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Buzz Knight

Weathering The Storm

The following reflects my observations watching the recent winter storm blow through Boston and marveling at the Greater Media Boston crew who make it all look too easy! It's great watching our teams snap into motion when bad weather hits like this past winter storm that hit the East Coast. Maybe it's the frequency of occurrences that make it second nature but I really have to hand it to our business when we shine at these moments.

How To Hook More Listeners

How To Hook More Listeners

(By Buzz Knight) My friend Fred Jacobs always finds a way to stir the pot and inspire my thinking and he's just done that again with the gift of a great new book. How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal (with Ryan Hoover) is a great read for any of us in the content and audio delivery business (otherwise known as a radio). The book is focused on analyzing the convergence of access and data in a world where speed is critical to success.

Talent Tips From Great Coaches

With post-season football in full swing it's worth taking time to consider the work of great coaching and the influence our coaches can have on our most valuable talent assets. When Vince Lombardi first met reporters in Green Bay in 1959 as the new coach of the Packers he proclaimed, "I'm no miracle worker." Yet in his second season he took the team to the playoffs and his legacy is well known.

Big Data Recruitment

All industries need to give strong consideration to recruitment for the future and the radio business is no exception.

Its A Connection Thing

I recently went to a reunion that included folks from the radio and music business that I've known for many years. Two on-air personalities that I worked with at WNEW FM were there whom I hadn't seen in years and their presence reminded me of a critical benefit that we provide to our various audiences. In my opinion Dennis Elsas and Ken Dashow are two of the most distinct and meaningful on-air personalities in the history of New York broadcasting.

The Magic Of An Iconic Brand

We still need to rejoice in the glow of the iconic brand known as Apple. Sometimes when competition, disruption, and short attention spans make everything seem humdrum and average we need a wake-up call to remind us that a brand is something special. The launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus provided that reminder when I saw scores of zealots waiting in a line that started on Boylston Street here in Boston and curled around the corner to Newbury Street.

The Mobile Mind Shift

Mobile strategy is one of the biggest priority discussions in company boardrooms all across the country. As we continue to evaluate the seismic shift in the world around us, the "mobile mind shift" is clearly occurring and the radio industry is without a doubt heavily involved. Ted Schadler and his associates Josh Bernoff and Julie Ask from Forrester Research have written a must-read book called The Mobile Mind Shift which lays out case studies and strategies from all types of industries so you can capture your audience in their "mobile moments."

Do You Listen to Your Listeners?

I found a cool new restaurant a couple of towns over from me called Il Casale in (Lexington, Mass). It's been open for about six weeks. It's the sister restaurant of another spot they own in Belmont, Mass. (They meaning chef Dante de Magistris and his brothers.) I grabbed a bite to eat there this past week after hearing a few friends rave about it and I heard a great story from a guy named Jeff who is one of the regular customers from the neighborhood.

Its All About Innovation

Thomas Edison said everything comes to him who hustles while he waits and other than his out-of-sync male-bias point of view, his sentiment couldnt be more true in todays intense pace of technological change. Last week I made the trip to Convergence 2014 in Santa Clara. It was an inspiring event! One of the biggest takeaways from the event was the importance of innovation and the role that it plays in our radio future.

Learning From "The Boss."

Like many of you I've been to a number of Bruce Springsteen shows over the years and the memories of those experiences are indelible. Yet I think he gives us a reminder lesson for all of our radio brands across this great nation that we sometimes take for granted or even forget. Springsteen's consistent charitable approach to every "hometown" he descends upon is amazing to admire. The list of charities he has assisted is lengthy and meaningful.

What is XAPP?

Convergence 2014 is next week in Santa Clara and Im excited to be moderating a panel called Innovators and Inventors-Looking Ahead on the Digital Highway. As we ramp up to the event, Im pleased to be interviewing some of my panelists and showcase their innovations. Pat Higbie is CEO of Xapp Media.

Grab More Revenue From Digital

Im honored to be moderating the panel Innovators and Inventors -- Looking Ahead on the Digital Highway -- at Convergence 2014 in Santa Clara on June 4 and 5. Our intent is to spotlight a few select companies whose strategic imagination is an exciting and dynamic consideration for our business. Shane Bogardus the president and co-founder of OnRoute Digital Media. Here is an interview about his innovative company.

Empowering Sales Professionals

I'm honored to participate in Radio Inks Convergence 2014 June 4 and 5 in Santa Clara as our industry gathers to learn about digital opportunities. The panel Ill be moderating is called Innovators and Inventors: Looking Ahead on the Digital Highway for Solutions and Road Maps Driving Tomorrow's Platforms. Between now and then I'll be talking to some fresh thinkers whom we should all consider in our own incubation process. My first interview is Tim Haller (pictured here), CEO of Sales Guage.

Make Something Happen!

As the winter thaw is hopefully soon upon us, its time to figure out some ways to make something happen within your organization. I know you are incredibly busy and you are doing some form of meaningful work, but its always good to get into reevaluation mode. Here are some specific thoughts to get you going toward meaningful and satisfying action.

Rethink PD Brain Space

The program director of today, more than ever, is filled with a mind-numbing series of responsibilities. As brand managers of complex properties, the priorities and responsibilities include all things content, audience engagement, and entertainment value. Unfortunately, with the advent of desktop computers and laptops, many PDs have become chained to their desks and their computers. Believe me, I know because at times I was a victim of this problem.

"Do it Right" Lessons From Jimmy Fallon

History will bear out the success or failure of NBC's big move of Jimmy Fallon to the Tonight Show, but until then there are some great lessons for radio to consider from this process. One big takeaway that hit me right away was the comment that Stephen Burke, the chief executive of NBC Universal made when he made a financial commitment involving studio remodeling to Ted Harbert (the chairman of broadcasting for NBC): "Do it right."

Giving Thanks To Our Listeners

In the season of giving thanks, are you giving thanks to your audience and what they stand for on a one-by-one basis? It's easy to take them for granted and think of them as a series of numbers that roll out when the latest weekly or monthly ratings print, but we need to go deeper in appreciating our relationship. When we take an approach that is a heart-and-soul approach to our audience and we care for them on a one-by-one basis, we only stand to gain in mindshare.

Finding the Next Steve Jobs by Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

A few years back I was fortunate to get to hear Nolan Bushnell (@nolanbushnell) speak at Radio Inks Convergence gathering and I found him a compelling and unique character. Nolan founded Atari and the Chuck E. Cheese company among other ventures, and along the way he launched the career of Steve Jobs -- so he knows a lot about building a creative cast of characters.

How Radio Wins

Radio needs to become more effective at understanding listener and customer behavior. Some radio properties research extensively and frequently, and others do not have those available resources. Our business is in need of better interpretation of the data points we have available to us, along with even greater customer/listener tracking of behavior. More precision from analytics will keep you ahead of the rapid pace of competition.

What Can Radio Learn From TV?

With the beginning of a new era of audience measurement after the Nielsen Audio purchase of Arbitron, it's instructive to study some elements of television to decipher what radio can learn from the television business. Some of these observations may have no direct bearing on TV ratings success but are worth your consideration.

Cardinal Traits For A Radio World

The Saint Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) are in the hunt for another World Series appearance and they remind us of some useful examples that relate to our business. Full disclosure: I'm a lifelong Cardinals Fan! 1) Core Managerial Leadership and a Steady Hand. Manager Mike Matheny (@mikematheny22 ) is an even-tempered leader who is supremely aware of his team's history and what they need to compete today. The team model is always fundamentally sound and the unit is well prepared for every opponent.

Curiosity And The Connected Car

I recently had lunch with my great friend and former morning talent Charles LaQuidara while he visited Boston. Charles was the long-time morning man for the legendary WBCN and worked for me before he retired from WZLX. It has been way too long since I have seen him, yet it took seconds for our reconnection. I was reminded that Charles, and his unique perspective on new trends and technology, greatly influenced my thinking today. For that I am very grateful.

10 Reasons The NAB Radio Show Rocked!

1. It's Always Fantastic Reconnecting With Old Friends: This is one of the reasons we go isn't it? The fall ritual which finds us all together is a vital need that we sometimes undervalue; 2. New Friends and Connections: Just as important is the need to "shake the tree" and meet some new people.

(Expert in the Wings) Gerry Boehme

<b>(Expert in the Wings)</b> Gerry Boehme

(By Buzz Knight) I am extremely fortunate to have a great job in a terrific industry in which I encounter both great people and incredibly smart "thought leaders." When I stop and think of the quality and caliber of people it's staggering. Gerry Boehme is one of those people and I'm thrilled to present him as our next "Expert in the Wings." In fact, today's feature could be called "Wizard in the Wings" because Gerry really is a magical figure with absolutely legendary credentials. And he's an unbelievably awesome guy.

(Expert in the Wings) Willy B.

(Expert in the Wings) Willy B.

(By Buzz Knight) Today completes a two-fer of Experts In The Wings. Last week we featured Lynn Hoffman column. Today it's her husband Willy B. My first encounter with Willy in the mid-90s was when he was working for American Radio Systems and WBMX. Willy was working with Greg Strassell launching stations all over the country. He says, It was an exciting time.

(Expert in the Wings) Kelly Orchard

(Expert in the Wings) Kelly Orchard

Kelly Orchard thinks the stress of our biz has made us crazy...the wrong type of crazy. We've all joked from time to time about the mental state of the radio workforce, yet Kelly feels it's for real. She's currently creating and refining a series of presentations, webinars, and consultations on the issue of stress management, anxiety, and productivity, all in the hope of giving positivity to a mental health perspective.

(Expert in the Wings) Bob Hamilton

(Expert in the Wings) Bob Hamilton

Bob Hamilton is a man with legendary stripes and a tremendous wealth of knowledge ready to help your organization improve. Hamilton started in radio in 1963 at WBCB in Levittown, PA. The journey would take him across the country and would put him in a position to make a big difference at many radio properties.

(Expert in The Wings) Kevin Barbare

<b>(Expert in The Wings)</b> Kevin Barbare

(by Buzz Knight) Kevin Barbare hears voices inside his head. At any given moment out pops Morgan Freeman, Patrick Stewart..or maybe Kelsey Grammar. No need for deep concern for his well being. He just happens to be one of the most talented and entertaining people on the planet and he is our next "Expert in the Wings"

(Expert In The Wings) Jay Clark

(Expert In The Wings) Jay Clark

Today many media professionals sit on the sidelines ready to blend with any organization and enhance the quality of a brand. Too many. These folks are keeping busy and active with projects but deserving of more recognition for their past, present and future contributions. Welcome to a new weekly feature called, "Experts in the Wings," where I'll interview a professional from our industry who's ready to transform your comany.

(Expert in the Wings) Clark Smidt

<b>(Expert in the Wings)</b> Clark Smidt

(by Buzz Knight) In our second installment of Experts in the Wings we highlight a gentlemen who has passionately followed and been the midst of the radio business for over five decades: Clark Smidt. "Whats missing today is an understanding to coordinate, motivate and deliver compelling content and attract new business. its attention to TEAMWORK, programming, personality, being local, knowing and connecting with an audience.

Are You A Renegade?

Just finished a great book by Amy Jo Martin called "Renegades Write the Rules" and if you're working to maximize your social media performance, this book has well earned "favorite" status from me. Amy Jo Martin is the founder of her company Digital Royalty which specializes in social meeting strategies for stars (many of them from the sports world) like Shaquille O Neil, the Phoenix Suns, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

10 Secrets To Driving Innovation

When you are trying to get your organization inside and out to improve the creative process, theres a great new book out called Ninja Innovation by Gary Shapiro that I recommend to help you. Shapiro is the head of the Consumer Electronics Association and his keen observations on what it takes to drive innovation are applicable in our fast-paced world of content delivery.

When Godin Speaks People Listen

When Godin Speaks People Listen

Seth Godin has a new book out called the Icarus Deception. It's sure to be a best-seller. What Seth Godin book isn't? According to Buzz Knight, who interviewed Godin about his book, The Icarus Deception is another in a long line of great motivating publications that pushes us to make some noise. Listen to Buzz Knight's interview with Seth Godin HERE

(AUDIO) Radio Can Be Better at Engaging

<b>(AUDIO)</b> Radio Can Be Better at Engaging

(by Buzz Knight) Spark Capital is a venture capital firm that partners with entrepreneurs seeking to build disruptive, world-changing companies. Andrew Parker (pictured) from Spark has been on the leading edge of change and innovation. Greater Media's Buzz Knight, reporting for Radio Ink, interviewed Parker about radios opportunity in the world of technological change.

Make Your Station Legendary

Legendary status in our business is worthy of discussion. And radio stations that achieve legendary status are unique entities that deserve celebration. In the dictionary, "legendary" is defined as: extremely well known, famous or renowned, celebrated in legend. Here's how you can make your station a legend.

The Colbert Plan

I've just come back from my pre-Labor Day vacation and I realize how much I miss my Stephen Colbert fix. We members of Colbert Nation are a strange bunch, but a loyal band of followers who love and look forward to Stephen. As I was taking my last official hike of the summer, it occurred to me that there are a few lessons from this great Comedy Central brand that relate to the talent we hire for our radio brands.

Summer Re-Charge

(By Buzz Knight) I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's August and I have some friendly reminders for your consideration. First of all, your summer is almost over! If you haven't worked toward recharging your batteries, what are you waiting for? You owe it to yourself and your organization. Don't be the manager who says, "Yeah, I took a day or two and I'll take one more if I can find the time."

How to Move The Needle.

(By Buzz Knight) How good is your organization's user experience? In the highly competitive world in which your product lives, you'd better attack yourself from the inside looking out so you can stay ahead of your competition. The depth and excellence of the user experience was a constant theme at last weeks Convergence 2012 from the majority of the speakers.

How Many People Are You Reaching?

(by Buzz Knight) In a business like ours, which is designed to reach and be consumed, it's not only about the ears you attract, but it's also about the number of eyeballs that get to check you out at any given time. Do you constantly challenge your team to push the number of eyeballs and ears that check you out and try your brand? Isn't this the core principal beyond your brand promise that will drive you to success?

First Quarter Report Card

(by Buzz Knight) The pace at radio stations across America is dizzying. Christmas seems like yesterday. We are about to reach the end of the first quarter. Time flies when you're zooming through the day. Now is an appropriate time to take a pause and evaluate your performance. Here's a checklist to assist you as you take an up-close and personal look at how you're doing:

Move Your People Closer to Exceptional

(by Buzz Knight) At this time of the year its important to find the focus that is necessary to improve great radio organizations in preparation and reflection for the upcoming year. Sometimes the best tactic to approach this with is to boil the focus down to one important word that matters. As the year begins to wind down, its a good time to consider how important in the day to day world of radio the word exceptional is.

Lessons From Woody Allen

If you're responsible for managing a creative process at your radio station, or you are in charge of talent management, a viewing of the DVD Woody Allen: A Documentary" would be well worth your time.

The Art of Defeat

Whether it happens in our life, our business or sports, we will all at one time or another have to experience the excruciating feeling known as losing. The restless nights. The depression. The confusion. The anger.

What Was I Thinking?

(by Buzz Knight) A friend of mine some time ago recommended the book Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy (pictured) as a timeless masterpiece that had implications for us today in a crowded media world. Unfortunately, I didnt immediately react to his recommendation and Im kicking myself for not doing it sooner. If you dont pick up your own copy of the book first issued in 1963 Ill give you a summary of some key takeaways.

The Power of Local Greatness

One of our strongest assets in the radio industry is understanding and maximizing the power of local greatness. As we observe challenges in a disruptive climate that our content faces, Im convinced that realizing what our local assets are and growing their importance within our culture is a big step in the right direction. Here are some idea starters with a bit of a different approach that might benefit all of us in the weeks and months ahead.

Buck The System When Making New Hires

Hiring is a difficult process and we've all made mistakes in our career. As I observe the hiring by the St Louis Cardinals of new manager Mike Matheny, there are lessons to consider. Matheny is replacing Tony LaRussa, who just won the World Series and we have no clue how he will fare in the long run. The hiring of Matheny suggests that we should re-think our criteria for hiring no matter what the position. Here are FIVE recommendations to keep in mind when hiring.

Finding Talent in a Dwindling Talent Pool

Finding Talent in a Dwindling Talent Pool

(by Buzz Knight) I was struck this past week by Facebook's Mark Zuckerbergs visit to Harvard to recruit student talent for the social networking site. His goal involved the possibility of expanding with a Boston area satellite office, but more importantly, it was about reaching out to prospective employees who could potentially join Facebook in the future. This is the best time to recruit seniors from Harvard and MIT classes of 2012 said Zuckerberg (who dropped out of Harvard in 2004 to launch Facebook).

Recognizing Radio Greats

(by Buzz Knight) As Radio Ink acknowledges current Programmers and legendary jocks of the past, Id like to recognize three individuals who I had the pleasure of working with that made a difference in our industry and made an impact on me. John Mcghan, George Taylor Morris and Scott Muni.

Do You Know Who Your Station's Brand Ambassador Is?

(by Buzz Knight) Do you know who the most important Brand Ambassador is for your radio station? It's someone you take for granted and more than likely rarely if ever, sit down and communicate with about your brand. It's someone who communicates either via the phone or in person with more of your listeners than any station member comes in contact with. It's your receptionist.

Are You A Lonely Program Director?

(by Buzz Knight) A PD in today's world of radio has multiple responsibilities in managing a successful brand. There are the bland and benign duties, like expense reports and time sheets and the highly creative and involved projects, including developing the specifics of a marketing plan or inspiring your morning talent to capture the moment with a topical comedy bit. PD's can tend to be lonely and sometimes isolated creatures of habit. They like to "tweak" or "tinker" with their product or their creative process.

Remembering a Modern Day Visionary

(by Buzz Knight) Steve Jobs will be remembered as a modern day visionary like no other. We were all truly blessed to have witnessed his brilliance. Its hard to believe hes gone, yet he leaves a legacy that will carry on for generations to come. Let me try to put a simple perspective on what Steve Jobs meant to us by giving you five words that the radio industry can live by in tribute to his amazing life.

Five Tips to Make You A Better On-Air Talent

(by Buzz Knight) We hear it all the time. It's what we do between the records that make us stand out when compared to local newspaper or local TV or Pandora, Slacker, the iPod. If you sound like you're reading a meaningless liner card just so you can finish voicetracking and get back home to feed the dog, the audience will not be fooled. If you put your heart into every shift and every break, every day, listeners will consider you a companion. We asked Greater Media VP for Program Development to lay it out for us. How can on-air talent be the best? Here are 5 of Knight's recommendations.

What PD's Can Learn From Terry Francona

What PD's Can Learn From Terry Francona

(by Buzz Knight) As I watched the implosion of Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona before my very eyes, I was reminded of some very important disciplines that apply to Program Directors in todays era of talent management. With two World Series victories under his belt and a tremendous run in a win at all costs sports town, its amazing how a fall from grace can occur so rapidly. Can that happen to your team?

MORE PD Lessons From Terry Francona

(by Buzz Knight) So in all fairness, what I wrote Monday about Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, may have had an unfair tone in retrospect. I stand by what I wrote with regard to the need for firm leadership to set the proper tone in your clubhouse or radio station. But I need to be fair and acknowledge some positive lessons that you, as a Program Director, can take from a guy who won TWO World Series titles after a drought of 86 years.