Local, New Talent Development Key To Winning
(by Clark Smidt)
The participation of broadcast all-stars with select graduates of The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University was a winning combination. Friday's Audio Industry Summit was a Who's Who of folks involved in radio, now and beyond. What is the vision of these radio executives as radio moves forward? Local is key, talent development should not be forgotten, and momentum is vital.
Organized by Class of '73 alums Steve Leeds (XM) and Walter Sabo (Sabo Media), the best of the best were in attendance to offer input in panels moderated by Sean Ross (Edison Research, VP) and Doug Quin (Newhouse) on The State of the Industry and The Future of the Industry, respectively. From the vantage point of today, Dan Mason (CBS, President/CEO), Patrick Walsh (Emmis, COO), Deon Livingston (WBLS NYC, VP/GM), Buzz Knight (Greater Media, VP Programming), and Ed Levine '78 (Galaxy CEO) offered powerful insights on radio's success and positive outlook.
CBS Radio President Dan Mason was clear in his commitment for good broadcasters to protect the station license in the public's interest, convenience, and necessity. He noted radio's brands must extend and connect with more audience, besides HD potential with digital and album art. Pat Walsh brought up the light-speed changes going on and keeping up with content and connections. He cited engagement through events and new partnerships. Deon Livingston gave a call to action to get back radio's swagger through content and presentation. Buzz Knight also put the spotlight on live content with personality, every station having internal spirit, and radio being able to do well with the transition to PPM. Ed Levine pointed to local programming to make each station stand out. With stations values settling at 5.5 - 6.5x BCF, and interest rates roughly 3.5 percent, Ed noted there's still money to be made in our galaxy.
The general agreement from the gentlemen who run some of the industry's best:
* Local content is primary
* Personality and strong presentation is essential
* Let's regain momentum for more people to connect and use radio daily.
The second session of the morning, The Future of the Industry, continued the focus on the transition of radio to audio service. Chris Oliviero (CBS, EVP Programming), Bob Boilen (NPR, Host/Driector -- All Songs Considered), Owen Grover (CCU-E, Sr.VP Content), Tommy Page (Pandora, VP Brand Partnerships), Kevin Straley (Tunein, VP/Programming), and Ryan Delaney '10, (WRVO, Innovation Reporter).
Chris Oliviero was adamant about the need to develop new, top talent. Radio is companionship and regardless of format flips, best content prevails. And, Chris pointed out, with the news gathering speed with social media, credibility must always be checked. Bob Bollen firmly supported relatable content and reliable variety for the listener to keep music tastes fresh. Owen Grover told the audience we are audio providers that must take ownership of the product, making best use of the new, multiple-platform opportunities. Tommy Page is bullish on owning events with Pandora's annual SXSW Music Festival (South by Southwest, Austin) delivering new music and live variety. Kevin Straley pointed out the appeal and evolution local content is having. He mentioned FM WMVY, Martha's Vineyard Radio, progressing from local album music and the hyper-local steamship sailing updates to its expanded Internet brand, monetizing worldwide concert coverage. Ryan Delaney '10, said that public radio connections are important to bring additional content to commercial radio.
People use radio information more, every day of their lives. Filling all the new channels and making them relevant with new, live talent was the consensus. Above all: Local matters. Congratulations to Dean Loraine Branham for connecting the outstanding Newhouse mission with the major leagues and calling on her famous grads to do so.
(9/30/2013 7:28:14 PM) |
Anybody walking by the meetings and overhearing some of the comments might conclude: "Radio is just dandy - I sure would like to be a part of that."
Although directions have been identified, did anyone answer the looming and most pertinent question? That being: How do we do these things - specifically?"
|- Ronald T. Robinson|
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