THURSDAY at the ALL ACCESS AUDIO SUMMIT included a talk with one of radio’s legends and sessions on measurement and research, talent development, radio’s relationship with labels, and more. The day’s sessions were hosted by SKYVIEW NETWORKS syndicated “COUNTRY TOP 40” host FITZ.Scott Shannon SpeaksALL ACCESS Pres./Publisher JOEL DENVER caught up with SCOTT SHANNON in THURSDAY’s opening fireside chat, recapping SHANNON’s storied career through MOBILE, NASHVILLE, and ATLANTA to WASHINGTON, TAMPA, and his decades in NEW YORK. SHANNON told entertaining stories of battling WPGC/WASHINGTON management over covering JOHN LENNON’s death, discovering talent for WQXI-A/ATLANTA at a dinner through an impromptu live audition, and mentoring and the value of returning phone calls. He also advocated for the value of strong personalities, asserting, “A lot of these hedge funds and these big companies, they don’t understand. All they want to do is cut the budget, fire people, lower the cost of doing business. That’s how you’re going to pull it back — No, it’s not! It’s stupid! It’s short-sighted, it’s irresponsible and stupid.”The Measure Of A MediumHow to measure audience and understand listener preference was the topic for a session moderated by RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU Pres./CEO ERICA FARBER.NIELSEN AUDIO VP/Audience Insights JON MILLER explained his company’s approach to audio under its new management, consolidating TV and radio management in recognition of the similar challenges both media are facing. He touted the move towards the wearable PPM (“that’s going great”) and the proposed change to the diary system to move it to a digital form, which he said will take place within “the next few years.” (FARBER showed off the letter she received from NIELSEN inviting her to participate in the ratings, which she noted she cannot accept.) MILLER pointed to a significant loss of listenership in the pandemic, saying that 20% left for other audio services and never came back, although RESEARCH DIRECTOR consultant STEVE ALLAN voiced optimism in light of morning drive listening levels having recovered as people return to commuting.AUDACY VP/Programming and Brand Manager, KHMX (MIX 96.5)/HOUSTON MELISSA CHASE noted radio programmers’ “love/hate relationship” with how radio is measured. “Sometimes, we get very excited, like, ‘oh, the whole city loves us!,’ and the next time we look at our numbers, we’re like, ‘no one is listening, not a single person in the entire city.'” She pointed to the many different ways programmers can gauge engagement, including social media, texting, and live events.ALBRIGHT & O’MALLEY & BRENNER partner BECKY BRENNER cited video as a way to reach younger audiences, while CHASE said that imaging helps reach those listeners. But ALLAN said the challenge is that time spent listening is primarily a 45+ thing, with younger listeners not spending nearly as much time with radio.On music discovery, COLEMAN INSIGHTS President WARREN KURTZMAN noted the growth in consumption of gold as opposed to new music and the dilemma of what music to research — he chalked the phenomenon up to the fragmentation of the audience. “We don’t have as many songs that we can play that are shared experiences for most of the audience,” KURTZMAN said. BRENNER added that radio remains a trusted curator for Country music discovery; “We have the benefit of being the influencers for people when it comes to new music and the artists they’re discovering,” BRENNER said, “but they have to have a connection, a passion for it, and we help them have that, and if they don’t have that, they become disenfranchised with the format… and that’s when they go back to the gold because they say ‘this is familiar, I DO know this, I AM connected to this.'”The panel agreed that radio needs to market itself in local markets more aggressively than it currently does.Ensuring Radio’s FutureCOUNTRY’S RADIO COACH CEO and ALL ACCESS “CONSULTANT TIPS” columnist JOHN SHOMBY moderated a panel on what programmers can do to develop talent and attract younger audiences, and iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WIHT (HOT 99.5)/WASHINGTON APD/Afternoons ELIZABETHANY led off by responding that “the best bosses I’ve had allowed you to be creative.” The panel also included BONNEVILLE/SACRAMENTO Group Dir./Programming CHAD RUFER, BEASLEY Top 40 WNKS (KISS 95.1), AC WKQC (K104.7), and Country WSOC/CHARLOTTE OM JOHN REYNOLDS, consultant MIKE MCVAY, CPR VP/Fun ‘N Games PAIGE NIENABER, and POINT TO POINT MARKETING CEO TIM BRONSIL.The panel discussed talent motivation, promotion (NIENABER noting the value of jumping on local stories good or bad, remembering a WPGC/WASHINGTON promotion that raised money to save an UNDERGROUND RAILROAD museum, while RUFER added that “sometimes stations need to throw the PPM out the window”), and finding talent (ELIZABETHANY suggested to “look ion the internet,” to which NIENABER agreed and added that street teamers are another resource, recalling current iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 KIIS/LOS ANGELES PD BEATA MURPHY “driving a JEEP” as a street teamer).What’s The Point?Sometimes, a single tenth of a rating point is all a station needs to achieve greater success, and in a presentation WEDNESDAY midday, NUVOODOO’s CAROLYN GILBERT, LEIGH JACOBS, and PJ KLING sought to help stations find that tiny boost in a presentation they called “Moneyball for Radio,” outlining seven steps to achieve that goal.The seven steps included stopping looking at share, which they said was great when there were fewer options for listening but now factor out those not using radio, and use AQH ratings points instead; knowing the AQH rating in every demo and daypart, noting that teens and 18-24s are becoming more scarce among available listeners; knowing if the market — total cume in your desired demo — is big enough; calculating how many quarter hours are in the next tenth; targeting the biggest hours for your market (an opportunity for commercial-free hours); leaning into demos and listeners which are able to build AQH, again an opportunity for commercial-free sweeps and contesting; and making it easy to listen (decide which listening — broadcast, streaming — is most valuable for revenue, opt for total line reporting if broadcast is most valuable, teach listeners how to listen by smart speaker).Radio’s Got WinnersThe winners of the 2023 RADIO’S GOT TALENT competition, sponsored by ALL ACCESS, BENZTOWN, DOLLINGER STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION, McVAY MEDIA, and NUVOODOO MEDIA SERVICES, were announced at the SUMMIT.The winners are:Hot AC/AC: JACK ELLIOTT and RON WILLIAMS, formerly at CUMULUS MEDIA Hot AC KYIS (98.9 KISS-FM)/OKLAHOMA CITYAlternative: ED ROBINSON, RADIO FELICIAN UNIVERSITY/RUTHERFORD, NJClassic Hits/Adult Hits: KADEN, AUDACY Classic Hits KOOL (BIG 94.5)/PHOENIXContemporary Christian: DOUG GRIFFIN and JAYME SUMMERS, SALEM Contemporary Christian WFFH-WBOZ-WFFI (94 FM THE FISH)/NASHVILLECountry: BO STEVENS, MEL WHEELER INC. Country WSLC (94.9 STAR COUNTRY)/ROANOKEHip Hop/Urban: MARIO J , MACDONALD BROADCASTING CO. Hip-Hop WQHH (POWER 96.5)/LANSINGNews/Talk: ARI HOFFMAN, LOTUS News-Talk KVI-A/SEATTLERock/Classic Rock: AMANDA ICE HABROWSKI, iHEARTMEDIA Rock KYMT (93.1 THE MOUNTAIN)/LAS VEGASTop 40/CHR: JAY R THE SUPERSTAR, RADIO 1/DUBAISports: KJ CARSON, AUDACY Sports WEEI-F/BOSTONThe Special RelationshipA THURSDAY afternoon panel moderated by URBAN ONE/REACH MEDIA SVP/Programming “COLBY COLB” TYNER examined how the radio-label relationship has changed in the digital age with the advent of multiple streaming competitors.WARNER MUSIC NASHVILLE VP/Radio ANNA CAGE summed up the panel’s sentiment when she said that “relationships are king,” noting that while singles and artists come and go, relationships endure. BMG Head of Pop Promo LEE LEIPSNER added that communication is “the bread and butter of what we do” but that transparency is also critical but has slipped in recent years. The panel, which also included CRUSH MANAGEMENT Head, Pop Radio Promotion ERIK OLESEN, MUSIC CHOICE Dir./Programming JIM MURPHY, and AUDACY Hot AC WWBX (MIX 104.1)/BOSTON APD/MD MIKE MULLANEY, also touched on the effect of the pandemic and going with gut instinct as opposed to relying on data, to which LEIPSNER said, “We’ve gotten away from initially what made us love this business, and that’s pushing play and letting somebody discover new music for the first time. (Now it’s) ‘What’s your numbers look like? What is the consumption?’ Before you even play them the song. We’re getting away from what was really the discovery… The radio audience is very different from the streaming audience right now, and it is… The gut part has definitely faded out.”Talking TalentALL ACCESS Associate Country Editor CHARESE FRUGÉ brought a panel of hosts and programmers together to talk about the challenges of finding and developing talent, and BEASLEY AC WKQC (K104.7)/CHARLOTTE and syndicated “BOB & SHERI” co-host SHERI LYNCH pointed to the issue of Gen-Zers being “born into a world where they have been content curators and content creators. What they have never been for one minute of their lives is passive consumers of content…. that’s a wildly different thing.” iHEARTMEDIA EVP/Programming and Top 40 WKQI (CHANNEL 955)/DETROIT OM/PD TONY TRAVATTO agreed, adding, “We live in a NETFLIX world, in which people want what they want when they want it.” As for solutions, PREMIERE NETWORKS and iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WKSC (103.5 KISS FM)/CHICAGO morning host CHRISTOPHER “FRED” FREDERICK suggested that rather than giving the daypart over to AI, radio bring back nights. “What’s more expensive?,” he asked. “Paying someone to do a daypart now or not having anyone to do anything in the future and nothing to sell?” But LYNCH noted a larger issue in attracting talent, advising, “The days of you collecting a fat paycheck from a broadcast company are gone. I think you have to be super entrepreneurial.”The panel also discussed whether artificial intelligence is a threat to hosts, and AUDACY Classic Hits WCBS-F/NEW YORK afternoon host BROADWAY BILL LEE suggested that AI is a threat to some (“It’s going to take over all night shifts”) but voiced hope that the threat will push some to take chances and emphasize their unique style. And COX MEDIA GROUP Top 40 WBLI/LONG ISLAND MD KIANA SINGH said that she doesn’t worry about AI ultimately replacing human talent, adding that there will always be “something a little bit off that you’ll have to go back and fix.”And the panel highlighted young talent that have impressed them, with AUDACY Top 40/Rhythmic WPOW (POWER 96)/MIAMI Dir./Programming and Operations WILL CALDER recalling his work with DANIE B and KEVIN KON at the late COX MEDIA GROUP Top 40 WPYO/ORLANDO, saying that the hosts were “flawlessly able to weave their content on air and online… their brains are wired that way.” FRED and TRAVATTO pointed to iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 WFLZ/TAMPA’s “THE JOE SHOW” (JOE CARBALLO, ASHLEY NICS, and JED SHILLING), with FRED saying that the hosts “love this business, which is not as prevalent anymore. That creates magic.” LEE cited former AUDACY Alternative WNYL (ALT 92.3)/NEW YORK host JOE “BRADY” BLUM, and FRUGE touted AUDACY national Top 40 personality JOSH (BRU) BRUBAKER for his incorporation of TIKTOK into his radio show.The ALL ACCESS AUDIO SUMMIT 2023 will wrap things up with a full day of sessions on FRIDAY; find out more here. And it’s not too late to register and see all the sessions on demand – find the entire agenda and register here.
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