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Radio Thoughts from Streaming Media East

| May 17, 2012

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk Specialist
McVay/Cook Media

NEW YORK — Streaming Media East, and its six-months-offset counterpart Streaming Media West, are conferences about “the business and technology of online video.”  Undeniably, that’s a business radio needs to be in, to the extent we can be, and because NO – repeat, NO – other companion medium can drive internet traffic better than radio.

Keeping current about adoption of other media helps us better understand how listeners use our medium, as consumption habits are changing so radically.  That said, most of what’s on this convention’s agenda doesn’t directly pertain to radio, and much of it is real nerdy stuff, internet nuts-and-bolts.  But one of the sessions I found darn pertinent to radio people was “Building Media Brands on Facebook.”

  • “Facebook has now become Times Square, with 900 million users.”
  • “It’s not how many Friends you have, it’s how many are talking about you.”
  • Topics and keywords drive engagement.
  • Facebook is now used more on phones and tablets than on computers.

About that new mobility: Radio has always touted that “no other medium comes closer to the point of purchase!”  Until now…now that social media are in our pockets.  Panelist Erin Gargan, a social media consultant with SoCal Socialite, noted that, when retailers’ push announcements she’s opted into pop up, “If I just got paid, I purchase!”

With radio using Facebook to bond with listeners, we should heed her caution to “be careful when you’re inserting your brand message into these conversations.  No amount of technology is going to make crap content good.”

And she noted that what people are looking at is not necessarily what they’re sharing.  What’s shared is a reflection on the sharer.  “That’s Facebook’s whole proposition.”

And Gargan urged that we think strategically: “What’s your business model?  Figure that out first,” Then choose social media to “be where your clients are.”

From fellow panelist Erika Brookes, VP/marketing for Vitrue, a company that manages social media messages for major brands:

  • “Open-ended questions do a lot to get people engaged.”
  • “Keeping content short helps.”  Tip: Start strong, cut to the chase.

Most of all, Brookes urged, pay attention to the conversation:

  • “Are people talking about you?”
  • “How many are talking about you?”
  • “What are they saying about you?”
  • “Who are your influencers and who are your detractors?”
  • “Reward those influencers.”

Also on the panel: Mara Winokur, SVP/digital for Starz Media, who finds social media useful “to get instant feedback.  The consumer can tell you what they want.”

Two other Streaming Media East moments which I found mighty relevant to radio:

  • Most of the opening keynote by Google Chrome Team’s Matt Frost was, candidly, Greek to me.  Lots of tech specs about HTML5 and other blah, blah, blah.  But it was like a chime rang when he predicted that “the next great video web app can come from a bunch of young developers;” thus Google’s open source plumbing.  “Media station,” I thought, recalling a term Michael Harrison coined years ago.
  • And when another speaker quoted Howard Luck Gossage – “Nobody reads advertising.  People read what they want to read and sometimes it’s an ad” – I who listen to talk radio for a living chuckled.  That sure doesn’t just apply to advertising.

Holland Cooke is news/talk specialist for McVay/Cook Media.  He can be e-mailed at

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