I tweeted Hill’s “I don’t want to be around radio people” comment, and some responded angrily and defensively. But there’s clearly a context to what he’s saying when it comes to conventions and learning – and it’s a theme that we’ve mentioned before in this blog.
A former Bonneville PD, Hill (pictured left) runs Ownd Media Group, a social media/digital consulting firm. And now that he’s officially out of broadcast radio, there was nothing holding him back at “Are You Still Hiring Like It’s 1999?” hosted by Bonneville’s digital head, Mark Preston (pictured right).
But here’s the context – Hill was exhorting the audience at Convergence to get away from typical radio conventions – in fact, he urged them not to attend them – because it’s the same people talking about the same things. He indicated that many radio PDs (along with CEOs) aren’t even using Facebook.
In Hill’s mind, it’s about being around “digital and social people,” where the real action is taking place. And he reinforced these comments by saying that more radio professionals should be living and dying by their digital progress and results.
Hill’s comments were laced with cynicism, but his message was clear – radio people need to get out of their comfort zones and learn about the digital world by hanging with people who are successful in this space. Going to radio-centric conferences and simply talking about PPM, music scheduling, and jock coaching isn’t going to further radio’s cause as it attempts to make the transition to the digital mainstream.
In defense of radio conferences, they’ve come a long way in recent years. The NAB and RAB have made a concerted effort to integrate digital sessions into their agenda, and this year’s convention in Chicago will be no different. And many, many people in radio have made the transition to the digital space that is "immigrant" to most of us, rather than "native."
And some events like Convergence, RAIN, Arbitron’s Client Conference, and our Summits focus on both sides of the spectrum – broadcast and digital. Hill’s point, however, is more about who’s in the room – and there’s no question that the radio industry needs to be more inclusive to the key players in digital media.
That’s where radio can do better and needs to attract more digital superstars, while continuing to boldly schedule sessions that broadcasters may not agree with, but are necessary to see and understand.
In past years, Summit speakers have featured the likes of media/marketing/digital gurus, Tom Asacker, Ben McConnell, and Jason Calacanis (pictured). And believe me, their messages haven’t always been comforting to our attendees. But that mind-stretching, change-inducing content is precisely what radio needs in order to advance, grow, and thrive.
Paul and I are both appreciative of Radio Ink’s Eric Rhoads for the opportunity to moderate panels at both Convergence and the Radio Tech Summit. The entire Radio Ink staff deserves a great deal of credit for their hard work in putting this multi-day event together.
They were uniformly great sessions, and whether Hill believes it or not, were exactly what is needed. Hill's style might have rubbed some people the wrong way, but his message wasn't lost on us.