dallas

RAIN Summit panel discusses social strategies for radio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 10:10am

Triton Digital Media VP Business Strategy, Applications & Services Division Jim Kerr moderated the "Social Radio" panel at last month's RAIN Summit Dallas. He spoke with four pros from the broadcast, online radio, and Internet services industries concerning how radio can best make use of social media tools, and take advantage of consumers' embrace of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

In planning a mobile strategy, given the necessary committment of resources (engineers, social media professionals) Jelli founder/CEO Mike Dougherty advised focusing on the biggest and most important, which for his company (and the others agreed) were Facebook and Twitter. He also suggested being realistic about the impact. Integrating with Facebook's Open Graph enables Jelli users' sharing and participation, but "Facebook didn't spike our usage or traffic, but it did provide a 3-4% monthly increase. It's like interest on a bank account. That investment was really important for us."

Owen Grover (iHeartRadio SVP at the time, now Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises SVP/Content Partnerships) agreed, and suggested using realistic expectations and logic to help decide where to "spend" your company's resources in social media. "We ask, 'Who are the listeners we're addressing here?'" Different genres attract different demos and lifestyles -- the same goes for social media platforms. "You're not going to get a ton of AC listeners on Tumblr blogs... However, you see an extraordinary use of social photo apps among urban radio listeners," he said. You need to consider "where your listeners expect you to be."

Pureplay webcaster Raditaz founder/CEO Tom Brophy suggested if you give a highly-engaged audience "the channels to interact with the social networks, they'll use them." His company's plan has been to "provide (social media) channels and tools, and be proactive and push some content" to these networks.

SoundCloud doesn't create content; rather, they provide the platform for others to promote content. To make that as easy and rewarding as possible, SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa explained his company's work to integrate in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and more. "Our idea is to make it super simple, give you the right stats, and help you promote your content."

But how can this help increase radio listening?

Grover called Facebook and Twitter "extraordinarily powerful at getting the word out, generating excitement, and creating conversations that feed the larger on-air conversation." His example is Clear Channel talent Elvis Duran, who dedicates large segments of his show to what's trending on Twitter and Facebook. Social media platforms shouldn't simply be "places to deposit content," or even necessarily just "traffic referrals," he advised. "We think of them as an extension of conversation. People are surprised to hear me say I'm interested in driving on-air occasions, because I'm the digital guy, but we think of our platform as '360,' and integration is the 'magic sauce' that differentiates us."

SoundCloud's Espinosa brought up CNN's Radio's use of his platform, as well as New York air talent Zach Sang, who posts clips he thinks have "viral" potential -- which include him promoting that evening's show. This takes great advantage of the fact that in the online world, people want to share content they enjoy. "Giving people that content to share in a way that doesn't impact their workflow, that's where you want to be!" said Espinosa.

Dougherty added that Jelli stations have seen actual ratings increases follow a good shift in social strategy that increased online engagement.

Naturally, a good social media strategy needs to be mobile. Grover advised thinking about the "meaningful distinctions between the desktop experience on social, and the mobile experience on social." His example: the difference between the Facebook mobile app and the desktop version, "and you realize there's no such thing as a 'tab' on a Facebook mobile app, and therefore some of the branding or marketing or partner- or sponsor-driven stuff that you're doing you can't execute the same way. You have to think about these differences."

Check out audio from this panel below. Audio from all the RAIN Summit Dallas segments is here.

Advertisers already taking advantage of Net radio's enhanced delivery and metrics, says Summit panel

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 12:45pm

Maybe the most enthusiastic endorsement of Internet radio for advertising came from panelist Taylor Wood (pictured right), National Radio Supervisor at Group M. Discussing how campaigns delivered on digital channels generate so much data beyond simple "impressions," he said, "It's bringing a life to radio that's never existed before. We're finally able to capture actions that are taken off of our audio messaging," e.g. "retweets" and Facebook "likes" generated from campaigns. "We need to be capturing all this data," he continued. "Clients aren't used to getting all this data back on their buys."

Michael Theodore, Vice President, Member Services at the IAB moderated the panel "Identifying Opportunities for Advertisers in Internet Radio" at our recent RAIN Summit Dallas event.

The panelists agreed that advertisers have exited what Theodore called the "101" phase in that most we're well aware of the Internet radio medium, and the advantages of the platform. Panelist Karen Cuskey (left) of TBS Promotions said while most clients look initially at a campaign's click-thru rate (to see if the targeting is correct), they quickly want to know more. "Not just 'What's the quatity,' but 'what's the quality' of those clicks? We're looking for lead-generation: are you giving me your name, are you interested in my product, am I actually selling, and if I'm selling, what's my ROI against what I just spent to find you?"

Cuskey made a point for how mobile device-centric the audience has become ("Everything we do is mobile, we're all mobile."). She described a particular Pandora campaign that incorporated a "click-to-call" instant reponse mechanism. With all the tracking involved, she explained, the client could monitor response to the campaign and adjust along the way.

What's good about that, added JWT's Lee Triggs (right), also a panelist, is that with digital, you can test programs on mobile first, before introducing it into other media.

Woods described another unique campaign on Pandora. Pandora develed a custom station for realtor Century 21. But as the client couldn't envision a consumer actually wanting to tune in to a "Century 21 Radio," they suggested keeping the channel private as an internal tool for sales agents, with its custom playlist, Century 21 ads, and customized player. Agents now use it during open houses, and the client feels it portrays Century 21 as creative and unique.

The fourth panelist, Shannon Haydel (left) of The Richards Group, offered attendees some advice: "Think about the (overall) change in (consumers') media consumption." She suggests media planners "start looking at digital and mobile as parts of your overall plan."

"But don't put it in your plan simply because it's 'new & cool,' added Woods. "Know what you're doing, make sure it speaks to client's needs, and develop a custom solution for the client."

Please listen to the entire "Identifying Opportunities for Advertisers in Internet Radio" panel via SoundCloud below (that's moderator Michael Theodore in the photo), and watch for more from RAIN Summit Dallas.

Digital content producers at RAIN Summit suggest "trying to get 22 year-olds to listen to AM/FM" maybe is missing the point

Monday, September 24, 2012 - 12:25pm

In his opening remarks at Tuesday's RAIN Summit Dallas, consultant Walter Sabo emphasized the need for radio to develop "original, exclusive content" to weather the transition to the digital medium (see coverage of, and listen to, Sabo's opening remarks here), and even made a point that he was looking forward to the afternoon's "Innovating Online Content" panel (which immediately followed his opening).

Moderator Sean Ross (right, himself VP/Music & Programming at Edison Research) deftly led the conversation among four leading programming executives through what they're currently developing, what's working, and the staffing and monetization challenges of financing the production of compelling content.

And one could sense the sincerity of Ross, lifelong radio devotee himself, when he implored his panel for a strategy to "repatriate" today's 22 year-old to radio. To that last concern, ESPN Radio Director of Digital & Print Media Revenue & Operations Cory Smith (left, with the two RAIN Internet Radio Awards won by ESPN Audio) suggested that maybe getting young people to actually listen to the AM/FM broadcast wasn't the point. We "give content to listeners in the format they prefer," whether on-demand, video, blogs, SMS..."let the user decide," he said. "Pushing everyone to radio might be a real challenge."

"We're moving to a world of 'segments' and less a world of 'streams,'" Bob Kempf, NPR Digital Services VP, agreed. What could be of interest to a new generation of young listeners would be what he called "algorithmically-driven segments" -- think content delivered based on that listener's preferences.

TuneIn Programming Senior Manager Scott Fleischer said it's as simple as understanding the content priorities of our hypothetical 22 year-old; restated simply by UK Radioplayer Managing Director Michael Hill as "fish where the fish are."

Hill and Kempf concluded (and often agreed while at it) by passing along some programming wisdom. On the perennial issue of understaffing at programming departments, Hill make an unconventional point: "Radio has always been, and we should keep it, a 'lightweight' medium," he said. There's a danger in "becoming the incumbent" -- that is, slow and inflexible and stifling innovation. "Keep on the lookout for disruptors" on your staff, he suggested, "those willing to experiment." He and Kempf agreed that partnering outside your department (or company, even) can help lighten the load.

"Yes," continued Kempf, "experiment, keep development lightweight," and makes sure and test and assess what's working and what's not as often as possible. "Measure, measure, measure."

But how do you finance all that experimentation? How do you get the best ROI when you come upon something that does work?

"Stop underselling your digital assets," Hill stressed. "Put a good, solid price-tag on them." Kempf added, "Be patient." The transition to digital will happen, "the audience is going to be there, the revenue will follow."

Please listen to the entire "Innovating Online Content" panel via SoundCloud below, and watch for more coverage from RAIN Summit Dallas this week.

ESPN Audio, Pandora share 2012 "Best Overall" RAIN Award

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 1:30pm

Kurt HansonESPN Audio and Pandora were named dual winners of the "Best Overal Online Radio Service" in the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards, announced today in Dallas. The awards, presented by a tuxedo-ed RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson, capped yesterday's successful RAIN Summit event.

Both services received perfect scores across the segment of our judges panel that reviewed them. It was Pandora's third consecutive "Best Overall" award, and one of two on the day for ESPN (ESPNRadio.com was named "Best Streaming Broadcast Station"). Pandora founder Tim Westergren was on-hand to accept his company's award; ESPN Radio Director of Digital and Print Media Revenue and Operations Cory Smith accepted ESPN's awards (pictured left; who also spoke at RAIN Summit). 

Cory Smith with ESPN's awards

The "Best Overall Digital Strategy" Award went to Clear Channel's digital service iHeartRadio (accepted by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and SVP of iHeartRadio Network Owen Grover, who spoke at the Summit). And congratulations to Dallas-based webcaster RoothogRadio.com for being named the 2012 "Best Single-Stream Webcaster."

Special congratulations to Ezra Kucharz, President, Local Digital Media at CBS (pictured at right), for his special recognition with Triton Digital's RAINMaker Achievement Award.

Since 2010, the RAIN Internet Radio Awards have recognized the achievements and the best practices of the Internet radio industry.

Look for more coverage from RAIN Summit Dallas (and search #RAINSummit on Twitter), including audio, soon from RAIN.

RAIN Dallas event delves into mobile platforms, social tools, and the perennial royalty issue

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 1:30pm


More than 250 attendees
, sponsors, and panelists joined us yesterday in the beautiful Wedgwood Room of the Hilton Anatole for RAIN Summit Dallas, the 2012 edition of our annual fall event (timed to immediately precede the RAB NAB Radio Show). 

The day's highlights included the keynote address from Clear Channel President of National Sales, Marketing, and Partnerships Tim Castelli (see RAIN coverage, including the SoundCloud link to audio of his address, in today's issue). Tim focused on the transformation of his company from a collection of locally-centered radio groups to the nation's largest media company with a 360-degree approach focused on content. Listen to Castelli's address via SoundCloud -- look for it today in RAIN

We also presented the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards, which you can read about in today's issue.

A RAIN Summit traditon is publisher Kurt Hanson's "State of the Industry Address." This year, Kurt took lessons from Clayton Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma to show how disruptive new technologies (in our case, Internet radio) usually unseat the incumbent industry leaders, but this needn't be the case: broadcasters, if they recognize the disruptive powers of digital and webcasting, can position themselves to be there when the mainstream makes that massive shift. And again, you can listen to Kurt's address via SoundCloud in today's issue.

RAIN Summit Dallas featured six 30-minute panel discussions covering topics like online radio content, social media tools, monetizing the growing audience using mobile devices, licensing and legal concerns, and online strategies geared to the local broadcaster. One panel, "Identifying Opportunities for Advertisers in Internet Radio," featured the IAB's Michael Theodore speaking to agency buyers about how they use the medium. Thanks to our panel moderators, who also included Edison Research's Sean Ross, Triton Digital's Jim Kerr, Inside Radio's Paul Heine, Wilkinson Barker Knauer's David Oxenford, and CBS Radio Dallas' Dan Halyburton. We'll be covering the panels in-depth soon, including audio.

Thanks also to knowDigital's Kelly Ellis for the update on her company's ongoing "Successful Audio Streaming Strategies" research, and to Radionomy's Thierry Ascarez, who announced his company is now launching in the U.S. market to allow consumers to create their own online radio station or discover online stations created by others.

And no RAIN Summit would be complete without the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party, held right in the Wedgwood Room hallway (a very classy space), which included a quick greeting from Pandora founder Tim Westergren. Look for photos from the party soon.

And if you're not in Dallas, follow along on Twitter, and later we'll post audio from the Summit

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 11:15am

Today we're in Dallas for our annual fall RAIN Summit event in conjunction with the RAB NAB Radio Show (which kicks off here in Dallas tomorrow).

We hope to see you here today. But whether you've made it to Dallas or not, we invite you to follow along on Twitter (use the hashtag #RAINSummit, and you can follow us @RAINTwitter and @RAINSummits). We'll also soon post audio of the day's events, and as usual, look for follow-up coverage here in RAIN in the coming days. 

The speaker list and agenda are on our RAIN Summit Dallas page here. We're in the Wedgwood Room, which is in the tower section of the Hilton Anatole.

Some of today's scheduled highlights include:

  • 12:15pm Show opens
  • 2:20pm RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson's "State of the Industry" address
  • 4:30pm Tim Castelli's (Clear Channel President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships, pictured) keynote speech
  • 5:35pm The Triton RAINmaker and RAIN Internet Radio Awards
  • 5:50pm The annual RAIN Reader Cocktail Party (Verandah Shelbourne Room)

If you're able to make it to Dallas, we hope you enjoy your stay, and we're looking forward to seeing you.

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