(By Georgia Beasley) I think that by now, anyone reading this column knows that I keep it real. I don’t sugar coat the issues our industry faces when it comes to retaining and attracting talented Millennials. I was so impressed with this year’s Radio Show in Austin and the focus that was made on younger generations. Congrats to the NAB, RAB and this year’s Steering Committee for exceeding my expectations. Here are 3 things this Millennial took away from the 2017 Radio Show:
Radio is Focused on Millennials!
From the top executives, to the PDs, to GMs across our industry, there are new and exciting initiatives being taken in our stations with laser focus on Millennial growth and engagement. One moment that stood out to me was when David Field won the National Radio Award. His passion and conviction for our industry and its future gave me goosebumps and made me proud to be a Millennial in this industry. Also, at both the Marconi and Radio Wayne awards, I didn’t just hear the Cumulus winners reference the new direction that leadership in their company is creating, I felt it through their joy and enthusiasm. It was contagious and something that is breathing life back into our industry.
I have to add that I was not expecting to meet as many impressive millennials as I did at this year’s show. It was a pleasant surprise to see the attendance and the questions that were being asked by this generation in many of the sessions. I met one millennial in particular that blew my mind. Her name was Meag and she told me all about her passion for radio from an early age and how she would work in any department as long as it was in a radio. She paid for her own flight to Austin, her own admission into the Radio Show and had her entire schedule filled with sessions she was excited about attending. I was very encouraged.
Radio is Connecting with Social Media & Technology!
We all know that technology use is the most defining characteristic of younger generations and the companies that used technology to their benefit, helped make the Radio Show memories last. Millennials were using technology and social media to connect throughout the show. It was hard to find a millennial not Snapchatting live events and checking their social media anywhere and everywhere using the hashtag #RadioShow2017. Cox Media Group took this to a new level for the 2nd year in a row. CMG knew that Millennials would be snapping their favorite moments, so they decided to create a Snapchat filter this year featuring bitmojis of Kim Guthrie and Bill Hendrich during the Marconi awards!
RAB has also used technology to take the Radio Show to the next level. Unfortunately, I had to leave the Radio Show early because of Hurricane Irma and had to missed the Music and Mimosas. I was pretty bummed until I saw that RAB has the information and even the performances on-demand! So whether it’s Demi Lovato’s performance or a session that you’d like to see again, you now are able get it all with just the click of a button. Just go to at www.radioshowweb.com. Plus, if you downloaded the app, you can even access the presentations and handouts from each session!
Radio is Creating a Culture that Matters!
As more and more millennials are becoming vital members of the radio industry, a big focus this year was how we are creating a culture that gives younger generations the ability to decide work in ways that will be most successful for everyone. It’s all about flexibility and autonomy for Millennials. We need accessibility and support to create success without a rigid structure. Something that stood our to me was that the 9-5 standard office hours have got to go! Using technology allows us all to communicate with our team and clients as well as manage any responsibilities we have from any location, at any time, without having to be physically in an office.
This culture is being adopted by the best GMs across the industry. I sat in a session entitled, Cashing in on Culture. There, Tami Honesty, VP/Market Manager of UrbanOne – Dallas said that she doesn’t require her staff to adhere to traditional hours and stress out about being at their desk by a certain time each morning or back to the office before COB each day. Instead, she trusts them to do their jobs and close out their day productively, whether they’re working from home or still in the field. This concept resonated with the millennials in attendance and is something that should be explored industry-wide.
The Radio Show strikes again! As a millennial, I am energized and impressed by our industry and the efforts it is making to create change for our generation. While there are still opportunities to grow, we are heading in the right direction.
Georgia Beasley is the director of TopicPulse strategic initiatives at Futuri Media and can be reached at email@example.com