Radio Show: Creating Unforgettable User Experiences | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Radio Show: Creating Unforgettable User Experiences

| September 8, 2017

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant


AUSTIN — We’ve always talked-the-talk about being “less transmitter-focused, more receiver-focused.”  New competition and scant attention now force us to walk-the-walk.


  • User Interface, referred to nonchalantly as “UI:” What people interact with, i.e., your on-air product, web site, social media, events (“the bartender,” one Radio Show panelist quipped).
  • User Experience, “UX:” What people take-away from using your UI (“How you feel the next morning”).

“We try to do creative advertising that’s a joy to listen to.”

Nikki Nite is VP programming & operations, Entercom Austin, panelist in the NAB/RAB Radio Show session “Creating Unforgettable User Experiences.”  Her point: There are no “stopsets.”  Listeners experience whatever comes out the speaker at any given moment.

“Attributes of a UX radio person:”

  • User advocate
  • Empathetic
  • Facilitative
  • Audience centered
  • Storyteller
  • Designer
  • Curator
  • Researcher

Intimidated?  In today’s crowded media landscape this approach is the price of admission to listeners’ attention.  Challenge yourself to understand your work outside-in:

  • “Understand who your customers are.”
  • “Find your essential differentiators…your fundamental ‘why.’”
  • “Digital engagement is about connection.”
  • “How easy can we make it” for people to use us? (On smartphones, new dashboards, smart speakers)
  • “The faster people can get to your content the better.”

The challenge:

  • We’re busy! Our tendency inside-the-box is to focus on “making the wheels turn.”  We’re bumping into trees, and risk missing the forest.
  • They (listeners) are busy too! And they’re smartphone-addicted, struggling with new dashboards, and befriending Alexa.

Key: “not making programming decisions based on the technology available.  Are we doing this new thing just because it’s new?”

Brainstorm this at your station.

  • “Attack yourself. We’re in a space that’s 100 years old.”
  • “If you’re talking about yourself, you’re probably doing something wrong. If you’re talking about them, you’re probably doing something right.”

“The Organic Power of the Endorsers”

That was Larry Schweber, Comcast VP marketing & communications, at the NAB/RAB Radio Show Advertiser Breakfast, touting the results he gets from what he called “DJ spots.”  As he played airchecks!  Fellow panelist Pankaj Kumar, Comcast’s VP Media Sciences: “Radio does phenomenally well in our results. It’s an important part of our media mix.”

Their enthusiasm is driven by lots of planning and ROI data, and it underlines the advantage well-done live-N-local will continue to have over robotic broadcast stations and new-tech competitors.

 Selling to Car Dealers

Automotive is radio’s biggest advertiser category AND in-car is our #1 listening location; so there was rapt attention in THIS session, when two Austin dealers dished.

How to get in the door?

  • “Patience.” These are genuinely busy critters.  Don’t take it personally “if we don’t answer your Email right away.”
  • “Sincerity, a working knowledge of my business specifically…a vested interest.” They have no time for “bluffing.”


  • Avoid “generalization.” One dealer mentioned what he called the look-alike “clear cover binder.”
  • Car dealerships want to hear what’s been successful for same-brand dealerships in other markets. “I try things all the time, changing one thing” and observing results. “Whatever generates Return On Investment is what we’re gonna do.”

What do they REALLY want?

  • “Radio is great at ‘creating a halo” (what we call “branding” by using radio’s reach). “Showroom visits is the number I key-off-of mostly.  If the advertising gets people into the dealership it’s done its job.”
  • “Conversion” is the dealer’s job, and test drives — “getting someone into that seat” — is the ball game.

What keeps dealers up at night? The commoditization of selling cars.  This is a low margin business, and “the ability to make a misstep is non-existent.”

Opportunity: “Parts & Service generates half of our revenue. That’s big profit. Salespeople don’t offer to help with that.”

 Recruitment: Attracting and Retaining Top Sales Talent

EVERY station owner I work for says the same thing: “I’d hire two more reps today if I could find ’em!”  And that’s a mouthful, because every hire is a crap shoot that the station has to fund up-front, while the new hire is prospecting.

So Radio Show attendees were real interested in hearing from Assessments 24×7 founder Dr. Tony Alessandra:

  • “90 days should be enough to know if a new hire will be successful. A full year is too long.”
  • 3 Training Issues That Lead To Failure: 1 – No training 2 – inadequate training 3 – inappropriate training.
  • “Expand the applicant pool by looking for people in other industries who would be successful in radio.”
  • “The single biggest reason people quit a job is because of (bad) relationships.”

   The Radio Show wraps today, but:

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet; and he covers industry conferences for Talkers.  Follow his real-time Tweets from the Radio Show @HollandCooke.

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Category: Analysis