As our "Going for the Gold" initiative winds down (I'll give you the totals tomorrow), the entries we've received from stations and personal collections continue to amaze and impress. The statement that people are making to musicFIRST is impressive in its breadth and passion.
Consider that we've received well more than 2,500 gold and platinum records and awards from stations big and small, which we are still in the process of posting. We also received a great collection from Jim Cahill who many of you may remember from that incredible Vh1 promotion where they gave away 36 Corvettes to ONE winner. Jimmy runs his own promotional and marketing company, Heat Seeking Multimedia, and has held high-level creative positions at DIRECTV, NBC, Fox, and MTV - and he's consulted just about everyone along the way. Back in the day, he was the Advertising Project Director with Frontline Management for Styx, and has actually programmed and been a personality on the radio - WRKR, Racine, WI.
So, the resume and list of accomplishment speaks for itself. Jim is a promotional genius who has spent much of his career working many of us, so his perspective is of immense value. When he heard about "Going for the Gold," the campaign inspired him to forward his gold and platinum records, and write the following statement about the value of power and radio. I invite you to read it, pass it along, and also get in touch with Jim if you like, and check out his vast resume and accomplishments at LinkedIn.
Here are his thoughts:
I couldn't resist sending you the enclosed photos of gold & platinum record awards I have received and join in the brigade of contributors to your collection of photographs of the awards. I also applaud you for your efforts and want to add that I am blown away by the creativity of this idea as well as the outpouring of sentiment it has generated.
I also wanted to add my perspective to your "music on the radio" story.
I had the distinct honor to have been the point person who crafted the marketing strategies for many hit records, including artists as diverse as Alice Cooper, STYX, Fleetwood Mac, 38 Special, The Go Gos, Jackson Browne, Sammy Hagar, Bonnie Raitt, The Beach Boys, Billy Ocean, Warrant and more as well as music soundtracks for Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Beverly Hills Cop I & II, Imagine, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Top Gun, Flashdance and many more. My various clients sold in excess of 175 million records and I was awarded more than 50 RIAA gold and platinum sales awards in America and dozens more in territories throughout the world.
The reason I wanted to share this story with you was that having been responsible for setting the strategy for building hit records, I have the unique perspective of disclosing to you exactly how I did it and precisely what worked. In every single case, for every hit record I worked on I utilized a 3-point strategy. It worked as follows:
Obtain airplay on Local Top 40 RADIO (200+ stations) Obtain airplay on Local Album Oriented RADIO (300+ stations) Book artist on National Network RADIO (Syndicated music programs - i.e., Jim Ladd's "Innerview" or "Rockline"
Obtain airplay on Local Top 40 RADIO (200+ stations)
Obtain airplay on Local Album Oriented RADIO (300+ stations)
Book artist on National Network RADIO (Syndicated music programs - i.e., Jim Ladd's "Innerview" or "Rockline"
Radio was far and away the most influential medium in exposing music to the legions of rock fans we (my clients and I) were trying to reach. Every day in every way, radio airplay was by far the single most important factor in making a song, record, or album ubiquitous. It was not until a song had been exposed to a wide audience in multiple markets did that song have a chance to sell through and climb the charts into the "rare air" of being considered a hit. The biorhythm of a hit record always started with acceptance and exposure on the radio and once the audience connected with the music, a sell-through pattern would emerge. The radio station could then feel the pulse of records selling in their local markets which would fuel a pattern of additional airplay and the cycle of sales and airplay would then take a song as far as the audience would support it. In many cases, the sales of a record would be in direct proportion to the airplay it received.
Never once have I seen a song become a hit without massive acceptance by a wide national audience - an impossible task without the support of radio in hundreds of local markets.
I have seen cases in which radio was powerful enough to take a song through a regional pattern of acceptance and spread that acceptance into other markets across America and in some cases, all around the world. Support from radio created the demand that could sell the music first, then sell concert tickets in local markets, furthering the connection between artist and audience which in turn would fuel more sales of records and then, ultimately concert tickets and concert merchandise. However, it was impossible to build a sustainable career in music without the overwhelming support from radio programmers. City by city, state by state, region by region - in every corner of this nation, American music fans listened to radio to discover new music and hear hit music.
Songs by their very nature are perishable commodities. A song will either be a hit forever or it will not - and the ultimate fate of a song always depended on how quickly the music could find a wide audience. In my time promoting rock music, pop songs and music soundtracks, I found that acceptance by radio programmers was the only way for enough music fans to discover music in the short window of time it took for fans to fall in love with a song. Relationships with radio programmers became the most important key factor in sustaining a career in music which was the reason so many artists, artist managers and record companies presented radio stations with gold and platinum awards - it was a way of thanking the station for having been so instrumental in a song or record becoming a bona fide hit.
Not every song I ever worked on was a hit. However, every song I worked on that did become a hit happened through wide exposure and acceptance over a short window of time delivered by the men and woman who programmed radio stations and the loyal audience who listened to them. Period.
Every time I crafted a strategy for building a song into a hit the first thing I always said to myself was - "How quickly can we put this song on 500+ radio stations?" I didn't use television. I didn't use print. I used radio as both a way to expose music to the audience, and then as an advertising medium to communicate to the audience that the song, album, soundtrack was for sale in the local market and how that listener could obtain it.
Eric Carmen sang about it in a memorable hit song called "Overnight Sensation."
I just want a hit record.
Want to hear it on the radio.
Want a big hit record.
One that everybody's got to know.
Well, the program director don't pull it.
Then it's bound to get back the bullet.
So bring the group down to the station.
You're gonna be an Overnight Sensation!
Congrats to Jacobs Media on such a terrific idea.
Here's to your "going for the gold" concept becoming an "overnight sensation!"
Warm regards, Jim Cahill
*These are Jim Cahill's thoughts alone. They do not necessarily reflect the position of any of his clients, past or present.