Forecast 2023 was held at The Harvard Club in New York City on Wednesday in front of a Standing Room Only crowd, and with a sold out slate of sponsorships. Radio and Television executives from all across the country heard revenue predictions for the year ahead, how both industries can fight the big tech companies for revenue, and what to expect – or not expect – from Washington DC.
Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti, pictured here with Forecast 2023 host Juliet Huddy, said, “From eye opening sessions with people like Scott Painter and Wayne Kimmel to the provocative insights and perspectives throughout the day by so many intelligent and diverse experts over a wide array of topics relative to broadcasters, Greg Ashlock and Jordan Wertlieb hit this Forecast out of the park.
The morning began with iHeartMedia’s Greg Ashlock interviewing Autonomy founder Scott Painter. Autonomy is an electric car automotive subscription service. Painter told the crowd that in order to raise money for his company people need to know who his company is. He said he needs to build a brand and that brand cannot be built by being only online. He said he launched his company using radio and he recognizes how powerful radio is. “When we advertise on radio, we build our audience. We build our reach. We fill our funnel.” Painter also spoke about how powerful endorsement reads are from radio hosts. “Once they understand the product, they are very powerful.”
Our legal panel, chaired by Frank Montero, touched on the fact that The FCC is still without a 5th member and that could continue into the next Congress with Gigi Sohn still in limbo, without the votes for confirmation, and the Congress finishing up a lame-duck session. They also discussed marijuana ads and whether radio stations should take ads promoting pot in states that sell it legally. The panel reminded executives that marijuana remains illegal on the federal level and, to be safe, stations should avoid the ads because of the fact their licenses are federally approved. It gives those not federally regulated – big tech – a free ride to this lucrative revenue pot (no pun intended).
Syndicated superstars Ryan Seacrest and Angela Yee detailed how they’ve built their successful brands using radio, how they connect with their listeners and how powerful their radio shows are to their continued success.
NAB CEO Curtis LeGeyt, who’s been on the job for one year now, said, “it couldn’t be a more important time for broadcasters.” LeGeyt believes broadcasters have the ear of Washington because there is so much disinformation being pushed out by the big tech companies and both radio and Television are the trusted media. “Because of what you do locally, Washington is finding ways to help you. You stand out with fact-based information, boots on the ground and familiar faces.”
On the never-ending pay-to-play battle radio faces every year with Washington. LeGeyt says former Congressman Joe Crowley, who’s pushing hard to get radio to pay artists to air their music, has disincentivized the music industry from coming to the table to work out a deal. “He’s been a blessing for the recording industry and he’s been the biggest impediment to getting something done.” The NAB has always said part of any deal has to include a fair agreement for radio on the streaming side. LeGeyt added that, “there’s not going to be any movement on this issue without buy-in from the radio industry.”
Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan was interviewed by Huddy about his new book :Never Ride a Roller Coaster Upside Down.” Smulyan details how he turned his initial investment on radio of a few thousand dollars into one of the most successful radio groups of the last 3 decades. He shares some never-before-heard stories about Don Imus, Bob Pittman and his time as the owner of the Seattle Mariners. Smulyan’s book will be released on december 7th and you can pre-order it HERE. We will have a full review of the book in our December 12th print edition.
The event concluded with our annual 40 Most Powerful People in Radio cocktail party where we distributed plaques to the power players in our industry. A networking event like no other in the radio industry.
If you missed Forecast 2023, shame on you. However, you can mark your calendar for Forecast 2024, which will be November 15th of next year.