A Wish List for 2016

One year ago we published this wish list for radio in 2015:

  • News and talk stations that make people feel smarter
  • Talk talent who make entertaining their primary mission
  • Morning shows (and talent in other dayparts) who are legitimately, laugh-out-loud funny (we’ve got many, but we need many more)
  • Non-duplicable content on all stations (taking available information or content and synthesizing something completely new with it)
  • New talent (dare we say it, YOUNG talent?)
  • Bigger entertainment values
  • Thinking about new formats in terms that go beyond a new playlist
  • Making “Local” mean something really special
  • Ensuring content and promotions and imaging are really about the listener
  • More risk-taking

Thinking about what our wish list would be for 2016, these same things all remain on our list. Of course, change takes time and with wider responsibilities managers spend more time dealing with what’s urgent, as opposed to what might be important.

But, as we showed at the NAB Radio Conference this year, the same consumers who spend lots of time with our medium and are the most likely to control our fates by participating in ratings surveys are also among those most likely to explore (and adopt) new delivery methods. And, of course, they would be: they LIKE radio. They have no allegiance to receiving it only through AM or FM radios. These consumers like listening, just as they’ve been among the first to try new stations and new formats, they’re in the vanguard when it comes to exploring audio services available from the Internet.

It seems clear that we need to accelerate our progress into new initiatives with Broadcast Radio programming. When confronted with a new idea how many times have those of us in radio asked, “Where else is it working?” While instead we should be asking:

  • Is it a truly good idea?
  • Is it significantly different than what’s already available?
  • Is it easy to communicate to consumers?

As much as the veteran broadcasters among us have loved station format battles, trying to reposition, out-promote and/or out-maneuver the others, simply being in competition with other radio stations is no longer an option. Competing strictly on share will find Broadcast Radio stations with slices of an ever-shrinking pie.

As you’re making plans on how to deploy budget and resources for 2016, what are you planning that will captivate consumers’ attention? What will capture their collective imagination? What will insert our medium into their conversation? And, of course, what will move the meter (or diary) to make more ratings points? While proven tactics (and even newer, highly-specific PPM and diary tactics) help in the short term, we need new ideas to engage listeners and generate tune-in – as opposed to merely reducing tune-out.

What’s on your list?