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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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« Those Younger Demos | Main | You Heard It WHERE? »


Greg Gillispie

Regarding the string of "could listeners control" questions, the answer is "you bet!" Now, can we get some controllable chips in their brains?

Phil Evans

From a blog I posted last week - not right on the same track, but parallels some of Keith's thoughts above.

One of my main contentions these days with radio, in the battle against every other form of media, is that there's no inherent reason to return to one radio show over another every day. On TV - they carry the story from week to week (Lost, 24, Prison Break, American Idol, American Inventor etc.) Note the fall of the sitcom and the rise of the serial. In newspapers, they carry stories or serials over two or three days.

Radio is only ever in the moment - time, traffic, temperature, funny bit, show biz wire story, punchline, tune . Where's the story line that carries from day to day - so you have to tune in the next day to find out what happened?

If radio could do that every day, there would be a hope for its future - I mean, if The Gotti's can have a show, and stuff like Surreal Life succeeds, what's to stop radio from running a morning show like a serial? People like hearing or seeing real life - trailer park life included. In fact - Trailer Park Boys is an ideal model for a radio show. It can be in the moment, like current radio, it's character driven, it has a story line, and it can drive you to tune in again tomorrow. Program Directors talk about compelling radio, but what they're really talking about is long periods of moribund normalcy interrupted with quick fix stunts and gimmicks. That does not create habitual listening. A story line creates habituial listening. As I said - look at the success of the current dramatic and reality serials on TV.

Once again, programmers talk about radio being theatre of the mind - where's the theatre? It doesn't take much imagination to think of the weather as anything other than the weather. And in the over-exposed showbiz world, who cares about Brittany or Snoop or J-Lo? Who cares?

You know what listeners would care about? A story - a real story. A story with a beginning, a middle and an end. A story driven by characters. A story that is written to get people coming back for more. Every day.

I never miss Lost. Yeah, 'get a life', you're saying. But what if radio got to the point that if you missed a show in real time, you just HAD to download the podcast to catch up. Last summer, I watched the whole first season of Lost on DVD in the course of one week. Then I waited for the real time shows. And I made an appointment to watch.

Who in radio will find this formula? Someone better do it soon. Because I can listen to music anytime I want.

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