Three College Radio Conferences in One Month. First, IBS in NYC

March has been a wonderful month of travel for Backbone, especially in support of the IBS Student Radio Network.  We put a lot of miles on our airline and Amtrak cards, hopping from New England to New York, to Texas and back to NYC, talking to students and media advisers at the IBS National ConferenceSouth by Southwest (SxSW) and the College Media Association’s NYC12 conference. I don’t have room to cover them all in this post, so I’ll just try to run through them one at a time in separate entries.

IBS NYC 2012
IBS LogoThe Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s annual National Conference at New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania pulled in students and advisers from all over the country, the largest contingent being a dozen who flew in from Champs Charter High School in Los Angeles.  Champs’ AER station is currently the IBS-SRN’s most listened-to station, and with this kind of involvement, we can see why.  Plus, with so many compelling sessions running simultaneously, it takes a crew to cover them all adequately.

One thing we took away from this year’s conference is that we need another live broadcast position/station on our Radio Row, where students sign up for a 1-hour air shift on their own station or on the designated demo Internet radio station.  The signup sheet filled up in a very short period, and we want to accommodate all who are interested.

Because of the conference schedule, I didn’t personally get to see all of the live broadcasts, but the ones I did see were animated and great radio.  One of my favorites was the SUNY Fredonia onairFredonia group (pictured below) who jumped into the Backbone-driven Mac station for the first time and made it look like they were veterans of the system within a couple of minutes.  My other was the polished high school crew from Champs who interviewed Steely Dan’s guitarist Jon Herington and his band and persuaded them to do a live mini-concert for their AER audience.

We want to thank Cedric Watson and Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus (member station WLIU-BK) for hosting our annual pre-conference Network affiliates meeting. And thanks for giving all of the attendees a tour of your very cool facilities.  Of course, the meeting was followed by a tour of Brooklyn’s Junior’s Cheesecake across the street.

It was great to see representatives from so many of our stations’ schools, including Towson, CUNY Lehman, Baton Rouge’s Tara High School, College of the DesertSimmons College and so many more. Thanks to all who attended and participated, and we’ll see all of you at a regional IBS conference near you in the fall.

John Tesh and Connie Sellecca Donate to KCOD College Internet Radio

We’re proud to report that musician and radio personality John Tesh and his actress wife Connie Sellecca have generously donated broadcast hardware, Apple iMac computers and Backbone software & services to KCOD, the student-run radio station of The College of the Desert, in Palm Springs, CA.  The gift grew out of a panel discussion at the Dec. 3, 2011 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference in Los Angeles where Mr. Tesh was a panelist.

Tesh SelleccaWith this gift, KCOD, launched in the Spring of 2011, is the newest member station in the IBS Student Radio Network by Backbone (IBS-SRN).  The school notes that the station “has generated tremendous interest from students, broadcast professionals, potential sponsors, local politicians and the surrounding community.”  See more on the KCOD blog.
Listen to KCOD online.

From Wikipedia:
John Tesh is an American pianist and composer of pop music, as well as a radio host and television presenter. His 10-year-old ‘Intelligence for Your Life Radio Show‘ reaches 14.2 Million listeners/week, and is syndicated by Teshmedia on 400 stations in US, Canada, and the UK. Tesh has won six music Emmys, has four gold albums, two Grammy nominations, and an Associated Press award for investigative journalism. Tesh has sold over eight million records. His live concerts have raised more than $20 million for PBS. His NBC Basketball Theme has been hailed as one of the top three sports themes of all time. He is also known as the longtime co-host of the television program Entertainment Tonight. He has previously worked as a sportscaster for the Olympic Games, a news anchor and a reporter.

Never lose a listener

From time to time, we plan to invite notable industry experts to contribute to our blog about running your Internet radio station.  This is the first of those occasions, and we’re excited about it.

The primary thing that drives any radio station is content. That content drives listeners and builds your special community.  Today’s article is a conversation with Geller Media International President and author Valerie Geller.  Valerie was named 2011 recipient of the Conclave’s highest honor – the Rockwell Lifetime Achievement award for broadcasting.

Valerie GellerVALERIE GELLER Author – Beyond Powerful Radio- A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age for Broadcast, Podcast, Internet & Radio (Focal Press 2011)

Whether you podcast your show, are running an internet college station or “broadcasting” live over the airwaves, you already know – radio isn’t just “radio.” Audiences get their entertainment, music, news, and information – their “radio” on many platforms. There’s a lot of “noise” out there – competition for the time and attention of your listeners. That’s why it’s vital to insure that what comes out of the speaker (or mobile device) is relevant. They want relevant CONTENT. Audiences are fickle. According to PPM, we also have proof – they’ve generally got a SHORT attention span. Chances are, while they’re listening to your show, they’re also multi-tasking.

So what can you do to grow your audience and keep your listeners listening longer?

I coach talent all over the world and work one-on-one with air personalities – They all want to know “What’s the formula?”

The formula is simple: Listeners come when they are informed, entertained and engaged, they leave when they are bored. The success formula for growing radio audiences is based on deeply engaging your audience – by working with these three “Powerful Radio” principles:

1. Tell the truth
2. Make it matter
3. Never be boring.

HOW DO YOU “NEVER LOSE A LISTENER?

Beyond Powerful Radio coverThis KEY issue is a question I am asked, all over our planet. And the answers for keeping your audience, and getting them to listen longer, are pretty similar all everywhere on earth, whether I’m working with DJs, news reporters, talk hosts or producers in in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Europe and Africa. The answer is: NEVER BE BORING.

To Create Powerful Radio: Your content must be relevant. If your listener is not engaged, or bored, it’s the kiss of death, he or she either “zones out” or TUNES out. When that happens, your listeners either leave the station mentally, or tune out physically, their attention goes elsewhere. One clue is to try to avoid “manufactured topics for air…” Always ask yourself:
If you would not talk about this subject OFF air, WHY are you talking about this on your show?

WHY DO LISTENERS LEAVE? WHAT MAKES ‘EM GO?

Think about it. Have you ever sat in your car, stuck in traffic waiting for the traffic report to come on? You WORK IN RADIO. You KNOW when that report is coming, so you wait. Or maybe you’re waiting to hear a song title. You want to find out the CD or the artist, but somehow you zone out…the report came and went or the song title came and went, and YOU MISSED IT? WHY? Because the person on air did NOT make it matter.

A misconception: Pace and tempo do not equate ENERGY. “Energy” does not equate MAKING IT MATTER. Storytelling makes it matter. A storyteller who CARES about what he or she is presenting is what always works. This is NOT an acting job. If it means something to the person on air, it’ll matter more to the audience. Part of telling the truth is being authentic, and genuinely caring about what you are talking about on air. Always focus on WHAT IS IN THIS FOR THE LISTENER?

WHAT ARE LISTENERS NOT GETTING FROM YOU?

When a listener leaves either mentally or physically and actually switches off the station, here is what is NOT happening. That listener is NOT engaged. He or she is BORED. ZONED OUT. Looking for another station or immersed in his or her own thoughts.

Try the following Powerful Radio techniques to engage your audience:

1. USE THE WORD “YOU.”
If there was a magic word to guarantee you could get the attention of a listener would you use it? Of course. And there is such a word. Radio’s Magic Word is: “YOU.” Always talk to the individual. Of course, logically you know intellectually that when you are talking on the radio you are in reality, talking to more than one person, but on the radio, the magic, the connection, the power of radio, is based on the feeling of intimacy between the presenter on air and each individual person listening. It never works as well on radio to talk to all those “folks” or “People out there listening” or “all of you…”

2. USE YOU instead of “I.”
Whenever you can, always try to talk to one individual. If you use YOU instead of We-Me-I or Us, listeners feel the deeper, and true connection. Think of the difference, “I have tickets to give away” or “You can win tickets.”

And it’s not just radio. A few weeks ago, I went looking at houses with a friend who has just had twins and they need more space. The estate agent said: “Now, this would be your kitchen over here. The bedrooms are upstairs, the guest room is in the back. Here, you could knock out a wall and make this an open plan. Your garden would be here, in the back…” This REALLY REALLY works.

Replacing YOU for “We, Me. I and Us takes a little time but it is worth the effort, as long as you have patience, and understand that as human beings, it is hard to change old habits. Perhaps you are familiar with the work of Australian based brain researcher Dr. Evian Gordon? (www.brainresource.com) If so, you may already know that according to the research, it takes a 1000 times of repeated behavior before you rewire your brain to change a habit, so KEEP TRYING. I have a stack of bright yellow “post-it” notes. They are everywhere and have the word YOU on them. It helps.

What else makes a listener leave?

3. TOO MANY COMMERCIALS or TOO MANY BAD COMMERCIALS
If you have commercials in your show, ask: Are your commercials causing a listener to tune out because a break is too long, or is the spot simply bad – boring, noisy, off message, or a wrong format fit? The same goes for public radio “sponsorships.” Never be boring. Research shows that your listeners actually like commercials and find them USEFUL when targeted correctly – if you’re in the market for a smart phone and you hear an ad that they’re half price at a local electronics store – you’re happy. You’ve gotten real information about a product or service that you want, and you can save money. When you air these sponsorship messages, the content should be targeted correctly and relevant.

4. GETTING THE LISTENERS YOU HAVE, TO STAY
While, there’s been so much emphasis on developing and getting NEW listeners, don’t forget that we also need to pay attention to keeping the audience you’ve already got onboard. Again, with the amount of choices people have for their time and attention, listeners are easily distracted. So how do you get a listener to listen LONGER?

5. AVOID THE MANUFACTURED TOPIC
As mentioned above, this is important. Try to think about your listener before you put anything on air. Avoid “manufactured topics.” Listeners feel it when it sounds like: “And now here is another topic manufactured to fill a bit on radio!” When they hear that, listeners tend to tune out. Ask yourself: If you are not talking about this OFF air, why is it on the air?

6. WIFM?
Always ask: What is in this for the listener? What’s in it for ME if I give you my time? A quick checklist: Is it interesting? Are they talking to me? Describing things visually? Is there humor? New Information? Talkable topics? Would you talk about this OFF air in normal conversation, if you did not have a radio show?

Some DJs or talk hosts get confused and think Personality means it’s all about YOU. But audiences care about THEMSELVES, not necessarily YOU. In personality radio, many personalities get confused and think if they talk about themselves it will be interesting. But powerful radio is not about YOU, it’s about the listener. The personal is universal, but the private tends to be boring.

7. WHAT DO LISTENERS WANT?
Your listeners want to be informed and entertained and have fun. They want new knowledge. If they are alone in room or alone in a car maybe they just do not want to feel alone. Listeners are hungry to feel connected in a somewhat isolated world that they find themselves in.
A listener wants to a connection to or “feel at home” with or comfortable with the person on air. They like to feel they “know” the person on air. Sometimes listeners like a little help in making up their minds, say, they are not completely certain of what they may think about a subject or topic, here they can get enough information or opinion or viewpoints to make up their minds. And in commercial radio, when the spots are effective, listeners say they like to learn about bargains, new products or services. And if a listener is having a down or despairing black moment, he or she wants to be lifted out of that mood.

8. GIVE THEM ‘TALKABLE’ TOPICS
We are lucky. Most people out there listening do not have exciting lives or careers. Because of this, listeners also desire “talkable topics.” They want to be able to turn the radio off and have ideas and interesting new things to say to people.

9. MAKE THEM LAUGH
Listeners also want vicarious experiences. They like to be taken on journeys they cannot get to on their own. And everybody loves to laugh. If you can make a listener laugh, it’s like handing them a solid chunk of gold.

10. TELL THEM SOMETHING NEW
Listeners to your station like to be in the know, they like learning new things. (They also appreciate help with their “show prep” for dinner, just in case they don’t have anything interesting to say to the people in their lives.) It works if you can give them material THEY can talk about. Listeners also want you to get ahead and lead them and give them ideas, things to think about.

11. SPEAK VISUALLY
Radio is an imagination medium. Even with photos and video on the internet, the spoken word can create powerful word pictures. Use these “colors” in your paint box to engage listeners. Remember to use details to speak visually and to paint word pictures. Imagine you are talking to one person, and person is a blind man or woman! How would you describe what you are talking about so the listener can “see it?”

12. Topic selection: HEALTH, HEART POCKETBOOK
What are audiences interested in? For years, the Frank Magid study of “health, heart, pocketbook” rules of topic selection applied. Today there is a new one. In addition to health, (personal safety) heart (touching emotion of any kind) and money stories, the newest category is Transformation. How YOUR life as a listener can be better tomorrow than it was or is today because of what you’ve heard on air. Radio stories and topics showing a listener what is possible. You don’t have to settle for the life you have. It can get better. This RIVETS audiences. (Think Oprah, think Extreme Makeover, DIY fixit shows, etc)

13. INSPIRE
Finally, listeners ALL want to feel good. If you can do that, you have that audience completely with you. And if you don’t care, they don’t care. Make it matter!

Valerie Geller’s POWERFUL COMMUNICATOR PRINCIPLES:

  1. Speak visually, in terms your listener can “picture.”
  2. Find, and start with, your best material.
  3. Tell the truth.
  4. Never be boring.
  5. Listen.
  6. Make it matter.
  7. Always address the individual, use “you.” Talk to ONE listener at a time.
  8. Do smooth and engaging transitions & handoffs.
  9. Promote, brag about your stuff.
  10. Brag about other people’s stuff.
  11. Be who you are.
  12. Take risks.  Dare to be great.

All rights reserved. Reprint with permission – Copyright Valerie Geller 2011 – excerpted from “Beyond Powerful Radio. Valerie Geller, president of Geller Media International is a broadcast consultant, trainer, seminar/workshop leader, keynote speaker and talent coach working with radio and TV programmers, managers, on air personalities and broadcast journalists throughout the world, to help grow audiences through creating powerful radio. “Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age” is Geller’s fourth book. For more, visit beyondpowerfulradio.com or gellermedia.com. Phone 212 580-3385, email valerie@gellermedia.com, Follow her on twitter: twitter.com/vgeller

IBS Student Radio Network covers the NH Primary recap

Tuesday was the first in the nation primary held in New Hampshire.  It was a great day as Emma Bisogno from Simmons College Radio, Joseph Jack Horgan from Emmanuel College Radio and Leona Smith from Zumix Radio covered the event.  Elena Botkin-Levey, director of Zumix Radio was there to help everything run smoothly.  This is the first time the IBS Backbone Student Radio Network has covered a Presidential primary election.”  We’d like to thank Talkers Magazine for sponsoring radio row and for making it a great day.

Sununu with IBS-SRNHere is a summary video put together by Talkers Magazine on the event.  Many of the talkers would like us to look beyond entertainment and become engaged in the political process.  An interesting thing to note is how these talkers view their audience as a community.  The difference between twenty years ago and today is the number of tools that they can bring to bear to grow their community, network and footprint.  Twitter and Facebook are used in real time for audience feedback, questions, topics and even news items.

We have lots of pictures of the student radio network stations broadcasting from the event. There is also more on the topic as the lead article in today’s Talker’s magazine summary.

While there we caught up with Oliver Janney, the faculty advisor for Goucher College radio, while he was working the primary for CNN in Manchester.  Great job covering the primary!

What an outstanding on-the-job learning experience this proved to be! We’re proud that our member stations have such a ready reserve of talent to cover world class events like this.  We hope this is just the beginning for our stations and their unique network.

Liz Claiborne Talkers Magazine Talk Radio Event

Talkers magazineBackbone and IBS-SRN member station hosts Nicole Murphy from WLIU-BK Brooklyn and Alyssa DiNubila from WNEK Spingfield, MA were part of TALKERS magazine “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row raising awareness about Domestic Violence, produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.

Held last week (12/8/11) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcasted their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast.

Alyssa NicoleAlyssa and Nicole had the opportunity to interview Wanda Lucibello, Faranaz Rodriguez , Napur Argarwal, among others, during the two hour event and rebroadcast on their home stations and made available to all the stations on the Student Radio Network.  It is also content that can be replayed later on any of the stations on the network.

The event generates some press in Talkers Magazine.  For some additional photos of the event check out Matthew Harrison’s photo account of the event along with my own Flickr album of the event.

This was a great event for Backbone and members of the Student Radio Network because it emphasized the benefits of being part of our network and how easy it is to set up and run a live remote.  We anticipate doing a number of these in the future starting with a live remote from the NH primary early next month.  Watch for more on that in the near future.

CMJ Events, Broadcasting from Fontana’s and Radio Panel

Pirate Promotions LogoIf you are attending CMJ then stop by and visit Backbone Networks.  Today we will be broadcasting live at from Fontana’s with Pirate! from Noon to 6:00PM at the Pirate! Party Extravaganza.  Of course you are invited. Just RSVP on the facebook event page.  Come on by and learn about running a live remote in the Internet age.  While you are at it talk to George about the things we have been working on in the last year with our partners.

The schedule for today is:

12:00 – Doors Open
12:30 – The One & Nines
1:20 – The Great Book Of John
2:10 – Army Navy
3:00 – Fairmont
3:50 – Nick Diamonds (of Islands)
4:40 – Hollerado
5:30 – Curfew

Stations Broadcasting live include:

Long Island University (WLIU), Brooklyn, NY

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ

Emmanuel College, Boston, MA

Manhattan Marymount College, New York NY

CJLO, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Breakthrough Radio, New York, NY

You can listen in live on TuneIn Radio.

Tomorrow Backbone’s George Capalbo will be on the Digital Music Servicing, Radio Revamp panel at CMJ.  The session is at 2:00PM and will cover content distribution and broadcasting in the Internet age.  Hope to see you there!

Radio panel at the 2011 Boston Area Definitive Audio Student Summit

BADASS2011-NoidsFLYERI participated in an interesting panel at the Boston Area Definitive Audio Student Summit (BADASS) summit last weekend at the New England Institute of Art (one of our IBS-SRN member stations).

The subject of the panel was “Radio Promotion”. Participants included Tai Irwin from the New England Institute of ArtSteve Theo from Pirate! Promotion, a professor in the Entertainment Management program at Bay State College and myself.  We provided a brief history of the radio industry and music promotion and then launched into a discussion about the future.  Though somewhat tainted by the past we came away with some hope for what lies ahead.

The record and radio businesses have changed quite dramatically over the last 15 to 20 years.  Radio is fighting more and more for the attention of a new audience and the record business is working to transition from selling physical objects and adapt to the new digital world.

Badass-panelWhile many believe that the music industry is down that is not actually the case.  It is the traditional record industry that is down, the broader music industry is doing quite well, even in this down economy.  On the radio side that is true too, the old way of broadcasting a local signal terrestrially is changing due to the internet.  A station’s ability to aggregate a like minded audience outside of its terrestrial footprint is much easier with the internet.

There are still challenges for the industry though. On the radio side it is the change in their business model for digital broadcast.  When broadcasting terrestrially there were no payments for performance royalties because they were viewed as promotional.  Your business wants to reach as large an audience as it can.  When broadcasting digitally you need to report each “play” to Sound Exchange and pay a royalty for that particular play.  Under this model your expenses grow dramatically as you grow your audience.  Further as per stream royalty rates continue to escalate so will a station’s future expenses.

Even with these challenges there is a dramatic shift to digital distribution and the Internet. Creative promotors and broadcasters are finding a way to work together to help their constituents grow.  Overall the future is quite bright.  We just need to find a way to get there together.

PS I’d like to thank the organizer of BADASS, John Krivit at AES for hosting the event and Julie Viscardi-Smalley at Bay State College for inviting me to the panel in our special “industry room”.  It was great fun seeing the interest radio and music still generate!

Rock Shop Boston – College Radio Event

I attended the Rock Shop Boston 12 event on college radio the other night.  It was quite well attended with lots of local colleges and universities in attendance.  Thanks to Steve Theo from Pirate! Promotion for putting it on . . . and thanks for the spread of food.

Rock Shop Boston logoThe Rock Shop panel discussed the college radio and music in depth with panelists Phil Flemming of 91.5 WMFO, Ali Donohue of 89.3 WTBU, Liz Pelly of 90.3 WZBC, Eric Roberts of 91.7 WMWM, and Rob Duguay of 990 WBOB.com.  The main focus of the discussion focused on the ins and out of getting new music submitted to their stations and what it takes to get on the air.

The interesting thing is that every station was different in their own way and view their main goal is to get air play for the music they find interesting and important.  I won’t go into detail here because Indie Ambassador has done an excellent job summarizing the event in their blog.

Looking forward to the October event!  Also a shout out to Charles McEnerney from Well Rounded Radio, thanks for the discussion about local radio, hoping to see the growth of the Jamaica Plains Music event in the future.  It would be great to get the bands some exposure on the air.

WLIU Broadcasts Live from CMJ 2009

Thanks to the IBS-SRN members at WLIU-BK, Long Island University, Brooklyn, for their dynamic demonstration of Internet radio broadcasting at the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival in New York City, October 20-24th. This was the first time our network came to exhibit at CMJ, and we’ll be back for many more of these great events.

CMJ-show

IBS Student Radio Network welcomes Hesser College, Manchester New Hampshire

The IBS Student Radio Network is proud to welcome its newest member, Hesser College Radio. based in Manchester New Hampshire.

Hesser College provides a high-quality, student-oriented, career-focused, affordable learning experience and places high value on hands-on, employment-related skill building. Founded as Hesser Business College in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1900, Hesser College continues to follow the principle of providing individual encouragement and assistance to all students instilled by its founder, Joel H. Hesser.

Find out more about Hesser College at: http://www.hesser.edu