn’t appear in google. They used movement in a strategic way when required to make a specific point but a large number of people don’t have broadband. Don’t knock off half of your market with flash etc.

He was good. Not THAT radio relevant but a guy that has seen it, done it, elected the president.


Off to the Hard Rock Café for Kurt Hanson’s Rain Digital radio and streaming media session.

Pandora – like our Spotify online music player – is a radio compeitor. They get Spotify in the Autumn in the USA. I was introduced to it by voice of Radio Scilly Trish Bertram who should be the spokesperson. She loves it. It is good. CD quality on demand music. And the American's are worried. Pandora is taking ads and offered time dayparted and recipent targeted iPhone ads for a museum that were only clickable when the box office was open – 9-5. Clever.

Starbucks have an iPhone app now, launched today, and you can pay for your coffee with your phone.

Rhetorical question for radio. Do we get our own app? Go on someone elses? Mobile listening is getting very big here and nearly every phone I have noticed is an I phone. Iphone convergence is important. A quarter of people hook theres up to speakers. Younger people think “anything out of a speaker is radio” There is no difference to 13 year old girls says 1 of the speakers. I cannot get their names as the room next to the bar is noisy and every time the door opens with a late comer, the Hard Rock Café mix of John Couper Mellancamp blares in and drowns out speech!

In a nutshsell, you need to be on every mobile system. Blackberry, Iphone etc.

Do everything. Get an aggregator player, a radio group player. Speaker says every station we see with mobile apps the numbers go thru the roof.

What is greatest opp or challenge? All delegates get the question and a quick answer is to be provided.

A station called Spotify to launch in US later. You can hear any song you want on the phone. That is where it is going to go – user experience to be whatever they want it to be.

Radio stations should treat the stream as a separate service. If they want to build their own playlist should be able to. As long as we stay committed to advertises getting results. Pandora Boss says it is going mobile and going fast.

What do you see as a short term revenue potential for mobile? There is a high ad rate margin at the moment as people try it out. Advertisers want video click thru, certainly. What can you tell people who don’t know about video? Asks an attendee. Well, clients ask for click to video on ads and want around 15 secs. Pandora use it on station change – when you flick between services. What is next? Maybe video of all songs- where you can watch the performers

Next talker is from Ando.

This firm measures streaming audio. It is getting big. Gone from Bill Bixby to the Hulk! Good graphics! Average US listener listen to 9 online sessions a week.

77 per cent listen at least 1x a week. Growth is from current customers not new to the streaming media. So how do they measure the success of it?
AQH is a terrestrial model for US radio ratings. These don’t really match the net. The had to do stuff to AQH to match up for a metrics company-
2 new metrics that are consistent with digital aligned with page impressions have been touted.

AOS: Average Open Sessions

The number of people listening to the stream for at least 1 min at any given point over the time period indicated. Like Cume. The big change is they report listening for a shorter time, a 5 min rule to a 1 min rule

Sesssions: The total number of streams (listening for at least 1 min) that were open within the time period provided.

Next, the people who do a PRS/PPL type role in the US. Soundexchange.

7 Billion tracks processed by sound exhange last year for payment. Interesting point made by Soundexhange, they are dealing with passing on royalty payments to artists here. Their guy has just said how they track down artists and sometimes it is really moving to find a performer you listened to as a kid. He tells them they have a royalty cheque. Some of these artists are on hard times and he has received letters saying their copyright cheques have put “coats on their kids “ in the winter or paid for new false teeth. He thanked the industry for the copyright money that was sometimes lifechanging. When did you ever hear PRS being so human, humble or recognizing who pays their salaries?

Mike McVay is on now talking about using a mobile to vote for songs. It is a Sales Pitch for Listener Driven Radio. Based on the concept of Crowdsourcing – mass appeal driving change.

They have software that lets you direct the music from a defined database. Punters pick the songs. You pick the next song – gives you three, so it is within programmers rules. UK groups are interested. It has been flogged to Virgin France and RTM in Europe. They have a Widget-use it to vote on social network.

The widget will tell you when your song is coming up on twitter. This worked well post Michael Jackson death when everyone was requesting him. Their widget tells you on twitter or the phone that your song is now on. You Twitter to tell the crowd what is coming and create more tune-in. Local musicians can upload their own songs. It has a new this week category and you can vote for it.

I am off for a beer and a chinwag with Lee Cornell who was in the UK at Wave 105 and The Wireless Group and now works with McVay Media here. Last day tomorrow. More hopefully tomorrow but will be in a rush to drive to NYC to my brother’s for dinner, so may have to update sone of Friday’s happenings after the weekend.

(Missed Day 1? Click [link=https://radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.5196]here[/link])

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