And the Oscar goes to…you!WABCHear: My 9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech,” on “The Saturday Night Cafe with Laura Smith,” on WABC.

Yes you can sell The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Since his Sandra Fluke faux pas, a relentless boycott effort has scared-off big national advertisers, seemingly for keeps.
Motel 6 isn’t leaving-the-light-on for Rush.

Many of these dollars fled to Sports Talk radio, regarded as “safe.”
Lots of radio money was going digital anyway, and Limbaugh’s gaffe likely accelerated that trend.
RushLimbaughAnd you’ve seen the ratings.
Limbaugh’s early success MADE stations. Hour-by-hour numbers made his hours look like Mt. Everest.
Now, most major market affiliates are cellar-dwellers.
Still – and I speak from experience at client stations — this show can be a local money-maker.
try_this_bubbleBrainstorm: WHO is listening?
WHAT are their needs and concerns? F’rinstance…
Sell elder care to 60-somethings with 90 year-old parents.
Read: 5 more ideas
(including one you’re not expecting to hear from a consultant)
“Many thanks from all of us on the Rush Limbaugh team for the wonderful article.”
Julie Talbott, President, Premiere Radio Networks

She’s radio’s most-valuable listener.”
2016-MomsAndMediaA mother employed full time is a heavier media user than the population overall.
And as Secretary of The [family] Treasury, she means a lot to stations and advertisers.

MelissaDeCesare“Multi-tasking Moms are also multimedia moms.”
Melissa DeCesare — VP of the Edison Research unit “The Research Moms” –- walked webinar attendees through her firm’s 6th annual “Moms & Media” study. Read: my notes

Sure-fire phone-ringer:
“Any ‘double-standard’ issue,”
according to veteran talker Dan Gaffney
DanGaffney-WXDEBased on his 20+ years waking-up the region, Dan says “double standard” questions never fail. Examples:
“Oh! So it’s OK for POLICE to talk on cell phones while driving, but not for YOU?”
“Oh! So STUDENTS need to get vaccinated, but not TEACHERS?”
“Oh! So booze IS legal, and weed ISN’T?”

And Dan affirms two things I’ve observed hearing him and others exploit this technique:
Callers tell stories. And the topic you pose needn’t spin-off a local story. Locals will respond to a opportune news item elsewhere (“What if that happened here?”).

Millennials: Many still sign-checks-on the back.
Soon, they’ll be signing-on-the-front.

Literally! 63% of young adults cite “care for parents in old age” among their chief concerns.
conference_notes_bubbleWho are “Millennials?”
And why is radio business-as-usual not for them?
Read: my column in Talkers magazine and RadioInfo.com.

More: University of Florida/Arbitron “Class of 2015” project

Time management? Forget it!
Time cannot be managed. Tasks can. Whenever we install a new PD at a client station, I share four techniques I myself have found darn helpful over my own years of dancing-as-fast-as-I-could in several over-tasked management positions.

Management 101: Is it “urgent?”
Or merely “important?”

Unless you sort accordingly, you’ll never accomplish your daily To-Do list.

President Eisenhower reckoned:
“The most urgent decisions are rarely the most important ones.”

Squint at his matrix, and read 4 Easy Ways to Resolve Life’s Toughest Questions from The Week, whose “10 Things You Need to Know Today” is a highly-recommended Twitter Follow.

amy-jo-martin“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Digital Royalty founder & author Amy Jo Martin, keynoting the 2013 NMX conference, outlining success templates radio can find instructive.
For the last half dozen years, this bigger-than-radio-conventions-lately conference has evolved as digital self-publishing has evolved.
Many attendees are hobbyists making beer money, others seem to be thriving without jobs, all are creating content on the platform which is broadcasters’ biggest growth opportunity.
So look also for my notes from this convention @HollandCooke on Twitter and in my February newsletter.
Because you can’t attend ‘em all, I must.

Sports Radio goes deep.
I’m working with more Sports stations than ever.

Two biggest trends in-motion in Talk Radio right now:
The Sports format is spreading intra-market; and, increasingly, even intra-cluster.

  • Sports flips are now leading the FM Talk migration.
  • There are now FIVE national longform networks.
  • Increasingly, there are multiple Sports stations under one roof.
  • Often, FMs get the A-team & AMs get network longform or ESPN Deportes
  • AM/FM Talk simulcasts will continue to split: Talk to FM, Sports on AM.

Upgrade to Free!
How? Ask Beth Z.
Her book is highly-recommended reading,
her web site is full of VERY cool stuff, and
her story is instructive to radio talkers and other story-tellers.

Read my review of “Upgrade to FREE,” in my Talkers/Radio-Info archive.

“Social Media is NOT ‘broadcasting…’”
“…it’s engagement,” according to Arbitron’s Digital Media Manager Jacquelyn Bullerman and DMR’s Trip Eldredge, co-presenting “Let’s Get Engaged,” at the recent Arbitron Client Conference.
They summarized a study of how 45 stations employ Social Media, and demonstrated some important do’s and don’ts.

The most-common, most-fundamental mistake stations make? Using a tool like Facebook as another one-to-many transmitter. “Social media is NOT about the station. It’s about ‘them’ [listeners who Friend you].”
And “listeners are using Facebook as Customer Service.” It’s “a very public, very transparent consumer dialogue;” and those who take the time to post are likely P1s (so-called “First Preference” listeners, those who listen to your station most), mathematically your most-valuable listeners.

Common Facebook faux pas:
Pushing the station’s agenda. “Contests, talking about the station, etc., are not ‘engagement.’”
Another no-no: Inviting questions and not responding, “like not showing up for a date.” Facebook requires attention.
Others: Ignoring direct questions. “Everyone sees that you do!” Or not-expressing-interest-in what’s being posted.
Worse: Ducking tough questions. One laughably-bad example: a station deleted all the negative posts about a fired DJ and posted an advertiser’s coupon. Ouch. A more useful response: transparency, have the conversation.

All-of-the-above are typical of how stations misuse Facebook: “No clear strategy;” the station is there “because everyone else has a Facebook page.” Better than not being there at all? Yeah…but not much.

Are you doing both kinds of “Radio?”
AM/FM broadcasters are under-attack, now sharing listeners’ ears — and advertising dollars — with new-tech competitors. The best defense is a good offense.

Great formula for story-tellers…
…from one of the greats, Bob Dotson/NBC News.
iPad: income opportunity for news writers.
Although Twitter trained us to keep-it-short, iPad is prompting demand for a certain kind of longform content, and big brands are budgeting for freelance writers. More in my July newsletter, one of the 12 bonus back issues you’ll get when you subscribe.

“Database Your Tribe…NOW.”
The Future of Radio in the CarIf you missed my session at Talkers’ New Media Seminar…
…I’ll send you a summary, AND a full year of back issues, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

“Paul Gleiser’s letter to Eddie Fritts took my breath away.”
You will get chills when you read the stunning clarity with which Clear Channel’s plans — and those plans’ consequences — were foretold in 1995.

Consultant on-the-brain!
He meant to introduce actress Holland Taylor, from CBS-TV’s “Three and a Half Men.”
But KTSA/San Antonio’s Jack Riccardi said…
Well, YOU listen:“Your Barack Obama Elevator Speech?”
Imagine this: You’re downtown, in a major hotel.
You step into the elevator at the lobby level. You press 7.
The elevator stops at 2. The doors open.
In step four tall men. Black suits. Crew Cuts. Earpieces.

And behind them, The President of the United States.

He’s moving from a holding area on the 2nd floor, to his speech in the ballroom on the 10th floor. You’re getting out on the 7th floor.

The president smiles and reaches out to shake your hand.


That was the topic, when I recently guest-hosted The Ed Schultz Show., and the phone exploded. Save it for your show, on a slow news day.

You know you’ve made it when you’re a $1000 answer on Jeopardy!
Congratulations to my client The Money Pit Home Improvement Show.

Are you abusing the most-abused word in radio promo copy?
Read how to seem more-relevant to listeners, by avoiding an all-too-common cliche.

3 Questions in-3-Minutes…
…with Portland OR & syndicated talker Lars Larson:
At the Talkers New Media Seminar, I asked:
“What’s your ‘elevator speech?'”
“What would it take to multiply your results?”
“Tell me a recent success story.”
Every radio station has a web site…
…how many web sites have a radio station?

Bloggers/podcasters/YouTubers: You have content radio needs.
Fact: Radio still has a massive audience.
Fact: NO — repeat, NO — other medium drives Internet traffic better than radio.
Got something to say? Want to say it on the Internet?
Got a product to sell? A message to market?
Want to do a show anyone can hear, anywhere?
Listen as HC guests on:
The Jim Bohannon ShowFree Talk Live.

Both kinds of radio suffer…
In 2003, The Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier” was #1 on the Country charts one day…then gone from radio the next, after they voiced disapproval of President Bush and the Iraq invasion. Now, Hank Williams Jr. compares President Obama to Adolph Hitler, and ESPN yanks his Monday Night Football theme.
On MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” HC explains
how Talk Radio AND music radio suffer from blacklisting and censorship…and cautions about the clout that radio’s mega-owners now wield.

“How do you choose your news?”
HC asked, on The Allan Handelman Show,
and what you’ll hear is a-whack-on-the-side-of-the-head about how much competition we really have for listeners’ attention:

“Write yourself a postcard from the future.”
Sharethough.com CEO Dan Greenberg‘s SUPERB Streaming Media East session “The Secret Strategies to Native Video: How to Create Great Content People Watch & Share” was about…video. But his advice SURE also applies to podcasts. And, because word-of-mouth is such currency, it applies to radio programming.

Ask yourself: “What will people say when they share it?”
Begin by crystalizing THAT, as a goal.
Then plan your content accordingly…what radio calls “show prep.”

And as you CHOOSE your content, think “trendjacking.”
You’ve heard the expression: “Find a parade and jump-in-front-of-it.”
Or as Greenberg says: “Identify memes, and make content that reacts.”

He figures people share content for 3 reasons:
1. Identity & self-expression.
Accordingly: “When a user shares this, what are they saying about themselves?”
2. Emotion.
“Does my video evoke a feeling that people need to share?”
“Avoid sad. People don’t share sad videos.”
3. Information. “Present information in a way that allows for greater understanding, and it will be shared…ESPECIALLY if it is controversial.”

Admittedly it’s less without his narration, but you can click through his presentation slides.

Step-into the time warp…
From before I “went blonde” (and was I ever really THAT thin?)
Recently-unearthed footage shot in the WTOP/Washington newsroom November 3, 1986.

Beyond the antiques, and some DEAR-departed folks it was my privilege to manage, here’s what’s REALLY wistful about what-you-see: Unlike most-of-radio-today, we were actually able to DO local radio, unfettered by the crippling debt that prevents Clear Channel, Citadel, et al from the kind of meaningful local content creation you see as WTOP business-as-usual in this video.

Today, few industries exemplify what’s-wrong-with-the-economy better than radio. Talk about “toxic” mortgages!

And here’s the happy ending: WTOP‘s current owner, Hubbard, might be the least-insane owner in radio. As busy as that 1986 operation looks today, 2009 WTOP is an even bigger, more-bustling operation. SOMETHING in radio is actually improving.

Happy 40th-anniversary-as-an-all-news-station!