Episode 175

full
Published on:

20th Dec 2022

Media Vision Like You've Never Heard - Guest-Lee Abrams

Lee Abrams quite simply is a media genius.

He created a format called Album-Oriented Rock (AOR), helped create the legendary Burkhart-Abrams radio consulting firm, and was one of the driving forces behind Satellite Radio.

In short, Lee has dedicated decades in the trenches, helping reinvent over a thousand radio stations, along with TV stations, cable networks, and print publications.

He's is passionate about the past but focused on the future. He’s held a number of posts for large and influential companies, and is generally credited with developing the Album Oriented Rock format, and so much more.

Newsweek listed Lee as one of their "100 Cultural Elite”, and he was cited by Radio Ink as one of the 75 most important radio figures of all time. He was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in the "Legends of RockRadio-Programming" category for his work with WRIF, and now explores current thinking and visions for brilliant media in the 21st century.

Time-Stamped Takeaways You Won't Want to Miss!

(01:59) As someone who has been on the forefront of moving Branded Media Content to other platforms for ages, Lee discussed on he sees traditional broadcast faring…and what it takes to really deliver a “360-degree Media Experience”.

(02:55) Lee offers an interesting look at where he’d look first to determine how a radio brand is doing, and where he might you take them.

(07:26) As somebody who’s expressed mixed emotions about streaming media – Lee shares his latest observations on how it fits into today’s mediascape - especially as we enter the G5 era.

(09:58) These days, Lee is investing a lot of time working on news content, and shares lessons broadcasters can learn from newspapers – including ‘playing the hits’. We ask whether there will be a role for RADIO news beyond ‘reporting what’s been reported by others’, or worse, just a rehashed recap of ‘recent history’.

 (11:07) In a recent blog post, Lee revealed some significant ‘21st Century Media Myths’. We whether the radio/audio industry will have a role, and if so, what it will be.

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Transcript
Lee Abrams:

I think, uh, you know, a and fm unfortunately, while it has legs on the

Lee Abrams:

older end, for a younger end, it's just, you know, it's yesterday's technology.

Lee Abrams:

It's welcome to brand with on demand, your guide to rebooting

Lee Abrams:

radio, radio expenses to operate.

Lee Abrams:

It's not how much money it, it's brain power.

Lee Abrams:

A great example I like to look at is Southwest Airlines when they launched,

Lee Abrams:

you know, they didn't have a lot of money compared to United, develop American, all

Lee Abrams:

those guys, but they just came up with new ways of running an airline and uh, you

Lee Abrams:

don't see radio stations, you know, when they say they're innovative, they're not

vo:

BRANDwidth on Demand.

vo:

Rebooting radio with a different take on all radio can be.

vo:

Now your guides through the Media Morphasis david Martin and author

vo:

of the book, BRANDwidth, media Branding, coach Kipper McGee.

Dave:

Our guest this time has dedicated decades in the trenches,

Dave:

reinventing radio and TV, news and print, and so much more just media.

Dave:

He was also the driving force behind what's called satellite radio.

Dave:

Lee Abrams is passionate about the past, but he's focused on the future.

Dave:

He's held a number of posts for large and influential companies.

Dave:

He's generally credited with inventing album, rock radio and so much more.

Dave:

He's consulted over a thousand radio stations along with print publications,

Dave:

TV stations, cable networks.

Dave:

Newsweek Magazine listed Lee as one of their 100 cultural.

Dave:

And he was cited by Radio Wink as one of the 75 most important

Dave:

radio people of all time.

Dave:

He's been inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame, legends of Rock Radio

Dave:

programming category for his work with W R I F Detroit, and he now explores current

Dave:

thinking and Visions for Brilliant Medium.

Dave:

The 21st Century.

Dave:

BRANDwidth On Demand is proud to welcome the one and only Lee Abrams.

Dave:

Hey Lee.

Lee Abrams:

Hey.

Lee Abrams:

Hey.

Lee Abrams:

This is good.

Kipper:

Well, we're glad to have.

Kipper:

You know, you've been talking in terms of what we call branded media

Kipper:

content using and even needing other distribution platforms for ages.

Kipper:

So the question is really how do you see traditional broadcast radio

Kipper:

faring today, and are you seeing any examples of great integration between

Kipper:

the various platforms for our radial.

Lee Abrams:

No, you know, not really.

Lee Abrams:

I think the biggest problem is the radio brands themselves being really, um,

Lee Abrams:

you know, they're successful ones, but generally, really out of date, uh, in

Lee Abrams:

terms of its, uh, the creative approach.

Lee Abrams:

And when you get to younger audiences, the whole medium.

Lee Abrams:

Is pretty much part of their past rather than present.

Lee Abrams:

So I think it all boils down to, uh, just some really dramatic

Lee Abrams:

re-imagination of, uh, radio stations and how they sound before even

Lee Abrams:

worrying about other platforms.

Dave:

And looking around media and music, people leave, you've

Dave:

noted a lot of negative emotions.

Dave:

Scared, defensive, confused, paranoid, backward, looking, nostalgic for the

Dave:

old days, or even worse, operating as if it were still the old days

Dave:

you were, if you were handed

Dave:

a full market, uh, FM signal in, in one of the biggest markets, most

Dave:

competitive markets in the country.

Dave:

What might you do with it?

Lee Abrams:

Well, uh, sitting, you're not making a lot of money and, uh,

Lee Abrams:

and very successful and there's plenty of stations that aren't making

Lee Abrams:

a lot of money and, and successful.

Lee Abrams:

I'd really go into the laboratory and pretty much evaluate the current state of

Lee Abrams:

radio, where it's been and where it can go and just create, generate some blatantly

Lee Abrams:

and noticeably different new ideas.

Lee Abrams:

Um, ones that people go, holy crap, what is.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, it's not unlike, um, you know, the same effects some of the

Lee Abrams:

great radio stations had in the past.

Lee Abrams:

I know when, like, going way back when the case Jay launched, it was like, wow.

Lee Abrams:

Oh yeah.

Lee Abrams:

And, and even the loop in Chicago and uh mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

stations that we all know and remember, but their whole attitude toward

Lee Abrams:

presenting radio was so different.

Lee Abrams:

I mean, nowadays, I call it condensed radio.

Lee Abrams:

stations will, uh, will make a format change and Tesla library.

Lee Abrams:

and, uh, write up some liners, maybe get a morning show and throw

Lee Abrams:

up some billboards and that's it.

Lee Abrams:

Whereas the Great Stations, it lasted 10, 15, 20, or more years.

Lee Abrams:

Dominance Boy, when they set it up, it was like Schwartzkoff

Lee Abrams:

setting up the, uh, the Gulf War.

Lee Abrams:

It was a mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

amazing effort.

Lee Abrams:

I mean, it took weeks, if not months of planning and preparation and fine

Lee Abrams:

tuning, and then you pull the switch and it was like, and for example,

Lee Abrams:

there's a station here in Chicago which changed to a hard rock format.

Lee Abrams:

And I mean, it's just, it could be a station in Amarillo.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, yeah, it, it could be amazing.

Lee Abrams:

It could be, uh, mind-blowing, head burning, rock and roll machine, and it's

Lee Abrams:

not, and it's got a one or two sharing.

Lee Abrams:

It'll probably stay there until they change formats again.

Lee Abrams:

So, um, I think the, uh, the biggest thing is the way radio programming

Lee Abrams:

is approached as a mission rather than just something, see, you slap.

Lee Abrams:

and a lot of people will say that, well, there's no budget.

Lee Abrams:

It's not budget, it's mind power,

Lee Abrams:

not, not money.

Lee Abrams:

Power, well and focus right.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah,

Dave:

I remember one of Berry's greatest lines when asked about the rock and stereo

Dave:

thing, which you were a part of at a abc.

Dave:

Yeah.

Dave:

Like, you know, what, were you ever asking for money or ever worried about budgets?

Dave:

And Henbury said, who needs budgets?

Dave:

Na, you need,

Lee Abrams:

and I remember

Kipper:

at Wif F in 19 70,

Lee Abrams:

71, Uh, there was no budget and we were number Yeah, 12 to 24.

Lee Abrams:

We beat C K L W consistently.

Lee Abrams:

Oh yeah.

Lee Abrams:

You know, jocks were making nothing.

Lee Abrams:

And there's promotion budget.

Lee Abrams:

That was a joke.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, you know, through mind power we're able to, uh, really tap into the, the

Lee Abrams:

community and, uh, and score with it.

Lee Abrams:

And people aren't thinking these days, or if they are, they're thinking

Lee Abrams:

about just rote mechanics and just the, you know, the very basics to

Lee Abrams:

get something on the air and, mm.

Lee Abrams:

rather than thinking of a whole game plan and how to just dominate

Lee Abrams:

your target audience, doesn't it

Kipper:

seem that sometimes some of the bigger companies are really worried

Kipper:

more about fear of loss than they are

Lee Abrams:

desire for gain, you know?

Lee Abrams:

Oh, sure, sure.

Lee Abrams:

You know, there's a lot of innovation in radio,

Kipper:

all on the financial and operations side.

Kipper:

Most of

Lee Abrams:

it's not good news for listeners.

Lee Abrams:

Right.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, but.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah, I, you know, my, my, uh, comment to them would be, if your station's

Lee Abrams:

number one and dominant and making a lot of money, you know, great, go for it.

Lee Abrams:

Ride it out as long as you can.

Lee Abrams:

But if there's a station that's just not performing well, that's the one

Lee Abrams:

you can take incredible risks with.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, lets, and,

Kipper:

and try new

Lee Abrams:

things.

Lee Abrams:

And I don't say anybody trying new things other than, you know, just

Lee Abrams:

offshoots of what's already been done that aren't what I call noticeable.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

, it's like, uh, Just more of the same and, uh, with a different twist.

Lee Abrams:

Maybe a new liner or slogan, but, uh,

Dave:

yeah, relabeling.

Dave:

The carts, right?

Dave:

Yeah.

Kipper:

Well, shifting gears just a little bit, you've expressed some

Kipper:

mixed emotions about streaming media, particularly about last mile issues into

Kipper:

the house, yet one of your creation.

Kipper:

XM Satellite Radio is now encouraging consumers with their

Kipper:

partner serious to listen to the app when they're not in the cars.

Kipper:

Question.

Kipper:

How do you see streaming media and particularly in audio fitting into the

Kipper:

Mediascape now, especially in the G

Lee Abrams:

five era?

Lee Abrams:

Yeah, I think it's, uh, it's the new radio band.

Kipper:

You know, we had AM and we had SM and now.

Kipper:

Streaming.

Kipper:

And I think,

Lee Abrams:

uh, that's where the future is.

Lee Abrams:

It's gonna get real scary for terrestrial radio when a lot of the streamers,

Lee Abrams:

the Apples and the Amazons figure out how to create the radio experience.

Lee Abrams:

Cause right now they're jukeboxes and uh, and, you know, it serves a purpose.

Lee Abrams:

But when they're able to create magic between the songs and a whole new level,

Lee Abrams:

that's where it'll get really interesting.

Lee Abrams:

I mean, just.

Lee Abrams:

I've talked to 'em, and a lot of 'em are just, um, you know, technology people.

Lee Abrams:

They don't understand the, the radio experience mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

and as a result of that, uh, you know, very technically

Lee Abrams:

sophisticated way of presenting music, but there's no magic to it.

Lee Abrams:

There's no soul

Kipper:

to it.

Kipper:

So when I think if and when they, uh, they

Lee Abrams:

get on the, uh, into the radio experience game, which

Lee Abrams:

elevates streaming from just a lot of songs into something higher and.

Lee Abrams:

That's where they'll, um, I mean that, that will be real serious.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, I think, uh, that's coming.

Lee Abrams:

I just think, you know, a and fm unfortunately, while it has legs on the

Lee Abrams:

older end boy, younger end, it's just, you know, it's yesterday's technology.

Lee Abrams:

It's, and uh, it's sort of like, um, little nostalgia to it.

Lee Abrams:

Like when I was a kid, I used to, uh, we used to go on train trips and trains are.

Lee Abrams:

but you know, that's over.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, and sometimes radio reminds me of trains and, uh, you know, we've got a lot

Lee Abrams:

of amtraks out there instead of uh mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

jets.

Lee Abrams:

So, um, yeah, I, I just think on the younger end,

Kipper:

there are formats

Lee Abrams:

I think that can be done to increase the, um, younger people, but I

Lee Abrams:

think it's gonna age itself out over time.

Lee Abrams:

unless some people take real aggressive steps to do some, uh, younger focus

Lee Abrams:

programming, it's really innovative and there's some ideas out there,

Lee Abrams:

but nobody's doing them well.

Dave:

You were spending a lot of your time lately, Lee, on news content and

Dave:

specifically kind of reinventing TV news.

Dave:

Right.

Dave:

And what do you see the role of Radio News now, however,

Dave:

just focusing on audio again,

Lee Abrams:

beyond.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

I think, yeah, I think radio news really does a good job.

Lee Abrams:

The market by market, uh, here in Chicago, I think, you know, BBM is a

Lee Abrams:

great utility, but I think as a medium, uh, news radio is also, could be really

Lee Abrams:

elevated through some new thinking.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, that would mean a, a new approach toward product.

Lee Abrams:

Um, toward formatting, really looking at the news format, blowing it up, and uh,

Lee Abrams:

if News radio had never been created, what would it sound like in 2022?

Lee Abrams:

And I bet

Kipper:

there's some new ideas that

Lee Abrams:

could be interjected into it, but I think it's a, um, of all the

Lee Abrams:

radio formats, it's probably among the most stable and, uh, and most listenable.

Lee Abrams:

But I think, uh, like all radio playbook was invented, you know,

Lee Abrams:

decades ago and could use freshen.

Lee Abrams:

Without, uh, harming their current.

Lee Abrams:

and I think that's exciting.

Kipper:

And speaking of freshening up, uh, recently you pointed out in a blog

Kipper:

post, some 21st Century Media myths.

Kipper:

We linked to that article in the show notes, but for our purposes,

Kipper:

what are some 21st Century radio myths that you're seeing?

Kipper:

And how can the industry overcome them?

Kipper:

Or can they

Lee Abrams:

Well, that's a good question.

Lee Abrams:

I think, uh, one of 'em is radio is local.

Lee Abrams:

When a tornado hits in, uh, Missouri, where do people go

Lee Abrams:

to their local radio station?

Lee Abrams:

No, they don't.

Lee Abrams:

They're probably got a TV or, or internet.

Lee Abrams:

And besides, there's probably nobody in the station listen to

Lee Abrams:

news station, but if it's a music or a station, there's nobody there.

Lee Abrams:

It's probably being voice tracked on it from hundreds of miles away.

Lee Abrams:

So the myth that radio is local, . It's just that a myth.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, there are still some great local stations, but you know, you

Lee Abrams:

can count 'em on your fingers.

Lee Abrams:

But generally speaking, you know, it's, it's not a local medium anymore.

Lee Abrams:

If it is, they're just not taking advantage of it.

Lee Abrams:

Transmitter might be in a given city, but you know, . Other

Lee Abrams:

than that, it's like usa.

Lee Abrams:

When I was a kid, we, uh, traveled

Kipper:

from, grew up in Chicago and we go from Chicago to

Lee Abrams:

Miami on holidays.

Lee Abrams:

And he had traveled through Indianapolis and Louisville and, uh,

Lee Abrams:

Nashville, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and eventually hit Miami.

Lee Abrams:

And every one of those cities you went

Kipper:

to

Lee Abrams:

sounded different.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

And it wasn't the music, music was generally the same with a few local

Lee Abrams:

hits maybe, but it, uh, you know, remember going through Atlanta

Lee Abrams:

and Quick had Southern Accent and they were talking about, uh, stone

Lee Abrams:

Mountain and they were talking about, uh, the Atlanta Underground.

Lee Abrams:

Yep.

Lee Abrams:

You go to Miami and they're doing surf contests and.

Lee Abrams:

, you just don't see, it's generic radio now, and they, they're not

Lee Abrams:

tapping into their community a bit.

Lee Abrams:

And so I think that's a, a key factor is, uh, local radios shot itself in the foot.

Lee Abrams:

Another myth is 92% of the people listen to radio every week.

Lee Abrams:

Granted probably an accurate figure, but how many of them are fans?

Lee Abrams:

Uh, radios turn into utilities like the cable company and people are cutting.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, so it's got users and not fans, whereas it used to have fans.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, when was the last time you saw a radio station bumper sticker in their car?

Lee Abrams:

It used to be like flags.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. And the fandom is gone.

Lee Abrams:

And while people listen, you know, against utility that people are gonna be cutting

Lee Abrams:

the cord with, uh, in fact radio breaks.

Lee Abrams:

Music, you No, it doesn.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, it used to, but now more music is broken on the tos, word of mouth

Lee Abrams:

and already is lost that position.

Lee Abrams:

It uh, it's very reflective of what's happening musically rather

Lee Abrams:

than, uh, you know, creative.

Lee Abrams:

It's not defining the new artists, it's not, uh, working toward breaking artists.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, and again, it used to.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, so that's

Kipper:

another big

Lee Abrams:

myth.

Lee Abrams:

And, oh, let's see.

Lee Abrams:

There's plenty more.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, lemme think.

Lee Abrams:

radio, you know, is expensive to operate, you know, to staff it up.

Lee Abrams:

And again, like we talked earlier, it's brain power.

Lee Abrams:

It's not how much money you have.

Lee Abrams:

You know, a great example I like to look at is, uh, Southwest Airlines

Lee Abrams:

when they launched, you know, they didn't have a lot of money compared to

Lee Abrams:

United Adult and American, all those guys, but they just came up with new

Lee Abrams:

ways of, uh, of running an airline.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. And, uh, you don't see radio stations, uh, you know, when they

Lee Abrams:

say they're innovative, they're not.

Lee Abrams:

If you read some of the, uh, mission statements in the lobby

Lee Abrams:

of radio station, you'd laugh.

Lee Abrams:

There's just not true.

Lee Abrams:

We support the community.

Lee Abrams:

We are on the leading edge of music.

Lee Abrams:

It's like all just nonsense.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. So another myth is, um, that radio's great.

Lee Abrams:

Radio's, innovative radio's on the cutting edge.

Lee Abrams:

You know that that's not false, that's just a lie.

Lee Abrams:

Um, and again, self-inflicted.

Lee Abrams:

Let's see.

Lee Abrams:

. Oh, radio.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, people don't care about personalities.

Lee Abrams:

I hear that a lot.

Lee Abrams:

Other than the morning go mis turner or that they don't because there aren't any,

Lee Abrams:

if there were some that really shooken up, yeah, they could raise band bases.

Lee Abrams:

But it's, you know, a world of, uh, generic card readers.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, unfortunately a lot of the great new talent, I

Lee Abrams:

don't think are going to radio.

Lee Abrams:

They're, uh, they're.

Lee Abrams:

They're, you know, online or internet or other places.

Lee Abrams:

So, um, see radio is, um, oh, live and local.

Lee Abrams:

You know, it's not live.

Lee Abrams:

Occasionally it is, but generally it's not.

Lee Abrams:

So there's always myths usually said, uh, by the trade papers and

Lee Abrams:

by, you know, the organizations that are in business to support radio.

Lee Abrams:

but, uh, they're fooling themselves.

Lee Abrams:

I mean, this needs surgery, not band aids,

Lee Abrams:

, Kipper: and, you know,

Lee Abrams:

just mind power innovation, uh, looking at what

Lee Abrams:

you're doing, how can it be better?

Lee Abrams:

And we have a slogan called A F D I, which means, I guess I can

Lee Abrams:

say actually fucking doing it.

Lee Abrams:

We invented

Kipper:

that at expat

Lee Abrams:

where, um, we first got there, we started having all these meetings.

Lee Abrams:

It got real.

Lee Abrams:

Do we have a blues channel?

Lee Abrams:

Well, maybe not.

Lee Abrams:

Let's discuss it.

Lee Abrams:

Let's research.

Lee Abrams:

No, I mean, we got a hundred channels.

Lee Abrams:

We're gonna have a blues channel with a f d I.

Lee Abrams:

Um, and where, where that, uh, term really originated from

Lee Abrams:

was when I was a consultant.

Lee Abrams:

I go into a market that had a station, had a three share, they used to have

Lee Abrams:

a seven, but now they're really in the toilet down to two or three.

Lee Abrams:

And I'd get with the

Kipper:

manager

Lee Abrams:

and, um, say, why don't we get you the program director, the

Lee Abrams:

chief engineer, the sales manager, and everybody who has a say, uh,

Lee Abrams:

in the future of the station.

Lee Abrams:

Let's get, get together in a hotel suite, bring about 10 radios, listen to all the

Lee Abrams:

competitors, bring lots of legal pads, and just tear everybody, including ourselves.

Lee Abrams:

they're great ideas.

Lee Abrams:

We'd go to a hotel room, a hotel suite, and make notes and talk.

Lee Abrams:

And by the end of the session, which probably about four in the

Lee Abrams:

morning, uh, I'd have, you know, stack of legal pads full of ideas.

Lee Abrams:

And as a consultant, I would leave the market, uh, and come back next month.

Lee Abrams:

And I remember coming back next month with these legal paths and saying,

Lee Abrams:

wow, that was a great session.

Lee Abrams:

Uh,

Kipper:

so where do we stand on this?

Kipper:

How about

Lee Abrams:

this?

Lee Abrams:

Well, we, we decided not to do that.

Lee Abrams:

Okay.

Lee Abrams:

How about this?

Lee Abrams:

Well, we had a little, um, stash vote on it, and we passed.

Lee Abrams:

Okay.

Lee Abrams:

How about this home office?

Lee Abrams:

Never let us do that.

Lee Abrams:

How about this?

Lee Abrams:

Uh, we forgot about that one.

Lee Abrams:

How about this?

Lee Abrams:

Uh, yeah.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah, I guess we should do, bottom line is

Kipper:

they did nothing

Lee Abrams:

and the maintenance came out was another two eight.

Lee Abrams:

And, um, you know, that's where we came up with the idea of, uh, a.

Lee Abrams:

Come up with ideas and they're not gonna threaten the license

Lee Abrams:

or get you in legal trouble.

Lee Abrams:

A FBI , why you do it?

Lee Abrams:

It's a lot of 'em.

Lee Abrams:

Comes down to, I call creative batting average.

Lee Abrams:

It's like in baseball, if a hitter hits 300, they're an allstar.

Lee Abrams:

That means out of every hundred at batts, they could strike out 70 times.

Lee Abrams:

But if they get 30 hits, they're stars.

Lee Abrams:

In radio, everybody's betting 0, 0, 0.

Lee Abrams:

Not even stepping up to the plane, they're in the dug.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, thinking, oh yeah, I'm gonna really hit one outta here, walk out to

Kipper:

the plate, and they go, nah.

Kipper:

And then walk back to

Lee Abrams:

the dark eye.

Lee Abrams:

But they talk a

Dave:

lot about it though.

Dave:

They talk a

Lee Abrams:

lot about it.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

gotta take swings.

Lee Abrams:

Radio people

Dave:

talk a lot.

Lee Abrams:

They do.

Lee Abrams:

I guess it's in their dna, but, um, yeah, it's, uh, taking swings,

Lee Abrams:

taking, uh, and also there's this, um, it seems like there's an fcc.

Lee Abrams:

The stations have to use lines like the most variety , uh, or they have to name

Lee Abrams:

themselves after like, uh, Fresh and breeze, which sound like laundry products,

Lee Abrams:

And that, uh, at top of the hour you have to play a power song.

Lee Abrams:

And it's like everybody tunes in for this great song.

Lee Abrams:

No.

Lee Abrams:

And then it is just, you know, you can make a list of 10 pages

Lee Abrams:

long of things that, uh, are these like fake FCC laws that everybody

Lee Abrams:

abides to but are announcing.

Kipper:

And

Lee Abrams:

self-examination is really important.

Lee Abrams:

Being able to take your station.

Lee Abrams:

And here you ego and just like, okay, what do we gotta do here?

Lee Abrams:

And a d i and, uh, the stations are even going through that exercise.

Lee Abrams:

And particularly as, uh, Dave mentioned earlier, you know, some

Lee Abrams:

stations have, uh, program director has 12 stations, but, um, that's

Lee Abrams:

something that needs to be rethought.

Lee Abrams:

Again, I'm not saying 12 program directors, maybe different

Lee Abrams:

levels of management at.

Lee Abrams:

Um, balance where you got, uh, technology, where the engineers making a signal.

Lee Abrams:

Great.

Lee Abrams:

You've got sales and administration and the management.

Lee Abrams:

What about creative?

Lee Abrams:

Uh, create a internal structure that embraces new thinking and creativity.

Lee Abrams:

Right now, I think everybody's too busy and , but if you really rethink.

Lee Abrams:

Um, maybe de maybe have a creative direct whose, uh,

Lee Abrams:

mission is to, uh, rethink things.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

, but Right.

Lee Abrams:

Cause it's nothing done right now.

Lee Abrams:

And I certainly am sympathetic to the guy who, lady who

Lee Abrams:

left to run a dozen stations.

Lee Abrams:

Well, we had a little, um, station vote on it and we've passed.

Lee Abrams:

Okay.

Lee Abrams:

How about this home office?

Lee Abrams:

Never let us do that.

Lee Abrams:

How about this?

Lee Abrams:

Uh, we forgot about that one.

Lee Abrams:

How about this?

Lee Abrams:

Uh, yeah.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

I guess we should do bottom line

Kipper:

is they did nothing.

Lee Abrams:

And the way came out was another two eight.

Lee Abrams:

And you know, that's when we came up with the idea of, uh, a FBI

Kipper:

come up with

Lee Abrams:

ideas and they're not gonna threaten the license

Lee Abrams:

or get you in legal trouble.

Lee Abrams:

A FBI , if I can do it, it's a lot of 'em comes down to, I call

Lee Abrams:

it creative batting average.

Lee Abrams:

It's like in baseball, if a hitter hits 300, they're an all.

Lee Abrams:

. That means out of every hundred at bats, it could strike out 70 times.

Lee Abrams:

But if they get 30 hits, they're stars.

Lee Abrams:

In radio.

Lee Abrams:

Everybody's bating, 0, 0, 0.

Lee Abrams:

Not even stepping up as a plate, they're in the dugout.

Lee Abrams:

And, uh, thinking, oh yeah, I'm gonna really hit one outta here, walk out

Kipper:

to the plate and then go, nah.

Kipper:

And then walk back

Lee Abrams:

to the dark eye

Lee Abrams:

. Dave: But they talk a lot about it though.

Lee Abrams:

They talk a

Lee Abrams:

lot about it.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

gotta take swings.

Lee Abrams:

Radio

Dave:

people talk a lot.

Dave:

They do.

Lee Abrams:

I guess it's in their dna.

Dave:

We are with the always amazing Lee Abrams.

Dave:

Hey, somebody you'd like to hear from.

Dave:

We'd love to hear your suggestions.

Dave:

Email 'em to show@brandwidthondemand.com.

Kipper:

And if you are finding this interesting or helpful,

Kipper:

please spread the word.

Kipper:

Tell your friends and.

Kipper:

While you're at it, please leave a five star review wherever you get your podcast.

Dave:

Coming up, Lee shares an opportunity that many, including Kimber and I mm-hmm.

Dave:

may find hiding in plain sight.

Kipper:

Hi, it's Gary Berkowitz, AC programming consultant at Berkowitz

Lee Abrams:

Broadcast Consulting in Detroit.

Lee Abrams:

Hey, it's Molly Cruz.

Lee Abrams:

Brand manager for W M Y X N W X S S FM here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Lee Abrams:

Hi, this is Jake Neman with 96 7 Cran.

Lee Abrams:

Hi, this is Dave Tyler from Music

Kipper:

Master, with even more

Lee Abrams:

raving fans.

Lee Abrams:

Did someone say Music master?

Lee Abrams:

Raving Fan?

Lee Abrams:

Ding.

Lee Abrams:

Dang.

Lee Abrams:

That's me.

Lee Abrams:

Hey, it's Lee McNabb, operations manager for Saga Communications.

Lee Abrams:

Des Moines Radio Group ready to join these raving fans.

Lee Abrams:

Visit music master.com today.

Lee Abrams:

They're always there and willing to help.

Lee Abrams:

They save

Kipper:

me every time.

Kipper:

I'm a major fan.

Kipper:

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

Kipper:

Too bad your radio Merk shop was there.

Kipper:

Hey there.

Kipper:

Kipper here with a great way for you, your station.

Kipper:

Hey, even your show or podcast, to have a complete full merchandise store on

Kipper:

your station website at Zero Charge.

Kipper:

You just picked the items, send your.

Kipper:

And Radio Swag Shop does the rest, sourcing, customizing, transacting, even

Kipper:

delivering the items to your customers.

Kipper:

As few as one at a time.

Kipper:

You just promoted, then sit back and count your new money.

Kipper:

Sign up today for free.

Kipper:

There's a link in the show notes, or go to radio swag shop.com/kipper.

Kipper:

That's radio swag.

Kipper:

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Kipper:

My name K I P P E.

Kipper:

Don't put it off any longer.

Kipper:

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Kipper:

Fire up your merchandising savvy today.

Kipper:

Visit radio swag shop.com/kipper.

Kipper:

Opportunities hidden

vo:

in Blue Sign Plain Sight brand with on

Dave:

demand.

Dave:

We're with one of the best and brightest in media, not just radio kids.

Dave:

Lee Abrams is here.

Dave:

Hey Lee.

Dave:

Thinking about traditional radio, what's the one opportunity that you.

Dave:

That most folks may find hiding in plain

Lee Abrams:

sight.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah, I mean there's obviously a lot of things that, uh, can plug the holes, but

Lee Abrams:

if it's isolate one thing, it would be magic between the songs, meaning really

Lee Abrams:

amazing modern, non cliched production.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, that really takes you on a sonic journey.

Lee Abrams:

And I think it's the kind of thing where if you ask people, you know, in

Lee Abrams:

a focus group type environment, they wouldn't know what you're talking

Lee Abrams:

about, but you actually do it.

Lee Abrams:

And it just takes you, it takes the sound to a whole nother level.

Lee Abrams:

And a lot of that is, you know, rethinking the voice.

Lee Abrams:

People you really need the big voice.

Lee Abrams:

I mean, that was cool 40 years ago, but uh, you know, the biggest voice in radio

Lee Abrams:

is Howard Sturman is a terrible voice.

Lee Abrams:

Um, and just that the sonics, you know, getting away from, uh, you

Lee Abrams:

know, star Wars sound effects lasers.

Lee Abrams:

Very cool.

Lee Abrams:

In 1976, when Star, whatever that was, when Star Wars came out.

Lee Abrams:

That was, you know, that was almost 50 years ago and stations

Lee Abrams:

still used laser beans and uh, not in the box production, you know?

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

, that is so old and cliched.

Lee Abrams:

I mean, two for Tuesdays.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

God, it's a parody of itself.

Lee Abrams:

Yeah.

Lee Abrams:

I would say really rethinking and pulling out what I call the George Martin

Lee Abrams:

Gene that's in everyone to elevate.

Lee Abrams:

and create magic again with, uh, what's under your control.

Lee Abrams:

And that's one of the big points about, um, big advantages of FM radio.

Lee Abrams:

They probably get it people at the apples and they don't get it, you know, uh, even

Lee Abrams:

the stations, they do live or, uh, radio type stations have production and it's

Lee Abrams:

just cheesy circuit, 1978 production.

Lee Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. Mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

. So something that really elevates the sound, brings

Lee Abrams:

back that theater of the mind.

Lee Abrams:

And I'm not talking about minute long stuff.

Lee Abrams:

It can be really quick, but really magical.

Lee Abrams:

And, um, even stereo effects, you know, they can be kind of cool.

Lee Abrams:

And, um, special effects too are so easy these days.

Lee Abrams:

Uh, technologically it can be phasing, flanging and uh, uh, backwards

Lee Abrams:

sounds and it can be anything but really opening up the imagination.

Lee Abrams:

And a F D I.

Lee Abrams:

Really great production.

Lee Abrams:

Cause one of the reasons stations all sound the same is cause they're,

Lee Abrams:

they're all produced the same mm-hmm.

Lee Abrams:

and doing all the liners and doing all the, uh, the actual sonic productions.

Lee Abrams:

I was actually, um, did a panel, uh, at the Canadian Music Week,

Lee Abrams:

which was about production.

Lee Abrams:

And uh, they had some of the top producers, uh, radio

Lee Abrams:

producers playing their.

Lee Abrams:

It was, they didn't like what I had to say cuz it was laugh you the

Kipper:

best music, rock and roll.

Lee Abrams:

It was just like, oh God, it was so out, date.

Lee Abrams:

And um, meanwhile, uh, You know, sound on records and in movies is, you know,

Lee Abrams:

really expanding, getting cooler and more different, and radio's stuck in this

Lee Abrams:

1978 Sonic blueprint, which just sounds

Kipper:

goofy today.

Kipper:

Mm-hmm.

Kipper:

. So that would be a there one thing that

Lee Abrams:

would probably,

Dave:

what an amazing guy, Kipper.

Dave:

That's Lee Abrams, our guest today.

Dave:

We will find links to Lee's website, some fascinating blog posts, videos, and more.

Dave:

All in the show notes.

Dave:

Just scroll down on your,

Kipper:

As always, thanks to our exec producer Cindy Huber and our

Kipper:

associate producer just proclaimed a 30 and Under Superstar by Radio Inc.

Kipper:

Magazine, Hannah B.

Kipper:

And coming up next, don't know if you've felt a strong urge to text your

Kipper:

ex because Mercury's been a retro.

Kipper:

So we just want to do a quick retrograde.

Kipper:

He's like, what are you doing?

Kipper:

Check in.

Kipper:

Like has, uh, like we just wanna know for science, because I

Kipper:

don't necessarily believe in it.

Kipper:

I just feel like it's an excuse for a text message.

Kipper:

I'm lastly

Lee Abrams:

enough, not kidding, like 10 minutes ago, like my ex

Kipper:

is texting, texting me.

Kipper:

I haven't,

Lee Abrams:

I didn't reply yet, but that's so funny.

Kipper:

It's

Lee Abrams:

so true because Elliot didn't believe, no.

Lee Abrams:

And he came in the other day and he is like, you're not gonna believe this.

Lee Abrams:

I just got a text from.

Lee Abrams:

I said, I'm really you.

Lee Abrams:

Mercury retrograde.

Lee Abrams:

They come back and they're just trying

Kipper:

to say,

Lee Abrams:

what's up?

Lee Abrams:

Nighttime network

Kipper:

radio's.

Kipper:

New answer.

Kipper:

Elliot and

Lee Abrams:

Nina from Westwood one.

Lee Abrams:

That's a wrap.

Lee Abrams:

Kipper.

Dave:

Well, Lee has inspired a piece of writing.

Dave:

It's about doing things.

Dave:

You'll find it in show notes at Brand with on demand.com.

Dave:

I'm

Lee Abrams:

Dave Martin.

Kipper:

And I'm Kipper McGee.

Show artwork for Brandwidth On Demand

About the Podcast

Brandwidth On Demand
The 15 Minute Podcast About Making Great Radio
Every episode, radio's top hosts, PD's and media thought leaders share tips, tools, and tradecraft secrets on remaining relevant in our ever-evolving mediascape. Hosted by veteran manager and 2nd generation broadcaster David Martin and recovering radio programmer and author of "Brandwidth, America's Digital Branding Coach " Kipper McGee.

About your host

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Kipper McGee