Right now people are developing technologies that will replace a percentage of us in all departments within a radio station. With each passing day more celebrities and talented people from other industries are infringing on our audio space by creating compelling podcasts that compete for our listener’s divided attention. Podcasters are no longer just comedians, although virtually all comedians have at least one podcast, their ranks also now include movie stars, former presidents, current pro athletes and every other type of celebrity you can think of. At the same time our clients are weighing more options than ever for where and how to spend their ad dollars. We can complain about it, stick our heads in the sand and ignore it or we can use it as motivation to improve ourselves and our radio stations and digital assets to a point where we’re all better suited to face those difficult challenges.
Most importantly, this isn’t a time for complacency or being content with how we’ve always done things. Because the fact is, there’s no such thing as mastering or learning everything we need to know about radio because radio is constantly changing all around us. The approach and tactics that have worked in prior years will be progressively less effective every year if they’re not constantly evaluated and updated. No matter how good we get, or how long we’ve been doing this, there’s always a next level. Striving to reach that next level is the key to staying one step ahead of emerging AI technology and staving off in-market and out-of-market competition. On the individual level it’s also the key to making sure we’re never out of work for long. None of us have it all figured out and anyone that says they do is lying. Radio is a fluid, ever changing industry. So, if we aren’t constantly learning, evolving, doing some things differently and trying other brand new things, than there’s no doubt that we’ll quickly fall behind others that choose to make those efforts.
I know I write about this a lot, but that’s because I’ve run it to it time and time again throughout my radio career. Doing something the same way year after year for twenty or more years is not really twenty years of experience. Heck, it’s barely better than a few years of experience when compared to someone who acts like a sponge, soaking up the knowledge of everyone they come into contact with, that’s also constantly assessing their own performance to make small, incremental adjustments.
As radio owners, managers (and advising consultants like myself) we need to ask ourselves these questions to challenge our own complacency. What can radio do that others cannot? Are we leveraging the strengths of our content creators as well as possible? Are we tailoring our content to each individual platform we now have and using each platform to successfully drive traffic to the others while capturing as much data and information along the way? Are we being creative and strategic about how we attach advertisers to all of that content? If we designed our stations from scratch today what would we program, where and for how long would our on air talent talk, how long would our stopsets be and what would we charge for each length of those spots, which service elements would we add and which ones would we leave out, what would our station websites look like, which social platforms would we focus on creating content for, what major promotion would we do, and how would we make our on-site events sizzle?