Industry Views

Monday Memo: The Local Radio Advantage

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

imIf you’re a news/talk station, don’t assume that you own “news radio” in your market. Imaging is important, but it merely talks-the-talk. You walk-the-walk with local news copy that delivers what solid commercial copy does: benefits. Just doing local news makes you special. But do listeners simply hear a station voice… reading something? Are you merely… accurate? Or do you deliver “take-home pay,” unwrapping the story to tell the listener something useful?

In many homes, there are now fewer radios than smart speakers. And nobody has ever said: “Alexa, please play six commercials.” But she can play millions of songs. So do streams and YouTube.

What can make a music station different from all those other audio choices is the way you help folks cope, how relevant and empathetic you are, how you sound like you have-their-back as day-to-day news has them wondering “What NEXT?”

And boosting tune-in exposes your advertisers better. So, Time Spent Listening is still the ballgame. Specifically, you need to add occasions of tune-in, and this week’s column begins a three-part series of news copy coaching tips that can help bring listeners back more often.

im

Simply rewriting source material can make a huge difference. Press releases torture the ear. They’re formal, and prone to jargon and spin (especially from politicians). When they’re from the police, they’re written in cop-speak. And most press releases are written inside-out, emphasizing a process, rather than the consequence to listeners.

Process example: “At Thursday’s work session of the Springfield City Council, a decision was made to move forward with Community Days this year. The annual Community Days celebration is scheduled for June 16 and 17th. Council members made sure the Community Days funds will be handled by an independent accountant. Councilwoman Sharon Grant said…”

Re-write to lead with consequence: “The annual Springfield Community Days celebration will be June 16th and 17th. After last year’s controversy, Council members made sure the Community Days funds will be handled by an independent accountant. At Thursday’s session, Councilwoman Sharon Grant said…”

That simple tweak is well-worth the minimal effort. Listeners are mentally busy. Remove “Styrofoam words.”  Example: “State Police say they are investigating a possible case of child endangerment after a seven-month-old child was treated for severe injuries.”

Simply delete “say they.”

Next week: Ripped from the headlines… 

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of The Local Radio Advantage: Your 4-Week Tune-In Tune-Up,” and “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins” and “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke and connect on LinkedIn

Industry News

WSCR, Chicago to Present “QB1 Town Hall”

Audacy sports talk WSCR-AM, Chicago “670 The Score” is addressing what’s on every Chicago sports fan’s mind as it presents a live broadcast of the “Parkins & Spiegel Show” (Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel) called, “QB1 Town Hall.” The Wednesday (2/21) broadcast looks at whether the Chicago Bearsim should keep quarterback Justin Fields or trade him in the upcoming draft for the #1 pick. Parkins and Spiegel will kick off the discussion from Audacy Chicago’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Performance Stage from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Football experts and a live audience will join Parkins and Spiegel to weigh in on the looming decision. “The Score” ran a contest this week for a chance to attend the “QB1 Town Hall.” These winners will make up the crowd that will have the opportunity take part in the debate. WSCR VP of programming Mitch Rosen says, “This decision will determine the entire season’s trajectory and the fans are passionate about their views on it. We’re looking forward to opening up this conversation to our listeners and Bears faithful.” The show is being made available via the Audacy app & website, the station’s Twitch, and YouTube channels.

Industry News

More Results from Cumulus’ Podcast Download Report

The latest blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group presents more information from the Cumulus Media-Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download Fall 2023 report conducted by MARU/Matchbox. Some of the findings of this survey of 608 weekly podcast consumers include: 1) Podcast consumers connect with their favorite hosts on social platforms. Podcast consumers are lookingim to connect with their favorite hosts and shows on social media. Half of weekly podcasts consumers follow their favorite podcast hosts on one of the social platforms; 2) Younger 18-34 podcast consumers are more likely to follow their favorite hosts on social media. Compared to 35-49 and 50+ podcast consumers, 18-45 podcast consumers are more engaged socially with podcast hosts. 68% of podcast consumers 18-34 follow their favorite hosts on social media. 55% of 35-49s follow favorite hosts on social. 40% of those 50+ follow favorite podcast hosts on social; and 3) YouTube towers as a podcast discovery platform: 19% of weekly podcast consumers use YouTube to find podcasts. When asked which social platform they’ve used to find podcasts, 19% of podcast consumers are turning to YouTube, more than all other social media platforms combined. See the blog post here.

Industry News

Podtrac Lauches Global Ranker Including YouTube Views

Podtrac announces that it is launching its newest ranker – The Podcast Global Industry Ranking of Top Publishers and Networks – of which it says, “For the first time, the global reach of top podcast publishers and networks is being made publicly available for advertisers, agencies, and the industry at large.  Andim while traditional podcast metrics and rankers have focused on the RSS distribution of podcasts, Podtrac’s new Global ranking also includes the viewership of podcasts on YouTube – another industry first.” The company adds, “By encompassing YouTube viewership alongside traditional metrics, the industry gains an improved framework for capturing podcast engagement across platforms and borders. It provides advertisers, agencies, and industry stakeholders with the reach and influence of the key podcast players.”

Industry News

Edison Research: Radio Grabs 36% of Americans’ Audio Listening

According to data from Edison Research’s Q4 2023 Share of Ear study, Americans 13+ spend 36% of their audio consumption listening to AM/FM radio. Edison says, “AM/FM radio continues to make up theim largest share of listening, accounting for more than one-third of daily time with audio among those age 13+. The vast majority of that listening (31%) is to AM/FM over-the-air signals.” (The other 5% comes from radio streams.) Behind AM/FM in listening is streaming music (20%), YouTube (14%), podcasts (11%), SiriusXM (8%), owned music (4%), TV music channels (3%), audiobooks (3%) and other (1%).

Industry Views

Pending Business: One Billion and Counting

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communucations Corp
President

imLet’s talk streaming because I don’t get what is happening. Maybe you do.

Talk shows place decent cameras in the radio studio, maybe one in the control room, possibly a third at a “producer’s” desk, a flat screen or two with cool visuals in the background to fulfill the coolness quotient, push the video stream to YouTube or another platform and wait for the throngs of followers to find the talk radio show, view, subscribe and stay with it until the numbers are staggering.

Sometimes the video stream is promoted on air or your station’s website and the expectation is the online audience will skyrocket. After several months, the viewer numbers don’t skyrocket, or maybe the numbers develop modestly, but sales becomes the art of packaging. Because the scale necessary to move the sales needle is still not happening.

This is not a hypothetical. This is happening today at some of the best radio stations delivering high-level radio programming in markets of all sizes around the country. Why do we struggle with how to turn the best radio programming in the world into competitive online video content?

The short answer is great talk radio programming is just that: great radio programming. But herein lies the dilemma. Great talk radio talent, in any format, are natural masters of the foundational elements that can make their YouTube, Rumble, and other social media video platforms gain audience and successfully generate revenue.

Let’s identify the most important reason why:

1. Authentic. Show me one successful talk radio host in any talk radio format who does not exude “authentic.” Agree or disagree with the host on politics, sports, finances or fishing, great talk show hosts are authentic, and their audience can sense the passion coming through in every show. Now, let’s identify the nasty four-letter word, stopping many great talk talents and their content from performing competitively on current social media video platforms. That four-letter word?

2. Show. Most great talk radio talents understand what it takes to put on a great “show.” Mechanics, formatics, and unique skills are developed over time designed to maximize Nielsen performance. But often, many of these – forgive me here – old media “show” skills are not relevant to the huge audience now consuming 1 billion hours of YouTube video every day. Yet we persist and video stream the radio “show” with the expectation an online audience will skyrocket, sales will explode, and the future is as easy as hitting the send button. It just does not work that way.

The radio industry has developed many of the greatest “authentic” talents in the world. How will we plan for a future that has billions of hours of consumption?

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com.

Industry News

CES100th, Radio Roots

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

imIf you’ve been seeing CES coverage on network and cable newscasts this week, you’ve heard it called “the Consumer Electronics Show,” despite we-the-media being told not to. They want us to say “CES,” although, years ago, the Consumer Electronics Association changed its name to the Consumer Technology Association, not its first rebrand.

Back in 1924, it was the Radio Manufacturers’ Association, and eventually it became the Radio & Television Manufacturers’ Association. For all those years – and for decades after it morphed into the CEA – this organization advocated for companies that made… things.

Back-to-the-future: Many of the big stories at CES2024 aren’t about products that come in a box. Artificial Intelligence is big here this year, nonchalantly referred to as “AI.” But – because we should avoid initials that aren’t self-explanatory – you’re hearing CES called “the Consumer Electronics Show;” and smart reporters use “Artificial Intelligence” on first reference.

And one particularly insightful session I attended got me thinking about radio’s “initials.” When we say our call letters, do listeners think about what we were, or what we can do now do?

“All Media is Social Media” panelist Isabel Perry, VP of emerging technology at pioneering digital agency DEPT said a mouthful, in a savvy British accent: “Your brand is not what you tell your customers. It’s what your customers tell each other about you.” And declaring that “media is now communal,” fellow panelist and former TikTok executive Melissa Eccles urged “Invite people to participate.”

Robotic music stations with too many commercials are disadvantaged. Swifties don’t need FM to hear Taylor. She’s already on their phones…and Alexa, and SiriusXM, and YouTube, and streams. Talk radio that’s I-talk-you-listen is a caricature. Media consumers expect to interact. As Larry King said, “I never learned anything while I was talking.”

Yes, there are huge TVs and flying cars here, and CES is still gadget heaven. But 100 years ago – when families sat around large AM receivers, seeming to watch what they were hearing – simply broadcasting at-them was a business. I leave Las Vegas reaffirmed that ENGAGING people is now, in gambling parlance, table stakes.

Covering CES this week for TALKERS, I’m also offering stations 60-second reports. Help yourself at HollandCooke.com.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins” and “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Pending Business: Ad Count

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

imHow many times will we research the same subject and come to the same conclusion?

This time it is the podcast. How many ads will the average listener consider “appropriate” in a 60-minute episode?

If you read the recent research from Cumulus/Signal Hill, you know the answer. For the rest of you, survey says under four minutes per 60-minute episode. The same survey says the magic number for a 30-minute episode is under three.

How ironic is that? The typical talk radio hour runs more ads in one break than an entire 60-minute episode of a podcast. Could it be because we have been integrating radio commercials into hour-long broadcast content for over 100 years? Have we conditioned news/talk listeners to accept more commercials per hour? Our TV friends have been at for over 80 years with an even bigger hourly spot load. Anyone ever see audience research that says add more commercials?

Seriously, unless you pay for the ad-free experience of Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, etc., like most consumers of media, you are comfortable with the ad-supported media model.

So, how has the podcast world been so successful with a model that would leave most traditional radio and TV owners, execs, and sellers dumbfounded.

Here is some insight from my experience.

1) CPM is higher in podcast. The hard facts are when you work with higher CPM you can adjust the commercial load. Demand for digital/social media and podcasts with marketable scale is greater than terrestrial radio. The demand curve for podcast advertising is greater than terrestrial radio. Time to wake up, shake up and shout out loud about our 100-year-old sleepy giant!

2) Survey said 62% of podcast listeners prefer the host read. Talk radio sellers should improve this pitch every day. Today, podcast sellers are simply better at it. Podcast sellers get the intimate relationship between host and listener better than most radio sellers get host and audience. Podcast hosts seem more one-on-one savvy. What will Joe Rogan’s next guest say? What will we hear when your talk talent interviews their next guest?

3) Quality. When your local production director is overloaded and needs to get commercials completed on the air yesterday, what wins: quantity or quality? Be honest here. Where is the next audio creative genius like Dick Orkin or Chuck Blore? Do you know those names?

4) Can you really compare ad load levels between the 60- or 30-minute podcast episode to the average three-hour daily talk radio show?

Traditional molds need to be revisited regularly. My experience with YouTube is showing me even newer models for monetization, different from audio podcasts. Does your 2024 planner have any room for innovation?

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com.

Industry Views

Pending Business: When the Package Doesn’t Work

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

imIt happens to everyone at least once.

You present your package with every asset at your disposal to make the campaign a winner – host read radio, podcast, X(Twitter), Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and anything else at your disposal. You work with your manager for pricing, coordinate the digital team for input, and touch base with your business department for the all-clear. Your presentation is an award winner, your enthusiasm is contagious and the deal closes. The campaign launches and to your shock and dismay the feedback from your client is utter disappointment as results are anemic. You verify everything is running properly, digital and social media are coordinated, yet the anticipated tsunami of results is barely a rain shower.

Are you kidding me right now? What in the world happened? A little history and a little reality will help you right the ship.

It’s been 60 years since Marshall McLuhan taught us the “medium is the message” and arguably became the original disruptor. He was so far ahead of his time, Musk, Zuckerberg, and Altman would be challenged. The bottom line is McLuhan got it right as we still stumble our way through the performance side of the ads.

Let us examine how we package and sell 60 years later.

Mistake #1- All creative is the same. In the example above, I listed 6 common platforms many local hosts utilize daily to spread the word.

A) Sellers focus on packaging scale, competitive efficiency and closing the business.
B) Hosts focus on product and content acceptability.
C) Managers focus on deal points.
D) Traffic and business focus on integrating systems.
E) Production is ready to deliver the deadline.
F) STOP!!!! Who is focused on matching the platform or medium with high impact creative messaging? “50% OFF” is an empty value proposition when there is no product sell-in. Who is making sure EVERY asset is delivering the creativity that engages and motivates the listener/viewer for each medium?

Mistake #2. I got this. Wake up! The multi-platform package is more complicated than the beta binomial curve for duplication. Oops, did I lose you? The concept is the radio listener may or may not be the podcast listener who may or may not be the YouTube viewer, who may or may not be the Facebook follower, and so on. You are the sales pro who put this package in motion, yet did you stop to think through: Does each medium have a unique campaign with different frequency, creative updates and feedback loops? Do you have any idea how many daily tweets it takes to sell that product or service? Or are you applying branding metrics to sales goals? And that is just the beginning.

We often forget, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, are barely 20 years old and we are still learning. Yet our terrestrial radio station heritage goes back over 100 years, so you think, “I Got this.” To paraphrase the great Marshall McLuhan, don’t drive into the future using only a rear-view mirror.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com.

Industry News

Cumulus/Signal Hill Release Podcast Download – Fall 2023 Report

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights are releasing the Podcast Download – Fall 2023 Report that looks at the latest podcast audience trends. Some of the findings include: 1) Podcast consumers continue to embrace YouTube as the number one podcast platform, especially with podcast discovery;im 2) Audio is powerful. Podcast consumers spend a significant amount of time on YouTube listening to podcasts without watching the video; 3) Since 2019, YouTube and Spotify have been growing among podcast newcomers at the expense of Apple Podcasts; 4) More than half of the weekly YouTube podcast audience say they have listened to the same podcasts in another place; and 5) Podcast consumers who watch video podcasts often have eyes on the screen. More than 6 in 10 look at the screen at least some of the time, even during ads. Since October 2021, podcast watchers have been increasing their time spent with eyes on the screen. See more about the study here.

Industry News

Nashville-based Talk Host Causes Controversy After Releasing Shooter’s Manifesto

Steven Crowder – who does a talk show streamed on YouTube and other digital platforms – is causing controversy and raising questions about the public’s right to know after releasing what is purported to be the “manifesto” of Audrey Hale, whom authorities say is responsible for the Covenant School shooting in Nashville last March that claimed the lives of three children and three adults. YouTube removed theim video saying it violates its community guidelines that “prohibit linking to content containing manifestos from individuals who have committed violent attacks.” Crowder issued a notice on X regarding the removal of the content, saying, “YOU determine what matters. YOU determine the content. Not YouTube, not the rest of BigTech, not their lackies, and not a gaggle of sponsors who don’t have the b***s to stand behind the kind of content you actually want to see.” According to a report by Newsweek, “The Metro Nashville Police Department has not confirmed that the screenshots shared by Crowder are Hale’s manifesto. A department spokesperson told Newsweek Monday that police were ‘unable to confirm the authenticity of what has been released, although we are looking into that at this very moment.’” Read the Newsweek story here.

Features

How News/Talk Radio Should Adapt to Attract and Retain a Younger Audience

By Bill Bartholomew
Talk Host/Podcaster/Journalist/Musician

imFolks in the Gen Z and millennial demographics are heavily engaged in political issues, care about news in their communities and the world, and are constantly bombarded with content.  So why are they less likely to tune into and interact with news/talk radio than older demographics?

Talk radio has historically skewed older, and from an ad portfolio standpoint, is often targeted at the coveted 35-54 and 55+ demographics.  However, in a world where social media influencers and podcasters supply information to millions of young consumers, news/talk radio should be able to effectively compete for the ears of younger generations in a comparable, if not expanded way.

For all of the anecdotal and hard evidence that terrestrial radio may be trending in a downward direction, the format continues to have a vast reach.  It is convenient to engage with it in automobiles, and occasionally in home or office settings.  Yet, while younger generations listen to radio, news/talk is not the format that they turn to by and large.

Unlike many digital-first content producers, radio retains a unique quality: authority.  By virtue of editorial standards, FCC regulation and brand – things that social media and podcasts often lack – radio has the unique ability to deliver credible, vetted, nuanced and universally trustworthy content that can instantaneously adapt to meet the needs of the moment.  This is true in everything from natural disasters to rapidly evolving breaking news stories, providing a channel for immediate, reactionary insight and analysis.

There are several steps that news/talk radio should pursue in earnest to adapt to the current climate of content consumption, particularly by younger listeners, that can reach, and most importantly, retain broader, younger, more diverse and more engaged audiences.

  1. Introduce younger people into the conversation.

Too often, Gen Z and millennials are skewered by older hosts, mocked for their perceived naivety, unchecked optimism and me-first approach.  While some of these qualities can be accurate, that approach reflects a disconnect between older generations and the experience of younger ones.  Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a post-9/11 world replete with “endless wars”, the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, runaway student debt, a massive housing crisis, the mental health stressors of social media, Covid19’s impact on traditional youth experiences, climate change, a deeply bifurcated political environment and a constantly evolving quest for social justice.  Through these experiences, younger generations offer an important perspective that should be assigned the same news value as experts from older generations.

Are you discussing shifts towards electric vehicles?  Bring on someone from Gen Z to share their perspective on why steps towards carbon neutrality are important to them.  Engaging a conversation on the president’s approval rating?  Perhaps younger conservative and leftist voices should be included in the conversation.  Discussing immigration?  How about the perspective of a younger member of a Latino organization?

By giving younger generations and more diverse guests a platform, stations can simultaneously expand their content and reach.  With consistency, the station’s brand will become more familiar to younger potential listeners who may be inclined to tune in to hear someone who shares their identity and perspective on – here’s that word again – a platform of authority.  Let the guest do the work of establishing the credibility and importance of your station or talk show to younger audiences by posting about their appearance on social media, sharing audio clips and mentioning to their peers.  It will build familiarity and trust among those generations, who in turn, will begin to tune in on a more regular basis.

Stations should also consider bringing more younger, competent voices into on-air roles, whether that be through reporting, segments, fill-in hosts, weekend shows or full-time hosts.

  1. Meet the audience where they are: their phones. 

As mentioned above, the convenience of simply turning on AM/FM radio is highly appealing in automobiles, though as Apple Carplay continues to adapt and evolve, digital-first content is likely to become as simple and convenient in the near future.

Talk radio needs to make consuming their product on smartphones as simple and direct as turning on a traditional radio.  This means no clunky websites, no lengthy pre-roll spots, a reliable stream connection and a “one touch” means of turning on and off the station.  This should also mean expanding talk shows to high-quality video livestreams, following in the footsteps of the top YouTube and Twitch performers; developing unique content for TikTok and Instagram; building podcasts that are focused on specific issues, and; providing interaction via text and chat.

Radio has the ability to be the ultimate livestreamer, social media influencer and podcaster, but rarely harnesses these platforms in a meaningful way.

It is not enough to simply strive to “expand a digital presence”; stations and shows must engage in the hard work of building platform-specific content with their brands.

  1. Music, cultural references and themes for the modern age.

A few weeks ago on a seemingly benign episode of the TV show FOX NFL Sunday, panelists Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw offered an example of the type of cultural adaptation that sophisticated writers and producers provide their brands.  While describing a fight between two football players, Mr. Johnson said something to the effect of “when it comes to these two, what’s that Taylor Swift song?”, and then in synch with Mr. Bradshaw, “bad blood!”.  It is highly unlikely that these two 70+ men listen to Taylor Swift’s music with any regularity or would simultaneously pull the “Bad Blood” reference.  Yet, with excellent preparation that played into the greater cultural moment as well as the specific, current Taylor Swift/NFL overlap, in a six-second span, FOX NFL Sunday was able to give the illusion that their panelists are contemporary, hip and plugged into “what is going on”.  Is your station or show plugged into what’s going on?  Do you use contemporary music for bumps?  Are your images – including headshots and social content – modern, interesting and engaging or are they more akin to a miscellaneous real estate agent?  You are a performer in an entertainment business that, while certainly paying homage to the past and lineage of the industry, must be contemporary in aural and visual presentation.  This goes for everything from wardrobe on video and in photo to fonts on graphic design.

How often do you or your producer read Pitchfork to learn about new music that is breaking this week?  How often do you or your producer read Variety to understand major trends that are happening in the broader entertainment industry?  What live events are you broadcasting from, covering and building partnerships with?  You should strive to be cutting edge.

  1. We need a friend now more than ever.

This is something that goes for all audiences, but particularly for younger ones.  It’s OK, in fact, great to be yourself, present yourself from your generation and retain the authoritative stance that has built your brand.  Take a look at the success that sports talker Mike Francesa enjoyed by leaning into his persona – and in turn – developing legions of younger listeners that fell in love with his dad-like delivery and frequent meltdowns.

Few things are as uncomfortable to see as a 40+ person dressing or acting like a teenager.  Younger listeners want that senior, experienced, trusted friend to entertain them, inform them, and at times, tell them that everything is going to be OK.  You can help make sense of the world for younger audiences, something that is absolutely essential in the modern era.

Through attracting younger listeners by including them in the conversation, effectively delivering content on smartphones, presenting a cutting-edge entertainment product and continuing to serve as a trusted friend, news/talk radio can greatly expand its reach, relevance and revenue.

To that point, some younger listeners who discover a radio station or show via any of the above entry points will likely work backwards to the traditional AM/FM dial.  Like the resurgence of vinyl records, AM radio in particular has the opportunity to become a hip delivery format for discerning younger listeners.

The big question is: are radio companies, stations and hosts prepared to do the hard work of reimaging their product?

 

Bill Bartholomew is a talk radio and podcast host/producer, journalist and musician based in Providence, Rhode Island. Email him at: william.f.bartholomew@gmail.com. 
Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Stream to Success

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imIn May 2007, I was enjoying the brand-new app called YouTube. Still independently owned, still relatively unknown. Some of the videos pulled millions of viewers, more viewers than enjoyed by ESPN or any cable network. More interesting, the videos with high counts were not made by NBC or ESPN or any traditional video source. High view count videos were being made by people with no experience in traditional media, they were experimenters producing in their basements and bedrooms.

As these new performers were pulling major view counts, they revealed that they worked at Starbucks, were going to school and wanting to make enough money to get out of their parent’s house. Wait. Some video creators were winning more viewers than ESPN and they were broke? Simultaneously major brands like Pepsi and Budweiser knew they had to enter the online video space and each attempt was a disaster. BUD TV! Online video entertainment was a brand-new medium; USG User Generated Content.

I started a company called HITVIEWS. The goal was to placed brand messages in User Generated Content. The first company. No one had ever done it. We gathered the top video performers and started to marry them with brands like Pepsi, FOX TVTimberlandMTV,  CBS TelevisionIBMLogitech, many more. A TALKERS conference introduced the first Influencer (we called them “Web Stars”), Caitlin Hill, to radio executives.

From this pioneering initiative into online video, I can share a significant amount of information about the ingredients of a successful video campaign.

  1. Use video stars, influencers, to deliver your message. It’s a different medium and requires different stars.
  2. Engage every capability of the platform. The videos with the highest view counts demand the most interaction with the viewer. Click now. Comment below. Make a response video. Send a text back. THEN answer all responses. Every single viewer response must be answered by you or it is wasted.
  3. It’s not radio or TV. Don’t bother putting up videos at a fixed day and time. Put up as many videos as you possibly can. Two days is too old!
  4. Funny works best.

Online video success makes the medium the message. The touch screen, mouse, keyboard. Audio, video capabilities must all be integrated into the entertainment. If full functionality is not part of the show, the show is boring.

Walter Sabo has consulted the largest media companies worldwide in digital initiatives. He was the on-site consultant for SiriusXM Satellite Radio for nine years. He can be reached by email at walter@sabomedia.com and his network radio show can be discovered at  www.waltersterlingshow.com.

Industry Views

Talk Host Rick Smith is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast

Maverick talk show host, Rick Smith is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Ranked by TALKERS at number 100 on the journal’s Heavy Hundred list, Smith – who has positioned himself as a tell-it-like-it is champion of the working class – is described by Michael Harrison as “somewhat of a square peg in a scene dominated by round holes on both the left and the right.” The Chicago-based genre-bender is a 30-year Teamster trucker-turned-working-class talker heard 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET on dozens of radio stations across the U.S. – a mix of commercial and public. He tells Harrison, “I’m not a red hat, I’m not a blue hat… I’m a hard hat.” His left-of-center talk media footprint is enhanced by exposure on a variety of cable TV channels including Free Speech TVDirecTVDish and more. He has a successful podcast with millions of downloads, and he streams on FacebookXTwitch and YouTube. All this is accomplished with a modest, independent operation run by two people and a homemade studio. His show’s slogan is “Where working people come to talk.” Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Industry News

Webinar: New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube

Steven Goldstein’s Amplifi Media and Coleman InsightsJay Nachlis are presenting a free 30-minute webinar today (9/7) at 2:00 pm ET that addresses what Goldstein calls “truly an important shift taking place in podcasting right now that affects how your podcast will be found. YouTube is now the top destination for podcast listening and discovery. The impact is significant in a variety of ways.” Goldstein says today’s webinar “will show you how people are using YouTube and offer seven key insights on how to maximize your podcast’s exposure in a sea of content.” The link for the webinar is here.

Industry News

Talk Media Commentator C.C. Carter Shares Touching 9/11 Audio Podcasts with Radio

Longtime talk media host, commentator and director of the Good For You Network (www.goodforyounetwork.comClaire Carter (a.k.a. C.C. Carter) is making the audio files of two of her compelling short-form podcasts about 9/11 available at no cost for airplay on interested radio stations in time for this coming Monday’s 22nd anniversary of the tragic attack on America.

The first titled, “Never Again Should There Be a 9/11,” (8:00) is a plea for American government andim society alike to learn from the mistakes made before, during and after the tragedy so as to prevent such an atrocity from happening again. Carter tells TALKERS, “On the Sunday after 9/11, I listened to a sermon titled, ‘Making Sense of the Senseless.’ Its overriding message was: We cannot allow all these people to have died in vain. We need to do good in their name. And so to honor and remember all those who died, all those who survived, all those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts, as well as all those whose lives will never be the same, I have written and recorded a moving, memorable and thought-provoking piece, ‘Never Again Should There Be a 9/11,’ with the music, ‘Help is on the Way’ composed and performed by composer, David Friedman. It is all the more compelling when you watch the video on YouTube.” Carter adds, “We came together then. Can we come together again for the sake of the well-being of our nation and world. And what will it take to prevent such a horrific act from happening again? Thank you for caring and getting the vocals, the music and the video to as many people as possible around the world – including government officials who need to ensure our safety and security.” View the video here.

Regarding the podcast, “Reflections on 9/11,” Carter says, “Two months after 9/11, I went down to the World Trade Center site to pay my respects. I walked over to the makeshift ‘Teddy Bear’ memorial site, where people had spontaneously left notes and cards – and teddy bears. I wanted to write down some of what was left, because it was meant to be heard. I wanted to give voice to peoples’ hearts and heartache. And so, I ask you to listen to the raw emotions emanating from their hearts. ‘Reflections on 9/11’ (4:11) with music by Gunhill Road that you can download here. Please share with everyone you know. Remembering all those beautiful souls who left us that day is the least that we can do – and so much more.” Download “Never Again Should There Be a 9/11” here. To arrange a timely interview with C.C. Carter contact Victoria Jones at DC Radio Company. 917-865-3991 or victoria@dcradiocompany.com.