Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB
Engagement. Local. Heart. Soul. Creativity. Partnerships. Those were words that resonated across the various sessions and events that took place during Radio Week.
Like other 2020 industry conference, these were virtual. But the passion, excitement and enthusiasm for broadcast radio and its ability to connect, engage and support listeners and local businesses was as live as if held at an event venue.
Here are some of the things shared during the Radio Mercury Awards and Radio Show 2020:
- “Leading with heart and soul is about ourselves. How do we upgrade our own emotional and operating systems? What is important is that no company or team can transform unless the individuals in the company transform.” – Rishad Tobaccowala, futurist, author and senior advisor, Publicis Groupe
- “This industry has seen wars, depressions and recessions. It’s a resilient media and, looking forward, I think there’s no question that it will rebound from this experience as well.” – Hubbard Radio CEO
- “This year will be known as another time in history when humanity found itself challenged, not only in the face of a pandemic, but by social change,” said final round judge John Matejczyk, CCO/Co-Founder, MUH-TAY-ZIK/HOF-FER San Francisco. “Radio has shown what it does best during these unprecedented times by connecting and giving a platform for our communities to be heard.”
- “I love it when people say that no one listens to the radio anymore and I bring that conversation up on the air. I’ll mention their name on the air and maybe even the area where they live. If you know them, let them know and their phone ends up blowing up. We’ve even used that with clients. It disproves the theory that no one is listening immediately. – Woody Fife, on-air personality, Alt LA, “The Woody Show”
“We need your superpower and commitment to be diligent with us to accelerate our force for good and force for growth mission.” Radio has a unique capability unlike other media channels that is critical for this Force for Good and Force for Growth work to succeed and be sustainable. Radio can inform at the local level, have two-way communication between talent and audiences in real time, DJs know their communities, their audiences, how to talk to them and how to mobilize them for good.
- “Radio has preserved, as it always does in times of crisis,” David Fields, Entercom President and CEO said about the challenges radio faced this year. “It’s been there for the American public as a source of solace and respite, providing great news, information and companionship – all the things radio does.”
- Radio’s commitment to serve is as strong as ever. It is “at the intersection of commerce and community” – Brian Buyers, VP of Development, Neuhoff Media
- “(Radio is) that person in the empty seat next to you in the car every day, the person who talks to you in the shower, or when you’re getting dressed and getting out of bed, when you’re cooking, eating, doing yard work, doing house work… we keep people company wherever they want us to keep them company,” he said. “Unlike other media, people don’t come to radio for an hour – and that’s it for the day. They’re checking in through the day… In times like these, radio has strengthened that relationship with the consumer.” – Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia
- “I think my takeaway is that this (pandemic) will be part of history and it has changed how we are doing radio,” noted DeDe McGuire, on-air personality, “DeDe in the Morning.” “The way we are receiving information, the way we are listening and the ways to deliver it have changed and especially with utilizing social media, it has been a great learning experience and made me step up my game.”
- “A lot of folks are (negative about) local radio. I think it’s a phenomenal business because of that localization. You’re in the market. You live in the market. You know the community, and the community knows you,” he said. “I think local radio is going to be very important going forward because of localization.” – Byron Allen, Chairman/CEO, Allen Media Group and founder Entertainment Studios
- “(But) with the industry’s ability to broadcast from anywhere and everywhere, the audio platform has been extraordinarily resilient. Consumer behavior radically changed during the shutdown, as you can imagine. But audio for the most part has remained really a vibrant part of the daily lives of our listeners.” – Mary Berner, President and CEO, Cumulus Media
- “For real change to take place, there must be a willingness to cede power. The power dynamic has been obscenely skewed and just not equitably distributed. There must be an acknowledgement that everyone does not have the same power and there needs to be a willingness or an eagerness to cede power and/ or to use your power to empower someone else.”
- On Connoisseur Media’s adaptability at the onset of COVID-19, Jeff Warshaw, founder and CEO stated, “this was the time that our licenses and obligations to serve our communities were really put to the test. We had engaging conversations with our listeners. We opened our mics to make sure that people had an outlet and a place to be heard.”
- The growth of podcasting and interest in creating podcasts is shown by people who have never been involved in audio before. Attributing podcasting’s growth to the speed, ease and joy of it, Mangesh Hattikudar, SVP, Podcast Development, IHeartMedia/Stuff Media stated, “It’s the joy of producing and connecting with an audience fairly close to immediately is something you just don’t get in a lot of places.”
- “Talent is really willing, able and anxious to connect. “It’s a critical part, particularly in this environment, making everyone feel comfortable and connected and that’s what radio talent is best at – better than any other talent in any other medium – its connecting with the listeners, and that’s what advertisers want.” – Chesley Maddox-Dorsey, CEO, A Wonder Media Company, LLC
- “I flip the radio on, and I’ve got some ‘interruptions,’ if you will.” He said the personalities talking on the radio – even the commercials, felt like “a couple extra people that are with me and I am no longer alone.” – A survey panelist on the companion aspect of radio