Jacobs Media's Ralph Cipolla joins us to discuss using HD2 channels for talent development:
Radio continues to grapple with how to approach the programming of its HD2 channels. Some stations have actually thought out the process, and have devoted some time and resources to these secondary channels that the HD Alliance is heavily marketing. Most others, however, have simply loaded a couple hundred songs in a hard drive, and assigned scheduling, voice drops, and other housekeeping issues to part-timers. The end result and sound of many of these HD2 channels is predictable - and insufficient for generating buzz and the interest in buying HD Radios.
But there's another missing piece here - talent development. As radio has eliminated live overnights and even 7-midnight shifts, there's less room for new talent to grow, learn, and develop. Think about how HD2 channels could help the following:
- That rough-around-the-edges aspiring part-timer who 10 years ago would have been learning the craft during overnights.
- The developing weekender who just needs more consistent air-time.
- An aspiring kid from the local high-school or college station (yes, they still exist, albeit in smaller numbers). Here, the HD2 channel could be used as a developmental league, like "NFL Europe" or the "Arena Football League." Maybe you'll find the next Kurt Warner.
- As a prize resource. Imagine how many "Be A DJ For A Day" contests you could present without mucking up the main channel. For "Workforce Employee of the Day" promotions, an airshift could be added to the prize list. Talk about viral: 1 employee X 5 days X 52 weeks = 260 "listener jocks," who would each tell 50 people that they're going to be on the radio. That might sell a few HD Radios.
As more and more talented morning shows and personalities leave terrestrial radio, the lack of development is going to cost the medium dearly. In HD, there is great potential to start building that bench.