Social Media and Theater of the Mind

It’s exciting when you see a friend from outside the radio business post about radio on Social Media. With all the buzz about new media, reminders of radio’s continuing relevance are wonderful. So, this post from a non-radio friend in the Philly area, female age 27, caught our eye: Thank you to Elvis Duran and the morning show for discussing exactly what I want…a good old fashion make out brothel. Give me an establishment where I can just make out with a guy like I’m in high school, haha…I love this show in the morning!!!

When non-radio friends talk about radio it’s almost invariably about a morning show or a talk show, of course. It’s that non-duplicable content they connect with – that they seek. It’s worth noting that this post was about a syndicated morning show. That should serve as a reminder that it’s not about where the studio is – it’s about the relevance of the content. It is exciting when great radio is being created in your town; when the DJ’s or hosts are talking about something in your area. But, it’s more critical that what they’re talking about is entertaining or interesting.

It’s not surprising that listeners don’t talk much about music radio. Music is becoming a commodity – available from many sources either free or at low cost. As a business, we’ve known that it would go this way; we’ve been treating music as a commodity for decades: 7-in-a-row, 30 minutes commercial free, etc. And yet, when the commercial for Beats Music came on during the Daily Show finale, the 18-year-old watching with us took notice of Zane Lowe saying, “I’ve got the whole world locked in for this one,” as he introduced Pharrell Williams’ new song.

The worldwide aspect of the radio offering from Beats Music appealed to the Millennial in the room – the idea that people all over the world would be hearing the same song at the same time. The fact is any station with an internet stream could make the same “whole world locked in” claim. It helps that Beats has an award-winning world music DJ with a New Zealand accent, but terrestrial radio has lots of great, charismatic voices, too.

The idea portrayed in the commercial is exciting – and likely far more exciting than the Beats Music reality in actual listeners at the moment. What the ad agency for Beats Music did brilliantly was to expose us to an idea and get us to play it out in the theater of our minds. When you think about it, lots of people across any metro area hearing the same song at the same time is an engaging idea. It’s up to us to play out the idea in the theater of the listener’s mind. It’s up to us to keep music radio from becoming a commodity.