What a #@$%&ing Year!



Early in March, Carolyn Gilbert and I presented study findings at what would turn out to be the last in-person conference of 2020: Talk Show Boot Camp. Some folks had already chosen to skip attending due to the looming threat of the new pandemic. Those of us who did show up were bumping elbows instead of shaking hands and it was hard to focus on the business at hand with the constant distraction of Covid headlines.

Tony Katz of WIBC made an impression by placing self-branded pump bottles of hand sanitizer on all the tables in the conference facility at the hotel in Cincinnati. Also memorable were a couple of group dinners with great radio war stories and camaraderie. It seemed we all knew that it would be a while until we’d get to be together again.

2020 has been a tough, but busy year at NuVoodoo:

  • The results we rolled out early in the year from Ratings Prospects Study Fifteen in January were old news within less than 60 days – but that made us realize the urgent need for fresh information as radio responded to the challenges of the pandemic.
  • On March 9th we spun up an on-going daily tracking study of concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic. We expected it would only run a few months, but it’s still being updated regularly at https://nuvoodoo.com/covid-19-media/
  • In June we conducted Ratings Prospects Study Sixteen and showed some of the differences since early in the year – along with reassurance that lots of folks were still listening to and relying upon radio.
  • Realizing the consumer data that station sales teams were then using from 2019 might as well be from 1919, we rolled out our NuVoodoo Consumer Insights product in an August webinar with the RAB.
  • Throughout the year we’ve conducted free webinars for the industry (which live on at nuvoodoo.com/webinars), including the most recent webinar highlighting the tremendous opportunity our marketing department has seized upon using targeted OTT-TV as an ad platform. All of our webinars are available at: https://nuvoodoo.com/webinars/
  • We presented in virtual sessions for Morning Show Boot Camp in September and the CMB Momentum Summit in November. And we’re working now on gathering insights we’ll present at the Country Radio Seminar in 2021.
  • We’re also working on the questionnaire for our next Ratings Prospects Study. Just after the first of the year, we’ll begin collecting thousands of interviews for NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study Seventeen.

Gatherings across the Thanksgiving weekend were virtual this year, but I still ended up telling a few radio war stories to relatives and non-radio friends. Sneaking people into a competitor’s focus group (done to me, by a current client). Banners towed by plane over a competitor’s outdoor event. Showing up with the station van outside a competitor’s music test. Visits from the Secret Service over talk-show comments. Being sued by a long-retired children’s TV show host I’d watched as a kid (also over talk-show comments). It is a colorful business.

And so we salute the crazy people living with Nielsen-based uncertainty every moment of every day: Program Directors. We love you all. We’re looking forward to 2021 and hope you are too.