Foresight of targeted content

Bill Rasmussen is a revolutionary broadcaster.  You may not know the man, but you know his work.  Bill is credited as the co-founder of ESPN — along with being it’s first president and CEO.  But it wasn’t always a giant network.  Today it’s the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” but at one point it was just a dream.

Bill worked in radio in the 60s and later for a hockey club as their communications director into the 70s.  Much like our radio colleagues, his time was limited and in ’78 was let go by the club.  At that point Bill was under pressure to provide for his family.  Out of necessity he took a risk that no one tried before and created something that no one thought would succeed — a round the clock cable sports network.

What did Bill do 30 years ago that we can learn from today?  He found something people were passionate about, he found where the audience was and he gave it to them.  Today the same concept — if conscience about it or not — is used over and over for bloggers and podcasters… and really anyone that wants to create compelling content and make sure it hits the right audience.

Today a lot of broadcasters have blogs and post audio and video to the web.  Some are more successful than others.  But what you also see is many athletes using the same channels and mediums to reach the same audience you’re trying to reach.  And like us, some are better than others.

I asked Bill about the impact ESPN has had on athletes when it comes to social mediums:

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Think about what Bill did with ESPN and ask yourself — are you using your social media effectively, are you trying to reach the right audience, what does the audience expect out of you, what is the audience looking for… and what are you doing to give it to them?  If you have answers to those questions, you’ll find it much easier to focus what you’re doing on-line.

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What’s the impact of the 18-to-49-year-olds when it comes to this years election?  It’s a lot.  So what impact do they have when it comes to your station, your website… or even your brand?

The Washington Journal looked at how this demographic will impact the upcoming presidential election with special guest Paul Conway.  It’s not foreign to think that the “Millennial” generation will be a hugely targeted group in 2012.  But I was surprised to find out this group is being targeted on an emotional and micro-relationship level.  Sounds a lot like how we try to reach our listeners, doesn’t it?  So by creating special campaigns directed to this one group of people, politicians use the opportunity in mediums like Facebook and Twitter to craft their message.

For the sake of defining this group, the Millennial Generation includes anyone born in the “late ’70s or early 1980s to the early 2000s”, which would equal out to someone who is currently in the age neighborhood of 12 to 32.  Now lets look at how many people in this demo use social media:

Facebook:  32% users are between 0 and 34
Twitter: 41% of users are between 0 and 34

But what do these people want?  It’s results.  In this interview with Paul I caught a few things:

ONE:  His group has made an impact, and they find this demo wants RESULTS more than anything else in the election:
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How do you get results?  Well created grass root efforts work with this demographic:
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  To reach the demo, surround yourself with people who are — because they understand it:
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So examine what you’re doing to reach this group of people.  If you’re a news/talk station, this generation is getting their news from networks like Facebook — and you should be supplying it to them locally.  I think more than ever talk stations need to take advantage of this year as their cornerstone to creating a monster social brand.  Get it while the gettin’ is good my friends.

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Radio responds to the Aurora Colorado tragedy

It was late Thursday night.  Most radio news rooms across the nation were empty… well lets be honest they’ve been empty since sundown.  Little did broadcasters know one of the biggest stories were about to hit.

Just before 12:30A MT, shooter James Holmes bought a ticket and mentally prepared his attack on the innocent movie theater.  By 12:39AM MT, 911 was receiving calls and police were immediately on the scene.

Just a quick time out — imagine if police were staffed like most radio stations where you’re located.  Imagine if they got to the scene when the morning team shows up — and they blamed a bad economy for their response rate.  They wouldn’t be able to get away with that… I’m just saying, so why do we?  In retrospect the police acted top notch and handled the situation perfectly.  They should all be very proud for how fast and swift they handled this dangerous person.

Time in.  Most radio personalities were shocked to find a breaking story developing from the overnight.  Usually when you’re getting your first cup of coffee the only news is what happened during the ball game the night before.

It was 5:30AM EST when I got to my studio after reading about this story at my desk, coverage from CNN, Fox News and other major networks were on the scene and trying their best to cover this breaking news with limited resources.  They all said the same thing over and over — a young white male broke it, he was in custody and they were looking for another shooter.  But that was it.  The news sources were getting their information first hand from people evacuated from the theater.

News Radio 850 KOABy about 7AM EST (5AM MT) I was tired of hearing the same coverage repeated from CNN.  I decided to air check local radio stations internet streams in the Denver market and found out quickly there is still hope left for local news on radio.  Not only where they breaking the story as it happened, they were the first to report and had much more details on what was going on than the major news networks.  This is a good listen:

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Download the audio here

I think these stations in Denver stepped up BIG.  Their coverage was amazing and need to be recognized as a national leader for what they did — even though some are bigger than others they all had contributed in their own way.  Compared to the national coverage I think radio knocked it out of the park here.


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Building an empire

It’s not easy building an empire.  Many networks have tried and failed.  So what chance does an individual broadcaster have?  It seems slim.  But now is the absolute best time to start your own network and build your own brand.

Some broadcasters I admire greatly for finding success from internet distributions.  Just the previous blog post praised Adam Carolla for turning his radio show into the most listened to podcast in the world.  But someone who took it to the next level is Glenn Beck.  Now only is he doing extended hours of content for his radio show but he’s also launched his own television network the point where he has more subscribers than CNN has viewers (pretty amazing stat in itself since subscriptions are roughly $10 a month).  I’m going to assume that counts the free ‘trial’ subscriptions in any given week, but still that’s very impressive.

There’s a new podcast that I’ve been listening to — The White House Brief with Paul Westcott.  It’s not a bad short form podcast.  He’s got the elements that make a good radio host.  And from his interview with Glenn Beck it sounds like we share the same admiration to what he’s built.  I don’t think you can underestimate the financial power that the likes of Glenn has though.  If he didn’t have millions in the bank already it would be impossible for any bank to write a loan to a private broadcaster to do something similar.  But to think… how many great personalities are too afraid or lazy to do anything outside of their regular on-air duties?  With free resources like YouTube and Facebook and minimal costs to run your own website and blog, why aren’t more broadcaster fleeting to the Glenn Beck model on a small level?

As far as I can figure it’s because there’s no successful business model to show the financial benefits.  To me — that’s why NOW is the best time to build your own brand.  We know the route can lead to great success if the financial benefits are there or not in the beginning.  There’s not much to lose right now.

Paul talked to Glenn about the idea of building an empire on his podcast 6-27-12.  Take a listen:

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Now that’s the way you do it folks.  Star to plant the seeds and see where it grows.  I truly believe if you believe in yourself and work enough on yourself that your work will built into something great.

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Making a TV show

If you ever had an idea for a movie or TV show, this segment will shatter your dreams.  Podcast extraordinaire Adam Carolla talked about the process he went through to make an animated show around his character Mr. Burchum — a high school shop teacher that finds it depressing the old ways are lost in this generation.  It’s about the things that made his generation great, but the art of just about everything has been lost with the latest crop of kids going through the school system.

This is an edited portion of his podcast from June 25th, 2012.  It runs about 7 minutes and is a good listen:

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By the way, you got to admire what Adam is doing.  His podcast reaches more people than any other.  In November of 2011 it was said they had more than 70 million downloads in the past year alone.  With his book out and more national appearances and Celebrity Apprentice, he’ll shatter those numbers in 2012.  If you want to read more about what made him a success, Entrepreneur website had a great interview you can find here.

More broadcasters need to be doing what Adam is doing.  I admire anyone who is able to successfully find a way to financially self-sustain their social and web efforts as an entirely new broadcast entity.  There’s only a few that are doing it now and Adam is at the top of the audio oriented list.  I wonder if he’ll expand to more video.

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Another mention

Thanks to the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show in Grand Rapids for thinking of me here.

Yeah they were making fun… but it’s the good kind of fun.  If you’re keeping track at home, that makes 2 mentions of me on a nationally syndicated show in less than a month.

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What… what?

I think we can all agree that using the term “monkey” in reference to our President isn’t a good idea.  Or at least I thought everyone knew that.  Cue one talk show host that is too cool for social rules.

I checked out KFNX’s website and I can’t find her name on the program line-up.  But thanks to Mediaite you can listen to her comments that got to be hard to defend at this point:

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I don’t think she meant for it to be racist, but she just used horrible digression.  If you’re that guest I bet you pulled that phone off your ear and looked at it in disbelief of what she just said.  Perhaps the guest gave a look like Mike Myers did with Kayne West made the comments about George W. Bush.

Why is disrespect to the office a common trend this month?  Just last week a reporter for from the Daily Caller ‘heckled’ the President during a speech — and I don’t buy his claim he thought it was time for questions.  A lot of people are sticking up for the reporter, but I can’t find any way to stand behind his method of disruption.  You wouldn’t for a moment let a Occupy protest take over a Romney speech.

Regardless of the message of the reporter or how valid his points were, it’s totally wiped out by the lack of respect for the post of Presidency.  By the way, there’s just a few similar moments that come to mind:


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Thanks Dee

I got a mention on Dee Snider’s national radio show the House of Hair a few weeks back.  Take a listen:

Dee… you ROCK!  Thanks buddy!

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She better not win an ESPY

I may be the only person in the world that thinks there’s noting inspirational about this story:

The whole point of athletics is to compete against your opponent.  If they offered an award for being kind and nice — then the girl on the right deserves it.  BUT this was the a competition at the state level where they were competing for a state title.  What you’re viewing at this exact point is the meet stopped being a sport and became recreational running.   If they wanted to do a Saturday jog then there’s a platform for that outside of high school sports. But this is an organized OHSAA sanctioned event. You have to compete for your own team and not theirs!

What’s the point in even competing if you’re going to stop mid-run to make sure your opponent is doing the best they can?  And what would the harm be in finishing the last 20 meters and going back for her?

Take hockey for example.  If the game was still going on, what would you think of a goalie that left the net open so a retiring center could have one last final goal?  And as kind as your heart may be in this situation, it’s not about helping out a fellow person. You’re in an arena of competition, you can’t throw the match because you think it’s the right thing to do.

I feel everyone is on crazy pills.  Let’s look at some scenarios.  Would you be upset if that girl would have got 1st place because of this?  Would you be upset if the girl who fell set a school record? By contrast are all the other girls compete jerks for not stopping?

Just to make sure my comments are backed up, I took some time to look up the rules. The OHSAA says, “The 2012 NFHS Track and Field Rules shall apply in all cases” so I looked up the NFHS rules and it says in Rule 4, section 6, article 7 “It is an unfair act when a competitor receives any assistance from any other person.” It gives specific examples in sub-articles and I’ll just post the ones that apply:

a. Interference with another competitor
c. Competitors joining or grasping hands with each other during a race

PENALTY: (Arts. 6, 7) Disqualification from the event.

So now does the act of kindness trump the rules? And does sportsmanship include allowing someone to cheat? That’s not in the true spirit of the sport which I’ll still defend

Let’s be real here.  Separate what happened here from the sport and I’ll be able to sleep better at night, and maybe the world will be able to move on.  But please, ESPN if you’re reading this… don’t give this girl an ESPY.

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I support the breed

Here’s a video I made in support of House Bill 14 in the state of Ohio:

UPDATE:  House Bill 14 PASSED — but still enforced on a local level.

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