Paul Jacobs and Tim Davis went to the 30th annual Conclave seminar last week. Both headed out to present on panels, but they also both came back with some interesting observations:
We hit the 30th annual Conclave seminar by participating in the sessions. Here are some of our observations from the event:
1. There are actually young people in our business who are excited about it. Attendance for the conference reached an all-time high this year, and the crowd was made up of younger, hungrier, talented people. At a time when many question where the next superstars are going to come from, they should come to Minneapolis in July to meet them.
2. When they weren't forced to deal with mundane questions like "Should you play more than just the single from the album," the Alternative panel was interesting. Jacobs Media clients Mike Stern, Greg Bergen, and Roach participated in a discussion that ranged from the importance of talent ("Most music in the morning is a loser position"), to how impactful Jack has been on all formats. Mike Stern commented that when a Jack station hits your market, "variety" gets re-positioned for all stations. Given the initial response to Q101s "shuffle" position, he's right. And Greg Bergen told some great stories about his talented morning man, Lazlo. Overall, a pretty upbeat representation of where the format's going.
3. Al Franken's keynote showed that he's a man on a mission. He carefully and intelligently re-crafted his own (and Air America's) image as that of folks who actually do have traditional values and support the troops. To hear Al talk, you'd think the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats care about people, and Republicans don't. His "talk" felt off-the-cuff and unscripted, and was quite the buzz after the fact (although we know he's done this speech before). He's very subtly taken what could be the biggest negatives for himself and Air America, and actually turned them into positives. There are some great tactical lessons in how he's doing it. Order the tape from the Conclave if you get the chance.
4. Mancow showed up as the fourth (yes, fourth) keynoter. He was on fire, energetic, frenetic, and in typical Cow fashion, offended everyone in the room, yet was endearing at the same time. For those of you who are familiar with Art Vuolo ("Radio's Best Friend"), he took the brunt of Cow's ribbing, as did Mark Masters (head of Cow's new syndicator, Talk Radio Network). None took nearly as much abuse, however, as Al Franken or Ryan Seacrest (unfortunately, neither was present to get into a brawl with him).
Despite the shenanigans you'd expect from a personality like Cow, his overall message was clear to those in attendance: Passion and Creativity are the foundation of radio, and win, lose, or draw, he says you've got to put it all out there, or we're just a glorified iPod.
5. Boy, is Minneapolis hot in the summer. But then again, it's better than Minneapolis in February.
Conclave showed, once again, that it's not just the "middle of America" conference, but a place where the young, bright, and energetic meet up to pave the road to the future. If you're looking for talent, or just need to be re-energized on how much fun radio really is, set your schedule now to attend next year. You won't be sorry.