Seizing Radio Programming Opportunities
Whether you operate an internet radio or terrestrial station, open any radio industry trade and chances are the one item you'll notice lacking is mention of help to improve programming. Dozens of stories feature names of people in radio - a staple because radio people like to read about themselves.
We also have the standard articles on selling (or the lack thereof), blaming a poor economy, new media competition, media buyers who don't understand radio, and - of course - that the public somehow doesn't hear the "compelling" programming being produced. It's this last point we'll spend time on today, because there's a recent development which shows how the radio industry misses opportunity to produce compelling programming.
"Two women named Amanda, held captive for 10 years, and both gaining exposure on the same evening seems to be the height of coincidence which would make for a very compelling storyline on a radio program somewhere in America."
You could have been in Lansing Michigan, Lanikai Hawaii, or Lentvaris, Lithuania this past week but my guess is that you heard the riveting story about three Cleveland Ohio women being released from captivity. We'll not get into the details. You can pick them up from nearly every media. Suffice it to say they were held for 10 years, chained in the basement of a home.
What we will dive into is an ironic circumstance which was not reported by any radio industry trade, or that I'm aware of, by any radio station, program, or talent. This is a salient point that differentiates "compelling" from ordinary, and it starts with a story known by literally everyone, everywhere - the Cleveland kidnapping of three women.
As the story broke late Monday afternoon (5/6/2013), it was followed by a remarkable thing that same evening. CBS aired an episode of "Hawaii Five-O" which carried the following plot: Girl is kidnapped and held for 10 years. But, that's not the topper of this story. In both the Cleveland and Hawaii Five-O stories, the girl's name was Amanda and each was shackled.
Hawaii Five-O was reported to have had 8 million viewers for this May 6
episode. What I'm finding hard to believe is that there was no one in the radio industry - on the programming or talent level - who was in that audience, and who would not make an immediate connection to a news story emblazoned across every media outlet in the world.
Two women named Amanda, held captive for 10 years, and both gaining exposure on the same evening seems to be the height of coincidence which would make for a very compelling storyline on a radio program somewhere in America.
You want to concentrate on the who, what and where of the Cleveland abduction? Go ahead. You're competing with thousands of other media outlets, and it's unlikely you'll be able to add anything that hasn't been talked about already.
But, if you're looking to bring a twist of irony to a unique storyline, that's known by nearly every person who sat in front of a television last Monday evening, bring the fact that Hawaii Five-O had a similar plot - featuring a women of the same name, who was also held captive for an unbelievable decade!
Add to this that the "Hawaii Five-O" episode was in the can, airing by chance on this same evening, and you have the making of a program that's not only unique in the radio industry but any media you choose to name.
One does not stumble across "compelling programming." You make it happen by seizing opportunity. I mentioned this irony to my wife on Tuesday. On Wednesday the New York Daily News did an article
about it. But, the radio industry? It missed a chance to draw attention to a coincidence that comes about only once in a decade, literally.
We're all happy for the kidnap victims' release, that goes without saying.
Going without anything being said in radio: We had this ironic confluence of reality and television programming wrapped within stories so closely resembling each other it forced a double take.
Here was a chance for the radio industry to make a radio-only experience, and nobody caught the irony. Not even those who would most likely see both stories - radio employees in Hawaii.
Note: The exception to the above is radio's biggest embarrassment taking to the airwaves with an inept attempt at connecting these two stories to, of all things, President Obama. Will someone in authority within radio please shackle this idiot's mouth?
While the broadcast side of radio has a near lockout on indie artists, introducing music is open wide to internet stations.
We listen for songs that evoke emotion; fast, slow, female, male, group, it doesn't matter. When an artist has the power to please, they should be given a chance to be heard.
Give The Rusty T Band - "Tic Toc" a listen
Add it to your playlist, free!
Such is the new world of music distribution.
The radio industry had its shot. It's time internet radio programmers take a chance and reach into a huge pile of talent. It is there that new hit songs will increasingly be found.