Lessons from NetflixMarch 9, 2015

radio - By: Bill Pasha
How does Radio attract new listeners and make current listeners engage for longer periods of time?

Three words: “House of Cards.”

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Last weekend, Netflix turned loose Season Three of its acclaimed series about a failing US government and the corrupt President of the United States who presides over the whole system.

Netflix released the whole season to its subscribers at one time. Every episode. For $7 a month! Last year, I spent a small college savings account on buying the episodes of the first two seasons because I came to the table after everyone else. But once purchased, I couldn’t stop watching the series. The writing is as sharp as a razor. The plot twists and turns. It makes me feel like a virgin rider on the world’s most notorious rollercoaster.

In other words, I am hooked. When this year’s offering hit Netflix, just as I did at the end of last season, I binge watched all thirteen episodes. It was like escaping to a place where my needs came first. Every nod to the camera (and me) was an expectation met. From costuming to color balancing, the show transformed me from a TV viewer into a starving animal bent on capturing its prey. In other words, nothing short of a heart attack or EMP was going to interrupt me. (more…)

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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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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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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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Fooled by the hype. Don’t blame yourself. Hype is everywhere and it is easy to be fooled.

Fooled By the HypeSeptember 4, 2014

radio - By: Bill Pasha

Don’t blame yourself. Hype is everywhere and it is easy to be fooled.

It happened today to a well-known European blogger. He bought into a radio content producer’s story about a new format that he offers. The content creator provided extensive details about his product and explained why it is new and different. In turn, the blogger provided the content producer with a stage to sell his product. It was all hype. Nothing new here to see, folks. Move on. But the blogger needed material and eagerly accepted the concept that a format that puts into practice the opposite of every know best practice for a this type of presentation, works. If only format design were so easy. Yes, there is an emotional connection between the music and the listener, but this format fails to address the meaningful characteristics of successful radio stations, opting instead for the pitch of the sale. (more…)
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Paige Nienaber's top 10 selection of greatest radio promotions of all time
Paige Nienaber is recognized as the world’s foremost authority on broadcast promotions and marketing.

MultiBrand Media International is proud to represent Paige everywhere in the world, except the US and Canada. To work together with Paige to create a plan for your company, contact MBMI.

Iremember sitting through corporate meetings in LA when I worked for United Broadcasting. This was a company so mired in forms and Legal that even by today’s eff’ed up standards, they were freaking nuts.

As we broke out into meetings, and I was with all of the Promotion Directors and Marketing Directors, I suggested that really nothing great has ever been achieved in a conference room and since it was the middle of Winter and we were at the Ritz in LA, why not take it to the pool and do it in the sun.

You would have thought that I’d suggesting putting puppies in a blender.

The majority of our promo meeting, after we labored through some lame mission statement, was to try and create a form (they so loved their forms) that we could use to grade our promotions and events.

My thought, which was totally lost on the sheep, was that Promotions serves so many masters and that “success” or “failure” is really subjective based on what department you come from, that this seemed like kind of a waste. They looked at me like I had eels crawling from my ears.

I get that a lot. (more…)

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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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Finding the recipe. It’s time for North American programmers to get smarter about their audience and find new and engaging execution methods. www.multibrandmedia.com/blog

Finding the RecipeJuly 17, 2014

radio - By: Bill Pasha
The widely revered chocolate chip cookie is a fine metaphor for the tastiest (Sorry for the pun) difference between US and European music programming.

For decades, the majority of American radio programmers have followed one consistent rule when programming music: Play the hits! Why not? After all, in the past, most listeners used radio as their primary source for discovering and enjoying the most current songs in every format genre. There were few other choices besides MTV or a friend’s mix tape. For the most part, radio was king. Record labels and radio enjoyed a love-hate relationship that further established radio as the authority on what was, and wasn’t, worth their audiences’ listening time and money.

As radio and records’ music taste and fashion monopoly/axis became more powerful, American radio programmers tightened down libraries and playlists proportionately in the quest for more and more listeners. In general, the old rules still apply to most North American playlists and so do the consequences of it.

The theory is simple but somewhat counterintuitive: Play hits over and over because people want to hear those songs. Repetition creates more opportunities for listeners to hear those familiar favorites, creating more listening opportunities that equate to more overall time spent listening. According to the theory, more cume will drive through the radio station to hear the big songs. Large TSL and cume drive up share, and share drives revenue. When revenue is up, everyone is happy, so repetition is a good thing.

Or, it isn’t. (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?

(more…)

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When Nature hits we still have radio. #floods #serbiafloods #bosniafloods #poplave #poplavesrbija #poplavebosna #poplavehrvatska #floodscroatia

When nature hits, we still have RadioMay 20, 2014

radio - By: Multibrand Media

MBMI works throughout the world to advise top broadcasters. Fortunately for us, we also count among our most valued associates Robert Brndusic-Dedus, who lives in Slovenia and operates our Vienna office.

Robert is more than a “radio guy.” He is a trained and licensed surgical nurse, an EMT, a philanthropist and an all around good human being.

Last week, Robert, his family, his extended family, and many throughout the Balkans were brought to their knees by a weather event that received very little attention in North America. Families have lost their homes, businesses, food and water supplies, and more, due to disastrous flooding that has affected more than two-thirds of the region.

Tomorrow, Robert leaves with a Red Cross convoy that will offer support, supplies, medical attention and hope to the region. We admire Robert and support him in this effort. We hope that you will offer your thoughts and prayers for Robert and the people who he will assist on this journey.

If you operate a media outlet of any type in the flooded region, MBMI would like to offer its support to you, for free. If there is anything that we can do to help you as you deal with this disaster, please contact us. We stand ready to assist. (more…)

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10 steps to a successful career in radio by Bill Pasha - Multibrand Media International

Ten Steps to a Successful CareerMay 2, 2014

career / radio / tips - By: Bill Pasha

Yesterday, a very good friend of mine scored an incredible, out-of-this-world radio programming job.

Knowing my friend as I do, this position is custom made for him and it is in one of the cities he desired to be in the most: New York City.

My buddy has been extremely successful there before, just as he has been successful in virtually every challenge he has accepted. (more…)

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When we hear criticism about our station we often react in a way that is absolute. Kill the tarantula! www.multibrandmedia.com

It’s funny what sticks in our minds. We can remember an unkind word from Marie Jones in the fifth grade but have a harder time recalling something nice said last week.

The guys in the white lab coats say there is a reason for this. I’m told that a negative experience is immediately stored in our brain’s long term memory, while a positive experience needs to rattle around for more than twelve seconds before checking in to that part of the brain. The reason for this dates back to the prehistoric days at the rock quarry so that Fred and Barney would know when a tarantula was about to sneak up on them! “Fight or flight” is the plot of any well-written cartoon, don’tchaknow! (more…)

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THINK BIG. BEFORE YOU CONTEMPLATE CHANGES THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR CONTENT

THINK BIGApril 19, 2014

Brand Loyalty / Customer Relations / radio / Target Audience - By: Multibrand Media

Think Big. Before you contemplate changes that may affect your content, ask yourself a few simple and enlightening questions:

  • Why is change necessary?
  • How does the station’s history affect today’s expectations?
  • Does the audience have any attachment to the current content?
  • How does my coverage area affect my competitive ability to change?
  • What is my audience profile?
  • Does my music meet and exceed audience expectations and do I execute it perfectly?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of my presenters?
  • What result should my marketing plan create, and do I have the resources to execute that plan flawlessly?
  • How will my competitors react to my planned changes?
  • Where does the new content fit into the mix of already available radio products?
  • How will the new content alter my audience?
  • How do the changes fill an audience or advertiser need?
  • How large is the opportunity for the change? (Don’t do it if the opportunity is too narrow.)
  • Is there new and reliable research available that may confirm my plans or change my mind?
  • What is the experience level of the management team?
  • Is the management experience suitable to the challenge of change?
  • What will define a win, and how does it look and feel to my team, the advertisers and the audience?

(more…)

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our-feet-may-hurt-but-our-professional-souls-have-never-felt-better
It has been a huge three-week period for radio broadcasters and MBMI has made the most of every minute of every day.

Last week, the industry flocked to Hollywood, CA for three days of learning, listening, eating, drinking and networking, called Worldwide Radio Summit 2014. The event enjoyed its fourth year in 2014, attracting the biggest and most influential roster of radio and music industry professionals (more…)

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Smart People Aid RadioApril 1, 2014

radio - By: Bill Pasha
There is something about the electricity of a convention’s exhibition floor that brings out the social animal in people. From the moment that the contemporary drum corps snared and bassed their way into earshot last Monday at the RadioDays Europe 2014 convention, it was clear our MBMI crew would be in for a wild ride.  We were not disappointed. (more…)

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Lose Your Fear, Lose YourselfMarch 5, 2014

career / radio - By: Bill Pasha

The popular General Manager lament of the last sixteen years has been, “Things were different before consolidation.  Those were the days!”  And so things were different.

Things were different before the copier.  Why would we ever need an expensive thing like that?
Things were different before the fax machine.  Wow!  What’s wrong with  Federal Express?  Isn’t it hard to use that fax thing?
Things were different before email.  Who needs email?  Faxes are great.  And this Internet thing is such a fad.  Who can understand it?
So, yes, things were different before consolidation, for many a frightening event in a timeline of events that set in motion events that changed our lives.  Like copy machines, faxes and emails, consolidation raised fear.  Remember how you couldn’t figure out what a domain name was?  What did we need all this techy stuff for, anyway?  The principle of change through consolidation often conjures the same specter.

Employees worry about losing their jobs, their self-respect, and the esteem of their colleagues.  The rules change, too.  So does interaction with superiors and subordinates.  Our colleagues often become our new bosses.  The whole world turns upside down with the stroke of Acquisition’s pen.   Your email has old acquaintances reaching out again, in fear of the unknown after years of acceptance of consolidation.
Looking back, those early days of consolidation were frightening to many of us.  Today, conditioned by years of operating in an atmosphere of “Am I next?” many of the GMs who survived the first wave fear being the men and women they once were.  In today’s business world, regardless of industry or application, strong managers must set aside their reservations and remember it is their responsibility to lead, to grow, and to create value.
One of the best radio stories that demonstrates this notion involves a General Manager in Baltimore, Maryland in the early days of consolidation.  This GM was known for his management prowess, leadership, and decisiveness.  Some of the most skilled managers and talent in the country moved to Market #19 just to work for him.
On the fateful day that he learned that his facility had been bought by a large broadcaster bent on consolidation, this GM called together his staff and promised that things would change for the better, providing that each employee remain confident and fearless, while performing just as he or she had for years before consolidation.
“Let’s achieve new heights based on the benefits of consolidation,” he said.  “Have no fear.  I’m going to be the same guy tomorrow that I am today.”  He was, too.
A few weeks later, the Baltimore Orioles placed concurrent calls to every major radio and television GM, to offer tickets on the field to witness Cal Ripken’s record-breaking Game 2131 at Camden Yards.  One catch:  The tickets were ten thousand dollars.  First come, first served.
Greatness is born of courage and leadership.  Without courage, rarely can one lead.  At that moment, this General Manager could have considered the political ramifications of asking his new boss for unbudgeted marketing money.  He could have quietly thanked the caller and asked for some time to think about it.  He could have put his own skin before the success of his station.  Instead, he saw those tickets as a way to show his courage and his leadership and grasp an opportunity to make a statement to his new consolidation masters.  It was a gargantuan risk. He committed to the tickets.  Then he called his new boss.
Fearless.
The next evening, the ticket winners wore the station’s sport shirts to that special game.  You can see them as Cal runs by the winners, sees the shirts, and stops and runs back to shakes the hands of those winners.  In front of the whole world.  In front of every potential listener.  In front of every meaningful buyer of advertising.  It’s all on the ESPN tape.
The GM later moved to another company in a top five market.  He remained fearless, left that company after awhile, and started his own.  He is still fearless.

In this round of consolidation, step up and be fearless.  The copier is waiting.

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