By Holland Cooke
Silver lining in this year-we’d-like-to-forget: It knocked us out of the business-as-usual mindset.
We know him, we love him. Until 2020, we could simply applaud his provocative take, then keep-doing-what-we’re-doing.
· “The minute this is all computerized, that’s the minute this business is no fun to be in.” Or in AM/FM radio’s case, to be listened-to.
· Regardless of industry: “If you exceed expectations for customer service, people will talk about you.”
What’s increasingly irrelevant? Platform. And same-old-same-old.
Consumers demonstrate a clear preference for content they can consume via smartphone or tablet. If it’s only available via AM/FM it’s less-convenient.
· If the content is music, and it’s The Burnout 300 – automated/ voicetracked/non-locally-hosted — it’s merely a commodity. FMs are under attack by streaming and satellite competitors. Alexa plays me 2 million songs, and my in-car music station is a USB drive I ripped.
· If the content is spoken word, and it’s the “Democrats bad/Republicans good” narrative, it’s a well-defined lane. Listeners are largely consuming in real-time in-car; and as 2020 vote count controversy demonstrates, they’re fiercely loyal. And they’re 55+, the biggest retail spenders.
· But there’s more to talk radio than radio. And there’s even more to political talk than the Limbaugh/Hannity/et al caricature. Here, for instance, is an example that demonstrates a business model from the early days of broadcasting: sponsor “ownership.”
· Smart stations are crafting on-demand digital content for retailers, podcasts/video demos/etc., and using transmitter reach + frequency and social media to promote it. Could a local TwoGuysInAgarage.com vendor do the same for these advertisers? Sure! But, as we train station reps to ask: “If we don’t tell our listeners, how will they know it’s there?”
Intimidating? Sure, but…
Resourceful stations will – must – find a way. Not set-up to produce videos for retailers? Trade with a wedding-and-bar mitzvah videographer. During the shutdown, they have time. And the work you produce can earn them and you more work.
Holland Cooke is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke