Category: Advice

Monday Memo: “And The Winner Is…”

| April 19, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — WHAT IF “The Oscar goes to…” you?

As you take the stage, cameras zoom-into other nominees in your category fake-smiling, and the timer begins: Green, then yellow, then – as the band gives you the hook – red. This Sunday night, you too will wince, because some winners are as verbose and ill-prepared as some radio talkers and DJs.

“The envelope please…”

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Monday Memo: Sound Bites

| April 12, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — To quote the immortal Yogi Berra: “You can observe a lot by just watching.” And listening! And shoptalk we hear reminds us to be agile WHILE doing-what-only-we-can-do:

 “It has the best-best of both worlds.”

SiriusXM CFO Sean Sullivan, telling the recent Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference how new two-way interactive 360L satellite radio receivers “can offer up other content, including podcasts and other things” such as Pandora, which SiriusXM bought two years ago, and Stitcher, acquired more recently. NOT among “other things:” Local news and personalities, which smart stations continue to offer.

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Monday Memo: Argument? Or Assessment?

| April 5, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — While shutdown-weary listeners yearn for The American Comeback:

  • FOX News feeds gotcha questions to budding correspondents it sends to White House briefings, where this president’s press secretary is more diplomatic than her predecessors.
  • Once CNBC’s credible, iconic “Money Honey,” FOX News B-teamer Maria Bartiromo seems to have taken the baton from disgraced Lou Dobbs. Mark Levin’s pitch is approaching an octave only dogs can hear.
  • Prominent among cable news and talk radio catch-phrase accusations are that Democrats want “utopia” and “open borders,” words I have never heard Democrats utter.
  • Asian-Americans are being assaulted in broad daylight, after Donald Trump branded COVID-19 “The Chi-nah Virus” relentlessly, because he knows what our sales reps preach to advertisers: repetition works.
  • Gun sales are so brisk that ammunition – already price-gouged — is being rationed in some places. The U.S. Capitol grounds seem no safer than supermarkets and other modern day killing fields.
  • There aren’t enough mental health professionals to meet demand.

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Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying

| March 29, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Make copy you craft for local retailers THIS crisp, and you and they will make money.

“Used cars never felt so new.”

Tag line from Shift.com TV commercial.

“Find local dentists who take your insurance.”
ZocDoc.com

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Monday Memo: Lennon, McCartney, Marbourg

| March 22, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Paul McCartney mused, “You’ve got to admit, it’s getting better, a little better all the time.” John Lennon muttered, “It can’t get much worse.”

And in the words of now-retired radio traffic reporter Bob Marbourg – a rock star to heavy listeners when he was part of my WTOP crew in the 1980s – “Pick your lane and stay with it.”

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Monday Memo: Radio Has a 100-Year Head Start

| March 14, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Podcasting: Steady growth continues, as other new-tech audio media plateau. You hear promos in network spots on-air, inviting listeners to listen to something else (without the controversy we remember from when stations accepted-or-refused advertising as satellite radio launched). And cover-up spots on Tune-In and Alexa are a parade of podcast promos.

Podcasting is an expression of a trend already-in-motion, accelerated by pandemic #StayHome: Consumption is moving from analog/real-time to digital/on-demand. A Vanity Fair article notes that, “during lockdown, news and comedy podcast listening spiked as people searched for both accurate political updates and distraction;” and predicts that, “after COVID, scripted content like children’s podcasts and Spanish-language programming will continue to rise.”

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Monday Memo: Staples’ Savvy

| March 8, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The email subject line from Staples.com included one of the two magic words that I nag…er, “recommend” radio hosts use when they ask for callers: “Want Your Marketing Materials to Work Harder?”

You (the other magic word) can learn from Staples’ marketing, whether you’re on-air or podcasting asking listeners’ precious time, and especially if you write promo or commercial copy, or if you sell.

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Monday Memo: On the Air, In the Air

| March 1, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Michael Bloomberg left abruptly, indignant. In 1990, he and my boss and I met in a small conference room in his New York radio station to discuss integrating his content assets in a media venture we were plotting. Three techie-nerd partners and I – d/b/a FliteCom Systems, Inc. – were scheming to deliver live audio, via satellite, to airline passengers, a first.

Seems quaint now, with Wi-Fi up there. But back then, after the Berlin Wall fell, we were a “Peace Dividend,” as the antenna we developed repurposed technology that was in the nose of the Patriot Missile. No lie. We merged into then-prosperous Gannett and our USA Today Sky Radio was installed on 453 Delta, Northwest, and United Airlines 737s, 757s, 767s, and A320s.

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Monday Memo: #Rush4ever

| February 22, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — “Who can replace Rush?” Ask callers, and the unison is, “Nobody can!”

You agree, then pivot: “But somebody MUST…who SHOULD?  One, eight hundred…”

All of us in the talk radio family will always owe him. Limbaugh lead the repurposing of an AM band obsoleted after music migrated to FM.

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Monday Memo: UQ

| February 15, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — This might be the most common mistake I hear on talk radio:

    1. On-hour newscast ends…
    2. Over-produced, self-amused intro includes the phone number…
    3. If it doesn’t – or even if it does – the host then announces the call-in number (“…if you want to be a part of this extravaganza,” as Sean says).
    4. The host then talks, and talks – in ad-libbed paragraphs — lots of “I” and “me” – about topic du jour, thinking-aloud, until happening-upon a distilled call-in proposition, with that call-in number WAY in the rear-view mirror.
    5. Then spots.

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