What's It Going To Take...?

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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Tue May 01, 2018 9:17 pm

Radio Supporting Print?
In my previous piece, I dealt with the generally unknown or, in some cases, disregarded factors that constitute the significant differences between the print medium and all other electronic media. Please appreciate that “print” includes newspapers, billboards, bus boards, brochures, pamphlets and inane, but entertaining bumper stickers. Electronic media includes, radio, TV, digital devices, computer screens and telephones. I’m not sure about Dixie cups and stretched, waxed string.

A brief, generalized review: Our brains/minds are more efficient at processing(understanding) information and content when accessed through a print medium. Retention (memory) of the material is also enhanced with hard copy.

Electronic media, however, have a direct line to those aspects of our selves that process and respond to material, primarily at emotional levels. Should the presented material also contain emotional elements, all the better, especially for radio.

Further, and this is critical: Not only does the print medium access our capacities for critical thinking, electronic media bypasses that – leaving us more credulous and more gullible - more open to being influenced! We are more apt to believe the material that gets injected into us electronically.

Over the years, my main premises have been about how radio has been presented to audiences by way of on-air talent, and in the writing of commercial copy. To be more effective, a different and unique set of linguistic approaches and methodologies is required. More emotional/creative elements would be a bonus benefit. But the priority is about the more effective language patterns that are not being applied on the radio.

Meanwhile, I am going to suggest there are as important and yes, even sinister factors in play. A demonstration of that would be the last American presidential election. For the greatest majority of the electorate, the influential materials, both electronic campaign advertising and electronic media coverage were the elements to which most citizens were exposed. Emotionalism reigned supreme.

I mean: Would anybody with their critical thinking faculties engaged accept the garbage that was foisted off by the candidates? What they got was a bombastic, bellicose, baffled bully whose main attribute was the ability to deliver bulls*** by the truckload. That was what was accepted from a perceived and preferred alternative candidate.

A wall paid for by Mexico. Believable? Tax cuts exclusively for the wealthiest promoted as a tax cut for everybody. Reasonable? Equitable gun laws. Rational? Functional health care programs. Desirable? Not to those members of the population who were being indoctrinated almost exclusively by electronic media. Many who were enraged either recoiled or bailed out. The rest got sucked in by electronically delivered, mind numbing, but very stimulating nonsense.

Given the amount of time we spend ogling or listening to electronic media, we could be accused of voluntarily giving up our capacities to consider material and have some organized and critical thoughts about that to which we are being constantly exposed. The neurology of our brains leaves us wide open to manipulation.

Encouraging people to read more papers and books would, I believe, be of significant benefit to our societies. With that in mind, I include a radio script that could be provided as a PSA – at no charge to the management.

"Here at Poodle 96.9, we appreciate the loyalty of our listeners. Plus, people enjoy hearing us while engaging in other activities like – surgery! Tuning in, particularly while driving, is entertaining, informative and, it is safe. We say, “Whoopy!” We also understand that listeners can be even better informed when they also get their information from the print medium. So, we are urging Poodle 96.9, listeners to do a very smart thing: Get the paper and - read the paper."

Without providing an explanation of the neurological distinctions, any station that runs such a promo is still doing their listeners and their station a significant service. The exercise will gain more credibility for the station - a very nice bonus.

It is, certainly, too late to expect anything resembling a full recovery from the overwhelming intrusion of electronic media, but yet, this may be an important effort. The trend towards any further obliteration of the print media carries with it extremely severe consequences to any democracy. It may be that serious.

Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu May 17, 2018 3:52 am

Whatever Doesn’t Work…

Radio is not particularly unique in some of its approaches to, in our case, audiences and advertisers. When I was being trained to do behavioural counselling, one of the presuppositions that was presented is the following: “People, and the organizations they develop, tend to: Find out what doesn’t work – and then, do it harder!” A simple example of that would be the PD or manager who speaks to a staff member. When the response is unacceptable, they yell. When that doesn’t work, they yell louder.

While that is a standard-issue, psychological truism as it applies to peoples’ behaviours, radio has been living out the concept in other ways. Even as significantly pertinent information has been distributed throughout the industry, radio has been digging in its heels by either failing to apply the new developments or by making all efforts to disregard it. This avoidance strategy hasn’t been working, so radio does what it does best, it avoids it all the harder.

I believe I will get no reasoned or articulate arguments for the following: Twenty-five years ago, radio was producing better on-air presentations from “live” personalities and better, more interesting copy, especially for local advertisers. What radio has been doing harder, with admirable persistence, is crippling both of those components of the radio broadcast model. What is still left standing is: Sales. That is what gets the attention, and it is Sales that is supported, but only in some cases, some of the time.

I am also of the opinion that commercial radio is the least exploited medium in our culture. But then, that would be the case anyway, given how radio continues to, with intention, mangle the communicative aspects of the business by slashing budgets for talent and commercial production.

So long has this been the M.O. of commercial radio, it would be feasible to suggest that radio management no longer has any convenient access to Talent – mostly because the majority of skilled people have been drummed or starved out of the business. Of greater import, radio is no longer in a position to identify Talent, if and when it was available. So pervasive is this situation that I speculate radio’s management groups have been getting together only to find they really don’t have much else to talk about other than how to generate greater sales – without incurring more expense.

The disgust with this situation has become palpable within the industry. Commentators are registering their disdain more often and with more vitriol expressed at ownership and management than at any other time in our history. Those who make the attempt to defend the business and its sordid attempts to quell the folks who are registering bitter complaints can only provide maudlin and pathetic justifications for the status quo. It’s really quite pathetic when they scramble for examples of where everything is just rosy.

Radio is in a position, right now, where it is sliding into a miasma of indifference – demonstrated by the lack of enthusiasm from listeners and from advertisers. Radio has, for the most part, stopped providing the products and services that would begin to have an impact on such a shoddy circumstance.

Even as the strategies and methodologies are available that would quickly fire up a significant radio turnaround, owners and managers are having no truck with any of it. Too many have already thrown out their boilers or sold them for scrap. Too bad, as that is where the coal gets shovelled.

Governments, meanwhile, are going about the business of abdicating their responsibilities to the public and, instead, are futzing around with the regulations that will make for greater radio property acquisitions. This would have the effect of allowing broadcast corporations to do more of what they are doing, that isn’t working – and to do it harder!

So, where then, might there be opportunities? It would take an extremely forward-thinking organization to: 1. Realize they are playing a game where they will be the ultimate losers. 2. Search for and identify the strategies that will get, at least their own outfit, out of the glue. And, 3. Determine to execute those strategies. Otherwise, much of radio will continue to be the architects of its own, eventual demise.

Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Tue May 29, 2018 7:57 am

Required: Crash Courses

Seems like a significant portion of radio operators are well aware of how their stations are failing at, and utterly anemic in, serving their local markets. Because of the tragic deregulation of ownership that took place a couple of decades ago, a model of forced incompetence has been staked out, and is now being vigorously defended.

It should be pointed out that most station owners began disregarding their local responsibilities and opportunities by cutting talent and services many years before deregulation made it surprisingly necessary. Meanwhile, there is no defence of the status quo that has been put forward – not by anyone who wants to avoid losing credibility and any more personal integrity. Of course, those at the pointy end of a corporate agenda are summarily excused from being expected to sport much in the cloak of such integrity or, for that matter, group solidarity. Their rarefied air, after all, is piped in.

The realization of the need for operators to make a significant shift by providing many more superior services – at the local level – are, I suspect, also leaping into their awareness. As such, they are running up against some formidable challenges.

From time to time, there are admissions that “live & local” is the most effective strategy to undertake – beginning today. Yes, today would have been prudent. But that, I suggest, is no more than an opening consideration. Such an admission and even a sincere determination to execute the ideal is no more than an acceptance of a completely undefined concept – a premise with no meat on its bones, and no structure.

There was a time when those of us who longed to be “on the radio” were having that experience because we wanted to be “performers”. Our imaginations were engaged by the potential of gaining the learned skills and the improvisational capacities of “stand-up” comics - only in the “sit-down” positions. Our audiences were purely mental fabrications, as we worked alone in the dark.

Even when management treated us like mushrooms, eventually canning us, we maintained our drive to persevere and “make it”. I have difficulty in aptly describing the thrills of working in Major markets and, eventually, dominating in the process. The money got to be real good, too, by golly. The respect of my peers was the most satisfying.

Further, I maintain I had acquired some significant skills in the years prior to my being introduced to, and was applying, the linguistic patterns and strategies I was taught and implemented in due course. It was those methodologies that really launched my success. A couple mentors intervened along the way, and I am grateful. And thus endeth an arbitrary and embellished trudge out on the exit ramp of clouded, super-jock memories.

Meanwhile, what about the realities for radio – right now? The challenges are staggering. They may be overwhelming. Just paying a flippant lip service to the premise of “live & local” – the absolutely, correct strategy - will only frustrate the participants, sincerity notwithstanding.

There are two glaring but still ignored elements to this challenge. 1. The immediate training or re-training of the multiples of required on-air hires and, 2. Educating the additional copywriters that must be brought on. This, however, could be a simultaneous process because the training of every one of the on-air folks to perform copywriting duties, as well, would be quite satisfactory and much more efficient.

Recruiting talent, as many operators have openly confessed, is a mug’s game. Those that are on the search are terrified of the outside personalities who may be demonstrating any actual, (alleged) “creative” talent. What they still really want from on-air presenters is compliance! (“Read the liners. Shut up.”) Still, undisciplined, uninformed and unreasonable presenters that would wreck studio environments and audiences are, very much, a valid concern.

Indeed, crash courses in effective radio communications are required, especially for those outfits that have accepted “live & local” as the only way to take their stations forward. Since it is extremely unlikely that but a very few organizations will even be making any inquiries on the matter, the rest of the industry is destined (doomed?) to bog down or be lurching about, what with all the added expenses and hassles of bringing in untrained, uneducated and unruly pretenders.

Ronald T. Robinson
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pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby Just sayin' » Tue May 29, 2018 11:55 am

Have to agree live and local is the way to go, but didn't Roundhouse Radio try to uber-serve the local Vancouver market, and it just didn't work. May I suggest better hosts, content, execution.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Tue May 29, 2018 1:14 pm

Let me suggest the following:
Roundhouse Radio and any other outfit that decides to subscribe to "live & local" is only establishing a useful premise. It's not a matter of sweeping up a bunch of re-treads or barflies and throwing them on the air to make local references. That is no more than an invitation for another catastrophe.

Roundhouse was doomed before they even began - good intentions notwithstanding. It's a lot more difficult than it has ever been to bamboozle any audience with shoddy content and shoddy performances.

What is required is a complete overhaul of the training of both new and veteran hires - a total re-education - in modern communicative techniques. Radio has dug itself so deeply into the mire that anything else would only generate abject - and quite expensive - disasters.

The bar has been so low for so long that most operators are totally unaware of what it's really going to take to hold and influence any audience.

The prospects, by the way, are dire and grim.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:14 pm

More Than Possible: Necessary

Seems like radio continues to operate under a severely limiting set of circumstances. That these circumstances have all been self-generated, self-imposed and are also self-perpetuated is, apparently, lost on the participants. Further, much of radio continues whining and mewling about its’ not receiving a “fair share” of advertising revenue. This comes off as a superficial, juvenile lament – unworthy of serious, thoughtful players.

For decades, radio has encapsulated itself in a sensory deprivation hood – an experience where the act of breathing is the only benefit. Hence, an industry gasping its way through a contemporary epoch of limited success. Anybody that has lost access to their sensory experiences like seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting is destined to be banging into walls, falling over the furniture and wandering off into traffic.

Further, the industry refuses to accept that it is, indeed, rattling around in the dark because of its wearing of the hood. “What hood?” they exclaim. Radio has been doing whatever it can to up the game of their sales departments – and rightfully so. Yet, even as improvements in the sales departments are being attempted, there are, to my knowledge, no concerted efforts in the programming and creative departments to enhance what are radio’s only local products – the on-air communications from the talent-base and the generation of more effective and tolerable-to-the-listeners advertising.

The necessary knowledge and experience required for the production of more effective “live” radio and the production of superior, local advertising cannot and will not be addressed – not by anybody sporting The Hood. Again, the “What hood?” response comes up too often. In other words: These issues are not being taken up because there is likely no perceived awareness of the circumstance – as debilitating as it is - and so, there are no needs for them to be addressed. (Working in the dark will do that.)

Because my daddy didn’t toss me off the turnip truck in front of my local radio station when I was 15, I have had time enough to experience old-school, full-service radio and to figure out that owners and managers of the last 30 years have abdicated their responsibilities and ignored their opportunities to, if not keep, begin making the necessary and fundamental changes to the communicative processes that are dangerously required for radio to have much hope for the future.

Radio has taken the technologies that have become available over the last decades and plugged them in. Applying the new gizmos were not exercises in enhancing their services, but rather were used as cost-cutting devices. The strategy worked. Radio has cut costs to the point where local sticks are now rendered as almost irrelevant.

Meanwhile, there has been some recent hoopla about the opening of The Inaugural Beasley Radio Talent Institute, in Boston. The course is offered as a 10-day seminar that covers uhhh, ummm everything about radio! “Well, gosh.” I thought to myself. “How easy does it get?” When the leadership of radio considers a couple weeks at Radio Skool to be a sufficient and efficient enterprise, they are demonstrating an extreme lack of appreciation for what it’s really going to take to drag this business, at least into the ‘90’s.

Here is what it is going to take to move even smaller portions of the industry to where it can compete with other media: Training in modern, communications methodologies for on-air talent and the copywriters are not only possible, they are necessary for those who expect to enjoy prosperous futures. The process requires explanations, understanding, practice, repetition and ongoing supervision. Participation will have to be a condition of employment. Radio is now at the point where the strongest of measures will be required – if there are to be any expectations of spectacular results. (See dealer for details. Accept no substitutes.)

Those that make the strategic maneuvers will also be able to drive their own radio competition into the sea. Nasty business, to be sure, but given the plethora of signals all over the map, a culling may be just the ticket. Those outfits that stay stagnant can look only to their own eventual demise. The state of so much of radio is no longer up for discussion. The time for decision-making is at hand.


Ronald T. Robinson
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pave
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