Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Big Event

This weekend we have 2 huge media events that are probably more about HYPE and the media making something huge out of an event.  

The first is the Royal Wedding which by most accounts has somehow become more important here in the U.S. than in England.  Really the 'royals' don't rule the English Empire anymore.  The empire was largely split up in the 50s and the British government is not about the rule of the King/Queen.  But, the fairy tale of the prince and princess and a lavish wedding with the whole world watching has the eyes of the media locked down.

Really the only place to dodge all the coverage is ESPN.  But ESPN is itself involved in another marathon event that is probably way overhyped - the NFL Draft.   They have nearly non-stop coverage for 4 days as teams pick from the college ranks.  Exactly how many of these rookies will even see much field time in the NFL next year?  Yet if you listen to the hype - this is the chance for the Panthers to win the Super Bowl.   Forget about the potential of a strike next season -- which team will land Cam Newton???  Last year ESPN estimates that over 28 million watched at least part of the first round.

How does this relate to your radio station?   Well we all have special events (or we should have).  It might be that festival concert you do every year, an annual contest, or a big street/fair community event that you go all out for.  

The key to making them into HUGE events is a consistent build.  Look at the Draft - it started out has a meeting between the teams to divide up the college players.  Year by year the coverage grew and grew - now it seems to start around Halloween and builds to fill the time after March Madness.

The Royal Wedding was built for centuries with the fairy tales, Disney, and the legend/scandals of the 90s.

While you probably won't be able to turn the Chili Cookoff into a Royal Wedding you can grow it every year.  Look for new fairy tales to build from the event, new angles on making more exciting, and also look for new ways to build it up on the air.  

The key is not just to run way too many promos and and just pound it down the audience's ears.  You also have to keep it honest and authentic.  While you can embellish the sell on the event you have to watch that you don't over cook it.  The key here is having a plan and reviewing it every year to make it bigger and better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3 Kinds of PDs

Having had the opportunity to work with Programmers over the years it usually seems that they have 3 types of backgrounds or 'DNA' that lead to their career path.  Take a look and see which group you (or your PD) may fit in:

  1. The Great Jock - This PD usually came from the air staff and was the best air talent (or one of the best) on the team when it came time for them to step up to the PD office.  They usually are pretty skilled at working with the air staff, often pretty creative with promotions, many are pretty good writers and they also have a great creative side.  They may find challenges with grasping research, working with the logs and music systems.  
  2. The Technician - This group has a great grasp of computers and the technical side of the station.  They usually do very well with the logs and studio interfaces.  They grasp research quickly and often have a keen eye for analysis of the data.  Sometimes they are challenged with creativity on air and coaching the air staff.   
  3. The Musician - Music is the main reason they got into radio.  They are fans and may have a great ear for the music.  Many are pretty strong on air performers and they usually grasp the music scheduling and promotion side of the job fairly well.  They can run into challenges with research, coaching the air staff, and keeping the station focused on a tighter list in a competitive battle.   
All of these skills are important to being a successful programmer.  Each background or approach has great advantages and challenges.  Over the years we have seen more technicians emerge as computers have taken over in the studio and the digital world has become more important.  Still it does not diminish the need for great on-air talent and a full appreciation of the music we play.  We've probably all seen PDs who have skill sets in a couple or even all 3 of these backgrounds - the great PDs find a way to cover all of these areas even if it means hiring great talent around them.   But, in today's world we often find that staffs are pretty small - finding budget and room for a Musician to fill out the staff or pushing a Great Jock into more of leadership role presents a challenge.  

Now more than ever it's very likely that the PD will have to adapt and pick up the skills that didn't come with their DNA.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Phone Now It Makes the Music

The world of the I Phone and the Apps continues to amaze.   This week David Bowie announces the release of a new App that will allow you to remix - Golden Years from the 16 track master.  Yes now you can play record producer - here are more details. 

There's also an amazing video of the band Atomic Tom doing their song Take Me Out with just I Phones and IPods on a subway in NYC.

Now if mixing or playing songs is not your game perhaps using your I Phone to fly your airplane would be more challenging:

What's next??  
How about this APP