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5 Lessons from incredible Radio Programmers by Robert Brndusic | Senior Advisor and Authorized Agent, MBMI

In my recent years, I’ve had the chance to work with a couple of wonderful and amazingly successful Radio Programmers. Here I share 5 lessons I’ve learned from them.

5 Lessons from Incredibly Successful Radio Programmers

1. Choose the Scariest Choice
Even if the radio station might sound odd, with its business plan in question and the books bleeding money like crazy, you can manage to create incredible value in a short time period. If you’re in charge, what matters is to be sure you surround yourself with smart people who can visualize success and are not afraid to take risks in being creative.
2. Recognize Your Weaknesses
While you might think you’re great in budget planning, (more…)

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Is Content Still King

Is Content Still King?February 2, 2015

broadcast + new media - By: Bill Pasha

In the interest of transparency, MultiBrand Media represents and sells two exceptional sources for radio content; COVERmedia and Premiere Networks.

COVERmedia is one of the top sources in the world for online lifestyle, entertainment, beauty and fashion news and high-resolution photos. MBMI represents the product throughout North America and in many parts of the world.

Premier Networks

Premiere Networks is the Rolls Royce of syndicators, featuring name brand services, from production aids to content superstars, like Ryan Seacrest and Nikki Sixx. MBMI represents Premiere Networks in nine European countries.

Our MBMI team is as proud of these brands as we are of the customized content we create for our clients. As lifelong broadcasters and content producers, we have developed a seven-point short list to determine whether or not your content meets your audience’s expectations of greatness:

  • To what extent does your audience care about what you offer? There are different levels of engagement by your audience. Does your content touch them in a personal way? Does it relate to their basic human needs, like love, warmth, shelter, and sustenance? Do you take care to be sure that you target your content to their preferences? Do you KNOW their preferences?
  • Is your content logically curated for the audience? You probably would not order tomato soup after angel food cake, so be sure that what you offer is presented in a logical way for consumption? A bad curator can destroy great content. Choose carefully.
  • Does your content tell a story or is it comprised of boring facts? Content, regardless of targeting, should tell a complete story. Presenters and writers must braid together the beginning, middle and end of any story dialogue. The pay-off to the audience must be, at minimum, an even trade for the time invested by the audience that consumes the content. Too often, our consultants see , hear and read rambling content that simply serves no purpose in the end. That is one sure way of forcing turnover.
  • Is the storyline easy to follow and continuous? It should be. Everyone likes a soap opera that carries over from one episode to the next. When possible, your content should be a reliable point of return for the members of your “club,” but accessible to someone who has never before consumed the content.
  • Is your content memorable? Whether recorded or in writing, the consumer should be able to paraphrase and repeat to friends. The litmus test is whether you can hardly wait to consume the next piece of content that you offer.
  • Does the story evoke a strong personal relationship with the author or storyteller? Do consumers of your content feel closer to you after the content is finished? Do they feel like you might be a good person as a neighbor? Do they feel that your written content is true and trustworthy, or do they at least understand that it isn’t meant to be either?
  • Is the content so good, that you would PAY FOR IT? That should be the goal you have in mind every time. In fact, maybe this should have been the only checkpoint on the list. Your audience is comprised of busy people who offer you their time willingly. They expect that you will compensate them with a true experience that they can enjoy over and over.

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Dinner with Friends

Dinner with FriendsJanuary 17, 2015

broadcast + new media - By: Bill Pasha
In just a few days, I will enjoy a lovely dinner with friends from the past. These are men with whom I have worked over the years. I’ve known some of them only professionally. Others, well, I’ve watched their kids grow up, get degrees, and marry. I officially feel old. At least one other is someone for whom I have the utmost respect. He is older than I, far wiser, funnier in his own way, but I’ll never concede better looking.

We shall all sit around a large table at a restaurant that is probably nicer than most of us could have afforded when we first met. There may be a beer or two, but most of the guys either never drank much alcohol, had problems and stopped, or just grew wiser with age and don’t like how it makes them feel.

We will talk about the old days; how things were better back then. We may even take responsibility for our complicity in making things worse today in our pursuit of the American Dream. We will laugh. There will be a tall tale or two. I will recall the day that I played the worst joke that ever backfired. The guy who endured it will tell me, again, that “It.was.not.funny.” I’ll see his point but I’ll disagree. It was funny, but probably not to him. In before-I-get-there retrospect, maybe I won’t disagree with him so much.

My friend, John, will make a poignant reference or two because he is a gentleman to the end, assuredly more than most. Another friend, Jim, the one who is not as pretty as I, will remember and smile. Neal, will give us the perspective of the guy who always lived his career on the edge and did what he thought was right, even if it meant professional consequences for him. I will laugh, listen, chat and express the regrets that only hindsight’s 20/20 vision provides. There may be others who will attend. Maybe not.

The only thing for sure is that all of us, in our own way, will be deeply saddened that the only reason we will all be together for this reunion is that our former mentor and boss…one of the true pioneers of modern radio and television…our friend, Bud Paxson, has died. (more…)

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Business Truths I’ve Learned from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss
As December opens and the Christmas holidays draw near, I often think about how the stories of childhood affect our adult lives, and how I see my friends who still work in the Radio business have changed.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a story beloved by millions. Like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Dr, Seuss told a tale of a sour Christmas-hating man who achieves forgiveness and redemption even after his many bad deeds. The story was told in a way small children understand. For me, it also explained why people do the bad things they do; why goodness often is the end result of badness.

It did NOT explain why some still can only mistrust even as they stare into the faces of those who wish to help them.

So, with deference to the author for I am no poet, MBMI now presents a story of one broadcaster’s quest for redemption in the eyes of his employees, and the hard learned truth that life goes on.

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before you go to that dreadful budget meeting and dismiss the possibility of hiring pros, think of the situation you’ll create for the future of your company

Hiring AmateursNovember 27, 2014

broadcast + new media / radio / team building - By: Multibrand Media
If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.

The budget friendly option is tempting. Especially during periods of economic turmoil with no solution on the horizon. I’ve witnessed members of the board who decided to hire a technician who thinks a lot but knows very little. Inevitably, those board members tend to be very sorry for their actions. At the end of the day, it costs them too much.

Too many self-proclaimed media or brand gurus have persuaded themselves that they are in the know; actually calling themselves revolutionaries of their businesses. These people become the quick fix, and we all know how attractive a quick fix is to someone who is desperate.

Differentiation is a great buzz word right now and it seems everyone wants to fight the Status Quo. Don’t let these trendy phrases and concepts allow so-called soft-spoken “fighters for better tomorrow” to destroy what you have built.

Too few leaders recognize that even Steve Jobs created staggering ideas and proposals that, sadly, had no market value.

So, what happens when reality strikes? We know that it does strike far too often and without mercy. It takes no hostages. It does not negotiate. (more…)

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Mark MacLaughlin - the Online Experience Manager at Audi and Volkswagen of Naples, FL - wiggles out from under his man cave's TV remote to talk candidly about America's Desperation with Cable TV.

Cut the CordNovember 20, 2014

broadcast + new media - By: Multibrand Media
mark_maclaughlin

Mark MacLaughlin is the Online Experience Manager at Audi and Volkswagen of Naples, FL, an Emmy Award-winner and a former child news and sports producer/prodigy.

This week, he wiggles out from under his man cave's TV remote to talk candidly about America's Desperation with Cable TV.

In November of 2013, I made the decision to cut the cord and break away from my cable company. It was a conclusion I came to out of a very small amount of cost-consciousness, but a huge amount of spite. I was sick of paying the ever-increasing bills for 450 channels I didn’t watch, to a company that didn’t value my business. My relationship with our cable provider, and the content they pushed into my home, reminded me too much of that girl I dated for two weeks sophomore year; a lot of fighting, not enough intelligent conversation, and the proclivity to drain my brain and wallet. The only difference? It took me five minutes of soft conversation to ditch that brunette, but it took me forty minutes and my entire repertoire of colorful language to turn this ‘X’ into my EX

Unfortunately, regardless of all the stories of sunshine and roses that we hear each month from the government, radio and television broadcast jobs are becoming increasingly more difficult to acquire and maintain. Long time veterans, people with marquis names, are being put out to pasture. Often these are people for whom broadcasting was a lifelong career. Now, at ages that apparently exceed the tolerance threshold of some Boards of Directors, these pros are, as Joel Denver used to say, “On the Loose.”

As I embarked upon my new adventure, I was surprised just how easy it was. I switched my Internet service to a different, kinder ISP. Cheaper, just as speedy, and infused with feelings of sticking it to the corporate succubus. My main ‘smart’ television turned into a wireless media streaming HQ for my home. I equipped the other televisions in our bedrooms and my den with a laundry list of streaming devices (an Apple TV, a Google Chromecast, and a Sony PS4) which I already had on hand. Because of a pre-existing arrangement with the community we live in, I still received my local stations in HD without a decoder box. Threats of scrambling that signal had never come to fruition. The lack of a Digital Transport Adapter in my home only prevented me from watching basic cable channels in an SD format. Surprisingly, I never once craved some late-night infomercials in the mold of Ronco’s amazing Super Bass-O-Matic ‘76. (more…)

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Where are you on the brand hierarchy for your product category, and how do you improve or maintain your current position – so that people will pick (and not peck) you?

Consumers are like chickens. They have a pecking order – and a picking order – of brands in their mind. Where are you on the brand hierarchy for your product category, and how do you improve or maintain your current position – so that people will pick (and not peck) you?

Are you the first in people’s minds? Then you’ll have an easy ride. Brands who get there first have the leading advantage over followers for a long time. A classic example is the soft drinks category / cola subcategory, where Coca-Cola is still number 1 and Pepsi is still number 2. After more than a century of Cola Wars, Coke (established 1886) still has a bigger share than its rival (introduced 1898 as Pepsi-Cola). If you’re a leader, your brand name might even become the category name. Has anybody ever asked you for ‘a facial tissue’? Probably not, right? People might ask you for ‘a tissue’, but many will refer to ‘a Kleenex’. Some of these generic trademarks are being used as verbs. If you’re searching information online, it’s normal to say: ‘I’ll google it’, even if you would (also) use Yahoo or another search engine. I’ve never understood why some brands discourage the use of generic trademark verbs – I think it’s the best compliment (and free marketing) you can get!

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Middays still matter: 10 reasons to listen at work

Middays still matter when the ratings arrive.

Current PPM wisdom may dictate that your time and efforts should be spent elsewhere, and while drives are beneficial in your quest for ranking position, the drives aren’t the only dayparts that move the needle.
When you next meet with your on-air, marketing or imaging teams, remember why middays still matter; there are huge and frequently mobile audiences available to listen with focus and attention.
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If your business does not have a disaster plan in place, it is time for you to formulate one. If you have put one together, there is no time like the present to call the staff together for a review.
A couple of weeks ago, California’s Napa Valley experienced a serious earthquake of more than 6.0 on the Richter Scale. Thankfully, the earthquake happened while most people were in bed, leaving the damage limited to property and a few fine bottles of wine that no one will ever enjoy.

But what if that earthquake had happened in the center of San Francisco during the middle of the day? Would the broadcasters have been ready? Would retailers have had a plan to sustain business in the aftermath?

If your business does not have a disaster plan in place, it is time for you to formulate one. If you have put one together, there is no time like the present to call the staff together for a review.

To help you along, our team has created a short checklist of items worth discussing when you draw up or revise your plan. (more…)

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Reversing down trending audience numbers is a matter of executing detailed analysis of available information and then using elbow grease to provide consumers with what they really want.

The Ratings DanceSeptember 11, 2014

Brand Loyalty / broadcast + new media / radio - By: Bill Pasha

A century and a half ago or more in the American west, droughts could come over the land that were so lengthy that lakes turned into deserts, booming riverfront bars became just more abandoned buildings in once bustling ghost towns, and the settlers…well, the settlers would become very superstitious. They’d do anything, pay anything, to bring them life-giving rain. Roving rainmakers, charlatans all, came out of the woodwork to provide relief and relieve the affected townspeople of their savings.

Even native American tribes had a long history of petitioning their gods for relief through the custom of the rain dance.

Even native American tribes had a long history of petitioning their gods for relief through the custom of the rain dance.

Unfortunately, neither rainmakers nor rain dances actually provided the desired meteorological outcome.

That’s why what you do when your brand experiences a drought is so important.

The broadcast pioneers of old knew how to deal with audience drought, and it had nothing to do with magic. Reversing down trending audience numbers is a matter of executing detailed analysis of available information and then using elbow grease to provide consumers with what they really want.

This article details everything that you should do, from the moment you receive ratings or brand information until the point that you act upon that knowledge. (more…)

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Career Rehab Begins at Home. The Top Ten Steps to Take When the Employment Reaper Pays A Visit.

Career Rehab Begins at HomeAugust 28, 2014

broadcast + new media / career - By: Bill Pasha

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk to another candidate for MBMI’s Career Rehab program. The program is more of a study course, really, than it is anything else. Participants learn how to evaluate themselves, play to their strengths and weaknesses, interview, and apply skills they may not even have known they possessed, to new or better positions.

Unfortunately, regardless of all the stories of sunshine and roses that we hear each month from the government, radio and television broadcast jobs are becoming increasingly more difficult to acquire and maintain. Long time veterans, people with marquis names, are being put out to pasture. Often these are people for whom broadcasting was a lifelong career. Now, at ages that apparently exceed the tolerance threshold of some Boards of Directors, these pros are, as Joel Denver used to say, “On the Loose.”

A pity.

A shame.

A situation that borders on age discrimination.

But NOT the insurmountable and paralyzing event that some newly unemployed victims make it out to be.

We have discussed this topic in the past, but the relevancy of it makes it another discussion worthwhile.

So, if you fall into this category, or any other in which you recently have found yourself without benefit of employment, or if you think that you can hear the train coming around the bend but you can’t quite yet see the headlight, MBMI offers you

The Top Ten Steps to Take When the Employment Reaper Pays A Visit:

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Top-of-mind awareness is never a bad thing, and jingles go a long way to help in many situations. www.multibrandmedia.com

Juggling JinglesJuly 25, 2014

broadcast + new media / radio - By: Bill Pasha
At MBMI, we have a lot of intelligent consultants who possess some very useful skills. Many of those skills are cutting edge and indicative of some of the newest work we do in the fields of broadcasting, electronic publishing, social media, hospitality and VIP Concert security. Those are not the skills that this blog covers.

I’m an old jingle guy. During my years as a radio and television programmer and talent, I used and/or created at least twenty different jingle packages. I also spent five years of my career creating jingle packages and programming for a large Dallas-based jingle company. Later, I worked closely with the King Of Jingles, the late Tom Merriman (the TM of TM Productions) and his court jester, my good friend, Tony Griffin. The lessons I learned are exceeded only by the tall tales they would tell over a good, stiff adult beverage at the end of the day. The drinks aside, I recall that they taught me four secrets of creating a custom jingle package. I’d like to share them with you. (more…)

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To save the broadcasting industry, it’s up to everyone to start calling B.S when they smell it.

B.S.July 9, 2014

broadcast + new media - By: Bill Pasha
That’s the problem with writing a blog once or twice a week. Every now and then, the writer looks down on the written page and he realizes that everything he has written, every lousy word, is B.S.

Just words on a page for the sake of meeting a deadline.

It happened to me this week and it made me ill. At first, I thought I had become one of “those” writers, who self-gratifies himself with the worst kind of B.S.: Reading his own words and agreeing with them. Maybe that is true to a certain extent, but that wasn’t why my stomach felt like I had just ingested the El Grande Breakfast Burrito at Taco Bell.

It suddenly dawned on me that I am sick and tired of the B.S. that I read, hear, view and otherwise absorb. Lately, B.S. seemingly is everywhere and painfully obvious in the broadcasting trade. (more…)

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Radio is going digital – but let´s not switch off FM!

Radio is going digital – but let´s not switch off FM!

In Europe we have different opinions regarding analogue switch off and going all digital. The radio markets in the different European countries are structured sometimes very different and have different histories and backgrounds. My home country is Finland. We are an European country and one of the Scandinavian countries. There is one main difference: Finlands private radio market is doing very much better than our Scandinavian neighbours.

In Norway, Sweden and Denmark the public broadcasting sector is very strong and the commercially funded private radio industry has a market share of the listeners representing something between 25 – 35%. They also have much weaker FM networks for private radios compared to the public broadcaster. In Finland commercial radio and public broadcasting have divided the audience 50/50 for many years. Commercial radio has a much bigger share for audiences under 55 and in the older demographics public broadcasting is the leader.

This market situation explains a lot why Sweden, Norway and Denmark are pro digital and keen on announcing switch off dates for FM. Norway was the first country to announce that in 2017 FM will be switched off. But there are conditions involved. 90% of the population needs to have access to digital broadcasing and over 50% of all listening needs to be digital before a switch off can be made. What will happen to the other 50% at that point? I do not think they will automatically go digital just because FM will be switched off. (more…)

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Congress, Do the Right ThingJune 25, 2014

broadcast + new media / radio - By: Bill Pasha
The debate continues before Congress as to whether traditional radio should be forced to pay music royalties beyond those already negotiated with stakeholders.

The portion of the argument that stands out to us, but has been missing from the discourse until today, is that radio operators do so in the public interest and as expected by the public. While radio companies generate advertising profits from the overall benefit of their licenses, those profits, if any, are invested in providing a unique and free service to the people who actually own the airwaves: We the People. (more…)

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task-saturation- How to protect your frontline employees from a terrible crash and burn situation. www.multibrandmedia.com

Arguably, the United States Air Force is the finest fighting team of skilled professional aviators ever assembled. Highly trained airmen and women are prepared for almost any situation; combat, rescue, reconnaissance, even entertainment at air shows.

It seems almost incomprehensible that professionals with so much knowledge, skill and understanding of the high stakes at which they operate, could make fatal errors. But they do. Often.

In the early 2000s, the Air Force accumulated mishap data from the previous decade, which revealed that about 80% of aviation accidents were caused by pilot error. Not surprisingly, many of those errors were caused by the inability of the flight crews to process the information flow they received and execute effectively. These pilots could no longer assess situations, danger, or develop life-saving responses to the data because they were too busy with other things. In the Air Force, this is known as Fatal Task Saturation; the effect of too many things being asked of a pilot at one time.

In the air, the first rule is to fly the airplane. “Aviate, Navigate and Communicate” is the common phrase known to all fighter pilots. When handled in the appropriate order, tasks generally do not overwhelm pilots. So, what is the phrase that protects your frontline employees from a terrible crash and burn situation?

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management lessons learned-over small talk multibradmedia
Last week in our blog, we relayed the management lessons that we learned from the dog that lives in our Dallas offices. This week, we have chosen to pass along lessons we’ve learned from a group of more esteemed and experienced senior executives.

Since MBMI was founded in 2010, members of our management team have been privileged to meet and speak with some of the world’s top managers, like media moguls Barry Diller and Jonathan Newhouse, Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, renowned chef Rainer Becker, and Hublot Watch Company’s Chairman, Jean Claude Biver.

To simply listen to these industry leaders’ conversations and insights is akin to taking Doctorate level courses at the finest universities. So, this week, our blog passes along a few pearls of wisdom and thought-provoking ideas and observations from each of the people previously mentioned, as Management Lessons Learned Over Small Talk. (more…)

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