Local rock radio will survive if it knows "its job to do," Fred Jacobs tells Forbes

Monday, March 18, 2013 - 12:20pm

Forbes asked Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs how FM rock radio will survive in the new digital world.

Jacbos pointed to "disruptive innovation" authority Clayton Christensen and his concept of knowing the "job to do:"

"The stations that have had the most success – and will likely thrive in the future – are the ones that have a strong grasp on what jobs consumers are hiring them to do." Jacobs said. "Proprietary personalities, a hometown POV, solving local advertiser needs, and serving their communities."

Forbes contributor Michele Catalano points to online-only services' lack of "the human connection" as an Achilles heel, one that broadcasters should focus on to compete. Jacobs agrees.

"We’ve seen research that points to key downsides with Pandora – listeners feel detached from their hometowns and often miss hearing personalities they love."

That said, successful FM stations embrace digital technology for the advantages it affords, "rather than seeing it as a foe," Jacobs says. He cites data showing as much as 15-20% of some FM rock stations' listening coming from online and digital.

Read more at Forbes.com here.

Jacobs offers radio 30-day program to guide social media efforts around new station launches

Monday, February 25, 2013 - 12:00pm

Jacobs Media is now offering broadcasters a 30-day social media program called Smart Launch, "to ensure that new station debuts go off seamlessly – socially."

The company recently blogged about the launch of country Nash FM in New York, and the station's "difficulty in corralling its social media accounts." Those difficulties inspired the new program.

Jacobs says it will also offer Smart Launch to broadcasters defending against a debut from another station in the market. The program will be spearheaded by Jacobs Media social media strategist Lori Lewis.

Jacobs finds "the good and the bad" for radio at this week's CES

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 11:10am

Jacobs Media boss Fred Jacobs has a really nice round-up of his walk-through of this past week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas -- especially helpful as it's through the eyes of a radio industry pro.

[Of course, Jacobs & Co. had their own big news from CES, as jacAPPS is now Ford's "recommended mobile app development house" for the carmaker's in-dash SYNC AppLink system. See our coverage here.]

Jacobs found lots at CES about radio, both "the good and the bad:"

"Radio has a very solid place in today’s dashboards – and in the cars of the future," Jacobs writes. Yet, "there are still so few radio people here... Isn’t it time that radio joined the rest of the world and recognized that consumer electronics is at the epicenter of consumer and business for all of media?"

Read Fred Jacbos' blog on the CES here.

[Edit: "Hat tip" to our colleague Tom Taylor, who also reported on Fred Jacbos' CES blog here.]

Radio will soon be just one of several entertainment and information options to the U.S. driver

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 12:30pm

Thursday was the second half of Arbitron's Client Conference, and two topics that emerged of interest to RAIN readers: in-vehicle Net radio and the importance of mobile to radio's digital strategy (as Tom Taylor Now reported on Friday).

It's clear the day is coming that broadcasters will be competing head-to-head with Internet-delivered entertainment and information in the car. Valerie Shuman (left) is VP/Industry Programs for the Connected Vehicle Trade Association. She told the conference we'll soon see, as Taylor reports, "a virtual dashboard and software-defined radio" (think of a device where its capabilities are easily updated and enhanced, as opposed to being limited by whatever "hardware" it uses).

Jacobs Media consultant Fred Jacobs (also pictured left) spoke too. He recommended radio programers to go and get the same in-car experience your audience will soon have, with a test drive of a car equipped with a connected dashboard system.

"You need to understand what the consumer is going through, to be an effective programmer," he said. That's one point, by the way, of his five-point plan for radio programmers, managers, and owners to make sure they're ready for for the "connected car revolution," which he offers in his blog.

"Radio needs to understand what the automakers – and aftermarket companies – are thinking, and how it will impact the listening experience – or should I say – the audio consumption experience," Jacobs writes, here.

Even out of the car, mobile is becoming the heart of digital radio listening. Clear Channel President of Digital Brian Lakamp (right) revealed to the conference audience that more than half of iHeartRadio usage is now mobile (that number is now 77% for Pandora). His company's research shows users of iHeartRadio's "custom radio" feature (its "personalizable" streams) "spent more time with live radio than they did two years ago... digital is 'in addition to,' not 'instead of' broadcast radio."

Read more of Tom Taylor's coverage on Day Two of the Arbitron Client Conference here.

Jacobs Media now signing up broadcasters for 2013 tech survey

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 1:55pm

Jacobs Media is signing up broadcasters for its January 2013 "Techsurvey 9" study, to examine how radio listeners adopt and use new technologies.

For the previous Techsurvey 8 study, Jacobs Media went beyond the rock radio world and studied listeners of 12 different radio formats. This year they hope to add Urban and Hispanic radio formats.

"This year, we have more burning questions to answer -– multi-tasking with radio, the use of multiple screens, a deeper dive on apps and Facebook, and our Pandora tracking. We will also be looking at how market size and geography impacts media and technology usage -– or does it?," explains Jacobs.

More info on participating in the study is here.

ESPN keys success on building what fans want, and not waiting for advertisers to demand it

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 11:40am

There's a great article in Bloomberg Businessweek on the mammoth, multi-platform success of the ESPN empire.

(Big hat-tip to Fred Jacobs, who covers the piece in his blog here where he wrote, "ESPN’s approach, decision-making, and risk-taking are what separates it from other traditional brands – and provides great lessons for radio companies and their very best stations.")

Since its inception in the late 70s, and especially over the past ten years, ESPN "has moved aggressively into new media and platforms, without regard for how they may negatively impact the old. This strategy allows ESPN to squeeze more revenue out of any event it carries by selling that same contest in multiple formats, instead of merely broadcasting it on television." ESPN president John Skipper credits the success to a philosophy of "build, build, build. There comes a time when a lot of businesses become calcified, but we never stop building."

Just how successful has their embrace of new media, especially mobile, been? "The number of users per minute, which is ESPN’s internal metric, reached 102,000 in June, an increase of 48% so far this year," and an astounding 70% of sports content consumed on mobile devices comes across an ESPN mobile app.

Skipper credits NOT cordoning off "digital" or "mobile," but making it everyone's priority. He said, "We have one revenue group, we have one ad sales group, so you don’t have factions fighting against this new digital group. … We don’t have a lot of infighting. We have everybody incentivized so that it’s about the total amount of business we do."

And, they don't wait for an ROI before they actually begin building the business. "ESPN has invested in creating content for a platform before business exists to support it. John Kosner, executive vice president for digital and print media, says, 'We’re not afraid to be ahead of the market. You win by delivering what fans want, and then that becomes a fantastic advertising proposition and a great business.'"

Read the Bloomberg Businessweek article on ESPN here.

ESPN Audio is a finalist in both the "Best Overall Online Radio Service" and "Best Overal Digital Strategy" categories for this year's RAIN Internet Radio Awards (see all the finalists here). ESPNRadio.com is a finalist in the "Best Streaming Broadcaster" category. We'll announce the winners at RAIN Summit Dallas this Tuesday. ESPN SVP/Production & Business Divisions Traug Keller revealed details of the then soon-to-launch revamped ESPN mobile app during his keynote address to RAIN Summit West this past April in Las Vegas.

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