Showing posts from 2017

What Format is "Beats 1"?

Would you believe the "biggest radio station in the world" played this four song set recently?

White Flag - Dido
Stan - Eminem ft. Dido
Chameleon - Pnau (no, I hadn't heard of them either - here's a link)
Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake

The jock - Elton John during his weekly "Rocket Hour" program.

Beats 1 Radio (which you can ONLY listen to on an iPhone or thru iTunes) is "the biggest radio station in the world" according to Apple Music's Larry Jackson. "There’s no way you’re going to find another station that has as many concurrent listeners and audience-wise as Beats 1, period.”  

How do you describe their format?  Would love your answer -

Why You Should Protect Your Social Media Passwords

Something tells me a disgruntled RS employee in Ohio isn't happy that the store is closing.
Here's a link to the page, but be careful - adult language!  

Millennials - They Still Love Radio, but Are They Paying Attention?

I’m lucky to be back in Columbus, Ohio - my hometown - I spend a lot of time with family, especially nieces and nephews and their friends.
The other day, I was “volunteered” to transport three of my niece’s girlfriends from campus to a “secret party location” (that way they would be forced to spend the night or safely Uber home.) They all piled in the backseat and begged to stop at the gas station on the way for cigarettes and six-packs (they were all old enough and uncles don’t judge.)  Once we got on the road they were excited to ask me questions and talk about music and radio.  
“We love radio.. we listen all the time, it’s free and this one station plays great music.  The Blitz - can we listen to the Blitz?”  
I wasn’t surprised.  As their website states -  “99.7 The Blitz WRKZ Columbus Ohio is an active rock radio station featuring artists like Metallica, Nirvana, Korn, Soundgarden, Disturbed and Tool.” Not my cup of tea, but I was just the chauffeur, so I flipped it on and started …

Are We Leaving More Money on the Table?

A New York Times article Sunday reported how advertisers were pulling their ads from Google "amid concern that the technology giant is not doing enough to prevent brands from showing up next to offensive content." Why isn't the RAB or some other radio entity lining up to scream "WE CAN DO THAT FOR YOU!!!"

What Are We Selling?

I'm a customer of a new startup car insurance company Root Insurance (I've met the principals- read the story here.) Got their first true marketing email yesterday offering me $25 cash per referral.  They will also pay $25 to the person I refer if they go all the way thru their process and get a rate quote.To be clear this new startup will pay $50 cash money per lead.

And radio salespeople are still walking into clients trying to sell 60's and 30's and the latest package...

Sales Tip from a Programmer

Set up training sessions for jocks on endorsement/live spots.  The best live spots are stories – true life stories about a successful experience with the sponsor. The worst use pre-written copy that sounds read instead of experienced.  One of the best radio product endorsers – Rush Limbaugh.  Put aside your politics and listen to how he delivers a live spot, and use it in your training.

Sell title sponsorships to everything and work with jocks to make saying it second nature.  The “Randy’s Volvo” Prize Closet, the “Stanley Steemer” Contest Line, the “Panera Bread” Text Line – ESPN Radio does the best job of this and it can become a valuable asset on the station.   

And don’t underprice it.  At WIKY in Evansville, Indiana we sold an hourly “time check” to a local jeweler with a :15 co-op Rolex mention attached and we sold it at a Rolex-like price. It’s still on the air after five years and I’m sure it’s paid for a car or vacation for some lucky AE.

Shop At Your Advertisers

I would always encourage jocks and staff members to shop at clients and troll for leads. While the "Be a LEADer" program at Cumulus is a great idea, I'm disappointed in the execution using a cartoon wolf that I'm sure is getting mocked in jock lounges around the country. And maybe Cumulus knows that now, as the Vimeo video is now marked "PRIVATE" and can't be viewed.  Better idea - Instead of spending all that money on animation, print business cards for staffers to hand out, thanking current clients for their business (and showing that station employees are shopping there.) The card should also contain all sales dept. contact info and perhaps a special offer or discount.

"Local" Beats PurePlay, At Least for Clients

Enjoying Pandora Radio the last few days just to check it out.  As always, it tends to slow down the tempo too much for me (Yeah, Yeah I can thumbs up and thumbs down but I'm doing something else while listening.)  And only one thirty-second commercial every 4 or 5 songs is certainly tolerable.  But someone needs to call the ad agency that handles the Indiana State "Hoosier Lottery."  I'm over 150 miles from being able to buy an Indiana Lottery ticket, so all the spots I've heard over the last three days are pretty much wasted money.  If any enthusiastic Indiana radio salespeople need backup let me know - I'd be glad to tell them about it.

Your Station Runs Too Many Commercials Part 2

Last year, Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live told Ad Age that he was cutting about 1/3 of the ads that ran during the show.  “This will... make it easier to watch the show live.”
Last season, NFL TV ratings were consistently down. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti says he knows why.“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that nobody wants to see two minutes of commercials, come back, kick the ball and then go to a minute-and-a-half of commercials,” Bisciotti said. “I’ve thought that was absurd since I was 20 years old.”
Last week, Bob Iger of Disney reported a decline in revenues at ABC and ESPN because “in general there is probably too much commercial interruption in television.”
This …

Own Your Own Business

Radio jobs are becoming rare. Perhaps you've been downsized (or dreading it with the upcoming consolidation.) I've been helping startup businesses for a few years, and I've met many people who want to go into business for themselves, but aren't sure exactly what it entails or how to do it. 
My suggestion - Become an UBER driver. You can get paid to learn how to run your own business - time and asset management, customer service, business bookkeeping, tax implications of self-employment. It is a profitable method of finding out if you have it in you to run your own business. Use this invite code 36b8w and sign up here - Just want a free ride - open an account and use the same code - 36b8w - and get your first ride free on me.

Reach Out and Read

Looking for a cause? Reach Out and Read is a nationwide volunteer program that hands out books to kids - both new and "gently read" - from birth to age 5. I'm a volunteer reader at the clinics of Nationwide Children's Hospital on Columbus. They will supply all the materials for a book drive, which might be a great way to boost a remote (or get one booked.) Details here -

Fifty Shades of Embarassing

Leave it to a radio station to make the "50 Shades" movie series even creepier.

I heard a station today giving away movie tickets and a sex shop gift card to promote "50 Shades Darker."  They had a woman reading paragraphs from the book as the "cue to call in."  The creepy part - The bit was introduced with a CHILD'S voice saying "Tell Me a Story."  Not sure the antics of Christian Gray are acceptable children's stories...

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend is a national program that helps budding entrepreneurs expand their ideas into real products and services. I've been a coach and mentor at Startup Weekend Evansville in Indiana since 2012. WIKY was a major sponsor as well.  It can benefit stations by demonstrating commitment to local businesses.Get more info at about Startup Weekends in your region.

A Better Recruitment Ad

Why use a boring text ad to attract new talent when you can do a video?

Island 106 in Panama City, FL sends a lot of talent to the majors.  Maybe this is why.

See the ad in All Access here.  

What Can Your Morning Show Learn from Mary Tyler Moore?

Lots of people (mostly men) say women aren't funny.  10 years ago, Christopher Hitchens wrote a famous column in Vanity Fair about men who don't think women are funny.   Back in the 50's and 60's, the women that broke into comedy were loud and raunchy - Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Moms Mabley - because it's easy to get a laugh with a sex joke.  (And don't forget early groundbreakers like Rusty Warren - I remember the eyeopening day I found her LPs in Dad's closet.)  And while I'm not a fan, "2 Broke Girls" continues that bawdy tradition of cheap laughs.

Or they were slapstick and/or inconsequential eye candy (not to take anything away from Lucille Ball or Tina Louise.)

Mary Tyler Moore was not a comedian. She broke into show business from the waist down as Sam the secretary on the TV show "Richard Diamond - Private Detective." She covered those famous legs with capri pants in her iconic role of TV housewife of Dick Van Dyke.  She t…

Product Hunt

Attending a Product Hunt demonstration of new products and ideas.  And met someone who needs help with their radio advertising.  (And got a free beer).  These happen every other month in Columbus Ohio - perhaps it would be a good time investment in your town.
Find these sort of meetings through

Check out Product Hunt Columbus

Free Show Prep

Everyone's always looking for free show prep?  Here's a Friday morning newsletter published by a former morning show partner of mine who's gone on to bigger and better things.  Always an interesting collection of off-the-wall stories.  Thanks, Jane.   
Jane King's KA-CHING Report

Sensitive, are we?

Back in "the old days," you waited for the arrival of American Radio from Jim Duncan, so you could check on the status of your two station cluster (one AM, one FM) against the market and the country. (Many of these are archived online at  Revenue, rates and ratings information was all public knowledge.

Today, not so much, especially in Chicago.  Longtime media columnist Robert Feder can no longer post revenue info about Chicago radio stations, something he's done for many years.  Why? Because one manager decided to be thin skinned.

From the article at

"This all came about, I’m told, because one of the Chicago radio market managers objected to my report last year, which correctly noted that his group’s revenues had declined from the previous year."

Guess if you can't stand the heat, you now close down the kitchen.

Taking Advantage of Current Events

The West Side Nut Club in Evansville IN holds a week long Fall Festival every October. It's said to be the second largest street festival in the US (behind Mardi Gras). And it is very unique because 100% of the workers are volunteers - the service club raises hundreds of thousands of dollars every year with no paid staff.

And whoever has volunteered to handle their Facebook page is pretty sharp and knows how to take advantage of current events.

See the original post and follow them here.  

Post Your Aircheck on Facebook

A FB friend of mine has created a page where jocks can post an aircheck and package for programmers to listen to anonymously. Good idea, as long as it doesn't threaten your current gig.

Find the "New Jock Network" page on Facebook and ask to join the group here.

What's Wrong with Radio? Giving Away Our Advantage

A major portion of freeway in Columbus Ohio is closed, due to a major accident and fire. TV news crews are on the scene with updates and traffic info.  But the local "news" radio station?  Their listeners continue to enjoy "The Glenn Beck Program" uninterrupted.  Probably don't have anyone in the studio to take the mic.

Play by Play Sports Leads to Ratings

Not a surprise for a successful team..  but it is nice to read positives about radio on a business media platform.

From Crain's Detroit

Picking up the live play-by-play broadcast rights for Detroit Lions games this season goosed WJR 760 AM's overall listenership ratings at the expense of the station that used to air the games.

For the record, here's the four month 6+ share (Nielsen's Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec months, but closer to Aug/Nov by the calendar) from Radio Online


Quick Tips

Face it, you don't have time to read long blog posts and online bloviation.  But every once and a while, a "Brainstorming Quick Tip" could motivate you to act or solve a problem you didn't know you had.  Brainstorms will always be short and sweet. We'll post them here on the blog as well.

Sign up for "Brainstorming Quick Tips" on the link here.

Ross on Radio

I'm grateful to Sean Ross for sharing one of my posts in his "Ross on Radio" weekly newsletter.

In Praise Of Full-Service Radio
WIKY Evansville, Ind., isn't necessarily a hard station to understand, if you remember the full-service AC radio stations that often ruled their market until the very end of music radio as an AM force. But how WIKY perseveres doing full-service on FM in the more music era still baffles the industry. This week, Mark Elliott, a frequent name among the RoR comments, and the man who helmed WIKY for years, shares why "Full Service Radio Can Still Be A Successful Format."

You can see this week's full newsletter and subscribe to Ross on Radio here.


Using Skype or another software based solution for remotes and news gathering?  Found this one a few weeks ago.. 
Upside - Free to use and test Downside - Doesn't work with iPhones or iPads
Let me know if you've tried it and how it worked for you.

Recycling Content

Really good programming should never be considered "one and done!" Just check your stats and discover what percentage of your total cume doesn't hear the morning show.  Great content can and should be recycled - not just in podcasts.   MSNBC's "Morning Joe" replays the 6am hour at 8am EVERY DAY (I would think that is a time zone thing.)  Two great examples of using great content more than once -

From - "CUMULUS MEDIA Rock KLOS/LOS ANGELES has developed “The FROSTY, HEIDI & FRANK Night Shift”, which will air MONDAY through THURSDAY from 9-11p."  

And ABC will give you the best of Good Morning America to air every evening 7pm - Midnight on GMA After Hours. Would think that the local ABC affiliate would team up with your station if you chose that.

Siri Has a Face

Ever wonder what Siri looks like?

Susan Bennett is a voice over artist and public speaker who is also the voice of Siri! See her website here.  

The Ratings "Conspiracy?"

We've all thought that Arbitron/Nielsen was out to get us. But the Bubba TLS/Nielsen brouhaha doesn't ring true, at least for me.  (From article at

"Bubba claims Nielsen’s motivation for participating in the conspiracy was ... to appease Cox, one of its largest customers"  Isn't Beasley also one of it's larger  customers? How does it make sense that Nielsen would damage Beasley (52 stations at the time, now 80) to benefit Cox (88 stations)?  If that's anywhere near true, how can we as an industry trust them to produce quality data? 

Trade You!

What a great idea and great way to take advantage of current events!   From

Last week SAN DIEGO CHARGERS fans descended on CHARGERS PARK to dump their CHARGERS gear in protest.  LOCAL MEDIA SAN DIEGO Alternative XTRA-F (91X)/SAN DIEGO is offering a new 91X shirt to anyone discarding their SAN DIEGO CHARGER gear. 91X will be donating the items to a homeless shelter in LOS ANGELES, the team’s new home,  91X has also pledged to match the number of CHARGER items donated up north with an equal donation of new 91X shirts to a shelter in SAN DIEGO. 

Read the whole story here. 

Morning Show Meetings

Consultant Tracy Johnson has done a lot of work with personalities and posts some interesting points on his blog about "Arranged Marriages."  In the article, he makes an important (and often neglected point) about team morning shows.

"(N)ever allow the talent to divide and conquer. When individual meetings are requested to discuss a situation, it’s starting a journey down a road that leads to very bad things."

As PD of more than one team morning show, I know this fact (and made this mistake) firsthand.

Your Stop Sets Are Too Long

I just sat through a presentation from a start up company trying to sell products thru phone apps.  The 26 year old co-founder described one of his motivations as hatred of advertisements (and I'm paraphrasing) -  "Millennials hate ads and don't respond to them when they pop up."

So do you think they stick around during your 6 minute stop set?

Using Automation for Posting

Need quick social media posts? Try using IFTTT (If This Then That). It's a phone app that allows you to do quick things such as sync Twitter and Facebook or post pictures directly to your page. I'm using it here to make a quick blog post. (It also has interesting location triggers. I used it during a project recently that automatically kept track of when I was on location at the client.) Find the app here IFTTT by IFTTT

Need an Experienced Radio Pro Fast?

I blog and bloviate, but I also spend time helping stations through difficult transitions.  If your PD leaves unexpectedly, or your OM gets another DUI, call or write me.

Mark Elliott Radio Online

Full Service Radio Can Still be a Successful Format

(Thanks to Sean Ross for allowing me to write this guest column for his "Ross on Radio" newsletter.  Sign up for my "Brainstorming Radio" newsletter here.)

As a young Reds fan living outside Cincinnati, I grew up listening to Full Service Radio without knowing it.  WLW – “The Nation’s Station” - was always on the radio at my house. They played music, current Top 40 songs (not all of them – the industry called it “chicken rock.”) They had news – top and bottom of every hour – along with weather, traffic and all sorts of information. High profile personalities (James Francis Patrick O’Neill, “The Morning Mayor” and Rich King in the afternoon) were on every daypart. It met the listening needs of everyone in our household (until I became an unruly teenager and discovered WSAI.)  It also met the needs of a lot of listeners (up until the mid 70’s, WLW was number one every book and had almost twice as many listeners as the number two station. )
I got into radio programming …