A Word on Radio Intelligence by Chris Jordan

 
 

A Word on Radio Intelligence

I would like to identify a relatively new term I’ve
come across over the past months called “Radio
Intelligence”.
  An area where
broadcast professionals get the chance to create career paths based only on the
idea of changing the landscape of radio with

–       
New approaches

–       
Methodologies

–       
Studies

–       
And models,

much like
this book had the objective of.  Models
like “S.P.I.N” ©, “P.L.A.N” © and “The 7 Deadly Sins of Radio” © are all
personal contributions to structuring the thought process of radio
broadcasting.

This post chapter
includes excerpts and references from some published articles that I found
interesting written by people belonging to forums and groups dedicated to this
new field of study.  These are
interesting and thought provoking views and research that should encourage you
to broaden your perspective on this industry.

The concept of “Business A” and
“Business B”

Before we
address this, let us briefly consider what is happening to business models all
over the world, and how radio is being affected.

The story of
how Kodak became bankrupt is world-renowned. 
The over 100 year old photo and printing company served its clientele
with giving them their favourite memories on print to keep and enjoy forever.  Simply put, they didn’t change with the
changing world around them.

With the
introduction of smartphones that could snap and re-snap, then edit, and post
online or be displayed on LED display frames – what service was Kodak
providing?

What they
needed to do was redevelop their entire business model to adapt, but
didn’t.  The process is called “Business
A” (the traditional, intended service or product that a business provides”, and
“Business B” (an adapted business model that allows the traditional product to
live further in a new age environment).

This is
where radio is now being challenged. 
With the introduction of self-customized music applications like
‘Spotify’ and others of the like, how does one keep a listener glued to a radio
set and what is coming out on their end of the speaker.  Radio is already troubleshooting competition
from the everyday iPod or mp3 player, not to mention that listeners are
extremely fickle why with so much to entertain them these days.  

As the new
breed of broadcaster, it is up to you to explore, research, define and develop
ways in which terrestrial radio living in the “Business A” realm, can move to
towards a “Business B” reality.  Becoming
a professional in the field of radio not only means understanding the medium,
but understanding where it should go.  In
other words, building intelligence – around radio broadcasting.

Opening ideas around “Radio
Intelligence”

Mark Ramsey
is one of the leading radio minds in “radio intelligence”.  His views are respected and growing
internationally with every day.  I found
his talks online and published works to be inspirational in the sense that it
helps one relook at the simpler foundations of broadcasting, in a new way –
because after all, we are living in a new world era.

One
incredibly striking argument Mark Ramsey brings up is the concept of “free”
radio as opposed to other “paid” platforms of radio be it satellite,
subscriptions or online streaming.  Is
“free” radio enough to keep listeners glued to a frequency?  The argument inferring are we doing enough on
terrestrial platforms that will not have a listener want to part with their
well-earned money.

Referring to an article posted online (http://www.radiointelligence.com/radio-listeners-is-free-all-that-matters/ – Posted on April 22, 2014 by Mark Ramsey) Mark
says the following

“These are the well intentioned
folks in the radio industry who believe that listeners do not have their own
best interests at heart. That listeners are, as a group, a bit dull-minded.
Thus, listeners must be marketed at and advertised to in order to convince them
of what they surely would be better off knowing: That free radio is better than any other radio-like alternative
simply and primarily because it’s free.

He continues to argue the
fact that understanding the listener as a consumer is a little naïve coming
from the majority of stations’ perspectives – and uses the analogy of why
people buy bottled water instead of pouring it from a tap to illustrate that
the radio industry needs to now provide its consumer market with a whole lot more. 

This is the first of many
arguments Mark Ramsey sheds light on that make broadcasters sit back and
broaden their perception of how radio works, or even should work – better.

Another is a video
presentation that records Mark giving a talk about what “really” is happening
to radio listening. 

For the details, you should
watch this presentation at the following link:

Video Synposis:

Duration: 19min, 29sec

Details:  Mark Ramsey’s (markramseymedia.com) opening presentation
from the first-ever radio ideas conference, hivio 2013 (hivio.com) in San Diego.

Mark
outlines the crisis of attention in radio – exactly how much radio AQH ratings
have declined over the years – and what we need to do about it. It’s all about
content and platforms, folks.

Mark
also outlines the 14 “jobs” of radio, explaining how defensible or
vulnerable each one is, and which constitute the basis of radio’s advantages in
the future.

Finally,
Mark shows a worksheet any radio brand can complete to see what its
strengths/vulnerabilities are in a world of digital choices.

A VERY
important presentation from a leading media thought leaders at radio’s premier
ideas conference. Strongly recommended.

Trends in time spent
listening, or TSL, are addressed and attention is drawn to how the details of
trends need to be further investigated as opposed to a stoppage point that
includes a climb or drop in numbers. 

For further information you
should download the data released by Arbitron (download PDF at http://www.rrconline.org/reports/pdf/Spring%20Survey%20Trends.pdf)
:

What are our listeners
doing; talking about; concerned about; their changing priorities – and so
on.  These are only some of the questions
that open up a variety of cans full of exotic worms broadcasters in the field
of Radio Intelligence like to sink their teeth into.

One of my favourite citations
that Mark has pointed out was to that of “Why are people not listening to your
breakfast show?”

You can find the
full article at http://www.radiointelligence.com/6-reasons-radio-listeners-ignore-your-morning-show/ Posted on February 25, 2014 by Mark
Ramsey.

Without stating the obvious, these are the 6 he lists:

1. Because they’re just not that good

2. Because they’re not meaningfully different in a crowded field

3. Because listeners are barely exposed to them

4. Because they’re DJ’s and not humans

5. Because management doesn’t want a great morning show, they want a cheap morning show to be great

6. Because “liking them” and “listening to them” are two different things

I will weigh in on these statements
in short by saying that yes, as a broadcaster, knowledge of these things is
quite commonplace, but taking action on such knowledge is where a large
majority of the industry falls flat.  Is
it because of the bottom line? Is it a lack of top-down training and
development that isn’t being addressed, or perhaps because broadcasters are becoming
less and less cognisant of what it really means to be a great broadcaster or
make great radio – and opt for the acceptable instead?

One more from Mark Ramsey
before we close, the burning question of “Why do radio personalities exist?”

Why indeed?  Is it to sell us a product?  Impose a personal opinion on the listening
public?  Reflect a lifestyle of glitz and
glamour by measuring their success on the amount of fans they have rather than
focus on the work they produce that gains them respect and admiration?

Mark makes a couple of good
points a broadcaster can use as a guideline. 

To read more on
this article please visit (http://www.radiointelligence.com/why-do-radio-personalities-exist/) Posted on May 29, 2014 by Mark Ramsey

Here is why you exist:

1.     To be
in the moment, “live” with us

2.     To
tell us things we didn’t know, but are glad we do now

3.     To
lift our mood

4.     To be
a spokesperson for the culture that you share with us

5.     To
tell stories that fascinate or move us

6.     To be
a friend when we need one

7.     To be
that mirror that our best friends are

8.     To anchor
an experience we all share together

9.     To
help make our lives better in tangible ways

10.  To
make us laugh or cry or spend precious extra minutes in our driveway

11.  To
inform, educate, and entertain us

12.  To be
the part of our family that never lets us down

13.  To share
your musical enthusiasm with us, if the brand is built on music enthusiasts

14.  To
share your memories with us, if the brand is built on music with a history

15.  To
reveal your soul to us and show us your humanity

16.  To
know what we care about and care back

I will use the
abovementioned to draw your attention back to the S.P.I.N. methodology © in where
most of these characteristics can be achieved by learning how to craft the
relevant part of your radio personality. 
This, in turn, like most things in life, will have a ripple effect on
how you think and act as a broadcaster, and find a happy, effective and
professional medium between your hard and soft skill set that will keep you
going in radio for years to come.

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