(By Sandy Edie Hansen) I’ve been reading the articles of experts on the downward trend in terrestrial radio listening. I keep waiting for someone to live in reality in their view.
Mike McVay makes the most sense of those featured, and honestly the person Radio Ink recently interviewed for a different reason is the one with a clue, Sheri Lynch. She pointed out many of the reasons this trend is destined to continue. Including this:
“Unfortunately, we have a lot of old minds thinking in positions of power.” On radio station social media Sheri offered this fact: “They’re like static billboards; there’s no humanity to them.” Sheri shared many of the reasons radio is in decline and she is spot on from my perspective.
I am in a tiny market at a station that is nearly 100 years old, and I’ve been there for a third of that history. We pride ourselves on NOT doing what the radio industry does when it comes to company culture, stop sets, selling and our website. We don’t get it all “right”, and that’s ok. Hundreds of radio stations were all purchased and homogenized to fit a cookie cutter business model and we’re now surprised to learn that radio listenership is declining? Really?
It amazes me the level of denial that this industry seems to continue to live in. I keep waiting for someone with the common sense a Jim Taszerek or Bob McCurdy had to tell it like it is. Where is that voice of reason that’s not afraid to say we’re going down the same damn path that’s leading to the same damn place of not growing, but dying?
Who is coaching your sales staff? Who is coaching your on-air talent? How are you investing in your people YOURSELF – no matter what your title says? How are you growing your own skill sets in how to develop your people? Do you know what it takes to get your good people to stay with your company? When you look at your stations website are there more ads than relevant content? How many assets are you posting to your website each day that your audience would be interested in? Not self-promoting assets, information that makes a difference to them. Do you and your staff know who your customer is? (Hint – it’s not the listener, it’s the advertiser. Access to the listener is your PRODUCT that you’re selling to the customer).
Look, I don’t have all the answers and this train may be too far down the tracks to completely make the turn up ahead. I think radical acceptance of who we are, what we can do and the world today is a major first step we’d all need to take. It seems to me that humanity is missing in much of the internal business model of this industry and what happens inside a business has huge impact on its ability to succeed, no matter what your definition of success is.
Sandy Edie Hansen is GM, GSM, Leader and Coach at KMAland Broadcasting and can be reached by e-mail at: [email protected]