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Thread: What to do to gain more site participation?

  1. #11
    Radio-X I agree, and you should be able to join the industry side for information, questions and trends.

    For example if you think radio of today is awful, doesn't cater to my music or demo, or radio just doesn't understand. Then stay on the general board.

    Many of the heavy hitters would like to answer questions, but they have worn tired of several questions that have nothing to do with today's radio practices.
    Last edited by Groove1670; 12-15-2015 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #12
    purpledevil
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    I try to maintain an even keel and be respectful to others on here at all times. Sometimes I fail, I mean, I'm only human (of flesh and blood, I'm made*). There are a handful that want nothing more than to be the center of attention, so they'll post something outlandish just to get a rise out of other participants. It has dropped off somewhat, but it does rear its ugly head on occasion.

    As a "non-pro", (I prefer "listener" as I'm certainly a professional with over 25 years in my chosen industry, which is hospitality) I found radio-info in 2004, when KLOL in Houston went belly up. I was so ticked that my station of choice was unceremoniously dumped after 35 years on the air, that I started searching for places where like-minded individuals that have the radio nerd bug like me could congregate and learn more about the business in general.

    Using my industry as an example (and those who really know me here, know this is genuine and not an attempt to start any war), but as a listener who uses your product and has for many, many years, I don't understand why those who work in radio flat out dismiss those who don't. It takes listeners for radio to work. If listeners aren't listening to the product offered, all the advertising in the world won't make a difference as no ears will hear the message provided. Making the comparison, it's like a guest coming up to the desk at one of our hotels, unsatisfied about a particular issue, and my staff tells them "Sorry, you're satisfaction as a guest means nothing to us. Yes, I know. You're a longtime Diamond Elite member, but you're stay here is really just inconsequential. This is the business today, and we answer to our stockholders, not you. Matter of fact, you are kind of a bother just sleeping in our bed because now I have to pay someone to go clean up after you."

    I wouldn't be in business long, that goes without saying. I've always wondered, and I guess it's taken me some 11 years or so to ask this, but when did the listener lose his importance within the industry? What were those pioneers, that lit up back in the 10s, 20s, 30s, goal in broadcasting an audio signal over the airwaves? I mean, at some point in history, listeners mattered. Otherwise, you'd think there wouldn't be any 50kW flamethrowers on the AM, since owners would target the home turf for the ad dollars they'd need to continue broadcasting, and you wouldn't need to hear WLS or KOA clear across the country, because who's going to drive 100+ miles to buy a product being peddled on the radio?

    The question I pose is at what point did the "listener" find himself tossed aside? At some point, the listener was an integral part of the equation. When did that change, and how do you expect to survive without us? If we don't listen to the station, the advertiser doesn't get the ROI for running spots on the station, and that spells doom for said station. What I've been seeing in the last decade or more, is that it's not just stations that aren't being utilized by the listener, it's the medium itself that a lot of folks are simply turning away from en masse. I love the very concept of cracking a mic and providing an entertaining program to the masses. I envy those who get to do it for a living. I suppose that love for the artform is what frustrates me in where radio has found itself in the last 2 decades. I see another love of mine from my childhood, fading away right before my eyes, and I think that's where posters on this forum find themselves too when they vent their frustration to the industry insiders.

    We've been loyal listeners to the broadcast industry all these many years. Can the same be expected of the advertising community, when there's no listeners left actually listening because they've all been run off with the "you don't matter" argument? From an old saying down here, it's a case of the buggy pulling the horse. We care about the very existence of the medium, the advertisers only care about how much money they can usurp from it before it dries up.

    (*a tip of the 10 gallon to you, K.M., sure love me some Human League)
    Last edited by purpledevil; 12-15-2015 at 03:33 PM. Reason: fixed a double negative I accidentally typed

  3. #13
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    I agree with Radio-X as well. Past employment in the industry should count as a qualification to be part of the "professional" discussions area.

    Retired radio people are far more likely (by a factor of 99.99999999%) to ask intelligent questions than the "you kids get off my lawn" crowd and I am certain discussions that included such previous survivors of the trench wars would be very interesting.

    One thing I could see as a benefit to including retirees is that valid comparisons could be made between yesterday's policies and practices and today's. There is also the matter of what tools were available then and now (I'm from the splicing block school of editing, but I sure wouldn't give up Audition now!).

  4. #14
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    I'm going to distill your comments to a single question and then try to answer that as simply as possible:

    Quote Originally Posted by purpledevil View Post
    The question I pose is at what point did the "listener" find himself tossed aside?
    At the point where the listener decided he knew more about what belonged on the radio than the people who program for a living do. At the point where hard research meant nothing to that listener other than things for him to challenge. At the point where the listener decided his tastes were more important than the pursuit of mass-appeal entertainment and insisted that radio program to his specific liking.

    At the point where advertisers, speaking through their agencies, decided that once a listener had his 55th birthday it was no longer cost-effective to run increased amounts of advertising to attract that listener. At the point where stations which tried to make a success of formats targeting 55+ failed anyway, thus adding credibility to the research.

    At the point where an increase in the number of licensed stations, coupled with an increase in other forms of advertising media (such as direct mail, "take one" freebie weekly local newspapers, and telemarketing) caused a decrease in the amount of money any one station could bill for whatever slice of the pie it could keep.

    At the point where, as a result of the business being advertiser-driven, the listeners became the commodity sold to the advertising customers ... and hence the need to stay "safe" in terms of mass-appeal programming.

    Here is the one point that has been said many times, but does not sink in with the "fans" who want the "rules" of programming to be broken. Very few people actively listen to radio for more than several minutes at a time. When they do, it tends to be at predictable times, the same time every day ... with breakfast, on the commute to/from work, etc. Today's music scheduling technology is extremely sophisticated and allows for song play history to avoid repeats at the same time for long periods. The end result is that, even with a 500-song library, the vast majority of listeners won't hear songs repeat, because the entire library is rotating through their usual listening periods. As long as that library contains the songs that testing has identified as being the ones the vast majority like, they will always hear "their favorites" when they tune in, and they won't hear any one song often enough to be irritated by it.

    The "fans", on the other hand, seem to delight in listening for long periods of time and then report how often particular songs repeat, completely ignoring that their listening patterns are atypical and do not factor into the science of radio programming. It doesn't matter how many times "Hotel California" gets played if there are a different set of listeners tuned in each time. And not only don't they get that, it is obvious that they never will.

    A wise man named David Gleason once said that if you're playing the consensus favorites, no one will notice the songs you didn't play ... but if you play a song few people like, all the ones that hate that song will notice it (and probably tune away).

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Groove1670 View Post

    On a positive note, I still enjoy the board, and the moderators do a great job, but maybe a tougher moderation policy might solve some of the issues.
    I disagree. I think over-zealous moderation by the former proprietors was the problem.
    I had my account yanked and was banned for 3 yrs. for reasons no one ever explained to me.

    If you discourage people from participating, they won't participate.

  6. #16
    General Manager frankberry's Avatar
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    I have no plans, NO PLANS, to make this an "us and them" website.
    Broadcast professionals and listeners/viewers alike are welcome to take part in our discussions.

    Keep the discussions civil and we'll have no problems.

    Please know that I appreciate all of our Members.

    Frank


  7. #17
    purpledevil
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankberry View Post

    Please know that I appreciate all of our Members.
    Frank
    This is legitimate with a capital L. Frank, I've disagreed with you on a couple of occasions, but you are indeed a fair moderator and a far cry from the heavy handed moderation this site and its membership has faced in the past. I thank you for the tireless hours you put in here and giving us all a forum to congregate.

    K.M., many thanks for the in depth response. I believe my clarity fell short in the previous post. These things happen when attempting to run a business and juggle a little free time on the phone trying to formulate a complete thought while trying to conduct business in an extremely fast paced atmosphere. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that, lol.

    My question was geared towards the overall relationship between radio broadcaster and the listener. I agree with you completely that there are those here in the forum that just go round and round for the sake of an argument. The question I meant to convey was at what point did radio and listeners disconnect the relationship between the two within the medium itself? You and I are of the same generation, and up until the mid 90s or so, radio very much appeared to be listener driven. There was a time when you could pick up a phone, call a studio, and get a song played that might very well veer from the typical fare of its structured format. The listening public mattered, and radio remained successful...or so it appeared. Those days are over, and AM/FM radio has apparently suffered since.

    Maybe the better question is who is ultimately responsible for taking a lot of the "fun" out of the business? I've heard stories over and over of how a portion of these little mom and pops that treated their staff abysmally, but even with that going on behind the scenes, the on-air presentation was upbeat and full of pride that could be felt coming through the speakers. That's the glaring change. Something sucked the fun out of being a broadcaster. Can you pinpoint that moment?

  8. #18

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    Frank, I agree as well. There are only a few agitators. The agitators are frustrating but I can't see making this a this or that board. I like reading perceptions from listeners. In fact, I suspect they are taken to heart and noted by those in the industry. And I think we rather like the idea of educating the listener that asks why, not to condone, but to show the position we are in.

    To answer purpledevil, I might add that I listen to listeners but I take comments with a grain of salt. More often than not, the person's comments are not just personal but also those of their circle of friends who tend to have much of the same thinking. By grain of salt, I mean I try to analyze the comments against a wider and more diverse group that can be sometimes quite different than their opinions.

    More often than not, I think many listeners feel we are the true decision makers on everything. For example, a person might be hired as Program Director. The research the boss has indicates the demographic to be reached and how the station might position itself. The job of the Program Director is to gather the research to do this in the most successful way possible. For the General Manager, they want the 'proof in the pudding' that this will work and attention must be paid to the other aspects such as marketing the decided format to advertisers, normally the ad agencies. Once the format gets rolling, the ratings and continued research dictate the path to take. Taking unproven chances can result in losing your job and losing your job makes you less desirable as a potential employee at the next station.

    I suppose the best way to put it, is we are there to do the job the boss has told us to do. To put it another way, it is almost as if we are a hired actor to portray a part. We have to play the part well whether we like it or not and there is not the liberty to alter the character's personality without the director's approval.

    We tend to look at research as more exhaustive and more complete than one listener's opinion even when we hear it frequently. It might make us more sensitive to your words but the research generally wins out because we know it is more widely based to detail what our target demographic wants. Please remember the target demographic is not the only listener to a station but rather the piece of the radio audience that is the 'must have' part to make the whole station work.

    Personally, we might share many of your comments but we realize in programming it is not about us, but our target audience. And any of us in the business for a while have seen many different ideas implemented. We watch carefully but it almost never ends well because they are not proven out via that research.

    I can cite the amazing Lone Star 92.5 experiment in Dallas/Ft. Worth. I loved the concept and what was attempted but it failed terribly, from the ad agency that didn't understand or couldn't justify buying in to the music selection and on air presentation that seemingly would have attracted good numbers but didn't crack the prior numbers doing classic rock. To refresh memories, they had 'sponsors' that were branded to the station and jocks worked in a live ad lib spot an hour for a sponsor (and considering these were very seasoned jocks, it was a joy to hear). Lone Star is still the moniker but the format is classic rock today with commercials clustered twice an hour and does quite well. The opportunity to try something like this seems to be less frequent than a blue moon. Most investors just won't take a chance.

  9. #19
    purpledevil
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    I couldn't have asked for a better explanation than that, Bill. We all must sacrifice ourselves for the job we have chosen to perform. Given that we know the problem, do you see a solution coming to light near term? Will it take the dismantling of corporate controlled radio to correct what's wrong with the medium? Can AM/FM radio even return to its past glory, given the alternatives available in this modern day? I guess that's a question you guys even ask yourselves occasionally. If we had the answers to that we'd be lounging away on a beach in Cabo, cold Corona in hand.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankberry View Post
    I have no plans, NO PLANS, to make this an "us and them" website.
    Broadcast professionals and listeners/viewers alike are welcome to take part in our discussions.
    Frank, I'd like it clarified that this is a radio industry board first, and a "fan" (music or radio) board second. The big problem we have had here in the past is that, lacking such a clarification, the "fans" think they have the right to challenge and browbeat the professionals, as I have described elsewhere in this thread.

    As we have all said, we don't mind answering questions for the non-professionals if it helps them understand. But when they believe that they have every right to repeat their opinions over and over in an attempt to shout us down ... well, it feels like they're trying to takeover, and that's what makes the industry people leave.

    If that can't be controlled by a moderator stepping in early when circular arguments develop, and warnings from same being heeded, we'll drop, one pro at a time, until the fans will simply preach to the choir of whoever remains.

    The whole thing reminds me of the process the FCC has when someone submits a Petition for Reconsideration of a Commission decision. For such a petition to be considered, it must bring up new facts that were unknown and unstated at the time of the original action. Simply repeating one's previous position gets a petition rejected ... every time.

    Maybe there needs to be a published rule which says "if your opinion is answered and the answerer cites factual data in their response, repeating your previous position with nothing new is considered a 'circular argument' and may subject the thread to closure and the offending poster to a temporary or permanent (depending on how often they break the rule) ban."

    As I said, I consider everyone to have a clean slate when they first get here. But both respect and disrespect are earned after that.
    Last edited by K.M. Richards; 12-15-2015 at 08:23 PM. Reason: fixing typos

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