Eight Realities of 2014: Perspective and Predictions

| January 16, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

sabowalterwriterNEW YORK – Here are some thoughts that I hope you find useful as we begin another pivotal year:

1. HD radio is going to explode. The management of iBiquity has achieved remarkable acceptance for HD by the auto industry with over 16 million installs.  HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash. The key, as always, is the show. (Sorry, the word “content” remains disgusting. It’s a show.)  HD is not about fidelity or graphics – it’s a new stage for new, audience captivating shows.

2. Growth of importance of websites and social media. Websites and social network initiatives will become sophisticated and key to growing audience as it moves 100% under the control of on-air personalities and programmers. As their skills, through formal education and experience improve, radio broadcasters will continue to lead social media breakthroughs.

3. Corporate debt is not like your Master Card debt. This seems counter-intuitive but corporate debt is often desirable. Corporate debt can have no impact on operating budgets or policies. There is an entire industry that buys corporate debt because it is valuable for tax leverage, lowering capital gains and actually can help in the raising new funds.

4. It’s a new industry. If you entered radio today what would you do? The model for radio station organization and operation was created in the 1920s when the Model A was the hot car and more than 70 percent of the country did not have phones.

A thousand radio stations can now operate from one location with the same staff size of a single radio station. This is a reality embraced by TV stations in the 1960s when they stopped producing the local dance shows and kid shows and started showing cartoons made in Japan. They put more money into local news and ended the production of local entertainment.

You can operate a radio station from your iPod. There is no need for the traditional brick and mortar facility. Millennials are puzzled why they should commute to work, waste gas, deal with HR when they can do their radio jobs from home. The end of the factory floor management mentality will result in lower costs and higher productivity.

5. Growth of internet radio.  Internet radio stations like party934 and new platforms like TuneIn are beginning to claim significant listening levels. That’s because they started on the web, streaming isn’t an add-on. That gives you another stage for your work and source of income.

6. Live lives!  The microphone, as CBS Radio chief and former Sabo Media partner, Dan Mason said recently at a Newhouse School event, remains radio’s most powerful weapon. Stations that demonstrate the advantage of being live through word, deed and action will continue to thrive.

7. Reliance on graphics and branding.  Radio station branding in the US is awful.  Just horrible. The first job I created in my last COO position was corporate graphic artist because the companies we face — ad agencies — are highly sophisticated about the power of graphics. When a radio  company comes in to make a presentation right after a digital company, or magazine, radio looks pathetic.

HOWEVER, radio station visual branding in much of the world is stunning. Take a look at this: www.chikplanet.com, or this: www.fox.com.

8. Importance of video grows.  Right now you have the ability to create a video, post it on the internet and distribute it to the world for free. No studio, editor, producer, control room, tower.  “WebStars,” first discovered and monetized in 2007 by Sabo Media’s  HITVIEWS, are able to produce videos that hit a million-plus views every time. Compare that with your company’s average video view count.

The primary way people of all ages enjoy music today is not iTunes or Pandora, it’s YouTube. The visual offerings for today’s audience are essential.  The right video initiative can improve you or your company’s success instantly. Please send me a note if you would like to read 10 secrets to online video success for free: walter@sabomedia.com.

tbugk
Walter Sabo is CEO of New York-based media consulting firm Sabo Media.  He 
can be phoned at 212-600-5686. 

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Category: Opinions