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Welcome to the all new Airchecker experience. A social networking site for radio. We are powered by the people of radio and those who have a great passion to have conversations about radio. As the voice of the Canadian radio industry since 2009. Airchecker has gained a loyal army of followers who say we are the best source for radio. 1000s of radio lovers power your radio news each week via Airchecker. read more >

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The Stuph File Program – Episode #0491

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0491.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Who’s Ready to Step Up and Fix Commercials On the Radio?

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Radio’s commercial problems continue. The ads have been horrible for awhile now. But it’s becoming a crisis. And at some stations, the ads make up nearly 25% of programming time.

Listeners know we have to play some. They accept that. They’re actually quite forgiving. Even millennials are okay with putting up with some commercials, as I proved in my study on 18-30 year old listeners.

But do the commercials have to be so painful? Do the stop sets have to be so long? Does every station have to break at the same time? It’s time to fix the commercial problems.

Check out this data from NuVooDoo. Their research shows that well over half of listeners to every format think radio commercials either “don’t apply to them” or “don’t sound good”.

This is embarrassing. And frightening.

One of the issues is creative input in production. The copywriters disappeared years ago. They’ve been replaced by account executives writing commercial copy for clients. It’s horrible.

Another is the sheer number of units. As revenue decline, we keep adding more. More avails doesn’t mean more advertisers or bigger budgets. It means lower rates, which opens to the door to a lower class of advertiser. Usually not the ones who have great spots. Radio has become a steady stream of per-inquiry ads, mattress stores and pawn shops. And it’s horrible.

A third issue is the tendency of each station to schedule stop sets at exactly the same time. I know they’re trying to game the ratings system, but what we’re really doing is running listeners off the medium. One station plays commercials. The audience tries to escape the pain, and all other choices are playing the same spots.

And I haven’t even mentioned the 15, 18 or 20 (or more) minutes of commercials running every hour.

Opportunity?

Listeners respond less to radio advertising than ever before. Perhaps it’s because they’ve become conditioned to the endless drone of bad ads. Or they’re immune to disruptive advertising of all types.

But we have an opportunity to turn this trend around.

While more and more ad dollars have been leaving traditional media, online advertising is benefiting. But there’s a backlash in the ad community and digital is getting hammered for similar reasons. There are too many ads, they’re not very good and their main advantage has been compromised. It turns out digital ads aren’t as accountable as we have been led to believe.

Video and audio pre-rolls are in our face, but don’t necessarily get viewed. Click bait ads luring clicks where we don’t intend to go, but don’t convert into sales. And hired “bots” that game the system are causing many advertisers to rethink the amount of ad dollars going to digital.

How to Fix the Commercial Problems

It’s not easy to turn our industry around, but now’s the time to take action. Listeners like radio. They really do. Even millennials. In focus groups, they get it that radio has to play spots. They just don’t understand why the commercials suck so much and why there are so many.

Here’s how we can make an impact:

Shorter Stop Sets

Look, I know PPM wisdom suggests longer stop sets and fewer interruptions is better for ratings. But the long-term damage is severe. When we hit that 8 minute break, listeners tune out. Some punch the button physically, but almost all stop listening. And stop responding to the ads. It’s time to rethink the programming clocks.

What will happen when (not if) advertisers suddenly realize that they’re paying for ears on the programming, not on their messages? Frankly, it’s amazing they haven’t figured this out already.

Radio is doing exactly what advertisers are questioning about digital ads. We’re baiting the audience to tune in, but they’re not hearing the ads. We’re making it unlistenable.

We need to reduce stop set length in two ways:

Play fewer spots overall and distribute them differently. Reducing the spot load isn’t just a good idea. It’s a tactic for survival. The industry can’t support the current spot loads. Let’s start by reducing the commercial loads to 6-8 minutes per hour.

And don’t play them in one or two breaks. It may be good for the Nielsen PPM game, but it’s horrible for the art of radio. Not to mention the benefit of our other customers: the advertiser.

What if we played three stop sets per hour of just 2 minutes each? Or three minutes, if you must? Wouldn’t that be promotable to both listeners and advertisers?

Improve The Quality

We have to get better quality in the commercials we air. It’s an emergency. The ads are terrible. They don’t work for the advertiser, and we’re doing a dis-service by pretending they drive response.

Account executives sell a schedule, get the ads on the air, then hide under their desk on Mondays hoping the client doesn’t call to find out why the weekend sale was a bust.

Let’s make a commitment to quality and creativity. Where’s the pride? This alone would help our audience shares.

And while you’re at it, make sure the commercials are relevant at the time they play. It’s becoming more and more common to hear an ad on Wednesday evening about a sale that ended the previous Sunday. Who’s paying attention to the listener experience? Not to mention the advertiser’s interest. You might think it’s not your problem. But it is. It makes us sound out of touch.

Position It

And third, let’s get creative in programming our stations again.

Radio has long battled the “too many commercials” complaint. And we’re not fooling music fans by promising “commercial free” segments. Especially when their Spotify subscription is always commercial free. Radio stations are chasing each other around the clock without regard to the bigger picture.

How about acknowledging that we play commercials, but make a guarantee or promise that we’re not going to be extreme? It wold be refreshing to hear authentic messaging promising short stop sets and limited commercials. And if you want to throw in a couple of commercial free hours each day, go for it! That’s a bonus.

A NuVooDoo study reveals that among likely ratings respondents, playing fewer commercials is highly appealing. Of all the “less commercial” messaging:

“…a claim of playing 50% fewer commercials topped the list – followed very closely by a commercial-free hour. Among those likely not to accept the offer of participating in PPM, 50% fewer commercials is a decisive number one.

Conclusion

There’s so much hand-wringing about the future of radio and the state of the industry. But the solution is pretty clear: Fix radio’s commercial problems by playing fewer commercials, and make them better.

Of course, that sounds simple, and it won’t be without pain. But it’s hard to argue that hanging onto the current model is more about survival than growth.

Until we make substantial changes, we won’t get well. Everything else is just gaming the system. And the audience stopped playing the game long ago.

 

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0490

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0490.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

QGoLive Integration with Burli

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QGoLive’s mobile App (iTunesGoogle Play) is a widely-used tool for doing high-quality live shots right off a mobile phone. It also includes scripting, recording and editing tools. Meaning reporters can optionally record their live hits, clean them up a little and file them for later use. Or they can build entire voicers, wraps or simple actuality right on their phones.

QGoLive users can now send their content directly into Burli’s newsroom systems with the click of a single command.

Both Burli Newsroom and Burli NE ingest QGoLive material and make a new story out of it.  The QGoLive stories appear alongside other incoming sources and can immediately be used in news production.

In effect, QGoLive has become another field recorder and editor for Burli.

The QGoLive features are available in Burli Newsroom version 233q and later and Burli NE version 11.4.31 and later.

The good folks at QGoLive have created a simple tutorial on how to file into Burli.

If you have any questions or are interested in how Burli works with QGoLive, or how to configure it in your newsroom, please get in touch!

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0489

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0489.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • George Kourounis, storm chaser, adventurer & host
  • Phil Keoghan, host, Amazing Race & National Geographic Explorer
  • Etan Ilfeld, creator, Diving Chess
  • Brenda Cantrell, Brand Ambassador, Unclaimed Baggage Center
  • Joyce Bulifant, actress & author, My Four Hollywood Husbands
  • Marion Ross, actress & author, My Days: Happy and Otherwise
  • Sandi Harding, General Manager, Blockbuster Video
  • Douglas Bevans, CEO, Hot Dog Water

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0488: The Meshach & Malik Christmas Special

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program. A very special Christmas event. A Christmas show unlike any you’ve heard before!

For a program list of the songs included in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0488.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

  • The Meschach & Malik Christmas Special. Probably the most irreverent children’s show you’ve ever heard! It features the kind of holiday tunes that make kids laugh, and probably some adults cringe, and it’s hosted by a nine year old and a five year old! Destined to become a holiday perennial. Feel free to download it and play it over and over for years to come!


Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription

If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0487

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0487.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Andrew Fazekas, science writer — year in space
  • Zap Actiondower, blogger — orphaned franchise restaurants
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0486

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0486.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Yes, You Can Double Your Ratings In A Year-Here’s How

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Yeah, a headline like Double Your Ratings immediately makes you think it will be followed with some flippant comment like, “Get twice as many listeners.”

I’m not selling a radio “get rich quick” plan. But driving ratings may not be as impossible as many programmers and air personalities think.

Whether you have a 10-share or a 2-share, every station can double the ratings. It literally works for everyone, though I’ll admit it’s a bit more challenging double a 20-share than a 1 share.

Here’s the empowering thing: Every station can do double your ratings without external marketing and advertising. It doesn’t require a big contest. And it doesn’t depend on a promotion or marketing budget.

The truth is, it’s really simple to double your ratings.

You can double your ratings just by getting more value from existing listeners.

Here’s how:

Double Your Ratings Math

Follow along as we do a little math. Sorry, I know you’re not in radio because you love math. But I’ll keep it simple.

The following is based on adults age 25-54, in the morning show (6-10am Monday-Friday). According to Nielsen (in PPM measured markets), here’s how much a typical station’s P1 listeners tune in:

In case you’re wondering, each listening occasion lasts about 9 minutes. That’s not relevant in this discussion, but it’s interesting. Most broadcasters think it’s quite a lot more. But no matter how long the average commute time, the tune in time is much shorter.

But here’s the math that is relevant. The average P1 tunes in just 2 days per week. Repeat for emphasis: The average P1 (note average listener, not total cume, but P1) tunes in just 2 ays per week. The actual number is 2.3 days per week, but I promised to keep the math simple. Again, yes, that is P1’s. It’s not the total audience.

And that average P1 tunes in 3 times per morning.

So do the math.

2 days/week x 3 times per day = 6 quarter hours/week

That’s the credit a station currently get from P1 listeners.

The Power of +1

What if you could convince the existing audience to listen just one more time per day and one more day per week?

By getting one more tune in per day, and one more day per week, quarter-hours grow from 6 per week to 12.

3 days/week x 4 times per day = 12 quarter hours/week

You have just doubled your ratings from 6 to 12 quarter-hours. It seems like a magic trick, doesn’t it?

How to Double Your Ratings

Of course, something this simple isn’t necessarily easy. But think about the impact of just one more day per week, and one more quarter hour per day. It seems possible, right?

How does that change the way you approach your show tomorrow? Maybe you’ll spend a few more minutes preparing teases for upcoming features.

Does it make you more interested in promoting a new song? It doesn’t matter if they stay tuned to hear you or hear that song playing on your show. You still get ratings credit.

How about planning the show a few days ahead, so you can invite listeners to tune in the next day at the same time for a specific reason with a horizontal tease? Or promote something for tomorrow on Facebook and Twitter?

Will you re-think that morning show promo that runs all day instead of just slapping together another “if you missed this morning’s show, you missed this” promo.

And maybe you’ll invest a little more thought into every break, even those throw-aways early in the morning when “nobody is listening.”

Doesn’t that make you realize that every break is important? Every quarter-hour is precious. You don’t have the luxury to present anything less then “A” material.

Reality Check

Now let’s look at it a little deeper. Sorry, I know math sucks.

Consider how the audience is listening. You’re probably preparing way too much content.

If you’re on the air four hours per day, five days per week, and present four breaks per hour, you have 80 segments per week to fill.

5 days/week x 4 hours/day x 4 breaks/hour = 80

If the audience is tuning in only six quarter hours per week (see above), they are hearing only 7.5% on your show.

6/80=7.5%

They miss more than 90% of the content you works so hard on each day.

Are you sure you are talking about the most top of mind material frequently enough? Are you framing content and introducing topics clearly and concisely, every single time?

And perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to create less content, make it better and  repeat that great material. This increases the chances of listeners hearing the best the show has to offer.

Conclusion

Many times, broadcasters are depressed when they realize how little the audience is tuned in.

But I think they should be excited. Break it down, and it’s easy to see that the challenge of winning listeners isn’t that overwhelming, is it?

Just get one more quarter hour per day. One more tune in occasion.

And get one more tune in day per week.

That’s all there is to it.

Start now. Plan one thing in tomorrow’s show that has a legitimate chance to earn one extra tune in occasion. Promote it. Tease. it. Develop multiple angles or a compelling storyline to increase the chances of gaining an advantage.

One extra quarter-hour. One extra day per week. Double your ratings. That’s all it takes.

PLEASE JOIN ME FOR A SEMINAR ON HOW TO LITERALLY DOUBLE YOUR RATINGS. THIS FREE ONLINE WEBINAR IS TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18 AT 1PM EASTERN TIME. I’LL SHARE THE FULL DOUBLE YOUR RATINGS STRATEGY WITH SPECIFIC STEPS TO TAKE TO INCREASE THE CHANCES OF SUCCESS. IF YOU WANT TO WIN THE RATINGS GAME, YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE RATINGS GAME. I’LL SHOW YOU HOW IN THIS SEMINAR. TO JOIN, CLICK HERE.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0485

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0485.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Meredith Thomas, actress, A Christmas In Royal Fashion
  • Roy Samuelson, voice actor — descriptive narration
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

ABE HEFTER, UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD AND BURLI

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Burli has always had a very special place in its heart for journalism educators. We maintain very good relationships with journalism and technical colleges across North America, because we believe in helping grow the next generation of journalists.

Take, for instance, long time professional broadcaster, Burli user, and educator Abe Hefter, of the University of Hartford, Connecticut. His new role is to help young people learn to become passionate about providing the news in a radio
newsroom environment that allows them to do the job.

We sat down with Hefter and talked about his experience with Burli, and what he hopes to bring to the table for the next generation of newsrooms.

Broadcasting Across Canada

Abe Hefter is an Applied Assistant Professor with the School of Communications at the University of Hartford. He’s been aboard there since early 2017, following a 30 year career in news radio across Canada and a 15 year career in higher education.

Coming from Montreal, and working in Vancouver and many points in between, Hefter’s covered some ground. He’s served in some of the country’s biggest news rooms, including CKNW and NEWS 1130 in Vancouver, the Canadian Press in Toronto, and TSN 690 and CJAD in Montreal. He’s been a show host, anchor, reporter, and sportscaster, and has had a lot of fun doing it.

His prior teaching experience goes back to 2003 with Concordia University’s Continuing Education department. He joined Concordia’s Journalism department in 2013, and that prior experience helped him design the new course when he went to Hartford, one he simply calls “The Newsroom”.

The Newsroom

His goal is to provide an environment for the students to work as close to a real radio shift as possible. They rotate roles from day to day in a non-broadcasting setup, each acting as an editor, newscaster, sportscaster, entertainment reporter, business reporter, and general news reporter. He wants the students (as he puts it) to “come to work”. And his experience working with Burli, which he calls “the industry standard”, is now shared with his students.

“There’s no better feeling than to be able to share everything that I’m able to share as a result of what I’ve done for many years with the students at University of Hartford”, says Hefter. ”A big part of what I’ve done in radio broadcasting, including reporting back to CJAD Montreal from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, was done using Burli”.

He’s particularly happy with the changes that have come about to turn journalism away from the analog world and into the digital. In his sportscasting days, Hefter spent some time covering four different Olympic games, and he recalls with a laugh unscrewing the mouthpiece on the hotel phones to hook in his Sony tape deck using alligator clips and have his newsroom record his audio, right over the phone lines, from another country. But the switch to digital audio is just the beginning, he says.

Teaching the New Way

He draws upon his broadcasting days to teach the students at the University of Hartford how to build their newscast – working with the audio editor, creating new text to accompany the story, and pulling info from various wires. His appreciation for the current state of industry tools is evident.

“It’s seamless”, says Hefter of Burli Newsroom. “It provides me with everything I need… all the tools I need to get the job done, and all the tools my students need to get the job done”. And he is busily passing his skills to the next generation of radio news professionals, no matter which end of the industry they hope to work in.

“Leaving the class, when all is said and done, with a really good understanding of how a professional newsroom radio environment works… Burli is a part of that. Burli is a big part of that!”

We’d like to thank Abe Hefter and the University of Hartford for their time and participation in this story.

Air Personalities: Name Tag Yourself More Effectively!

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When at an event with strangers, it helps if everyone wears a name tag. Knowing a name brings strangers just a little closer together. It’s the first step to getting to know someone. The same thing happens in the relationship between radio personalities and listeners. That’s why name tagging is so important.

This seems like a minor thing, but it can be the difference between your listener feeling connected to a show and feeling distanced. From research, we know the biggest cause of tune out is listener confusion. And a major cause of confusion is when they “don’t know the people on the air.”

But it’s a really easy for personalities to overlook or forget the fact that listeners don’t know all of the personalities.

One of the problems is that there are even managers and PD’s who think air talent is so insignificant, they should not say their names.

They couldn’t be more wrong. However, there’s an art to doing it without sounding self-indulgent.

How to Name Tag on Multi-Personality Shows

Read more …

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0484

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0484.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0483

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0483.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0482

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0482.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Phil Keoghan, host, National Geographic’s Explorer
  • Andrew Fazekas, science writer — Oumuamua in space
  • Peter Franklin, The Gabby Cabby

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.