Friday At The Worldwide Radio Summit 2019: Radio Rally Point, Voice Talent, Awards, Music


Friday Sessions

FRIDAY is the final day of the WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT at THE CASTAWAY in BURBANK, CA, with the agenda including talk about radio’s strengths, social media, voiceover and production, and video, a chat with TOM POLEMAN, and the bestowing of awards.

Rallying Radio To Sell Its Strengths

Sessions opened with DMR INTERACTIVE Pres./COO ANDREW CURRAN offering a live version of ALL ACCESS’ “RADIO RALLY POINT” in a presentation highlighting the continued strength of AM/FM radio.  CURRAN offered an overview of statistics showing radio’s power, including its perennial lead among all media in reach (NIELSEN’s current figures indicating 92% of Persons 18+, 91% among those 18-34) and how radio use increases with age and employment (according to a DELOITTE study, listening reaching 71% of working Americans and 61% of those not working; listening is also greater with more education and more income).  

CURRAN also rounded up quotes from radio industry figures touting the medium’s effectiveness, its need to sell itself as a viable and successful business, its community service, and more, with the admonition that “the best advocate for our industry is you!” and the conclusion “the radio glass isn’t half-empty or half-full — it’s overflowing.”

Turning Fans Into Superfans

Fan strategies for radio were examined in a panel moderated by FUTURI MEDIA’s SCOTT LINDY, who pointed to the need to convert fans to “superfan” advocates.  BEASLEY Classic Rock WCSX/DETROIT PD J.T. TARRANTS, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORP. Alternative TRIPLE J/AUSTRALIA Content Dir. OLLIE WARDS, BBC Top 40 RADIO 1 Content Producer JACKSON DAVIES, CUMULUS Rock KLOS/LOS ANGELES PD and corporate Rock Format Captain KEITH CUNNNGHAM, and RTÉ Top 40 RTÉ 2FM/IRELAND PD ALAN SWAN related stories about relating to fans and responding to listener comments and complaints and changing cultural mores.  Among the advice: CUNNINGHAM advocated taking risks and allowing listeners to have “a seat that the table” and feel like they have a voice, DAVIES advised to treat each media platform as a separate entity with different content needs, and SWAN touted the value of observing the public in daily life.

The Championship Belt Goes To…

SOUTHERN CROSS AUSTEREO Rock TRIPLE M NETWORK Head of Production BRENDAN “BT” TACEY won BENZTOWN’s annual IRON IMAGER award this year, defeating last year’s IRON IMAGER, GLOBAL RADIO Top 40 95.8 CAPITAL FM/LONDON Assistant Audio Producer SAM WICKENS, in the competition, which this year required the contestants to assemble various pieces of BENZTOWN BRANDING sound into a winning piece of Country format production within an hour.  CUMULUS Hot AC WRQX (Q107.3)/WASHINGTON morning man JACK DIAMOND presented the championship belt to TACEY.

The Voice(s) Of Experience

The annual two-part session on voiceover and production/imaging, moderated by THEIMAGINGHOUSE.COM’s KELLY DOHERTY, who opened the proceedings with a moment of silence for the late CHRIS CORLEY before welcoming voiceover specialists JOE CIPRIANO, STEVE STONE, ISSA LOPEZ, and MELISSA THOM and CESD TALENT AGENCY VP/Affiliate/Imaging Division NATE ZEITZ for the the first segment. The panelists talked about life and career, including LOPEZ relating how overcoming “overthinking” helped her grow her English-language work; CIPRIANO discussing going off-script to give clients extra material and outtakes to work with but adding that the scripts supplied by stations “inspire me”; ZEITZ explaining how he puts clients and stations together (“there’s a perfect voice for every station”); STONE discussing how he analyzes client stations and markets and talks to PDs to determine what will work; and THOM contending that a female voice can represent the soul of a station without the need to add an aggressive male voice as a counterbalance.

The second segment brought together imaging and production pros including iHEARTMEDIA/CONNECTICUT Production/Creative Services Dir. ASHLEY CAVALIERE, SIRIUSXM Imaging Dir. BRYAN APPLE, DUBLIN-based SIRIUSXM imaging producer DENZIL LACEY, ENTERCOM Top 40 KAMP (97.1 AMP RADIO)/LOS ANGELES Imaging Dir. JAKE KAPLAN, and iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 KIIS/LOS ANGELES Dir./Imaging and national Alternative imaging coordinator MILES HLIVKO.  Among the topics covered were relations with voice artists, APPLE’s managing production for SIRIUSXM’s wide range of formats by using extensive data about each channel’s listeners, LACEY’s transition into working independently from home, KAPLAN tracing the evolution of AMP’s production over the last 10 years following music changes, technology changes, what they want and need from their program directors, and describing their jobs to people who don’t know what “imaging” is.

What’s Your Favorite Song?

COLEMAN INSIGHTS’ WARREN KURTZMAN, JOHN BOYNE, and SAM MILKMAN presented the findings of their Contemporary Music Superstudy, a music test judging the popularity and performance of top hits across several formats from the past five years.  The top 100 songs were tested with listeners of all genres and the differences and similarities of ranking among each format’s fans formed the basis for the study.

The measurement found that Pop and Hip Hop hits outperformed their representation in overall numbers when listeners were asked if they liked the songs “a lot”; Pop tested the best among formats, with Hip Hop performing well when “like a lot” was the question but showing significant polarization among listeners.  

The study looked at differences between rankings of top songs overall and with format partisans, with some songs categorized in a format ranking better with the overall audience than with the format’s own fans.  Also considered were differences between male and female listeners, urban versus suburban versus rural listeners’ preferences, how the music is being consumed (streaming vs. radio), and heavy music purchasers versus light music purchasers.  The researchers also threw in a question about President TRUMP, predictably showing supporters favoring Country and detractors leaning Hip Hop.

The number one song overall was MARK RONSON featuring BRUNO MARS’ “Uptown Funk” (also the top song with both TRUMP supporters and detractors), followed by IMAGINE DRAGONS’ “Believer” and a pair of ED SHEERAN songs, “Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud.”

Adding Video

A panel on how radio stations are using YOUTUBE moderated by MOLIBIUM GLOBAL’s RALPH SIMON included iHEARTMEDIA EVP/Global Music Marketing ALISSA POLLACK, ENTERCOM VP/Programming BRIAN KELLY, SIRIUSXM VP/Pop KID KELLY, ALPHA MEDIA VP/Programming and Content PHIL BECKER and WMG Dir./Playlist Programming & Development MICHAEL STEELE.  POLLACK said that radio remains dominant for companionship and “real” music discovery, and YOUTUBE and other platforms are “really extensions” of their brands; STEELE said that he is surprised more stations don’t use YOUTUBE as a marketing platform as his label does (“we love YOUTUBE”).  On the other hand, BRIAN KELLY showed clips from his MILWAUKEE stations’ videos, which he added are being monetized.  But BECKER noted that none of the panelists are YouTubers and counseled that stations should be consulting with actual YOUTUBE producers (‘we are distribution experts… we gotta let them lead us”).

K. Kelly, Steele, Pollack, B. Kelly, Becker, Simon (Photo: Matt Shapo/All Access)

The Winners Are…

The WORLDWIDE RADIO SUMMIT 2019 Industry Awards were bestowed at a luncheon that included a spirited performance by WHITNEY WOERZ, the awarding of the MUSICMASTER “Radio for Good” Humanitarian Awards to ALPHA MEDIA for the ALPHA Cares initiative and RESULTS RADIO in REDDING, CA and CHICO-PARADISE, CA for its coverage of the Camp Fire and Carr Fire, and the SEAN DEMERY Independent Spirit Awards to MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO Triple A KCMP (THE CURRENT)/MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL PD JIM MCGUINN and the late CAPITOL RECORDS SVP/Pop Promotion & Marketing JOE RAINEY, whose mother ANNIE BLOCK was on hand to accept the award on her son’s behalf.  DEMERY’s widow JENNIFER was also in attendance for the awards.

See all the winners in the separate story on NET NEWS.

Sounds Good To Me

A&R WORLDWIDE’s SAT BISLA moderated SOUNDOUT’s annual live music test, with the audience using STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS RESEARCH, INC. meters to rate new songs and match hit-picking abilities with a panel of PDs and label executives.  On the panel this year were iHEARTMEDIA Top 40 KIIS/LOS ANGELES host JOJO WRIGHT (subbing for APD/MD BEATA MURPHY), iHEARTRADIO Alternative Rock Brand Manager and KYSR (ALT 98.7)/LOS ANGELES PD LISA WORDEN, ENTERCOM Top 40 KSFM/SACRAMENTO PD MICHAEL BUHRMAN, iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WKAF (THE NEW 97.7)/BOSTON PD CHRIS MALONE, RTÉ Top 40 RTÉ 2FM/IRELAND PD ALAN SWAN, DOWNTOWN MUSIC PUBLISHING SVP/Head of A&R NORTH AMERICA ANDREW GOULD, and NOTTING HILL MUSIC President KEN KOMISAR.

Talking With Tom

iHEARTMEDIA Chief Programming Officer and President, National Programming Group TOM POLEMAN sat for a chat with ALL ACCESS President JOEL DENVER, with the talk ranging from favorite new music (KATY PERRY getting a shout) and his career (from CORNELL UNIVERSITY to WALK-F/PATCHOGUE, NY and WKCI (KC101)/NEW HAVEN to KRBE/HOUSTON and then to WHTZ (Z100)/NEW YORK in 1996) to insights about iHEART’s boosting new artists (“if we don’t develop artists, we’re all screwed”) and adding local hosts in place of voice tracking (“Spotify’s great, but it’s not radio, we’re doing different things,” he said in support of increasing the presence of live personalities).

Denver and Poleman (Photo: Matt Shapo/All Access)

On iHEART’s digital presence, POLEMAN said that “the future is being able to measure results… if we can show that we’re driving results, that’s the ultimate win.”  Regarding social media, POLEMAN said that “it’s interwoven into all of our brands… you have to have a huge social platform.  It’s an extension of our brands.”  He also discussed the company’s pending emergence from bankruptcy, saying that the day-to-day operational part of the business “has always been fantastic” and relieving the company of a large portion of its debt will help it thrive, and expressed enthusiasm over iHEART’s expansion into podcasting and purchase of HOWSTUFFWORKS (“we can do a lot of fun things with that platform”).

Talent Time

The session schedule ended with the popular air talent panel, moderated by consultant RANDY LANE and featuring ABC RADIO and SKYVIEW NETWORKS syndicated host and EMMIS Urban AC WBLS/NEW YORK host DÉJÀ VU, CUMULUS Hot AC WRQX (Q107.3)/WASHINGTON morning host JACK DIAMOND, COX MEDIA GROUP Rock WBAB/LONG ISLAND and Talk WHPT (102.5 THE BONE)/TAMPA “ROGER & JP” co-host JOHN “JP” PARISE, COX MEDIA GROUP Top 40 WPYO (POWER 95.3)/ORLANDO morning host MARC “NAILZ” DIXON, and iHEARTMEDIA Alternative KTBZ (94.5 THE BUZZ)/HOUSTON morning host ROD RYAN.  The panelists told stories from their career, including JP’s brush with infamy involving Santa and DIAMOND with an emotional story of helping a dying young man live his dream of restoring a vintage Camaro, and discussed using social media and blogging, their features and bits, targeting female audiences with relationship talk, and more.

The festivities were scheduled to close with a cocktail party hosted by ABC RADIO, with KALPEE and RACHEL CROW performing.

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