Last week, Paul and I were treated to something you don't see or hear about very often in radio these days - a large group of positive broadcasters, eager to learn, grow, prosper, and serve their communities.
We were invited to present by Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters President Vance Harrison. This year's convention was held in Tulsa, bringing together some of the most enthusiastic radio and television professionals you could ever hope to meet. While we so often hear about jaded radio folks, especially in the Top 5 markets, the scene at the OAB was anything but.
Vance put together a great agenda, and it was heartwarming to see so many radio folks realistically sizing up their situations, and forging ahead in a positive, energetic way. Oklahomans aren't into gimmicks or steroids. A "Less Is More" campaign wouldn't fly with this group. Instead, the OAB was about doing it the right way, staying profitable, and being community-focused. Hundreds of broadcasters showed up, there was a huge, well-sponsored exhibit hall, and sessions that were well-attended and enlightening.
It was a great wake-up for Paul and me, and reminiscent in many ways of Michigan Association of Broadcasters get-togethers I've had the pleasure of attending in recent years. We ran into some major players along the way - attorney David Oxenford (David Wright Tremaine) and Learfield's President & CEO Roger Gardner. But we also spent some quality time with salt of the earth, lifelong broadcasters, like Dorea Potter, whose Bartlesville operations are proud to call themselves "hometown stations." And along the way, the great team at KMYZ - Chuck Browning, Paul Kriegler, and Kenny Wall - whose Alternative station - Z104.5 The Edge - has survived the ups and downs through Cobain, Alanis, Korn, and Kings of Leon. And Chris Baker whose steady hand on legendary KATT has contributed to that station's brand equity.
Sometimes, we get so close to the trades, the transactions, Wall Street, covenants, debt loads, operating synergies, hostile takeovers, and EBITDA that it's easy to lose sight of radio's value. I'd highly recommend a state broadcasters association convention to reconnect with an industry that still has a great deal to offer consumers, communities, advertisers - and you.
It was a great time to be in Tulsa.