NAB/NMX: At Conventions, We Convene | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

NAB/NMX: At Conventions, We Convene

| April 15, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant


cookewriterLAS VEGAS — Two words if you ever attend the National Association of Broadcasters’ April NAB Show: “comfortable shoes.”

The sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center exhibit hall is tech city.  The crowd is three-deep around booths demonstrating drones that TV stations await FAA permission to use for newsgathering.  Audio gear now caters to two constituencies: broadcasters and podcasters; and it’s getting smaller, smarter, and more-user-friendly.  It is now easier and less expensive to produce audio than back when reel and cart machines and rack monsters were on display here.

That’s all hardware.  As for the software – programming, lately called “the content” – there are plenty of useful sessions on the schedule at both the NAB Show and co-located New Media Expo (NMX).  Bouncing  back-and-forth between these conferences, I’m struck by the value of tips and techniques each group can learn from the other.

For instance?  ICYMI, read my Monday notes from both shows:

Two more shares, from Tuesday, which I found instructive… 

“Make Your Marketing Memorable With Visual Storytelling”

Digital engagement (AND REVENUE) is a big priority for radio stations, and this NMX session by “Think Like Zuck” author Ekaterina Walter demonstrated the difference between what she terms “‘head marketing’ vs. ‘heart marketing.’”

“Thinking in pictures is our nature,” she reckons.  “Images act like shortcuts to the brain;” and “speak to the heart and tell stories.”

  • “Scientists say the average modern adult attention span is between 2.8 and 8 seconds.”
  • “90% of all information transmitted to the brain is visual.”
  • “94% more total views are attracted by content containing compelling images than without.”
  • “Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with images.”

This tracks research I’ve seen elsewhere demonstrating that Tweets with pictures get re-Tweeted and Favorited more.

I thought of radio sales material when Walter reported that “publishers who use infographics grow traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t.”  Google “What happens in an Internet minute?” and click Images.  The infographic you’ll  see not only makes her point, but it should chasten us not to over-estimate attention span when we’re doing a show or scripting spots and promos.

Small and Medium Radio Markets Idea Exchange

This NAB session pays for the trip.  It is what the title says, and it looks like an iPhone commercial when everyone in the audience snaps a shot of every panelist’s slides.  While so much of big city radio plays it safe, smaller market stations are more willing to try things and have fun (what a concept):

Among clever campaigns shared by sales managers:

  • “Driven2Excel:” Stations DO still give away cars. In this perennial campaign, high school seniors with a 3.2 or higher Grade Point Average and 5 or fewer absences go into a drawing for a new Kia Soul.  Second and Third Prizes: $3000 and $2000 scholarships.
  • “Foto With Fido:” Here’s how to score that digital revenue corporate is barking for. To enter, submit “a selfie with your bestie;” then listeners vote.  And in 4 days 14,000 of ‘em did, big numbers for a station in Decatur Illinois.  Participating sponsors contributed to The Puppy Prize Pack.  Title sponsor was a boarding kennel.
  • “Mommies Little Mummies:” The only holiday Americans spend more on than Christmas is Halloween. As with “Foto With Fido,” entry to this contest was User Generated Content, photos of munchkins in costumes.  15,000 voted.  Sponsors included a dentist, a kids’ clothier, and a photographer.
  • “Scared-of-Santa” photo contest: Attendees all laughed when they saw the web graphic, a scene often seen at the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The tot just DOESN’T get it.

Note the common thread?  Kiddos and critters.  These stations aren’t just making money.  They’re connecting with families.

As each of the campaigns shared in this session was described, presenters detailed measurable results, i.e.:

  • Increased unique web visitors by 20%
  • Increased station streaming 50%
  • Increased page views 100%
  • Added new digital revenue.

This session demonstrates how — beyond the formal agenda — a big part of the value of attending any convention is to…convene.  Company kings arm-wrestle station deals at Wynn and Encore, and working stiffs swap business cards and here’s-what-works-for-us ideas at Starbucks.  You come here to make new contacts and meet-up with acquaintances you’ve collected over the years.  Shop talk = ROI.

“And the Award goes to…”

Since 1987, NAB’s Crystal Radio Awards have recognized stations “for outstanding year-round commitment to community service.”  These stations are conspicuous, with so much radio now non-local.  Personal congratulations to two of those ten who are my clients, Delmarva Broadcasting’s WAFL, Milford and Neuhoff Media’s WSOY, Decatur (their second Crystal); and to my alma mater WTOP, Washington.

Other winners include two other Hubbard stations, both in Chicago WDRV and WTMX (its second award); and KRMG, Tulsa; KTTS, Springfield Missouri; WINS, New York; WSB, Atlanta; and WUSL, Philadelphia (the first station to win SIX Crystal Awards).

Applause also to witty 25-year KROQ, Los Angeles morning duo Kevin & Bean, inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

More from NAB and NMX here tomorrow.  Meantime, video of some NAB sessions is streaming live at  And ICYMI, here are my notes from Sunday’s productive RAIN Summit West:


Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke and meet HC at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Analysis