(By Matt Miller) The talent of the future are no longer simply associated with a brand, they are the brand. The radio talent of the future will be a social media and digital force. The talent will be horizontally integrated in the digital space, able to be consumed in visual, written, and audio form to be everywhere with and for the audience, live or on demand. He or she will become part of the local or national conversation as an influencer, first mover, and social leader, yet reachable on a one-on-one basis. Talent will leverage their online community base to support their brand and sponsors, and vice versa.
Regardless of format, the personalities of tomorrow transcend any one medium and are highly skilled in personalized social engagement. They will use live streaming features like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, mobile, apps, OTT, voice command/search, or whatever comes next. And they won’t just use it while on the air, but throughout their day. The radio talent of the future will be media-adaptive at an appropriate level relative to the expectations of their audience.
The radio talent of tomorrow will realize that there will be continued fragmentation of all media. They will understand, when it comes to music formats, they are competing in an on-demand world, in the connected car and in the home, with their distinct advantage being localization (Is that a new or dated track? Will that artist be performing locally anytime soon? Is there a buy-in for the particular audience? And so forth) and personal connection. We have a live product in an on-demand world; it’s as easy as voice-activating the connected dash to play that song through countless music apps. And once that consumer has left, they’re gone.
In News/Talk and Sports Talk, they will realize there is competition from countless sources and opinion pundits, available via social media, hundreds of apps, and websites, and they will separate from the pack through unique benchmarks, guests and opinions, polls, and engagement strategies well established in other media.
Talent will create content and engage a global audience in stadiums, anywhere, live and real-time. In entertainment talk, talent will showcase their distinct brand of content in multiple platforms to stay top-of-mind with time-depleted consumers. Terrestrial radio will once again prove to be the ultimate emergency medium as the relentless forces of nature intensify around the globe. The connected car will become a unique environment that future talents will need to dominate — daily.
They will understand the increasing value of podcasting and delivering special content, consistent with the product and community standards, yet presented as a different and distinctive offering available in the digital space.
The radio talent of the future will create and inspire unduplicated content from guests, interviews, experts, and listeners alike, understanding that TV, OTT, Facebook Live, and more will compete for valuable audience attention. Presence in on-demand media will let listeners know you are always there when they need and want your content. The radio talent of the future will give the listener a taste of what they have to offer, then drive them back to the mothership to find a community with opinions to share. The talent of the future must reflect what the audience does. Up close and personal at a rally, a concert, a public event of interest to the talent’s station, and their personal brand becomes paramount.
Finally, the radio talent of the future will realize that, as much as our craft is artistry, it is first and foremost a business. The monetization of the radio medium will continue to be critical, particularly as radio companies seek to stay relevant through digital initiatives that have individual and collective costs.
The radio talent of the future will understand the value proposition of our advertisers; they will pour themselves into product endorsements and live reads in a way that feels as though it is an organic part of the content. They will jump to help that station or network client spread their message across all platforms to better compete with every other commercial medium now known or to be created in the future.
Matt Miller is Vice President of Miller Broadcast Management. He can be reached at 312.454.1111.