Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters conference on behalf of old client and friend, Vance Harrison, the president of this group. I always enjoy these get-togethers because while we're all racing to help connect the new and old media dots, these conferences are reminders of why most of us got into radio in the first place.
I especially enjoy the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies because they are a showcase for consummate broadcast professionals who went above and beyond to become great at their craft. On this night, the inductees were Oral Roberts, Ed Birchall aka Ho Ho the Clown (a staple on Oklahoma TV), and small market broadcaster Harold Wright.
Wright spoke about the "success triangle" that has guided his company - from AM to FM to digital. The bottom corners are comprised of great content and a strong sales machine, while the top of the triangle is a positive, upbeat attitude.
And that summed up this event for me this year. While business was tough last year, and there are concerns about where radio and television are headed in an uncertain future, the OAB has no shortage of dedicated broadcasters willing to learn new things about how to create better products. Because Oklahoma City and Tulsa are the biggest markets in the state, the OAB is largely populated with small market broadcasters. And believe me, there is no lack of dedication and energy among those folks.
Some of you may remember Classic Rock programmer Dan Balla, now co-owner of the successful Bob-FM in Wichita Falls with partner Fred Morton. This is another of those great small market radio stories that should encourage all broadcasters about the possibilities and potentials.
Vance and Nancy Struby put on a good show. There were great speakers, from Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute to Mike Andres of BIA Capital Strategies to broadcast attorney David Oxenford. And of course, OAB alums like the NAB's John David were on hand to lend a sense of national credibility to this regional conference. And there's a sense of history with the OAB because of past Hall of Fame honorees like Paul Harvey, Douglas Edwards, Curt Gowdy, Frank McGee, and oh yeah, Gene Autry and Will Rogers.
I know that many broadcasters don't bother with these state association conferences and conventions. They cost a few bucks and they take up a couple of days of your time.
But they also provide context and a sense of history about our profession. And the good ones provide strong agendas for ongoing learning, as well as an opportunity to network with old friends and make new contacts. As companies struggle with the education process and have cut way back on employee training, state broadcaster associations play an important role in the process.
For me, it was a chance to reconnect with broadcasters on the ground who are dedicated to growing their businesses, keeping the tradition, and serving their communities. When you think about what's right with radio, these conferences have an important place in our industry fabric and should be supported. If you're in need of an industry jumpstart, take the time to attend your state broadcaster association's next conference.
And on a related note, we're putting on "Summer School" at this year's Conclave in Minneapolis (July 15-17). This is always a great event, and Tom Kay and his group are offering bona fide discounts if you sign up for the "Gang of 10" deal. It's half off if you register before April 1st. Type "Jacobs Media" when registering.
"Summer School' will be a series of quick-hitting sessions designed to help new and veteran radio broadcasters brush up on the basics, from music scheduling to social media to airchecking to sales. We're got a solid curriculum coming together. Hope to see you at the Conclave - and maybe at your next state broadcaster conference.