Beyond Just The Games

 “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you will never be able to truly change at all, because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” – Andy Law

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Pandora now has an app for the Microsoft XBOX system.

Not really earth shaking…or is it?

Gaming is huge, which draws people to XBOX, and then XBOX provides them an entrée into movies, the web, and music.

Pandora uses Kinect to allow people to listen, vote, and change songs with just a gesture. So Pandora has now integrated themselves into yet another popular distribution channel. Have you heard the old story about finding a parade getting in front of it?

But both may soon be rendered obsolete as Virtual Reality achieves broad acceptance over the next five years.  Change is a fact of life.

My point here is to show how unimaginative and lame most of our radio apps are. Radio will not continue to succeed by being “good enough,” at a time when the life cycle of an app becomes shorter and shorter.  Let’s do something different that really intrigues the listener/consumer, and be prepared to understand that change is faster and more constant than ever.

How Are You Doing In RLRT?

“If a brand is to really make a connection and to spark word of mouth, they must speak to the customer like a friend.” – John Moore

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You know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the others can be quite seductive. You post something, get some responses, a few forwards and it feels like you’ve really accomplished something. And you probably do accomplish…something. But we don’t yet understand what a “like” means or if “thumbs up” means more listening.  At a recent radio conference Mark Ramsey reviewed a study that showed no correlation between Facebook likes and success.

In books like The Passion Conversation” and “Face To Face,” and several independent research studies, it becomes clear that over 80% of word of mouth conversations happen in RLRT, or “Real Life, Real Time.”  That should get your attention.

So instead of social media it’s digital interaction, and the smart people will be planning for the bigger picture rather than just the smaller picture one.  Effective must overcome easy.

I know online interaction is easier to do, and I know it reaches a lot of users, but it overlooks the human or people part of the equation. The more effective interactions come from people to people efforts.

When Brant Hanson of Air1 decided to have the staff and band greet the listeners as they arrived for a concert, walking down a red carpet to their seats, that was human social interaction. Those people didn’t just attend, they bonded. When country stations do backyard barbecues with artists, they’re not just getting together for food, they’re bonding in a human way.

If you haven’t read “The Passion Conversation” you need to. It’s written by an acquaintance of mine, and someone I’ve talked about in the past, John Moore, along with some really smart people from a group called Brains On Fire.  It really is about building passion, and that happens most often in RLRT.

Roads To Nowhere

“If you don’t know where you’re going you might wind up somewhere else.” – Yogi Berra

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I was cruising along the freeway on one of those amazing “sun break” Friday’s in Seattle when I saw a freeway exit that didn’t go anywhere.  It was just a blocked off dead-end exit ramp.  There was a lot of poor government planning and financial problems involved, but being a fan of metaphors I couldn’t help think about radio’s future.

I’ve been involved in a major project since January looking at Millennials, and it’s very sobering.  There are a lot of stories in the trades about the reach radio has with that generation, but you don’t see a lot of them talking about their shrinking TSL.  You don’t see any articles about their use of radio in context with their use of other media.  It’s as if we boomers don’t know any Millennials or see their actual media use.

These people are digital natives, and are in almost continual use of media, averaging around 11 hours a day.  But they are multi-media consumers, not single media consumers.  Considering radio’s financial model, that’s disconcerting.

There are plenty of off ramps on the media highway, but we’re not using them for what they are.  All of our social media, community building, video and such, is built around reinforcing radio, not complimenting it.  The answers are there, but someone needs to act on them.

The cool part about the coming convergence between digital and media is that those startup costs are much less than buying a major market signal.  Again, the answers are there, but someone needs to act on them.

I Guess I’m Glad I’m Not On The Air

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“However you make your living is where your talent lies.” – Ernest Hemingway

I used to worry about whether I could “hit the post” or not.  Or if I could come up with something worth hearing.   If it was a really good break, sometimes the GM would poke his head in the door and say something.  I really loved being on the air.

Now, in a world of continual partial attention, and diminishing interest from the higher ups, I can’t imagine being on-air.

That’s why I admire the people I meet who are dedicated to being the best they can be.  They’re just as enthusiastic and having the time of their lives.  They care about what they’re doing.

So I just wanted to say thanks, you’re keeping radio alive when ownership and other media have given up on you.  I know you feel strongly about creativity in radio.  I wish people had a better understanding of the value of talent relative to the music but I’m not sure they do.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “It’s all about the music.”  Or met on-air people who seem to just be “doing their time.”

But many of you defy that.  You’re doing what you know will relate and be relevant, and I admire you more than any media mogul I know of.

Innovate the Pixar way

The thing about working at Pixar is that everyone around you is smarter and funnier and cleverer than you and they all think the same about everyone else. It’s a nice problem to have.” – Andrew Stanton

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Authors Bill Capodagli & Lynn Jackson, in their book “Innovate the Pixar Way: Business Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Corporate Playground,” suggest that “Pixar is a “playground” that will inspire you to:

– Dream like a child.
– Believe in your playmates.
– Dare to jump in the water and make waves.
– Do unleash your childlike potential

I don’t know about you, but I want to work in a playground like that!

One other Pixar secret is that they pay both the creative and technical people the same money.  They realize they are BOTH important to their success.  The greatest story y0u come up with isn’t going to do much if it isn’t translated through the technology.  Think programming and IT, or programming and engineering.

Everyone at your organization has a place and purpose, and if they don’t you need to get rid of them.  True leaders will understand the value of all, not just one.