I'm at Radio Ink's Convergence 2009 this week, preparing for a panel called "Radio On Demand." First, major kudos to Eric Rhoads and company for putting together an incredibly well-attended conference. In this year of crisis for our industry and America, it is truly amazing how many people are here.
Guy brought up some great points, but two in particular resonated with me:
Make Meaning - So often, business and new ventures focus on simply making money. Yes, that's what makes the markets move, but as we've seen with consolidation and catering to Wall Street, radio clearly lost sight of its original focus - serving communities, serving listeners, and making a difference. By the way, as hard hit as radio has been in the past couple of years, all that potential is still there. We won't get there with all-syndicated, out-sourced radio, but local stations that are broadcasting to local communities can and will make a difference.
Polarize People - That's what gets their attention, whether it's a strange-looking hybrid called a Prius or Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. And as PPM proliferates, shows and formats that stand out - including Christmas music - stand out as big winners. They're good for ratings and even better for brands. But playing it safe, over-researching, and "programming by committee" all contribute to blanding out radio, while moving further away from an innovative environment.
So far, so good at Convergence 2009.