What's It Going To Take...?

General Radio News and Comments, Satellite & Internet Radio and LPFM

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

Postby pave » Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:31 am

The Realities Of Unconscious Communication

Psychologist, George A Miller, first introduced what has since become locked-in lore back in 1956. It has to do with the “seven plus or minus two” premise of in awareness, thought retention. This is a representation of how many elements of experience people can hold consciously.

When it comes to those people listening to the radio, their paying conscious attention to what they are listening becomes a bit of a chore. Let’s just say a person is driving their car. They might be paying attention to the road – a good thing. They could be having an internal conversation. They could also be adjusting their seating position. They might be paying attention to a passenger or the kids or the dog or all of those. They could be noticing an amber light or somebody making a turn into their lane. They could become aware of an itch or another bodily development.

Now, please appreciate: All of these elements are requiring that attention be paid and all are happening in evolving time. None of these are events, but rather processes. Add to all that – the radio station. Even that is not a singular element. That is because what is being communicated involves the triggering of our many sensory capacities.

It’s not about just hearing the radio – it’s about processing the information or other on-air elements, like the music. Even as that is happening, we could also be having another internal chat by commenting on what we are hearing. And then there is the frequency change the listener undertakes when they get tired of the commercial phusterclucks. All of these draw our attention – even if only momentarily. So, a reader can appreciate when all of these possibilities reach the “seven plus or minus two” threshold.

Now, I do appreciate where, from time to time, the radio catches our attention and becomes one of the “plus or minus two” experiences in our awareness, but those occasions, especially in the spoken word environments, are actually quite rare. Shabby commentary and shoddy commercials will drive those elements into a listener’s unconscious realm in one hell of a hurry.

Our conscious minds are easily overwhelmed. Everything else, then, drops into unconsciousness. Rather than the iceberg analogy where 10 percent of the bulk is above the surface and 90 percent is below the surface, I prefer the analogy of a rapidly evolving and changing lava lamp to represent conscious/unconscious processing. Elements of experience rise to the level of awareness and are quickly replaced by other bits of experience.

Since language is processed exclusively at the unconscious level, it might be prudent for radio communicators to apply those linguistic elements and patterns that work best – at the unconscious level.

The materials I have been providing do, indeed, work best at the unconscious level of any given listener. The attempts at delivering price/product/benefits information into already-overwhelmed conscious minds are much more of a struggle than it has to be. Trying to get listeners paying attention to pure content - and in awareness - is a difficult enough chore, particularly given the “seven plus or minus” factor that is always in play.

Well-crafted radio communications, both on-air and in commercial content, are far more likely to have influence when targeted at listeners’ unconscious minds.

As a further reminder: Because listening to the radio is, primarily, a sub-dominant (right brain) neurological process, the more likely it is that most messaging will be limited to those capacities supplied almost exclusively to that hemisphere.

A slight irony would be that when broadcasters are listening, they are doing so by attempting to be objective, and would be applying dominant (left brain) capacities to the practice.

Failures to address these and the other strategies and methodologies I have been promoting will, I submit, assure that radio will continue to hold down fifth place on the list of desirable entertainment, informational and advertising media.

It would be wise to consider the “seven plus or minus two” factor as it is ubiquitous, but also pervasive in the accessing of electronic media, including radio.

Over the decades, radio has found what doesn’t work. Instead of reassessing and developing its skill-sets, radio has been doubling down and doing what hasn’t been working for decades, only they have been doing it harder.

Continuously delivering the least possible services that provides the least possible positive responses from our markets by presenters that are operating with the least education and acquired skills that are directed at audiences and advertisers, is hardly a recipe for many future successes. To the contrary, it is a recipe for an imminent demise.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:07 am

A New Communications Model For Radio – A Definite Maybe

Over the last eight installments or so, I have been re-presenting many of the strategies that constitute an Advanced Communication Model for Radio Professionals. Every part of this program flies in the face of almost all of our traditional methodologies of communicating to a broadcast audience.

Perhaps, for those astute and regular readers, considering these (relatively) new approaches has been a confusing, if not an outright painful set of exercises. After all, who among us wants to be told that what they have been doing their entire careers is not only wrong, but destructive in the delivery, as well.

Programmers and consultants, their plates already overflowing with stomping out bush fires and re-arranging deck chairs, have little time or desire to delve into a Pandora’s Box of communicative strategies – strategies which, by the way, have yet to be proven in the programmers’ own experience in any meaningful way.

The risks of learning and applying the model are just too great, what with the extra time and effort it would take to implement the methods. On-air staffs are in the control rooms toasting weenies and marshmallows over open fires. When a PD roars into the room, wild-eyed and brandishing a fire extinguisher, she is dumfounded by the staffs’ casual and quizzical, “You’ve got a problem?”

No. This doesn’t seem to be the time to blow up the traditional models of communicating with which we are saddled and burdened to smithereenies. There are, after all, no good times for the exercise. Besides, and this is the most important point: Talent and writers have been so suppressed in their communicative options, both in time spent on-air and in content, that the very idea of applying more sophisticated methodologies becomes almost a fools errand.

“When”, a frustrated communicator could wonder. “Do I get the opportunity and time to apply these whiz-bang premises?”

In order for these linguistic applications to kick in, talent will need the time off air and on-air to learn and apply them. And what are the chances of that? Programmers would be more likely to supply their on-air talent with loaded weapons along with the admonition, “Don’t actually shoot anybody!” The ironies here are thick, and they are noxious.

This radio situation is one in which proactivity is essential – it is, indeed, required. Applying these methodologies will improve the affect that radio has on its audiences as well as for its advertisers. The application of the model is about ripping away the tired, old and traditional linguistic approaches we have been foisting on those very people we are obligated to serve. The old methods have been just barely serviceable and, I would argue, mostly damaging in tuning out and turning off audiences and advertisers.

Again, I repeat: I understand that beyond the neurological evidence, the use of the model by major advertising agencies and my own vast experience of applying the strategies, there is little in results that can be provided to Program Directors and senior management that will demonstrate the extraordinary result that comes from making the changes.

I also appreciate that for radio to pick up on these strategies, things will have to go very, very badly, first – even beyond the low esteem that radio is held as an advertising medium. This would be in spite of the fairly substantial reach that radio still enjoys.

Maybe some biggies and mom & pops may bite the bullet and cave in. Gawd knows the majors are doing everything they can to dilute their outfits to becoming no more than mere also-rans and examples of robo-radio. Even those declines might just open things up for the remaining stations, leaving the markets open to pillage and the usurping of available, left over advertising revenues. This will give them pause to, having found out what doesn’t work – to do it harder.

So, my positions remain “iffy” – at best. However, the struggle continues. It is a righteous endeavour.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:59 am

Radio Has Limited Options
In my most recent, I was lamenting the irony of introducing all of my linguistic jibber-jabber into a radio environment that is not constructed to accept it – never mind exploit it.

Jocks that are manacled by house rules of, primarily, delivering 3x5 card liners and extraordinary lapses between opportunities to actually communicate to an audience – a result of long music sweeps and interminable spot clusters. Audiences can go through a couple of quarter hours and only hear the presenter once or twice – tops.

Radio copywriters, meanwhile, have been put on the endangered species lists and their ilk could collapse without notice or remorse. It could happen at any time, their dwindling numbers approaching a threshold from which there may be no return. Those that do survive, for the most part, are to be found cowering in back offices, nostrils raised in the air and ever wary of approaching footsteps.

Yes, friends and fellow, fervent radio aficionados, corporate radio ownership has been committing a form of internal suicide for decades. Not quite on life-support, nevertheless, corporate radio has been selling off its life fluids to the point where there is little left to contribute and much less to save.

Presenters have either been abruptly knocked off and had their bodies buried under parking lots across the street, while those that remain have been summarily lobotomized and/or been suppressed into abject superficiality. Voice-tracking staffs have been relegated to a dank, back studio where they do the same daily program ad nauseam. They have difficulty breathing and can no longer feel their legs. This is their punishment for wanting to get into “show business”.

Plus, what with the copywriting duties being handed off to AE’s and janitorial staff, the opportunities to communicate powerfully to a radio audience on behalf of naïve and trusting advertisers are banished into a dry, sucking void.

Radio has, indeed, brushed and rolled itself into a tight, claustrophobic corner, and then, set fire to the paint. There seems to be little chance of escape.

The desperately panicked proclaim that the way out of this radio limbo is to: Go back to the old days and the old ways. They can be forgiven their understandable panic, but not for their poorly thought-out remedies.

Some fast facts:
• The talent required to “go back” is no longer available.
• There is little evidence that “going back”, even if talent were available, would be anything more than an expensive exercise.
• The mind-set of corporate radio is such that even a consideration of “going back’ is so dangerous, it gets met with boos, hisses, catcalls and nervous, guarded laughter.
• That “copywriting”, in other media, is considered a profession is totally lost on and escapes the consideration of radio management. To quote a former PD of mine, “We could get a monkey to do that.” This was the rambling of an individual who was completely unclear on the concept.

To be sure, if radio is to become reinvigorated, it must, first, dedicate itself to a complete re-training of on-air and writing staffs. And then it must provide the room, space and time on air to practice and become proficient in the new methodologies.

PD’s and consultants can spend their time in an ongoing flurry of activities to put out bush fires, re-arrange deck chairs and, otherwise, waste their efforts in only maintaining some kind of status quo – a scenario that most readers already appreciate as a wasted effort with little to show for the effort.

The principles I have been discussing these last months represent the only known recourse for broadcast communicators. There is nothing explicit or implied about “going back” in any of the provided strategies other than well-trained and practiced presenters do get to talk, once again.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:19 pm

We Can Get There From Here

I do appreciate that I paint a fairly gloomy picture for the future of radio, music-radio in particular. I also appreciate that many managers that are reading this would be going, “What’s this guy talking about? We have a handle on it.”

And therein, lies the rub. When people that have a problem – even a significant problem – are either unaware of it, or worse, are deluding themselves that no problem exists, the potential and need to address the issues become of no consequence whatsoever.

Now, when I say “future”, I mean a more significant future, a more effective future and a more prosperous future. Maintaining radio’s status quo, I submit, is no more than a strategy for a rather tedious, painful and protracted demise.

Radio’s demise will come about, not in a catastrophic explosion where all hell breaks loose in an instant with flying body parts and scattered pink slips, but rather with sporadic collapses, whimpers and spasmodic jerks that foretell of an ultimate failure and an expenses-paid cruise into oblivion.

There really is no accepted way around it: Radio has gagged and suppressed its talent base – both on-air and in copywriting – to the degree where wheezes, gasps and gibberish is accepted as presentable content.

It’s not that the presenters don’t have some (alleged) talent; it’s that a casual listener will hardly ever be exposed to it. This is, of course, because the talent has been banned from putting any of their (alleged) talent on display. So, if listeners are not getting the benefit of this talent, it doesn’t exist. An eager but still droning, spoken station promo and a word-for-word repeat of some extraneous human interest pieces ripped from the internet hardly serve as examples of anybody’s astute awareness or sparkling personality.

I put forward the premise that being on the air at any contemporary radio station presenting any of the standard musical formats does not constitute meaningful work for a grownup, or, for that matter, a young person, as well.

The spoken word, after all, is the only element over which both local and corporate radio has complete control. Music, many of the spots and the technologies are all out-sourced, Syndicated shows and voice tracks could be argued as being of the imported ilk, too. Besides, the V/T’ed portions are not only mostly bereft of any personality, they are also missing the electric spontaneity of a real-time, live & local broadcast.

Still, as I say on the Dr. Ho infomercials, “But wait! There’s more!” Even as the Dr. Ho spots are examples of poorly crafted copywriting, I admit to being a V/O ho’ for Dr. Ho.

So, one could wonder: How do we get from here – a struggling and exhausted electronic medium - to there – a more prosperous and significantly more effective medium?

Alert readers that have been paying attention will already know my response: Train the on-air staff and the writers in the basics and nuances of more effective broadcast communications.

Granted, this is not an exercise that will be embraced by anything close to a majority of radio operators. Practically, there is the vague, although unpromising possibility that only one of the corporate ownership groups would even consider the project, This, as it would indeed be a yeoman’s chore – with assurances, to be sure, but no guarantees, either.

Still, there are no alternatives left – none that would encompass the potential to improve the industry. Going back to those (also alleged) halcyon days of yore is not an option. The opportunities for real talent have gone the way of the carrier pigeon.

Indeed, the only real alternative is for radio to go forward – to an environment where talent has become educated and skilled at communicating far more effectively to a broadcast audience – and then, given the time on-air to develop, apply and enhance those skills.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:40 am

How Radio’s Creativity Got Suppressed

Some readers may remember when radio was equivocated with “theatre of the mind”. It wasn’t a particularly true equivalency, not at the time, but it was bandied about as if it were. Even today, some radio apologists, who know not of what they speak, trot that old nag out like it was tuning up for The Preakness.

A number of Stan Freeberg’s radio promos were touted as prime examples of radio swooping in and flying off with listeners’ imaginations. But, essentially, it was a full stop after those wonderful productions were making the rounds.

Perhaps the most famous of Freeberg’s contributions to radio creativity was his audio representation of a 750 foot mountain of whipped cream being dumped into a drained Lake Michigan that had been filled with hot chocolate. In due course, an RCAF aircraft towed a 10-ton maraschino cherry into place and dropped it into the whipped cream. The spot included a description and sound effects. It became the gold standard for radio creative. This was produced in 1964 and its influence, although laudable and noisy, was almost negligible at the time. Even that has waned since then.

Meanwhile, radio’s owners and managers took a not-so-surprising, but completely undisclosed and hidden set of decisions. They (correctly) concluded that the production of creative radio spots would take greater talent, more time and incur other significant expenses than the cookie-cutter slog which was being produced at the time – and continues to today.

The last four major market stations for which I toiled had between 4 and 6 full-time copywriters. They were there to continuously crank out multiple spots per day of the least possible creative kind, and on an ongoing basis. These were strictly meatball production departments. Any creative that actually got smuggled in was greeted with accolades and a bout of heavy, celebratory drinking an’ stuff.

Further, the provision of wet scrambled eggs and hard, over-cooked hash browns – the staples of every radio ad menu - was a necessity. The demand for such drek was fierce, and radio’s capacity to produce anything else was so completely gassed. Even then, radio had become a source of ads that were no more than newspaper-ads-of-the-air. As now, they were all content, price/product elements that included undisguised “calls to action” or demands for behaviours.

To be sure, from time to time, paltry efforts at some form of creativity are made by frustrated copywriters, or at the behest of some dissatisfied retailer. Unfortunately, they usually start with a somewhat promising creative premise that lasts maybe 10 seconds – tops - and then immediately lapse into the heavy content mode – completely destroying whatever creative idea was being attempted.

But, wait! There’s more!

Ownership and management, along with much of the on-air and copywriting staff actually do believe the form the spots have been taking over the decades actually do constitute effective advertising, and do work for the benefit of the advertisers.

They would be, at least, semi correct – according to the fact that radio has not disappeared into antiquity as a quaint, interesting but ultimately useless, used-up medium. Indeed, for many of radio’s participants, even these shameful cartloads of commercials are generating some modicum of advertiser results.

The key to all of this is in that radio has, primarily, an emotional access to listeners, whereas print accesses, primarily, the intellectual capacities of readers. This doesn’t stop print from also including emotional elements, either. Sometimes, photos of the product will prime an emotional response. Other times, a gorgeous model in high heels posing beside a can of motor oil or a heater gasket does the trick quite nicely.

Meanwhile, the applied necessity for radio commercials to be so up-to-date as to be running, practically, in real time, only serves to keep the copywriting squads in chains and churning out, essentially, make-work projects.

Finding new ways to say the same old thing becomes a tedious and thoroughly unsatisfying chore, as well, for writers and production talent. That’s how we become exposed to the likes of: “The partnership of Dr. Heggada Beggada and The Bob are here to serve you for all your proctology, storm door and window needs.”

So, when taken in total – the unwillingness of ownership to refuse to indulge in greater effort and costs, along with their insistence that the status quo is nifty enough - the prospects for radio’s leap into a brave, new and more prosperous future are slim, indeed.

However, leaving this piece on a downer note seems a little crass. After all, there are a number of steps that can be taken by radio to drastically improve the affect of radio on both listeners and advertisers. It can begin with a gradual but significant re-training of all those whose language gets to the air – announcers and writers. The strategies and methodologies I have often demonstrated will have a severe impact on the positive fortunes and effectiveness of these communicators. But, it is a top-down process. The puck, as they say, drops in front of the owners.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 12:22 pm

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

Postby pave » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:40 am

How Radio’s Creativity Got Suppressed

Some readers may remember when radio was equivocated with “theatre of the mind”. It wasn’t a particularly true equivalency, not at the time, but it was bandied about as if it were. Even today, some radio apologists, who know not of what they speak, trot that old nag out like it was tuning up for The Preakness.

A number of Stan Freeberg’s radio promos were touted as prime examples of radio swooping in and flying off with listeners’ imaginations. But, essentially, it was a full stop after those wonderful productions were making the rounds.

Perhaps the most famous of Freeberg’s contributions to radio creativity was his audio representation of a 750 foot mountain of whipped cream being dumped into a drained Lake Michigan that had been filled with hot chocolate. In due course, an RCAF aircraft towed a 10-ton maraschino cherry into place and dropped it into the whipped cream. The spot included a description and sound effects. It became the gold standard for radio creative. This was produced in 1964 and its influence, although laudable and noisy, was almost negligible at the time. Even that has waned since then.

Meanwhile, radio’s owners and managers took a not-so-surprising, but completely undisclosed and hidden set of decisions. They (correctly) concluded that the production of creative radio spots would take greater talent, more time and incur other significant expenses than the cookie-cutter slog which was being produced at the time – and continues to today.

The last four major market stations for which I toiled had between 4 and 6 full-time copywriters. They were there to continuously crank out multiple spots per day of the least possible creative kind, and on an ongoing basis. These were strictly meatball production departments. Any creative that actually got smuggled in was greeted with accolades and a bout of heavy, celebratory drinking an’ stuff.

Further, the provision of wet scrambled eggs and hard, over-cooked hash browns – the staples of every radio ad menu - was a necessity. The demand for such drek was fierce, and radio’s capacity to produce anything else was so completely gassed. Even then, radio had become a source of ads that were no more than newspaper-ads-of-the-air. As now, they were all content, price/product elements that included undisguised “calls to action” or demands for behaviours.

To be sure, from time to time, paltry efforts at some form of creativity are made by frustrated copywriters, or at the behest of some dissatisfied retailer. Unfortunately, they usually start with a somewhat promising creative premise that lasts maybe 10 seconds – tops - and then immediately lapse into the heavy content mode – completely destroying whatever creative idea was being attempted.

But, wait! There’s more!

Ownership and management, along with much of the on-air and copywriting staff actually do believe the form the spots have been taking over the decades actually do constitute effective advertising, and do work for the benefit of the advertisers.

They would be, at least, semi correct – according to the fact that radio has not disappeared into antiquity as a quaint, interesting but ultimately useless, used-up medium. Indeed, for many of radio’s participants, even these shameful cartloads of commercials are generating some modicum of advertiser results.

The key to all of this is in that radio has, primarily, an emotional access to listeners, whereas print accesses, primarily, the intellectual capacities of readers. This doesn’t stop print from also including emotional elements, either. Sometimes, photos of the product will prime an emotional response. Other times, a gorgeous model in high heels posing beside a can of motor oil or a heater gasket does the trick quite nicely.

Meanwhile, the applied necessity for radio commercials to be so up-to-date as to be running, practically, in real time, only serves to keep the copywriting squads in chains and churning out, essentially, make-work projects.

Finding new ways to say the same old thing becomes a tedious and thoroughly unsatisfying chore, as well, for writers and production talent. That’s how we become exposed to the likes of: “The partnership of Dr. Heggada Beggada and The Bob are here to serve you for all your proctology, storm door and window needs.”

So, when taken in total – the unwillingness of ownership to refuse to indulge in greater effort and costs, along with their insistence that the status quo is nifty enough - the prospects for radio’s leap into a brave, new and more prosperous future are slim, indeed.

However, leaving this piece on a downer note seems a little crass. After all, there are a number of steps that can be taken by radio to drastically improve the affect of radio on both listeners and advertisers. It can begin with a gradual but significant re-training of all those whose language gets to the air – announcers and writers. The strategies and methodologies I have often demonstrated will have a severe impact on the positive fortunes and effectiveness of these communicators. But, it is a top-down process. The puck, as they say, drops in front of the owners.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 12:22 pm

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

Postby pave » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:48 am

Radio’s Ride Into Irrelevancy

Many readers who are somewhat longer in the tooth than others may still be in shock about the road down which radio is staggering. It is, however, a longer road and some of the scenery is still quite pleasant – hardly revealing signs of a destruction that is yet to come.

But, the signs are still there, and expectations there won’t be developing a logical conclusion are based, primarily, on memories of better days and a delusion that radio wouldn’t do this to itself. I say “delusion” because examples of people voting against their best interests and behaving against their best interests are rife, if not commonplace. They are deluded into believing that what isn’t – is.

So it is with radio. Owners, managers and other apologists are deluded into thinking that trashing of talent in great swipes across the industry won’t come with dire consequences. By doing so, they are driving their own medium into irrelevancy. One of the ironies is that they are perpetrating this slow and gradual form of suicide, all the while touting the validity of “local community service” and the personal “one-to-one” experience. This is particularly insulting to audiences when much of this “personal” experience by talent is being delivered from the can – already voice-tracked or syndicated.

But then, we all know the facts of the matter, and yet, our righteous indignation is treated like the meager, but still annoying yelpings of the whiner-class. We, apparently, are not privy to the realities of doing business in the medium. Sure. Realities like radio’s impotence when it comes to providing exemplary services to both audiences and advertisers and the resulting income that would support the provision of those services on an ongoing basis. Never mind about the station-supplied pizzas and beers on a Friday afternoon.

Now, I am not suggesting that radio is driving itself into a tragic and irrevocable extinction event. Nothing that dramatic is in the cards. Radio is behaving in a more subtle fashion that is still obvious to those that have been paying attention. Bit by bit, we are self-amputating pieces of our radio body to the degree that, when the starter’s gun goes off, we are without feet, ankles and sometimes, legs. This would relegate us to running the race, bumming along in a potato sack. There are no prizes awarded for “trying real hard under the circumstances”.

Another irony is that it is likely the larger, corporate radio entities will be the first to begin falling – too heavy to carry the weight of their own bodies and requiring too many resources just to keep carrying on. Smaller organizations, better in touch with their outfits, will have the opportunity to adapt. But, again, this will only be an opportunity with no assurances they will recognize the newer environment, or have the wherewithal to exploit the situation. They may figure that, with less competition, they can carry on with the same strategies and reap whatever benefits, which may be left over.

Granted, I have my own delusions about this matter. One of them requires that I join the Hopa-Hopa Clan and hope for an enlightenment to occur within the ranks of some of radio’s ownership. This enlightenment would include the re-training of an on-air and writing staff to become superior communicators and to start producing results for both audiences and advertisers. Until that happens, there will be no justification for increased ad rates and, by the way, reduced spot loads.

The tendency of radio to become, more and more, a peripheral, background source of audio does not bode well for a dynamic, engaging medium in the future. Fewer and fewer people are hanging on to every word uttered by V/T’ed announcers or responding to the shabbiest of commercial messaging as to render the medium into a drift into irrelevancy.

None of this, of course, is necessary. But the likelihood of it doing this to itself is extraordinarily high.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:10 am

What Radio’s Ownership MUST Be Thinking

When I was being fitted for my Counselor’s Cap, I had, by that time, picked up a number of useful generalizations that have stood, not only the time test, but the smell test, as well.

One of those can be represented as follows, and it comes in the form of a question: What must a person believe – about themselves and/or the environment – for a behaviour to be there?

Applying this particular inquiry to this or that situation tends to clear the decks of flotsam, jetsam and bilge – and quite smartly, too. Now, the perpetrators of the questionable behaviours aren’t going to like the process all that much. This would be because it reveals the underlying, core belief systems while trashing the smoke, mirrors and bafflegab that is being presented instead.

Besides, nobody wants to have B.S. called on themselves – not when perfectly acceptable garble has sufficed for so long. So, let’s examine what radio’s ownership must believe for their behaviours to be there.

Radio’s ownership continues to decimate the talent base – both on-the-air and in Creative. For this one, there is a multiple choice of elements that ownership must believe for the behaviours to continue. They would include:

• A belief that continuing the practice will do no harm to the organizations.
• A belief that continuing the practice will actually be of benefit to the stations.
• A belief that maintaining the position will not impact on either audiences or advertisers.
• A belief that audiences and advertisers are completely gullible and credulous and, as such, do not notice the severe decline in on-air and creative services.
• A belief that no alternatives that would turn around the performances of on-air and creative staffs exist.
• A belief that, even if the educative processes were readily available – and they are - the impact of applying such techniques would be considered as nebulous at best, and overly expensive and time-consuming at worst.

Other than that these beliefs are also callous and cynical, they must be in place. These beliefs, by the way, have friends. They are ubiquitous throughout the industry and no challenges are being put forward, particularly from the peers and colleagues of ownership.

Add to that the disturbing factor that these beliefs and values are now cross generalized. Since the early ‘90’s, they have been pervasive and, over time, whole management groups have replaced those that had started implementing the practices in the first place.

The downside to this exercise is in that corroborating evidence can substantiate none of the beliefs. What they can be are justified – all day long and into next Tuesday. Anything and everything can be justified, and to the satisfaction, particularly, on the part of the affected principals. None of the justifications make the beliefs true, accurate or especially useful.

Indeed, these beliefs have become normalized and traditional - the status quo – with no surprises for a newer generation of managers. Further, the maintaining of these beliefs does not bode well for the possibilities of any improvements in the industry. They only secure the continuance of that which is proving to be a set of false and dangerous practices.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:12 pm

Live & Local Is Not Nearly Enough

Both American and Canadian corporate radio outfits have conducted a series of “Valentine’s Day Massacres”. IHeart, most recently, did a slash and burn on its talent base. Bodies are being stacked in the parking lots like so much chord-wood. Employees’ spouses and children are weeping openly – wondering from where their next set of square meals will be coming.

Considering all the trumpeting of radio as a viable entertainment and advertising medium, ownership are doing whatever it can or deems necessary to squelch any possibilities of those admonitions becoming anything close to realized potentials.

That current management are holding certificates from Liars Colleges across the country does not bode well for appreciating anything that comes out of the mouths of these straight-faced and seemingly sincere individuals. The other thing of note is that being caught in a lie is no longer a behavioural circumstance that results in any severe consequences.

Further, the standard-issue response to being challenged for lying – whenever that happens - trips off the lips and tongue easily and instantaneously: “I wasn’t lying. I was just bull sh**ing.”

Meanwhile, what may seem extraordinary to many readers is the degree to which stations are being denuded of their live & local talent. Many of us were under the impression that there was no more room for eviscerating more of the on-air performers. We were woefully mistaken. There’s always more room for a little extra carnage.

And then, there is the rationale of ownership and management that are utterly embarrassed by what they are hearing on the air from their own (still) employed presenters. After all, most of the higher-quality performers have already been let go, leaving only the shells of some personalities that have been browbeat and suppressed into becoming mewling sycophants – and that are ever fearful of losing their unsatisfactory phony-baloney gigs.

After all, being on the air for a modern music radio station hardly constitutes meaningful work for many grownups. So suppressed has talent become that a casual listener can’t tell if it’s “live” or V/T’ed. Too many presenters have been placed in circumstances where their programs are, essentially, “getting mailed in”.

Now, I realize I am painting the talent-base with much too large a brush, but it can be accurately stated that much of the remaining talents have lost their edge. That is, if they ever had an edge in the first place. But, given their stilted performances, there is hardly anything to get excited about, either.

Rather than moaning about what was available across the industry in terms of on-air performances in decades gone by, I will insist that the material being delivered on a regular basis today does not stand up or stand out. It is mostly blather and gibberish and cannot be expected to have an impact on current or future audiences.

The tragic irony in all of this is that the subversive nature of adding extraordinary limitations to the talent and then, dismissing them from the buildings are all machinations brought about by ownership and management. The very considerations of critical thinking, reality-based reasoning and rational approaches are lost on the perpetrators of radio’s maladies.

What’s worse is that they get arrogant about their own certainty. Gutting the talent-base, along with any copywriters that might be lurking under their desks will decrease the overheads and might even increase efficiencies. On surface, that’s just weird. Where this gets beyond weird is: They just may be right!

So, it would come as no surprise that any expectations I might have of being invited to unpack my carpetbag of linguistic strategies, methodologies and sleight-of-mouth tricks should be held in abatement – at least for the foreseeable future. There is no interest from ownership or management and there are no plans for a re-training of the on-air staff members and writers.

We can, therefore, make book on this: What we’ve got so far is what we are going to continue to be getting.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:33 am

March Of The Lemmings

Lo, those many years ago, American and Canadian radio stations started instituting a scorched earth policy, especially as it regards on-air staff and writers. The strategy was put in place in order to diminish overheads. This was due, in part, to the extraordinary loss of revenues that were being experienced by stations – everywhere and almost across the board.

As other media was making inroads into the advertising bases of the stations, there was little that was known that could be done to put a halt to these events. So station ownership did the only practical thing they could do that was within their immediate control: Slash & Burn cost cutting became the first and only priority.

There was little time, opportunities or motivation to consider the implications or the consequences of such practices. So they commenced to swinging the mighty scythe – and what a swath it made.

In the interest of historical accuracy, it needs to be pointed out that ownership and management began their cost-cutting rages well before the onslaught on station revenues from other media even began. Talents’ heads were being lopped off, and were being replaced with the advent of more and ever-longer music sweeps. The rationale became one of: “If we are playing more tunes – what need for the talent, particularly the established senior and more expensive on-air individuals?”

Out-of-market research, nebulous though it was, became the mantra and a convenient excuse for wiping out the talent base. Essentially, the research returned a verdict that: What audiences wanted was: More Rock and Less Talk. Well, ownership wasn’t going to let that gift horse trot by without mounting up and digging in the spurs.

Later, when station incomes really started to suffer, management spit into their hands and the more serious gutting began. Sweats were worked up and blisters were developed. Again, it was masqueraded and cloaked in ever more and even longer music sweeps. And it was so easily accomplished. It was like detonating guppies in a tank.

What ownership and management did not realize, however, was that it was, at least partially, the result of these slashes in talent contributions that were responsible for the curtailment of the services and subsequent drops in revenues that, up ‘till then, stations had been providing and enjoying. It never occurred to them that a diminishing of the services that radio stations had been demonstrating would have an impact on audiences and, more subtly, but as importantly, on advertisers.

Thus, the March Of The Lemmings had begun. There weren’t any actual parades, either. Nor were there reviewing stands, bands or scantily-clad lemmingettes with pom-poms and pouting, lemming lips to usher those poor devils up the trail, over the ledge and into the abyss. Even so, some of the on-air and creative lemmings were heard to exclaim as they were approaching the edge of the cliff, “Anybody else see this coming?!”

Meanwhile, the radio trades have been promulgating how radio is such a nifty-keen medium with all kinds of reach and really swell returns on investment for advertisers. That almost all of the stations have great difficulty – even if they try – in cranking out a series of compelling spots for a client, doesn’t seem to bother anybody all that much.

Besides, as tradition demonstrates, the great unwashed – the perceived rubes and dolts in the audiences - cannot appreciate or respond to any ads that would tweak either their imaginations or their emotional capacities. Basic ripped and read, yell & sell ads will do quite nicely. And besides, the janitor has better things to do than crank out spots.

Occasionally, a client like Dougie’s House of Antiquities and Spicy Sausage Emporium gets dragged out as an example of how radio works really, really well, like, y’know? For the most part, though, radio continues with its standard-issue advertisers and its standard-issue spots – spots, by the way, that could have been – and were – written 50 years ago. Even then, they were questionable.

Not only does radio now have to find new talent – both on-air and in Creative – it has to take on the challenge of trainin’ them up in order for them to become professional, competent communicators. This is an extremely unlikely, foreseeable scenario, certainly not so long as The March Of The Lemmings continues – unabated.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:07 am

Radio Communications – Rejected, Ignored and Maligned

I mean, it’s not as if radio’s current ownership and management have not had ample opportunities to consider and re-consider the state of the industry and wonder: “What can we learn and do that will enhance our position in our market(s)?” That would be a targeted process that is unlikely to see the fruits of any labour. So, we can, pretty much, take that arrow out of the quiver, and use it as kindling.

As a digression: I am reminded of those countries, mostly in Europe, that denuded themselves of most of their forests in order to build their homes and stoke their warming and cooking fires. As they ran out of wood resources, they found themselves to be solidly pooched. Soon after they determine, to their dismay, that rocks don’t burn. By that time it was too late. Hence, the peat and coal rush.

And so it is with the core of radio’s talent-base. They, too, have been burnt to the ground or arbitrarily discarded and shredded to make cheap, plywood voice trackers. And anyway, coal don’t talk on the radio.

The times, meanwhile, are such that a number of operators figure that, in a pinch – but not until - the addition of one or two local and “live” talkers might do the trick. This would be to assuage local audiences and, to some degree, local advertisers.

What these proprietors do or don’t realize is that, by eliminating the local talkers years ago, the ones that are left over or can be recruited are almost good enough to cover that nut. They would be mistaken. When the original culling of the herd of personalities began, they not only gutted the talent-base, they gutted the knowledge and skill-base, as well. So few of the left-behind or recently employed personalities have the skills to be efficient or compelling on-air individuals.

Like a pack of wild, mutated Bambis, ownership has been peeing all over the radio landscape, drenching the terra forma with acidic wizz. And as most senior practitioners would agree: Where Bambi goes – nothing grows.

Most functioning on-air performers have but one priority, that being: To stay in the good graces of management so as not to lose their phoney-baloney gigs – as desperately unsatisfying as they might be. Indeed, would any of the talent be well-served to challenge the status quo; to make suggestions as to how things could be done better or more efficiently or to request additional training in the arts and sciences of broadcast communications? The question is strictly rhetorical as, indeed, they would not.

My purposes over the years for taking up this space has been to promulgate the alternative approaches to communicating for a radio audience. Please also appreciate I say “for” and not “to” or “with”. Nobody that is on the air is communicating with or to anybody – unless they are speaking to them either in-studio or on the phone. And that practice utterly eliminates the rest of an audience - as any form of a direct communication.

To be sure, the strategies, methodologies and sleight-of-the-tongue tricks I have been providing have been both either rejected or ignored. And this is during a time when they have never been more useful or necessary. Whatever remaining talent that still exists and new hires coming aboard are going to have to be re-trained or originally trained, not only in the basics of radio communications, but the multiple nuances, as well.

Back in the day-day, many of us were compelled to be interesting in whatever free-form methods we could deliver. Plus, back in the day-day-day, we were cracking the mic after every song. This gave us the opportunities to develop some serious chops. There was little choice in the matter. Either we performed, or we were toast.

Maintaining the current status quo and a buck, ninety-five will get us a cup of coffee. Plus, it will only accelerate the slow but consistent demise in which radio finds itself. We aren’t, so much, diving into oblivion trailing smoke and flames, but we are losing altitude rapidly. In other words: The constrained and crackling whistling in the dark along the hallways only makes obvious the stress factors under which radio is operating – right now.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:10 pm

Radio Blows Another Opportunity

It’s not enough that radio whines and snivels about missing its “fair share” of ad revenue. Radio also refuses to take any responsibility for such foreboding circumstances. “It’s those black-hearted online marauders that are chiseling into and wrecking our business”, they say. “We have no defense other than to promote radio’s fantastic reach.” This is a reach, by the way, that is not nearly as clearly demonstrated as it needs to be.

Meanwhile, my Beasley-buddy, Bob McCurdy, Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group, has, as is his habit, provided some serious and outstanding information on who are the people that are buying cars and trucks. The results, as demonstrated by the data for the information (below) comes from Nielsen’s sales mapping tool, Rhiza, which utilizes Polk automotive data, which provides auto buyer demographics. This means it summarizes who actually purchased/leased new automobiles, not who one thinks is purchasing/leasing them.

Otherwise astute but still risk-aversive readers might consider strapping in for this.

Neilson has projected that boomers spend almost $90 billion a year on cars, so let’s compare boomer new car purchases/leases with other demos using Rhiza. Millennials and Generation Z may be the future, but the boomers have the cash, as well as the need and desire to spend it now. Right now.

Some key takeaways:
– Adults 75+ purchased 11 times as many new cars as those aged 18-24.
– For every 100 new cars that the 25-34 adult purchases/leases, the 75+ adult purchases/leases were 75.
– The 55-64 adult purchased/leased more new automobiles than any other demo.
– On average the 55-64 adults accounted for +123% more new car purchases/leases than the 25-34 adults.
– 55+ adults can’t be ignored when it comes to moving automotive iron off dealer lots, accounting for virtually half (46.2%) of all new car purchases/leases in Boston in 2019, 49.7% in Philadelphia, and 46.8% in Detroit.
– The 65-74 adults accounted for 56% more new auto purchases/leases than the 25-34 adults.
– The percentage of new car purchases/leases by demo are largely consistent across the other two markets analyzed, Philadelphia and Detroit.

For those AE’s that handle an auto dealership, it will be well worth a minute or two reviewing the purchases/leases by OEM — they are remarkably similar regardless of make. The two outliers appear to be Chrysler (this was consistent across all three markets) and Tesla.

The 25-54 demo is an incredibly unreliable proxy to target new car buyers. The importance of the 55-74 year old adult can’t be ignored across all brand categories, but especially in automotive.

Imagine the impact that could be had on the 55+ or 65+ demos if commercials were prepared that would be appealing to this otherwise jaded, cynical and already saturated-with-radio advertising junk group of still-existing listeners.

Here, however, are a couple of rubs/stumbling blocks:

Radio, populated by (allegedly) bright and otherwise clever marketing consultants, fails on two levels.
1. Radio and its automotive advertisers fail to target the demographic in the first place and, if and,
2. When they do, they fire out the weakest of standard-issue skanky spots that aren’t purpose-designed to do anything for anybody, particularly this demographic – other than to keep the writing and production time and costs down in the cellar.

This is a low-down, dirty-rotten shame, as well. In one breath, radio moans about the inroads other media has made into what was once its open, almost exclusive territory. In the next gasping wheeze, it disowns any obligations to generate the appropriate and appealing advertising messaging that would impact seriously on this, essentially, unexplored and unexploited set of demographics.

While the world’s smallest violin is a common metaphor for the disdain that radio’s ownership and management have duly earned, it will suffice as a description for the sympathy that radio is not experiencing – except internally.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Mar 05, 2020 4:02 pm

Radio Really Is Wounded – Denials Rejected

Denial is a strange and naturally-occurring psychological strategy. And it works like a damn, too. However, for addressing significant and pertinent issues, it is a complete and crippling bust. Nobody learns and nothing is changed. Radio’s apologists know all about that. And maybe they don’t know. When denial is the first and final position, there really is nothing more about which to be aware and nothing more to consider.

Because of the denial factor, here are some points that go completely unaddressed:

• Radio’s talent base has been obliterated. It has been under attack for the better part of 30 years. Those that remain have knuckled under to the powers that be for no other reason than to keep their phoney-baloney jobs. Many of the remaining talents would rather have it that way – where all they need to do is show up and go through the motions.

This is a circumstance that relieves management of having to ride herd on any particularly testy talent as any rumbling or grumbling would bring a quick demise to any offending performer. Presenters are being shown the door for any number of concocted reasons, the most convenient of which is: “The organization has decided to move in another direction. With that in mind, here is your release.”

That talent is spending less time on-the-air and less often, hardly ever generates opportunities for audiences to become familiar with, grow accustomed to or develop a loyalty for the performer.

The shambles that is voice-tracking is only an insult to audiences and a punishment for what could potentially be some talented individuals.

• Creative, as it is being written and produced today, is more than enough to generate buying behaviours from audiences and is also enough to keep some advertisers out of the loop and still in the mix.
To the contrary, radio spots make up the lowest denominator of advertising content available on any other electronic medium. Spots that were being written and produced 50 years ago are still being replicated today – with not one blush of embarrassment being provided by the larger programming brains. It is unlikely that modern hype-typers are even aware of how dated, disruptive and banal their efforts truly are.

Many scribblers are still holding to the adage that the most powerful words in the copywriter’s lexicon are “fresh”, “new”, natural” and “you”. That’s a fairly rapid and jolting transition for a new station AE that used to flog used cars and “who knows a lot of people”.

Further, it really is a shame that newbie AE’s are given the task of, not only writing the business, but are also saddled with coming up with some whiz-bang advertising campaigns. This is an unrevealed, tragic and cruel responsibility for someone whose opening line to a cold-called customer is, “Wanna buy some spots?”

• Radio’s job is to drive sales!

This is the position that has taken radio down an ever-narrowing and congested road to an ugly oblivion. This position has guaranteed the continuance of the plethora of price/product spots and the demands for behaviours that back them up. (“Hurry down today”, Buy now.” “Don’t miss it!”)

Instead, radio’s responsibility is to: Manage, massage and mould the minds of the audience.

This is where the denial-thingy kicks in. Given the working reality of most of the radio business, denial is the only go-to strategy that is available – and ever conveniently so.

To accept these above premises is to contemplate and accept a future where on-air and creative talent will have to be mustered and re-trained in the basics and nuances of on-air broadcast communication. The probabilities of that coming about are, except for the very few brave and the imaginative, negligible, particularly given the alleged, but accepted benefits of denial.

Radio is amongst the walking wounded in the electronic advertising field. But, at least it can be stated that, everybody else is on the same gurney or flailing around with the same crutches.

In other words: Radio has been brought to the racetrack in an ambulance. We poor nags have been entered in The Doctor Ballard Stakes Races where only the ponies that don’t win, place or show are immediately shipped out to the dog food factories. (Trucks are standing by.) And how useful or comforting can that be? Insert Denial here.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:00 am

All Hail The Talent

Buzz Knight, a well-known, respected radio consultant and herder-of-the-talent, wrote a piece for RadioInk a week or so ago in which he was promoting the celebration of Talent.

Now, I am satisfied that Buzz is a rational, positive-oriented and completely non-cynical guy, so I have no reason to suspect he was being anything less than forthcoming about his insistence on the glorification of Talent.

However, I couldn’t help but read the piece with my own brand of cynicism intact and being brandished about in full bloom. For me, the piece fell just short of being patronizing – cudos for all those performers slaving over hot microphones for little recognition and less compensation. But, “atta boys” and “way to be’s” are still in order and are occasionally produced because that’s what management is supposed to do!

Suggestions were made about Great Talent meaning a Great Audio Brand. At the risk of cranking out the obvious: Without Great Talent, there are no Great Brands – only brands taking up space on the AM/FM dials. These are the radio brands that have been either ignored or just tolerated on a greater-expanding and continuing basis.

Gone are the days when terrific talent was willing and allowed to stick its neck out and take a performance risk or three on the air. The suppression of talent is so great now, that sticking one’s neck out today is no more than a dare to have one’s own head summarily lopped off. (And let that be a warning to the others or, as officers in The French Foreign Legion have been known to utter after executing one of the troops: “Pour encourager les autres.”)

The cost of talent has been considered a major encumbrance on the expenses of doing the radio business for so long, management considers the retention of any talent at all as a sorry, restrictive but still somewhat necessary strategy. Still, retaining any talent at all has been a very distasteful and resented practice.

Granted, when whole neighborhoods disappear in a given market due to catastrophic weather events, the availability of live and local talent is a great service to the community. But, what are the chances that such a scenario is in play and running in real time or will be happening again anytime soon? Any station that is not already poised to contribute is going to be unable to get into gear in any reasonable and useful amount of time. The voice-tracks keep rolling through.

In response to his article, I posed some questions to Buzz: Which of the talent is to be celebrated? In what way? When? Will the celebrations include a loosening of the performance manacles already slapped on the remaining talent? Will management be experiencing mass epiphanies and free their hearts and minds while releasing the tortured grasps on their wallets?

No. Talent can expect only a somewhat creepy pat on the ass and some mumbling about appreciations for the wonderful contributions made by the performers.

Further, since so much of radio’s management is made up of failed on-air presenters who stayed in the field and have made it their business to interrupt and otherwise foil the work of those that have actually demonstrated some skills, resentments become all too obvious. The resentments go both ways, as well.

Plus, there are no serious discussions about the current talent-base being, generally, of a far less caliber than the on-air toilers of years ago. Indeed, there are fewer of them; they are performing less and their work has been suppressed and diminished – so much so that much of radio has become, essentially: a by-the-numbers, mechanical medium.

Perhaps it would be better to just leave well enough alone – to forget the maudlin and banal attempts at celebratory talent recognition. Besides, the accolades fall on suspicious minds and infertile grounds, and are wafted away like so much dust.

The last line in Buzz’s piece was, “We have to celebrate TALENT!” There really are fewer and fewer members of of the Talent to celebrate. Much of radio has, instead, earned the right to be qualified as “junk media”.

I suggest: There is hardly any point in even going through the exercise, particularly when the accolades are mumbled through clenched teeth and without any sincerity at all. My dad had a line that works well for this situation of whether or not to heap praise on this or that particular performer: “Don’t applaud. Throw money.”

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:35 am

When Sales Slide - Advertise

That (above) has been a radio mantra since before Stan Freeberg was dropping maraschino cherries into Lake Ontario. The logic has been irrefutable, particularly when other semi-regular advertisers pull in their horns and quit advertising altogether.

The rationale has always been that, when other marketers pull back or eliminate their advertising budgets, extremely advantageous share-of-mind opportunities are revealed. On surface, it seems like cool runnings for those advertisers that realize an advantage when they are presented with one.

Of course, the opposite has been the case for all but the most astute of advertisers. The reality has been that, when one advertiser shuts down, the rest follow along – without challenges or questions.

The justifications for such curtailing of radio advertising has, I am going to suggest, more to do with one particular aspect of retailers using radio as a meaningful platform for advertising. It is this: Most advertisers have an extremely limited appreciation for and less confidence in accessing radio as a prime advertising medium!

In other words: These folks do not believe radio is a viable, never mind, powerful medium. It is no wonder that radio has been swept aside as a prime medium. This is not news as even in decades past, radio brought up the rear – right behind print and television. But, for most radio operators, that was more than enough to make some serious dough.

Since then, radio has been constantly blaming the encroachment of online media for its lack of being able to generate significant advertising dollars. While that is, no doubt, a serious factor, it still doesn’t take into account radio’s complete lack of responses to those challenges. Instead, radio has tucked their heads between their legs and has been kissing their butts “hasta la vista, booby”. This has been the status quo for decades.

Radio, in its zeal to destroy whatever “live & local” participation from the talent-base remaining, has also systematically eliminated every opportunity to produce appealing and powerful commercial messaging. To me, this is the deadliest and most unforgivable of sins. Consider: As radio depletes its own general appeal by gutting the talent corps, it steadfastly has been eliminating any chances of being able to massage/mould or otherwise manipulate the minds of listeners on behalf of those that have always paid the bills – the retail advertisers.

Given the medical crisis facing our nations today, I realize that anything I might suggest in regards to the improvement of commercial messaging would have the equivalent impact of a mild, wispy fart in a Cat 5 hurricane.

But, it still has to be pointed out that, however this crisis is resolved, many of us will come out the other end facing the same and greater challenges as before this whole fiasco started.

Advertising revenues may be depleted even more significantly, and some outfits may not be able to see much of a reprieve available to them even when this horrific situation does get sorted out.

Some of the more cynical operators may be depending on the gaps left by those radio companies that are depleted or can’t survive the onslaught. They might figure: Less competition from them – more opportunities for us. They would be mistaken. If only it was that easy.

Radio, generally, is about to take a series of serious hits to their revenue streams. Getting it back will be much more than being able to stumble and wander back on the street again with a sandwich board that reads: “Buy Some Spawts!” The return of older advertisers and the generation of new ones are factors with which radio will have to deal, and that radio will have to earn, and with which radio is so ill-equipped.

Radio, however, is not now nor will it ever be in a position to take advantage of such opportunities. It will blissfully and arrogantly come back with the same-ol’-same ol’, and radio will be found to be severely wanting. Many advertisers will come to the conclusion that they don’t really need radio, anyway.

The irony in all this is: While radio will be poorly positioned to take advantage of any potential opportunities, it will be largely unaware of its own responsibilities and the necessity for its own participation in rectifying what has been, essentially, a self-imposed set of deficits and restrictions.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 12:22 pm

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