Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stop Your Busy Day and Look Behind the Monitor

Stop your busy day as a Brand Manager, PD, Ops Manager (or whatever title you've taken on) and take a long look at what you do.   Do you really have a clear view of the brand, the audience, the clients who advertise on it, and the real view from the studio of the team that really creates it?   Yes you have data flowing into the computer from everywhere.  The Web metrics, ratings data with all kinds of special breakouts, and in the PPM world it's pouring out of the monitor like Niagara Falls.

I bet if you take a look you'll find that most of the day is spent behind the CRT display, pecking away on the keyboard and zipping the mouse around.  It's a sea of logs to edit, data to review, emails to answer, audio files to review, imaging files to edit or evaluate in a wave editor, and maybe a web meeting here and there.  There is new software to master, new distribution platforms to keep up with, the web site to keep updated, the studio software complexities/screw ups to master, the social media world to advance the brand's engagement with the audience, the latest trends within the audience, today's gossip, the music in your format, and then there are the management of the whole team that will likely make or break the brand.

In today's world you also may be doing all of this with 2 or 3 stations in the cluster so you can see how easy it's become to enclose ourselves in a computer cocoon.  Our POV has changed from listening to our brands, actually watching/listening to the audience, and interacting with clients marketing themselves with our brands.  Instead we see it mostly from a 22" LED monitor filled with data graphs, wave forms, emails and logs.

As you head into the Spring and Summer maybe it's time to set a few new priorities for your role and your POV.    Here are some suggestions:

  • Hit the Sales Road - What do the local clients think about your brand and using radio to market their brands?  Have they noticed the engagement you have with your audience in social media?  The power the on-air personalities have to market their products with their audience?  The impact you make in the community with the promotions and events you stage and work with?  Have you showcased the creative power of your brands and radio to them or have we just let the on-line world take that stage?   Or do they really see us as yesterday's media that doesn't work as well as some of the on-line experiments they engage in.  Do they really have a vision of your audience anymore?  Or has it also been lost is a sea of CPM breakouts? 
  • Get away and Really Listen - We used to get a hotel room and write down the whole day.  With BDS and Mediabase we can see the music anytime, but what about the imaging, the personality breaks, the phones, and the music flow on your brands.   How does it stack up minute by minute with the competition.  How does it stand out even in a world where there are so many music options? 
  • Listen On Line Also - How does your stream sound?  From the VOP of those of us who listen to a lot of streams in our daily routine you hear a lot that are pretty disturbing.  Dead air, music cut off, commercials chopped up, instrumental music that's just weird, endless boring PSAs and all kinds of streaming events that are unfortunate at best.  Maybe a few years ago not many people tuned in on their computers - we all know that's not the case today.   Have you just let the steam dry up??
  • Social Media and the Web - Stand back and take a LONG HARD look at the website, Facebook, and Twitter.  Are we falling behind and looking at a website that is just dated and not maintained.  Do we still have the same jock blog entry from last summer?  Are the news feeds on our Rock station all about Justin Bieber?  Do we have a cume of 120,000 but only 4,000 facebook fans and the posts are just coming from a few personalities with no strategic or tactical purpose?  
  • Hang with the Audience - We used to do listener advisory boards and there were also lots of events, remotes, and moments when most PDs had time to get a good look and listen to the audience.  Not only did we see the number breakouts and graphs on their listening, we actually listened to them.  Maybe it's time to start again?   
  • Hang with the Personalities and Programming Team - Yes everyone's busy, but you need to keep the creative juices flowing and the teamwork ticking.  Just having staff meetings, procedure memos, email notices, and show meetings that are mostly mechanical it's time to brainstorm, create, have some fun, play a few jokes on each other, and get pumped up to entertain the audience.   Most of this doesn't come pouring out of a monitor and keyboard.   
Gee we didn't even hit a full 7 steps here.  If we just took 1 day and spent it on each area here in 6 weeks your brand could be a lot more in touch with sales team, the air personalities and the audience.  Plus we all know it would clearly sound better on the air and on-line.   The biggest step here isn't 200 sit ups a day - most of it is just pushing away this keyboard I'm typing on and the monitor you're reading this on.   BYE.   

Friday, May 10, 2013

Exploring Your Local Market Dialect

Traveling from Radio market to Radio market in the U.S. and Canada one of the traits that is always fascinating is the local dialects.  It's the one big key to sounding local and a part of the community for any talent in any market and it's also often very important to the whole staging of a station/brand.

Where did these traits come from?  Why do we have so many different accents, phrases and styles of speech?  I ran into an overwhelming exploration of the various Dialects in North America in a recent link from a Facebook pal.   This is an amazing map and site, complete with You Tube links to illustrate various Dialects, as well as detailed histories on the evolution of the Dialects.

You can take in the whole site here.

The author is Rich Aschmann who is a Christian Minister who does this more or less as a hobby.  As he notes 'some people collect stamps - I collect Dialects.'  It's an amazing site that has way more information than most of us will every use to pick up the Dialect in Minnesota or around Pittsburgh but if you want to really dig in and know your market this is a valuable resource - if you can understand and grasp it all.

Even though we all speak English there is clearly a regional and local influence across both the U.S. and Canada.  It's more than just 'soda' or 'pop.'