Category: Advice

Social Media: Like Your Friends

| October 11, 2016

By Holland Cooke
Media Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND — Social media tools can be extremely valuable to broadcasters who don’t just use them to…broadcast.  At the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, Cumulus/Westwood One VP/social Lori Lewis crystallized the opportunity: “The essence of social media is reminding people that they matter.”

For Gordon Deal, host of the nationally-syndicated “This Morning – America’s First News,” it’s a useful feedback loop: “I’m not above getting an occasional kick in the pants from a listener if he or she feels a story sounded too biased.”  And he is as flattered that someone would take the time to speak up as they seem to be when he acknowledges them: “Even the angriest and most biased of listeners sometimes just want to be heard.  99% of the time, a polite Tweet back that acknowledges their feelings is all they’re looking for.”

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Your Radio Station Is in Danger
of Being Hacked

| May 6, 2016

By Steven J.J. Weisman
RadioInfo
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON — Radio and television stations are prime targets for hackers with a myriad of different motivations.  Some hackers may simply be looking to hack your station’s websites and computers to temporarily take control of these media to embarrass the station or make a political statement.  Other more profitably inclined criminals are hacking into your computers to trick station employees into downloading ransomware, threatening to destroy your data if you do not pay a ransom.  Still others, motivated by identity theft, are seeking to steal information including W-2s and other personal information for purposes of identity theft, including income tax identity theft.  Finally, some radio and television stations will be targeted by hackers seeking to gain access to your station’s bank accounts or to lure the stations into paying phony invoices.

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When Your Station IS the News

| May 2, 2016

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — It’s been an interesting couple of years for TV stations in Baltimore – to say the least.

About two years ago, a deranged man hijacked a landscaping truck and drove it through the front lobby of WMAR-TV, disrupting station operations for hours before being apprehended by authorities.

And Thursday, an emotionally disturbed man in an animal costume, and claiming to have a bomb, set fire to his car and forced the evacuation of WBFF-TV and WNUV-TV.  The intruder, who later walked out of the building shadowed by SWAT officers, was shot three times after refusing their repeated orders to take his hands out of his pockets and lay down on the ground.  He is expected to survive following treatment at a local hospital, and will face arson, reckless endangerment and other charges.

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Where’s the Line Between Giving Threatmongers What They Want…And Citizens What They Need?

| December 16, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — The nation’s second largest school district was shut down Tuesday by a terroristic threat.  Several other school districts, most notably New York City’s (the largest in the country) also received similar threats – but did not close schools, take buses off the road, or tell staff and students to stay home.

Why the different responses? Simply put, specificity and credibility as judged by local law enforcement and other officials.  The proverbial “abundance of caution.”  Important because all of these concepts also guide broadcasters as to how, when – or even IF – threats should be reported.

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It’s Not IF Anymore…But WHEN

| December 4, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — At the height of Wednesday’s horrific mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calilfornia, I went online to sample the local coverage from a couple of that city’s self-proclaimed “news/talk” radio stations.

One stayed with syndicated talk programming with a well-known national host.  Sure, he was talking about what was going on in San Bernardino…but he wasn’t IN San Bernardino.  Wasn’t at the scene.  Wasn’t capturing all the chaos, the raw emotion, the nuance of a big story evolving by the nanosecond in a community that could’ve been Anytown, USA.  He wasn’t talking to eyewitnesses, local officials – relaying minute-to-minute updates, keeping San Bernardino listeners specifically informed on local impacts of this story.

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How Did Your Station Respond to France’s 9/11?

| November 16, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — So what was on YOUR station’s air when news broke of the horrific, coordinated attacks on six Paris locations, where large crowds had gathered – for dinner, for soccer, for a rock concert?  When news broke that at least 120 innocent people had been cut down by terrorism, with perhaps hundreds more injured?

“Well, France is a long way from (name of your town),” you might say. “And TV was all over it….” And of course, there’s the web, and maybe your market or an adjacent market has an all-news or news/talk station that was on top of the story.  So maybe you saw no role for your station, especially if it’s not in the news or news/talk format.

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Where Will You Be When the Lights Go Out?

| November 10, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — As I write this, the New York sun will give way to dusk – and at 5:27 pm ET, New York will mark exactly 50 years since the Great Blackout of 1965.

As The New York Times reported, the outage – triggered by the failure of a relay at a Canadian power station – was the result of a cascading failure across the northeast power grid. Systems were overloaded – and in some cases, automatically shut down – plunging New Jersey, New York and New England into darkness for as long as 13 hours. Some 30 million people across 80,000 square miles were impacted.

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“Typical” Is Your Enemy

| October 12, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — In 1976 or 1986 or 1996, he would’ve cranked it up.  Here in the future, “Hotel California” comes on and the listener might hit scan.  Or, increasingly, skip.

Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away.  Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots.  Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?

Yes, you’re really hearing this from a consultant.  I do install success templates.  In the 21 years since I last had an employer, I’ve paid my mortgage by assuring clients that “nothing I recommend is an experiment.”  And the logic of if-it-works-do-it/if-it-doesn’t-don’t becomes even more obvious as radio has overdone what works until it doesn’t; and has cost-cut until innovation becomes cost-prohibitive.

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Price: Now, It’s Personal

| August 27, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — The assassination – yes, it was an assassination — of WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Virginia reporter Alison Parker and her videographer, Adam Ward, on live morning television, should be a wake-up call, not only for the media business, but also for every business.

The shootings themselves were horrific enough. That they took place on live television – on a program being line-produced by the fiancée of one of the victims – compounded the tragedy.  That it was also captured and posted online by the gunman himself is simply unspeakable.

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Turn Digital Disappointment into Direct Success

| July 6, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — This past month, I presented at two state broadcasters’ association conventions: Illinois and Iowa.  My topics: “The Six Most-Dreaded Words in Sales: ‘Radio Doesn’t Work,’” specific techniques for creating commercial copy that produces better results; “How Millennials Use Media”; and “Quick, Actionable Sales Ideas to Make Money Selling Digital.”

Here are the common threads from all three sessions…

Recent years’ radio revenue data has many shrugging that “flat is the new up.”  Less so in small and medium markets, where local direct retail comprises more of radio’s income than in big markets where transactional business is the ball game.  And in every market, digital is the shiny object sucking dollars away from legacy media.  Especially ours.  Ask car stores: Detroit is telling them to move radio money online.

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