Category: Advice

Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words

| October 14, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Here is the sentence no Amazon Echo owner has ever spoken: “Alexa, please play seven commercials.”  We compete with free and pay-for music services which torment listeners with fewer/shorter or no commercials, respectively; and the most listened-to podcasts are minimally-cluttered.  So AM/FM stations are playing defense.

If we can’t control quantity (or even if we can) we need to obsess on quality.

At best, “typical” radio spots go in-one-ear-and-out-the-other.  Many commercials I hear in my travels are a caricature, cliché-riddled and/or rushed DJ-delivery voice-over-music.  There’s too little “eye contact” and not enough “YOU” and “YOUR.”

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Monday Memo: Weekend Talkers, Non-Stop Callers

| October 7, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This week, part 3 of a series outlining best practices for attorneys, realtors, veterinarians, financial advisors, and other professional services providers who broker weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients.

  • ICYMI: In too many cases, the station isn’t doing all it should to help produce results. If you missed part 1, which included a helpful podcast, click here.
  • Last week: Filling your “Sales Funnel,” converting listeners to callers to customers: click here.
  • This week: How a simple tool that you already use can light-up your show.

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Monday Memo: Play the Hits

| September 30, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Last week here, we detailed a negotiating strategy for attorneys, realtors, veterinarians, financial advisors, and other professional services providers who broker weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients.  In too many cases, the station isn’t doing all it should to help produce results.  If you missed that column, which included a helpful podcast, click here.

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Monday Memo: 2 Magic Words for Weekend Talkers

| September 23, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you’re an attorney, realtor, veterinarian, financial advisor, or other professional services provider brokering weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients, there’s good news and bad news.

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Monday Memo: When YOU Win, Congratulate THEM

| September 16, 2019

by Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Stations that still have local news people: Congratulations.  You’re capable of meaning more to listeners than your mail-it-in AM/FM competition.  And lots more than Pandora or other robotic, non-local new-tech competitors or smartphone apps.

So enter awards competitions. And when you win, tout it; but not the way self-congratulatory local TV news proof-of-performance promos do. Thank LISTENERS.

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Monday Memo: Happy Birthday, Walkman

| September 9, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Born in 1979, the little tape deck hits The Big Four-Oh.  Walkman was still going strong in 1990, when Julia Roberts sang-along to Prince in that bubble bath scene in “Pretty Woman.”

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Monday Memo: YouTube Tweaks

| August 26, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — YouTube has over a billion active monthly users, almost one-third of all people on the Internet.  If YouTube was a country it would be the 3rd most populous in the world, behind China and India, bigger than the USA.  And…

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Monday Memo: Your Donald Trump Elevator Speech?

| August 19, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In these dog days of Summer when everyone seems to be on vacation, phones can be slow.  Try this, which lit up the lines when I was guest-hosting “The Jim Bohannon Show,” and has never failed any of the hosts I coach.

Here’s the script:

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Monday Memo: Advertisers Believe Each Other

| August 12, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –  Here is unsolicited email from an advertiser – an auto parts retailer – on one of my client stations:

“At first I was skeptical about the advertising and whether or not I would see a benefit, but I figured I would try it.  For a little while I wasn’t seeing any benefit to it, but like the sales rep had said, I waited.  After 6 months I started to see a specific benefit from the advertising; people were coming in and saying they heard of the store on the radio!  Five years later I’m still getting new customers that hear of my business on the radio.  I would highly recommend this service to any business!”

If advertisers will volunteer kudos like that without the station asking, imagine the success stories you could tell if you bothered to ask!

Testimonial spots are THE best way to fill unsold avails. 

Why:

  • What message do you send filling with Ad Council PSAs?
  • Retailers are curious what’s working for other retailers.
  • Clients who appear in testimonial spots perceive them as free advertising for their businesses.

Important: YOU should write the spot. 

Why:

  • It’ll get done. Your client is busy.  He/she will probably ask you to anyway.
  • You DO commercials, he sells auto parts.

Consider: 30s, roughly half-and-half their-message/your-message:

Client:

With the weather getting cooler, you might have some unwelcome company.  Do you need “Pest Eviction,” from Thompson Exterminating?

I’m Chuck Thompson, and when I tell MY story, I tell it HERE.  ConnectFM is never just on-in-the-background, so listeners HEAR my message.

Account Executive:

New customers can hear YOUR message here too!  I’m Dominique.  Give me 60 seconds to demonstrate?  Email Tell My Story at Connect Radio dot FM.  Tell My Story at Connect Radio dot FM.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  He is the author of “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” an instant download available exclusively from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner on this page.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at Talkers.com, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

Recipe for Better Sales Revenue: Better Sales Compensation Programs

| August 6, 2019

By Bill Brady
Futures & Opinions, Inc.
President/CEO

PHOENIX — Radio sales has never been an easy job.

The challenges of selling an “intangible” against 20-to-30 other radio stations—plus every other form of media—was always difficult.  Only the strongest survived and the business chewed up and spat out those who didn’t have the skill and the drive necessary to succeed.

But, while radio sales was never an easy job, it was once a good job.  At one point, an A-player could make six figures and some even had barter allowances and car trades, which helped their cash income go further.  Before consolidation, many top radio sales pros were livin’ large.

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Monday Memo: “Hollywood,” Co-starring
AM Radio

| August 5, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

WARWICK, RI — This week Showcase Cinema at Warwick Mall is herding movie-goers into side-by-side theaters showing – at the same time – “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood:” here.

Credits for “The Ninth Film From Quentin Tarantino” include Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, and (in his final performance) the late Luke Perry.  Those credits should also include the late, great 93KHJ.

“How we listened to the radio back then is different than the way we listen to the radio now.”

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Monday Memo: Social Media Headlines That Drive Traffic

| July 29, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — As listeners’ attention – and advertisers’ do-re-mi – continue drifting-digital, clicks are currency.  We earn those clicks, and invite occasions-of-listening, with well-constructed social media posts.

For decades, smart DJs and talk hosts and news people have used email to engage; and my June 17 column detailed techniques for THE most-important part of the message you email followers, the Subject line. ICYMI: here

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Monday Memo: Say What? Part Deux

| July 22, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Ever since our February 4 column, amigos have been needling me about that week’s “Don’t say that. Say this.” List.  Now there’s a consultant caricature, eh?

“But WAIT!  There’s MORE!”  Hear me out…

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Monday Memo: Summertime, Summertime, Sum Sum Summertime

| July 15, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Observant TALKERS readers: Thanks for noticing my absence here last week when, like many Americans, I took some V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N time.  Note: Two 1962 song references in two sentences.  THIS time of year is THAT timeless.

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Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying

| July 1, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Does copy you write for local retail advertisers – and your station’s promo copy – convey a benefit as clearly and succinctly as these?

 “The New York Times in a New York minute”

Amazon Kindle ad in airline magazine.

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Monday Memo: Retire ‘Trivia’

| June 24, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I’m NOT saying don’t do call-in contests that ask listeners to think.  Do that!  Even folks who don’t call-in will be talking-back to the radio. And with ratings being a memory test, anything that makes people more-active listeners will help.

What I’m saying is don’t call your call-in contest “trivia,” for four reasons:

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Monday Memo: Your Email ‘Envelope’

| June 17, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This week, #3-of-3 in our series of experts’ advice for crafting the digital content now so fundamental to broadcasters’ repertoire.  If you missed previous columns, here are:

  • Camera Tips for Radio: here
  • Writing for Digital Consumption: here

This week, THE most important words in emails you send your tribe.

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Monday Memo: Digital Diction

| June 10, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –As listener attention and advertiser dollars drift digital, radio broadcasters’ tool box gets bigger.  In last week’s column, we listed tips from the pros for improving the pictures and videos we’re publishing on blogs and station web sites and in Social Media.  ICYMI: Camera Technique for Radio

This week, technique for text, because – as the voluminous and useful Yahoo! Style Guide warns — “Anyone can publish on the Web, but not everyone is publishing material that’s ideal for online reading.”

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Monday Memo: Camera Technique for Radio

| June 3, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –With radio broadcasters scrambling to populate all the platforms with which we share listeners’ attention (and advertisers’ do-re-mi), here are some tips from the pros:

Tips for shooting better still photos for your web site:

From National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, in Southwest Airlines’ Spirit Magazine:

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Monday Memo: Be Yourself

| May 28, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s an Oscar Wilde quote: “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”  Consultant-wary talent has been overheard muttering, about the consultant: “He had to take a connecting flight to come all the way here to tell me THAT?”

Howard Stern’s autobiographical movie “Private Parts” demonstrates how nonconformity was his turning point.  To that point, don’t-say “The Democrat’ Party.”  It’s like a fax went out one morning, and all the Rush wanna-be’s forevermore aped this phrase, spoken as a put-down.  It’s “the Democratic Party.”  And if it isn’t, wouldn’t that make the other guys “The Republic’ Party?”  Instead of doing his act, do yours.

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Monday Memo: Them

| May 20, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Yes, your consultant was a young high school English teacher…until the hypnotic VU meter lured him away to broadcasting.  Although no longer empowered to assign reading, I highly recommend a book I’ve sent to clients: Them: Why We Hate Each Other – And How To Heal by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse R-NE (St. Martin’s Press, 2018).

If Sasse didn’t describe himself as the second-most conservative member of the Senate, you might not guess which political party he’s in.  And he acknowledges that his refreshing curiosity makes him an outlier: “Liberals and conservatives no longer believe the same things, we don’t understand how our opponents believe what they believe, and we soothe our lonely souls with the balm of contempt.”

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Monday Memo: Twitter Tips

| May 13, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In the social media jungle, Facebook is still T-Rex.  But people on Twitter seem to live there, Donald Trump included.

With all the new-tech competition AM/FM broadcasters now have – and with so much of it robotic (i.e., Pandora) – social media can help differentiate and personalize us.  And listeners are flattered when a celebrity (that’s you) interacts; and, most flattering of all, re-Tweets something they posted.

Tip: Instead of asking listeners to Follow YOU on Twitter, tell ‘em you’ll Follow THEM.  I’ve grown my own following by making that offer on my TV show: “If you follow me, I’ll follow you.”

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Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show

| May 6, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Talk radio PDs are haunted by enthused wanna-be’s with “a GREAT idea for a weekend show.”

But they’re unproven on-air performers.  Sadly, pay-for-play is now business-as-usual, and coaching is minimal at best.

Turnover hurts.

Many who do get a crack at on-air work don’t pan-out long-term. They meant well, and swore up-and-down that they’d show up, weekend after weekend.  But after 60-90 days of show prep and being cooped-up in a radio station while all their friends are having a good time every weekend, they run out of gas.

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Monday Memo: Promotion, Now More than Ever

| April 29, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — On a sales call while visiting a client station, the prospect asked how many listeners we’ve lost “now that everyone has SiriusXM.”  Although we could easily demonstrate satellite radio’s actual penetration, and that our cume is actually up lately, perception is reality, eh?

One of radio’s enduring and painful ironies is that we sell advertising, but many stations DO none…which advertisers notice.  And, conversely, they view stations that do promote as “big;” and they feel that stations’ off-air promotion supports the schedules we’ve sold them.

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Monday Memo: Promos 101

| April 22, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –Nothing we say on-air can add listeners. Because the only people who hear promos are already listening.

On-air promotion should accomplish two things:

  1. Add Time Spent Listening by explaining why and how to use the station again another time. Mathematically, that’ll move-the-needle even quicker than a bunch of expensive TV spots or billboards, which do invite sampling, but are inviting everyone.  But your listeners already know you and use you.  So with promos, you’re “buying a spot schedule on your own air,” the most-efficient medium for reaching your own listeners.
  2. Enhance recall. I’m not against ear candy, when promos convey the essence of stations and shows.  But be careful that cute, self-amused imaging doesn’t obscure the message.

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Monday Memo: The Podcast Consumer 2019

| April 15, 2019

Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –  Last week in Las Vegas, the message was unmistakable.  While the National Association of Broadcasters’ mission remains advocating for FCC-licensees, the clear message to broadcasters at the NAB Show was to augment on-air with on-demand.  More, ICYMI in last week’s column:

http://www.talkers.com/2019/04/08/monday-memo-2019-nab-show/

For AM/FM talkers and bloggers, “on-demand” = “podcasting,” a topic we discussed with Michael Harrison and Fred Jacobs on my TV show:
https://youtu.be/sj8PRAG99rg

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Monday Memo: 2019 NAB Show

| April 8, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

LAS VEGAS  – Huge banners atop the Convention Center proclaim “Every story starts here,” and reiterate the theme of the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention these past several Aprils: “Where content comes to life.”

As opposed to “where content feeds transmitters.”  While the NAB’s mission remains lobbying on behalf of FCC licensees, its unmistakable message to attendees is – as NPR VP/distribution Michael Beach put it — “be offering your content anywhere and everywhere you can do it.”

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Monday Memo: “Here’s What’s Happening…”

| April 1, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Remaining news people: Done well, your work contributes mightily to making your station more habit-forming.  Local information is something radio’s non-local, new-tech competitors just can’t deliver.  And if recent cutbacks have competing stations mailing-it-in yours will be conspicuous by comparison.  And if you’re relevant and user-friendly to those busy in-car listeners advertisers want to meet, you’re gold.

Accordingly, these recommendations…

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Monday Memo: Welcome to the Spring Book

| March 25, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The Nielsen Audio spring survey begins Thursday, and this one matters a lot, because much of Christmas 2019 will be bought-from – and much of early 2020 will be planned-from – these numbers.

The Quickest Way to Move the Ratings Needle

Heaps of audience data demonstrate this: Get listeners who listen to your station most (so-called “First Preference” or “P1” users) to listen even more.  Sounds like double-talk, but that’s the ballgame.

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Monday Memo: The Boys Are Back

| March 18, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

RED SOX NATION — “Play ball!” will be the magic words fans have been waiting to hear after a long winter.  MILK IT.  Mathematically, baseball may be affiliates’ best friend for the next several months, when play-by-play invites new cume, and tune-in to fringe hours; and is full of suspense and commercial inventory that sells without numbers.

Three tips:

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Raising a Talk Host’s Profile

| March 13, 2019

By Ryan McCormick
Co-Founder

Goldman McCormick PR

 

NEW YORK — How can on air personalities who regularly engage thousands (if not millions) of listeners further raise their public profiles and that of their stations?  Below are some ready-to-implement tips and advice.

Charity

Get active in charities that you are passionate about. Volunteer to host fundraisers or speak at events. Wearing your heart on your sleeve in this case not only helps those in need but, reveals to others that you do truly care about greater causes. It’s excellent personal PR and it’s a terrific reflection on your station.

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Monday Memo: Infinite Dial 2019

| March 11, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Launched by Edison Research in 1998, “The Infinite Dial” is the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in the USA, tracking internet audio, podcasting, and audio consumption via smartphones and smart speakers.  1500 Americans were polled, and the data was weighted to emulate the USA population.

If you weren’t on last week’s webinar call, it’s well worth your time to download the study and watch the video at Edison Research.com.  Highlights from the presentation by Edison’s Tom Webster and Triton Digital’s John Rosso:

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Monday Memo: “Today’s Bonus Question…”

| March 4, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Smart talk radio hosts have always kept an evergreen file, undated call-in topics for use, y’know, back when we had slow news days.

Back to the future: With willing media content to take dictation from President Donald Trump there are no slow news days. But there is evidence of Trump Fatigue. So I’m impressed with results of a technique hosts I work with use to stay fresh and pull calls:

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Monday Memo: Handling Bad News

| February 26, 2019

BLOCK ISLAND, RI  — OOPS.  One of your hosts said WHAT???  Managers: Gaffes are inevitable, especially in talk radio.  When your station stumbles:

1) Act quickly.  The sooner you confront a negative story, the sooner it will be over.  Responding as quickly to negative stories as you do to positive ones enhances your credibility.

2) Be honest.  Hiding embarrassing information or lying will do more damage than damage control.  Never stonewall, and avoid “rolling disclosure.”  As several U.S. presidents have learned (is learning), the cover-up can be worse than the crime.

3) Tell your side of the story.  Use specifics, and detail what corrective action “has already been taken.”  You’ll sound responsible and in-control.

4) Respond in kind.  If the issue is emotional, don’t sound like a cold, unemotional Mr. Spock.  “I have a teenage daughter myself, and I know how much our host’s comments must have hurt.”

Holland Cooke (hollandcooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet; he is the author of “Holland Cooke Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books; and he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at Talkers.com, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

Monday Memo: YOUR Four?

| February 18, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Today is Presidents’ Day, and – unless breaking news blocks-out the sun – here’s your call-in topic.  Warn your screener: the phone will explode.

“If we were just-now carving Mount Rushmore, which 4 presidents would you choose?”

The monument, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, took 14 years to carve (October 4, 1927 – October 31, 1941).  And it was never actually finished.  The plan was to show the presidents from head-to-waist, but the project ran out of money.

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Monday Memo: PPM Myths Debunked

| February 11, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In PPM markets, call letters DO still matter, maybe more than with diaries.  PPM measures use, awareness drives use.  And PPM measures all use, by a small sample, so awareness matters lots.

In non-metered markets, Nielsen Audio uses diaries and Eastlan makes phone calls.  None of these methodologies changes your audience.  It’s like the speedometer in your car.  It displays MPH and KPH.  You’re driving as-fast-as you’re driving.

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Monday Memo: Say What?

| February 4, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — “Sucks” sucks.  Ditto “pissed-off,” and “friggin’” and “effen.”

Why: Protective soccer mom is her family’s Secretary of The Treasury, driving the car your advertisers want to see pull into the parking lot as a result of being on your air.  She might actually use these words when young ears aren’t around.  But when they’re in the minivan, you’re committing TSL suicide using language Mom doesn’t want kiddos to parrot.

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Monday Memo: Improving Results from Endorsement Spots

| January 28, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The news/talk stations I work with make big money doing what talk radio does best: cutting through mental clutter, with live endorsement spots delivered by familiar local on-air personalities.

And as you read in my Monday Memo three weeks ago, this technique can help sell podcast sponsorships.  ICYMI: http://www.talkers.com/2019/01/07/monday-memo-podcast-ads-work/

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Monday Memo: Carpe Trump

| January 21, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — To quote acclaimed media strategist George Costanza, Rush Limbaugh affiliates should “do the opposite” of what New York Times opinion columnist Frank Bruni recommends in a thoughtful recent piece entitled, “Will the Media Be Trump’s Accomplice Again in 2020?”

He observes that “readers and viewers, no matter how much they complain about the media’s shallowness, reward it.”  Ditto radio listeners, if we offer them an unambiguous proposition.  Knowing that you are busy, I don’t ask casually.  But reading his piece will be worth your time:

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Monday Memo: CES 2019

| January 14, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

LAS VEGAS — This week, Sin City recovers from its biggest crowd of the year, last week’s massive, mind-boggling Consumer Electronics Show.

OOPS.  Don’t quote me.  180,000 of us attending were under strict instructions NOT to call it the “Consumer Electronics Show.”  Call it “CES,” we were asked by the Consumer Technology Association, formerly known as “The Consumer Electronics Association.”  Why so sensitive about the re-branding?

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Monday Memo: Podcast Ads Work

| January 7, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — From a recently-published Nielsen study commissioned by Stitcher:

  • 61% of consumers exposed to podcast ads for well-known national brands were more likely to purchase the advertised product.
  • Podcast advertising generates up to 4.4 times better brand recall than other forms of digital advertising (ad banners, pop-ups, etc.).
  • More is more: When the study probed national packaged goods brands, it found 43% greater recall of longer customized ads than shorter copy.
  • The personal touch: Those who heard a host-read ad (for a national soft drink brand in this case) were 118% more likely to buy than those who didn’t hear the ad. I see this as an advantage for radio talent, whose endorsement spots can be powerfully effective.

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2019: Welcome to the Golden Age of Audio

| January 2, 2019

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — A hundred years ago, radio was the newcomer.  Thomas Edison had already captured audio, in 1877 via that first phonograph.  Audio went live when KDKA reported that Warren G. Harding had won the 1920 presidential election.

In its 20th century heyday, AM/FM broadcasting became a high-margin business, surviving the advent of television (which launched by luring away radio’s big stars); and – for a while – the evolution of playback devices (8-track, cassette, CD).  But there were already cracks in the dam.

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Gulf Coast Radio Should Be All About ‘Michael’

| October 10, 2018

by Howard Price
MediaDisasterPrep.com

 

NEW YORK — Ours is a business of superlatives. “The Most Music,” “Your Beacon of Freedom,” “The Hottest Talk.”  Nothing wrong with that…it’s called promotion and marketing and IF you can walk the walk behind your talk, you can successfully build your brand, win listener loyalty, distinguish yourself in the marketplace – and make money.  The operating word there is…IF.

So here’s a superlative for you, courtesy of The Weather Channel.  Posted as I write this on Wednesday morning: “Hurricane Michael Just Hours Away From a Catastrophic, Unprecedented Florida Panhandle, Big Bend Category 4 Landfall”

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Sponsoring Your Podcast: Booze

| September 10, 2018

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Seventeen years ago (!) iPod was created to tote music.  But it was consumers who reckoned that audio-is-audio and they started swapping spoken word content.  This do-it-yourself talk radio was dubbed “podcasting,” back then referring to the device.  Today that P.O.D. moniker acknowledges our “Programming On-Demand” culture.

“With hundreds of thousands of audio programs available on topics broad (NBA basketball, American history) to niche (knitting, Atari 2600 games), a wealth of stories and information is instantly available to stream on demand, whenever we want.”
—  From “The New Generation of Audio,” an article in AARP Bulletin, read by radio’s heaviest users, Persons 50+.

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Who Else Must Die Before We Act?

| July 2, 2018

By Howard B. Price

 

NEW YORK — And now, it’s official.  The June 28 heinous and violent shooting at the Annapolis, Maryland Capital Gazette was not random.

The gunman, identified by authorities as Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, of Laurel, Maryland, went to the Capital Gazette newsroom – with the specific intention to kill people working in the Capital Gazette newsroom, reportedly in response to the court’s tossing out a defamation claim he’d made against the newspaper.

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Protect Your People, Protect Your Brand

| May 29, 2018

By Howard B. Price

 

NEW YORK — The broadcast industry was shaken this week by the deaths of a WYFF-TV, Greenville, SC news crew, crushed when a tree fell on their SUV while they were covering the effects of Subtropical Storm Alberto.  Rescuers found anchor/reporter Mike McCormick and videographer Aaron Smeltzer Monday afternoon — in their vehicle, its engine running, and its transmission in drive. According to The New York Times, the WYFF team had been driving on a North Carolina road that had been reopened just a week ago, after mud and debris had been removed following earlier floods.

News managers have two key daily missions: Aggressively, accurately and fairly enterprise news coverage that matters to their audience…and then bring their troops home safely at the end of the day.  Whenever a crew is dispatched, reporters or producers are sent into harm’s way, or a when a helicopter or drone is launched – the silent prayer whispered back in the newsroom is: “Please, God, bring them back.”

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It’s Business Continuity Awareness Week – How Are YOU Celebrating?

| May 16, 2018

By Howard B. Price

 

NEW YORK — With the start of the Atlantic hurricane season just two weeks away, it’s fitting that the business continuity community takes time this week to bolster public awareness of the importance of operational resilience to any public or private organization.

May 14th-18th is Business Continuity Awareness Week – promoted by the UK-based Business Continuity Institute and observed around the globe. And it’s a perfect time for broadcasters to review the plans they have in place (or don’t) to sustain critical operations in the event of a disruption.

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All I Learned About Resilience I Learned from ABBA

| April 30, 2018

By Howard B. Price

 

NEW YORK — Adult contemporary radio programmers and music fans alike are celebrating today. But if you’re a business continuity professional, you, too, should be leaping out of your skin on word that after 35 years apart, ABBA has reunited to record two new songs.

BC? ABBA? Stay with me.

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Why Radio Newscasts All Sound the Same

| April 23, 2018

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

 

EAGLE, Idaho — The practice of journalism and the output of most major news organizations have become commoditized. Media economist Robert Picard describes the current state of journalism this way:

“Most journalists share the same skill sets and the same approaches to stories, seek out the same sources, ask similar questions, and produce relatively similar stories. Across the news industry, processes and procedures for news gathering are guided by standardized news values, producing standardized stories in standardized formats that are presented in standardized styles. The result is extraordinary sameness and minimal differentiation.”

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We’ve Been Warned

| April 16, 2018

By Howard B. Price

 

NEW YORK –We’re just under two months from the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and the tropical researchers at Colorado State University are out with their predictions. The headlines:

 

  • 14 named storms predicted between June 1 and Nov. 30.
  • Of those, researchers expect seven hurricanes, with three of those likely to be major storms (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5, with sustained winds of 111 MPH – plus)

The team bases its forecasts on over 60 years of historical data. And right now, they say 2018 hurricane activity could be about 135 percent of the average season. Last season’s hurricane activity, which produced four major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate — was about 245 percent of average.

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Are You Ready for Today’s 10 Plagues?

| April 6, 2018

By Howard B. Price

 

NEW YORK — Business continuity professionals love the Jewish holiday of Passover, which we’re commemorating right now, because it features the well-known biblical story of the 10 Plagues.

Even if you’re not Jewish, you likely know the tale – Moses asks Pharaoh to free his Hebrew slaves after some four centuries of hard bondage. Pharaoh says no. God sends 10 plagues to change his mind – Pharaoh remains obstinate through nine of the plagues.  And only after the last, most horrific plague (the death of every first born Egyptian) does he finally relent, freeing the Jews. (He changes his mind again at the Red Sea, of course – but that’s another story for another day.)

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Why Does Talk Radio Struggle?

| April 6, 2018

By Bryan Crabtree
Talk40.com News
Publisher

 

ATLANTA — It doesn’t.  There you have it.  Talk radio is as strong today as it has ever been.

Most commercial talk stations in the United States have predominantly conservative opinion.  I’ve sat through countless seminars and meetings listening to the pontification about how we’ve gotten too political and how we should try something different.  Wrong!

Talk radio is about what affects our audiences’ lives.  I continue to be puzzled by the fact that I hear local newscasts on stations across the country during Rush Limbaugh with the lead story about a shooting at a gas station (or similar) in the inner city.  What talk listener really cares about another murder in Atlanta, Chicago or Dallas?

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’68 Turns 68

| April 4, 2018

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Today, April 4, is a sad anniversary.  Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. In Indianapolis, where Robert Kennedy was campaigning for president, the crowd was unaware.

This year, I and my classmates in the high school Class of ’68 TURN 68. And as chaotic as 2018 seems, we’ve seen this movie before (although the music was better the first time).

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Positioning: The Battle for Your Government

| March 26, 2018

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In their groundbreaking 1970s best seller “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” (still in print), real-life “Mad Men” characters Jack Trout and Al Reis outlined a product differentiation strategy for the ages.  This concept has helped me make a lot of money, so if you haven’t read the book ya gotta.

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Four Steps to Creating Magic on the Radio

| March 20, 2018

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

 

EAGLE, Idaho — The surest way to attract and hold the largest and most loyal audience you can is to consistently create meaningful emotional experiences for your listeners. Experiences that make their lives more interesting, rewarding and fun. Experiences that challenge them to think, feel, and grow.

Creating magical moments for your listeners flows naturally from recognizing and fully understanding meaningful emotional experiences in your life. Here’s a process for doing just that:

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‘Make It Bigger’ Ed McLaughlin

| January 19, 2018

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

NEW YORK — The great Ed McLaughlin has left a legacy of stunning success.  Working for him for five years at the ABC Radio Networks, I learned how and why he was so successful, respected, and beloved.  He was responsible for the success of KGO, San Francisco as its VP/GM in its founding year of 1960.  Ed gave KGO its on-air staff, momentum and “sound” that lead it to record-breaking #1 ratings.  The multiple network concept at ABC was brought to profitability by his determination and leadership.  Ed retired from ABC to bring Dr. Dean Edell to syndication and Rush Limbaugh to the status he enjoys today.

MAKE IT BIGGER

Today, if you take an idea to most manager-types they will say that the company can’t afford it, or it costs too much, or it’s never been done before.  Ed McLaughlin never embraced a small idea.

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Woe Unto Us

| January 3, 2018

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

BRADENTON, Fla. — Numerous station owners, producers, syndicators, program hosts, etc. often complain to me about declining audiences and poor business.  They already have given up on ratings and surveys as sales tools.  However, from where I sit, they should look primarily at themselves.  This past holiday week would be a good place to start.

There can’t be many bigger fans of Christmas music than I…the carols, the hymns  and those very old holiday standards by the likes of Brenda Lee, Burl Ives, Eartha Kitt and numerous others whose names today are totally unfamiliar to the current generation.  A good many music stations begin blending them into their programming a week or so before the holiday until they go full blast Christmas Eve and Day.  They are a welcome and pleasant complement to holiday planning and activities.  But I tuned into one on New Year’s Eve and  they were still at it.  There was Elvis singing, “Here Comes Santa Claus.”  Why?

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What Have You Learned Doing Television?

| January 2, 2018

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

WASHINGTON — Ever the interviewer, Jim Bohannon asked me, “What have you learned from doing television?”

I had guested often, as a talking head on cable news shows.  And I logged 10,000 hours hosting radio.  But I only began hosting a TV show several months ago, when I took over Thom Hartmann’s program “The Big Picture” on RT.  I’m on Friday nights, after Larry King and before Jesse Ventura.

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Lessons from Neil Rogers

| August 23, 2017

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

NEW YORK — There are notable entertaining, non-network, local talk hosts.  My favorites are: Mike Trivosonno and Bill Wills on WTAM, Cleveland; Jon Pole on CJAD, Montreal; John & Ken on KFI, Los Angeles; Mark Belling on WISN, Milwaukee; Jim Philips on WTKS-FM, Orlando; and Dom Giordonno on WPHT, Philadelphia.  If I should have mentioned you, I apologize.  This is an urgent, current story about a host who knows how to use social media: South Florida’s Neil Rogers.

Right now, one of the most active Facebook pages is the Neil Rogers show.  It has almost 3,000 members and today has featured a dozen posts from listeners.

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Open a Mall

| June 16, 2017

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

NEW YORK — The forbidden topic about the future of AM talk radio is infomercials. Infomercials, rather than the subtleties of topic selection, harm AM talk cume more than any other single station element. Most stations airing infomercials generate about 40% of their total income from that stream. So, what’s the problem? It’s money!

The problem is that in most cities the number two HOMES USING RADIO daypart is Saturdays 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. There is significant radio listening available and it is discretionary, weekend listening, an ideal time to promote and sample your best work.  Infomercials during that valuable time period depress total week audience – easily by a full share.

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“There’s Never Been a Better Time to Buy a Car”

| June 15, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — That has gotta be THE – repeat, THE – most worn-out auto copy cliché.  In-one-ear-and-out-the-other.

A dealer who advertises 52 weeks on one of my client stations – and didn’t stop during the Recession – actually mocks this line in his ads.

Ironically, it may now be true.  OK…maybe the ultimate buyer’s market was right after 9/11, when no-interest loans debuted.  But right now dealers will deal, and reward any advertising medium that helps move metal.

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Bat-Signal from Talk Radio

| June 12, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This past weekend, wistful Baby Boomers lit-up Social Media with RIPs for Adam West, 88, star of TV’s campy 1960s “Batman.”

Meanwhile, here inside-the-box, we consultants trip over each other jumping-in-front-of parades like this.  It’s one of those non-radio events from which we strain to derive lessons for radio.  You may recall Tweets from cohorts explaining how Rachel Maddow’s Trump tax return coup was really a flop.  Since then, her sustained ratings romp causes those armchair critics amnesia.  Still – hoping I’m first to hit Send – some undeniable analogies.

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Three Little Words

| May 31, 2017

By Renee Kohanski, MD
TALKERS
Contributor

 

NORWICH, CT — Each year the TALKERS conference promises to be the most relevant ever.  Each year the conference fulfills this promise. The convention is constructed to identify risks both known and to be known.  It can’t help but be the most relevant each year.  What is most meaningful and unique work of all talk media hosts is realized in the Freedom of Speech award. How prescient then is it, for Sean Hannity, a name synonymous with talk media to find himself the direct target of forces seeking to silence free speech?  I comment on this from a professional perspective as a practicing psychiatrist who dabbles with talk radio as a guest and occasional fill-in host.

What thoughts must be going through everyone’s minds these days?  And more importantly, what to do?

“I can’t believe they’re going after Sean!”

“First O’Reilly, now Sean!”

“If they can take down Sean, they can take down anyone.”

“What chance do I have?”

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Weekends: Hit! Or Miss?

| May 30, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — At many talk stations, Saturday and Sunday are the most profitable days of the week.  At smart stations, shows are “appointment listening” that reflect listeners’ weekend routines and bring revenue the station wouldn’t otherwise get.  At other stations, management shrugs, and doesn’t (dare) listen.

I recently met the GM of a cluster owned by one of radio’s big two.  When I asked “Do all your reps sell all your stations?” she smiled, assuring me that “we don’t ‘silo-sell.’”  Meaning that the talk station’s inventory gets tossed-in with cluster mates, in this case AC, AOR, and oldies FMs.  I could scream.

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Five Pointers on How to Engage Listeners in 10 Seconds

| May 26, 2017

By Kreskin
Mentalist

 

NEW YORK — When appearing on radio, TV or the stage, I have to engage the audience in seconds. It’s similar to the challenge of attracting a listener when they turn on the key to the car.  Here are five techniques that have been proven to work for me for decades:

1.  Surprise. Yes, many people know my act but I work surprises in to every show. If you saw me last month they will not see the same show this month.  Surprises generate word of mouth and repeaters.

2. Passion and energy.  If I am not interested in what I’m doing, no one else is.  Many “acts” that have long tenure fall into the trap of going through the motions. Audiences only remember that the performer seemed bored – a bad memory.

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Radio’s Biggest Star: Baseball

| March 27, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Do the math.  For 6 months when habitual listening dips as listeners vacation and otherwise alter their lives, baseball brings:

  • long-TSL tune-in (“vertical maintenance” in ratings speak), to…
  • 162 three+ hour shows (“horizontal maintenance”), by…
  • people who otherwise might not cume the station, in…
  • what would otherwise be fringe evening/late-night/weekend hours,
  • many of which are suspenseful, and which are loaded with…
  • inventory that sells-without-numbers.

And now that games are available elsewhere, affiliated AM/FM stations need to play defense to exploit the franchise.  (Pictured at right is HC at his beloved Fenway Park.)

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The Tyranny of the Target Audience

| March 22, 2017

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

 

EAGLE, Idaho — I cringe every time I hear a well-meaning PD or GM instruct a personality to focus everything they create and present on “our target audience.” It often goes something like this:

“Our target audience is a woman 25-44. I want everything you create or put on the radio to appeal to her. Figure out what she cares about. Find out what she’s talking about. Imagine what she’s thinking about. Find out what she likes to do. Everything on your show should be about her. Just to remind you, I’ve put a big picture of her on the control room wall so you’ll see her every time you open the mic.”

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Echo Chamber: Mad About Maddow

| March 22, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Seen the flames?  Seen the numbers?

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow scored the biggest ratings in the history of her show as she displayed a copy of Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return, anonymously mailed to a reporter.  Although many radio talkers – and some radio gurus – were quick to shrug it off as unsustainable, new news since is that Maddow has now beat rival Fox News Channel for a second straight week 25-54.

Admittedly, radio folk tend to do cartwheels when WE spike, and to diss other guys when THEY do.  Still, the social media backlash – from media people — was discouraging.  The unison damned Maddow for sustaining viewers’ attention for two whole quarter hours…as though that’s not how we too get paid.  “Big hype!  Big letdown!  Only two pages!”

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Talk Radio Can Learn from Trump

| March 1, 2017

By Phil Valentine
Westwood One
Talk Show Host

 

NASHVILLE — Love him or hate him, we in talk radio can learn a great deal from Donald Trump. Since he blasted onto the political scene, he’s been a ratings juggernaut. Even the news media have to admit this guy is ratings gold. The assumption in talk radio is that being rah-rah Trump equals big ratings. That would be completely missing the point. The Trump factor is not whether you support him or oppose him. It’s what you learn from him.

I will admit that I was never a big fan of Donald Trump dating back to the ‘80s. Like many, I found him cocky and obnoxious. After he announced his candidacy, I quickly realized he had mastered the art of entertainment. And, let’s face it, as much as we’d like to elevate our format to something more noble, we’re in the entertainment business. That doesn’t mean we can’t produce meaningful, insightful, and provocative shows, but if it’s not entertaining we’re simply talking to ourselves.

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Podcasting for Professional Broadcasters

| February 21, 2017

By Mike Carruthers
PerfectYourPodcast.com
CEO

 

LOS ANGELES — Podcasting is now a real thing. In fact it is now a small industry. Consequently, this may be the perfect time for radio professionals to take a hard look at podcasting. Frankly, it is the one growth industry that can actually utilize the skills every experienced broadcaster has developed in their career. In fact these are the exact skills many podcasters would kill for, such as: the ability to project a personality, to talk to and interview people, to keep things interesting, to tell stories, to use audio creatively and to edit (both in real time and after the fact). These are exactly the things many podcasters struggle with – yet most seasoned radio pros can do them in their sleep.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly why commercial broadcasters have been reluctant to get into podcasting. If you look at the iTunes charts of the Top podcasts (https://www.podcastchart.com/) you see that many of the highly rated ones are produced by NPR or other public radio entities. But only a few are done by commercial radio people.

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Lessons from Rebuilding a Struggling Radio News Station

| February 15, 2017

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

 

EAGLE, Idaho – Competition, ownership and on-air personnel changes, misguided attempts to attract a younger audience and location on the AM band combined to reduce a former major market-leading news station to an also-ran. There was hope that moving the station from AM to FM might help things. Nope. That’s when the rebuild began.

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Aircheck D.I.Y.

| December 19, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Because AM/FM radio now has so many non-local new-media competitors, the host/listener bond is a precious asset, especially if competing stations are robotic or mailing-it-in.  And with attention so scarce, efficient execution is imperative (and doesn’t THAT sound like a consultant?).

So aircheck review is more important than ever, but that meeting is too rare, for three reasons:

  • We’re all busy, and as cutbacks continue, we’ll get even busier.
  • Talk radio critique is a lost art. Typically, one person, often from music radio, oversees programming on multiple stations of various formats.  He/she may not have honed directing skills, and/or is intimidated by directing older talent.
  • Talent resists, for both-of-the-above reasons, and/or because this diligent process isn’t routine, and/or because they think their guano is Haagen Dazs.

Full disclosure: This dearth of direction is good for my business.  In addition to coaching talent at client stations, I’m reviewing airchecks sent by DJs and talkers who tell me nobody at their station offers constructive feedback; or because they’re upwardly mobile, and need another set of discreet ears.  But you can Do It Yourself… 

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Make it Part of the Show!

| December 19, 2016

By Mark Wainwright
WSYR
Talk Show Host

 

wainwrightmarkwriter

SYRACUSE — Holland Cooke’s recent commentary on TALKERS TV about local endorsement spots reinforced my long-standing belief in local radio, and it gives me an opportunity to share some thoughts about the success we’ve had doing endorsements in Syracuse.

If I had to narrow it down to one key piece of advice, it would be: Don’t make endorsements just another part of your commercial load. Make them part of your show!

Over time, radio listeners have learned to tune out commercials, either mentally or by actually hitting the button. An entertaining live personal endorsement spot, performed at the start of a stopset, can break that pattern and grab the listener’s attention.

That’s why it’s important that the endorsement be funny, or compelling, or unusual, or crazy, or something other than a conventional straight read. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like: “It’s 7:20, Ron Radio here, with a word about your local Chevy dealers…” followed by the air personality simply reading a piece of copy. The host might have a good voice and great reading skills, and since there’s a live human element involved, there’s some improvement over just pressing the button to start the spot cluster– but only marginally so. The listener still thinks “commercial!” and proceeds to mentally or physically throw the switch. The client’s money and the host’s time have been wasted.

Meanwhile, my approach has always been that endorsements spots are part of my show. They are program content, with each one giving me 60 seconds — okay, maybe 65 or 70 seconds, sometimes I cheat a little — to show off my personality, my sense of humor, my perspective, or just allow a few rebellious brain cells to make themselves audible for a moment. I’ve used music, drop-ins, sound effects, character voices, bad puns, plays on words, you name it. Sometimes I do a lot of advance preparation, sometimes I totally ad-lib them on the fly. The point is, they’re different, and if I can get listeners to stop thinking “commercial!” and get them thinking “What is he DOING?” or “Where is he going with this?” or “Did he actually SAY that?”, then I’ve earned my talent fee. It breaks the established tune-out mechanism, the listeners start paying attention, and that’s when the client’s name and selling points sink in.

This approach requires some groundwork, and a lot of trust all the way around. Whenever I meet with a potential client, I make sure they understand what they’re getting when they ask for a Mark Wainwright personal endorsement. Not all clients or station salespeople are comfortable with my technique, or they might be hesitant to cede so much creative control to an individual air personality; I’ve had to turn opportunities down — graciously and diplomatically, I hope — when the client’s discomfort was clearly apparent.

Obviously, you also need the station’s management to support you and respect your professional judgement. This approach doesn’t work if the air talent is always second-guessing himself about what the brass will think. Fortunately, the management folks here in Syracuse cut me a lot of slack. And the clients? Once they give me a chance and they see the results, they pretty much let me get away with murder.

It’s very gratifying to have a client tell everyone in town that your live commercials were directly responsible for a big increase in their business, and it’s great to have listeners come up to you at an event like the New York State Fair and hear them repeating the same gags and catch phrases you’ve been using in endorsements. They’re engaged and responding, and the advertisers know it. That’s local radio.

(And the extra money in your paycheck doesn’t hurt!)

tbugk3

Mark Wainwright is the morning drive host at WSYR, Syracuse.  He can be emailed at markwainwright@iHeartMedia.com.

Uber Earful

| December 9, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Taxis are to take-me-somewhere as radio is to inform-me/entertain-me.

Internet-based innovation is disrupting every legacy industry. 

Ask an insurance agent or travel agent or stock broker or bookstore owner, if you can find one.  Or the record labels or TV networks or cable companies.  Or stores.  This year, Black Friday happened on smartphones.  Most AM/FM broadcast hours are now automated.

In today’s Gig Economy, the cabbies’ cartel was ripe for disruption.  Now, hacks who haven’t yet defected to Uber (or Lyft) give you an earful.  NOT making this up: As a New York cabbie crabbed that “there are 11,000 taxi drivers in the city and 14,000 Uber drivers!” an ad recruiting Uber drivers came on the radio!

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Radio’s Social and Digital Dilemma

| November 16, 2016

By Bryan Crabtree
WAFS/WGKA
Talk Show Host

 

crabtreebryanwriterATLANTA — Radio was the original social media. We owned the dialogue. Now we own just some of it. Let’s stop complaining about the challenges and dominate the conversation again on both mediums.

There is a plethora of competing distractions to our audience and they are lost in a sea of confusing noise.

Our audience has changed, but have we?

Listeners will follow and respond to who or what they ‘believe’ is real. I was shocked to see so many lifelong broadcast conservatives double-down on their ‘#nevertrump’ hysteria.  I’m convinced that, for many, it wasn’t their personal conviction. It was the vanity of needing to be accurate on their predictions of Trump’s demise. The result was the destruction of years of earned credibility with their followers.

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Talk Radio’s Dream Come True?

| November 9, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterNEW YORK — After nearly two years of campaign noise, many Americans were eager “for it to end.”  But November 8 was a beginning.  And with the manners our parents preached now scorned as political correctness, the noise will only get louder.  In the social media era, broadcasters’ challenge is to cut through that clutter.

Donald Trump will be President of The United States, and the implications for radio’s top format are profound.

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What Are You Going to Do on Wednesday?

| November 7, 2016

By Waltr Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

sabowriterNEW YORK — “Talk radio” is whatever you want it to be.  Talk is the only viable, free-form format.

Is your current programming delivering the growth and demos you like? Have your numbers been getting older and smaller?

Then what you’re airing isn’t working—or good business.

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Social Media: Like Your Friends

| October 11, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND — Social media tools can be extremely valuable to broadcasters who don’t just use them to…broadcast.  At the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, Cumulus/Westwood One VP/social Lori Lewis crystallized the opportunity: “The essence of social media is reminding people that they matter.”

For Gordon Deal, host of the nationally-syndicated “This Morning – America’s First News,” it’s a useful feedback loop: “I’m not above getting an occasional kick in the pants from a listener if he or she feels a story sounded too biased.”  And he is as flattered that someone would take the time to speak up as they seem to be when he acknowledges them: “Even the angriest and most biased of listeners sometimes just want to be heard.  99% of the time, a polite Tweet back that acknowledges their feelings is all they’re looking for.”

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The Local Media Company of the Future

| September 28, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterNASHVILLE — Each year, there’s one session at the NAB/RAB Radio Show I reckon that – alone – was worth the trip.  Researcher Gordon Borrell nailed it this year with his presentation “Reach Beyond Radio: The Local Media Company of the Future.”

He began with a-whack-on-the-side-of-the-head, saying “It’s as if it’s 100 years ago, and we’re blacksmiths, watching our customers ride by in cars.”  Instead, “be in the transportation business.”

Admittedly, I’m a fan of Borrell’s work, and he and I share some client stations.  But the future he described isn’t conjecture.  Specific action steps he detailed flow from proprietary survey data including interviews with 7,500+ of the small businesses radio wants on-air.

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‘Make America Great Again’

| July 25, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — How effective is Donald Trump’s slogan?  It crystallized his shoot-from-the-hip spiel well enough that conservatives who were chanting “American Exceptionalism” a year ago now sound like they think we’re no longer great.

Mrs. Clinton’s messaging hasn’t been nearly as consistent or deft.  A while back, her slogan-of-the-week was “Love Trumps Hate.”  Huh?  Lately, with Bernie Sanders out of the race, and to position against Trump’s nationalistic narrative, she’s settled on the less cryptic “Stronger Together.”

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Turn Up the Volume When You Can’t Hear the Sound of Change

| June 28, 2016

By Danielle Lin, C.N.
The Danielle Lin Show
Host

 

lindaniellewriterSALT LAKE CITY — The state of the radio industry is in grand flux, but for those who have kept their options open, seeing the light through the end of the tunnel looks clear.  Perhaps waiting too long to jump on the technology explosion, or grabbing the entrepreneurial ring wasn’t for everyone, but for those who sought higher ground, or took the leap of faith with new ventures such as Norm Pattiz at PodcastOne – or station cluster expansion with companies like Bicoastal Media, and CEO/president – Vince Benedetto of Bold Gold Media Group – things are looking brighter than ever.  The good news for those who remain light on their feet, is that more opportunity is revealing itself everyday if you head forward with your eyes wide open.

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The Podcast Consumer 2016

| May 27, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

Holland Cookewebster, tomBLOCK ISLAND, RI — On yesterday’s webinar, Edison Research VP Tom Webster surmised, “It’s safe at this point to call podcasting ‘mainstream media.’”

It’s always puzzled me how talk radio demonizes that term, while sales reps have been telling prospects that their stations ARE mainstream.  What advertiser wants to utilize FRINGE media?

edison-logo-300x137Admittedly, when I started attending podcasting conventions a dozen years ago, the medium did seem, shall we say, unconventional.  Not any more, according to data culled from the ongoing Edison/Triton “Infinite Dial” research series, and Edison’s “Share of Ear”™ studies, which Webster presented.

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Will 2016 Be AM Radio’s Last
Presidential Election?

| May 10, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Today, the USA’s top-billing radio station is multi-FM simulcast WTOP, Washington.  I remember a discussion in the newsroom there in the 1980s, when we were a stand-alone at 1500AM: We wondered aloud how soon the AM band would be repurposed.  “Maybe for hailing cabs” one among us theorized?

Soon, Rush Limbaugh led the vaunted Talk Radio Revolution, and rejuvenated radio’s senior band.  Music formats moved to FM; and for the next couple decades AMs talked about politics a lot, and ask-the-expert shows became popular and profitable weekend fare; then the all sports format came about.

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Your Radio Station Is in Danger of Being Hacked

| May 6, 2016

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON — Radio and television stations are prime targets for hackers with a myriad of different motivations.  Some hackers may simply be looking to hack your station’s websites and computers to temporarily take control of these media to embarrass the station or make a political statement.  Other more profitably inclined criminals are hacking into your computers to trick station employees into downloading ransomware, threatening to destroy your data if you do not pay a ransom.  Still others, motivated by identity theft, are seeking to steal information including W-2s and other personal information for purposes of identity theft, including income tax identity theft.  Finally, some radio and television stations will be targeted by hackers seeking to gain access to your station’s bank accounts or to lure the stations into paying phony invoices.

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When Your Station IS the News

| May 2, 2016

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — It’s been an interesting couple of years for TV stations in Baltimore – to say the least.

About two years ago, a deranged man hijacked a landscaping truck and drove it through the front lobby of WMAR-TV, disrupting station operations for hours before being apprehended by authorities.

And Thursday, an emotionally disturbed man in an animal costume, and claiming to have a bomb, set fire to his car and forced the evacuation of WBFF-TV and WNUV-TV.  The intruder, who later walked out of the building shadowed by SWAT officers, was shot three times after refusing their repeated orders to take his hands out of his pockets and lay down on the ground.  He is expected to survive following treatment at a local hospital, and will face arson, reckless endangerment and other charges.

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Narcissism and Talk Radio

| March 25, 2016

By Renee Kohanski, MD
TALKERS
Contributor

 

kohanskiwriterNORWICH, CT — What a narcissist!  How many times have we heard this of late?  With the fury of the elections upon us and certainly with the richness of material to draw upon, the subject of narcissistic personality is as much a part of daily conversation in the talk radio business as is corporate debt.  That being said, the autistic spectrum disorders we are all blessed and cursed with are varying degrees of narcissism.

Or are we?

Let me take you into the world of pathological narcissism, “healthy narcissism” and contrast it to high self-esteem.  You may consider where you are in this range and where is the figure upon whom you are commenting?  In a society that has become consumed with the need for exhibitionistic/voyeuristic self-expression and self-validation it may be hard to remember a spectrum exists.  For you, maybe a spectrum doesn’t exist.  Life is simply black and white and what I am saying makes no sense at all.

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Unconventional Coverage

| February 29, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Must-see, if you missed it in theaters, and it’s on Netflix: “The Best of Enemies.”  See how underdog network ABC – outgunned by CBS and NBC — doubled its ratings at the 1968 political conventions, and invented modern political punditry.  They called it “Unconventional Coverage.”

Several stations I work with will travel to cover the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.  Big thanks to networks we’re affiliated with for facilitating coverage.  Parked on radio row, we’ll be lined-up-for the parade of names who hop from interview to interview…saying pretty much the same thing they said at the last table.  Which is fine.  As Woody Allen said, “80% of life is showing-up;” and we’ll be taking pictures for social media and to impress sponsors who fund the trip.

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Another Breaking News Weekend…

| February 23, 2016

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — It’s been a few years now since I worked on the editorial side of the business, but my adrenaline still starts pumping anytime news breaks.

Weekend before last, it was the unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Network radio and TV were all over it – smart local stations used those resources, and were all over it, too.

But local radio stations WITHOUT a network news affiliation likely found themselves behind the eight ball – unable to meaningfully respond beyond whatever they were able to pass along from social media and news websites.  Better than nothing, but not good enough.

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Social Media: You’re Doing it Wrong

| January 27, 2016

By Mark Kaye
Cox Media Group
Talk Show Host

 

kayemarkwriterJACKSONVILLE, Fla. — I chuckle when I help somebody log on to Snapchat or Periscope for the first time.  They always ask me the same question, “Okay, how does this work?”

It’s an understandable question.  It’s also the absolute wrong question.  What we should always ask when experimenting with new technology is, “Okay, how does this work for me?”

Each social media platform that gains popularity has its own unique characteristics that we, as broadcasters, can and SHOULD take advantage of.  But, most of us don’t.  We only see one part of the huge impact that social media has on our lives and careers.  And, unfortunately, it’s the part of social media that impacts our lives and careers the least.

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Where’s the Line Between Giving Threatmongers What They Want…And Citizens What They Need?

| December 16, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — The nation’s second largest school district was shut down Tuesday by a terroristic threat.  Several other school districts, most notably New York City’s (the largest in the country) also received similar threats – but did not close schools, take buses off the road, or tell staff and students to stay home.

Why the different responses? Simply put, specificity and credibility as judged by local law enforcement and other officials.  The proverbial “abundance of caution.”  Important because all of these concepts also guide broadcasters as to how, when – or even IF – threats should be reported.

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It’s Not IF Anymore…But WHEN

| December 4, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — At the height of Wednesday’s horrific mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calilfornia, I went online to sample the local coverage from a couple of that city’s self-proclaimed “news/talk” radio stations.

One stayed with syndicated talk programming with a well-known national host.  Sure, he was talking about what was going on in San Bernardino…but he wasn’t IN San Bernardino.  Wasn’t at the scene.  Wasn’t capturing all the chaos, the raw emotion, the nuance of a big story evolving by the nanosecond in a community that could’ve been Anytown, USA.  He wasn’t talking to eyewitnesses, local officials – relaying minute-to-minute updates, keeping San Bernardino listeners specifically informed on local impacts of this story.

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How Did Your Station Respond to France's 9/11?

How Did Your Station Respond to France’s 9/11?

| November 16, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — So what was on YOUR station’s air when news broke of the horrific, coordinated attacks on six Paris locations, where large crowds had gathered – for dinner, for soccer, for a rock concert?  When news broke that at least 120 innocent people had been cut down by terrorism, with perhaps hundreds more injured?

“Well, France is a long way from (name of your town),” you might say. “And TV was all over it….” And of course, there’s the web, and maybe your market or an adjacent market has an all-news or news/talk station that was on top of the story.  So maybe you saw no role for your station, especially if it’s not in the news or news/talk format.

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Radio Talent: Do What Cable Is Doing

| November 11, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterNEW YORK — I should clarify.  I don’t mean do what cable news channels are doing — contrived political arguments.  That’s being done to death there, and has become an unfortunate “Talk Radio” caricature.  When there’s a-war-on…the-war-on…The War on Christmas – and there’s feigned outrage about under-decorated cardboard coffee cups — you know they’re running out of things to talk about.

I’m saying do what you see on basic cable channels and so-called “Over The Top” (OTT) TV such as Netflix.  And as I listened to Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko, the little voice in my kept whispering “podcasting.”

Mosko calls himself “a studio guy” whose independent shop has 35 shows on 18 different networks, “the largest programming provider to OTT services.” He was interviewed by author and veteran journalist Bill Carter (SiriusXM’s “The Bill Carter Interview”) at NAB Show/New York* this week.

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Where Will You Be When the Lights Go Out?

| November 10, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — As I write this, the New York sun will give way to dusk – and at 5:27 pm ET, New York will mark exactly 50 years since the Great Blackout of 1965.

As The New York Times reported, the outage – triggered by the failure of a relay at a Canadian power station – was the result of a cascading failure across the northeast power grid. Systems were overloaded – and in some cases, automatically shut down – plunging New Jersey, New York and New England into darkness for as long as 13 hours. Some 30 million people across 80,000 square miles were impacted.

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Typical Is Your Enemy

| October 12, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — In 1976 or 1986 or 1996, he would’ve cranked it up.  Here in the future, “Hotel California” comes on and the listener might hit scan.  Or, increasingly, skip.

Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away.  Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots.  Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?

Yes, you’re really hearing this from a consultant.  I do install success templates.  In the 21 years since I last had an employer, I’ve paid my mortgage by assuring clients that “nothing I recommend is an experiment.”  And the logic of if-it-works-do-it/if-it-doesn’t-don’t becomes even more obvious as radio has overdone what works until it doesn’t; and has cost-cut until innovation becomes cost-prohibitive.

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‘Quality, Currency, Quantity.’

| August 27, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Any of the news people I met with during my non-stop 7-week radio station road trip just now ending can recite the mantra: “Quality, Currency, Quantity.”

I don’t chant “local, local, local;” because NO local can be better than BORING local.  Telling listeners who-said-what at city council last night (process) isn’t news.  Half the people in the room that night might’ve been dozing.  How they’re going to plow my street this winter (consequence) is news.

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Price: Now, It’s Personal

| August 27, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — The assassination – yes, it was an assassination — of WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Virginia reporter Alison Parker and her videographer, Adam Ward, on live morning television, should be a wake-up call, not only for the media business, but also for every business.

The shootings themselves were horrific enough. That they took place on live television – on a program being line-produced by the fiancée of one of the victims – compounded the tragedy.  That it was also captured and posted online by the gunman himself is simply unspeakable.

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Turn Digital Disappointment into Direct Success

| July 6, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — This past month, I presented at two state broadcasters’ association conventions: Illinois and Iowa.  My topics: “The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Sales: ‘Radio Doesn’t Work,’” specific techniques for creating commercial copy that produces better results; “How Millennials Use Media”; and “Quick, Actionable Sales Ideas to Make Money Selling Digital.”

Here are the common threads from all three sessions…

Recent years’ radio revenue data has many shrugging that “flat is the new up.”  Less so in small and medium markets, where local direct retail comprises more of radio’s income than in big markets where transactional business is the ball game.  And in every market, digital is the shiny object sucking dollars away from legacy media.  Especially ours.  Ask car stores: Detroit is telling them to move radio money online.

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The Challenging Psychology of Speech No-Go Zones

| June 8, 2015

By Renee Kohanski, M.D.
TALKERS
Contributor

kohanskireneewriterNORWICH, CT — As a practicing psychiatrist who dabbles with talk radio as a guest and occasional fill-in host, I have an interesting perspective on the industry.   The cornerstone of psychiatry is honesty in thought and word.  The brilliance of the professional talker in part, is his (or her) ability to communicate.   Effective and entertaining communication has always been an extremely narrow tight-rope successful talkers must walk.  It requires balancing knowledge and showmanship with a component of fearlessness and original insight.  The very essence though, has been to say and voice what others may think, but can’t actually say. To sometimes even create new ways of thinking.  And at the cornerstone of this work is free speech.

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I Want to Be a Part of it, New York, New York.

| June 5, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Woody Allen reckons that “80% of life is showing-up.”  Said another way, by Anthony Robbins: “Proximity is power…you must get in the environment of the best of the best.”  And everyone-who’s-anyone in talk media will hang together on June 12, at Talkers New York 2015.

If you’re Big Apple bound, some tips:

Come early, stay late.

FYI: The Mets host the Braves Friday night at Citi Field.  Is there anything else you can accomplish while you’re in town?  Might this be an opportunity to attach-a-face-to-a-name with someone you routinely interact with by phone?

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