For over 35 years, we have provided research, consulting, and strategic guidance to:
- Radio Broadcasters
- Television Networks
- Digital Media
The Media Landscape is Changing
Technology is rapidly changing the way audiences consume media. Radios, newspapers, and televisions are giving way to smartphones, tablets, and connected cars. Broadcasters and media companies are being forced to adapt — often with fewer resources at their disposal.
To succeed, they need a strategy that accomplishes both their ratings and revenue goals. They need a strategy that is not only informed by a wealth of experience, but also based on the latest insights into audience behavior. Most importantly, they need a strategy that is actionable.
Clients seek our counsel when they need help on a wide range of issues, including:
- Finding new ways to reach audiences through digital technology
- Designing research studies that provide actionable insights
- Hiring and training effective salespeople
- Acquiring and coaching the right on-air talent
- Conducting research to find the right music format
- Developing an aligned strategy for a cluster of media outlets
- Figuring out how to engage audiences in the “connected car“
- Generating qualified sales leads
We provide unvarnished feedback and smart solutions. With more than three decades of experience in a variety of competitive situations, we have an impeccable track record of success.
Our clients are diverse, ranging from family-owned radio stations in small communities to the industry's largest media companies with holdings in the top ten markets. Size does not matter because so many of our clients' challenges are universal in scope.
We work with:
- Commercial radio stations
- Public radio stations
- Television stations
- Syndicated on-air talent
- Local radio morning shows
- Podcasters and podcast networks
- Broadcasting associations
- Other companies in the broadcasting and media space
Fred Jacobs launched our company in 1983 by creating and popularizing the Classic Rock radio format. We grew in the late 80s and early 90s by bringing The Edge alternative rock format to stations across the United States. Over time, we expanded into public radio by providing guidance for local stations as well as networks like NPR and PRI. Our work has also involved sports, country, and Christian broadcasters.
Additionally, we ventured into the world of television by working with MTV and Vh1 in their early years.
As the media world has evolved, so have we. In 2004, we conducted the first Techsurvey, a study examining the way audiences engage with new technology like smartphones and social networks. Similar studies focusing on public radio and Christian broadcasting audiences soon followed.
In 2008, we launched our mobile apps company, jācapps. Today, it is a leader in the mobile media space.
In 2013, we hosted the first DASH Conference, bringing radio broadcasters together with leaders in the connected car space.
Since 2017, we have produced the Broadcasters Meet Podcasters track at the Podcast Movement summit, designed to teach radio broadcasters about the world of podcasting
- Worldwide Radio Summit's “Consultant of the Year” (2011, 2012, 2013, 2017)
- Radio Ink‘s “Luminary Award” (2011)
- The Conclave's Rockwell Award Winner (2012)
- Billboard/Monitor‘s “Radio Consultant of the Year” (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001)
- Michigan Association of Broadcasting Hall of Fame (2005)
- MTV Video Music Award (Affiliate Award)
- Crain's Detroit: “Top 50 Names to Know in Information Technology” (2016)
Fred Jacobs – President
Fred has emerged over the past two decades as one of radio’s leading visionaries. He founded Jacobs Media in 1983, when he had the notion that Album Rock could be fragmented by the creation of the Classic Rock format. Today, Classic Rock stands out as the most successful radio format in the last 20 years.
Prior to launching the company, Fred spent the majority of his time designing and managing research projects as the Director of Research for the Radio and Publishing divisions for Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading research and consulting firm. Later, Fred became Director of Radio Research for the ABC-FM Owned and Operated Radio Stations. From there, Fred gravitated to the station side, becoming program director for legendary WRIF-FM in Detroit, before forming Jacobs Media.
In 2018, Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. He is the first radio consultant to ever receive this honor.
Fred has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
Paul Jacobs – VP/General Manager
Paul is the “suit” in the company, rising up through the sales ranks to become a General Manager of a major market radio station at age 28. After graduating from Michigan State University in 1976 with a BA in Advertising, Paul immediately went to work selling radio for WNIC-FM in Detroit, where he realized one could actually make money selling air.
After a brief stint working for the William A. Robinson marketing services agency in Chicago, where he created campaigns for Philip Morris and Seagram's, Paul struck gold when he was hired as an Account Executive at WRIF-FM in Detroit. This experience launched his sales management career, and four years later, he became the General Sales Manager for KZEW-FM in Dallas, and ultimately, the General Manager for KHYI-FM, also in Dallas. He was lured home to run WDFX-FM in Detroit, before joining Jacobs Media as its General Manager in 1991.
Along with overseeing our day-to-day operations, Paul’s main contribution has been the addition of sales consulting services. As an expert in all Rock formats, Paul has helped our clients open up new revenue streams by aiding them in their understanding of how to sell, market, and position their formats via sales training seminars. He has conducted hundreds of client presentations on behalf of our clients, and has aided the Ford Motor Company and Procter & Gamble in improving their understanding of the youth market. Paul is a true “format champion” – someone who believes in the power of branding, and developing radio’s inherent assets.
Bill Jacobs – Consultant
For nearly three decades, Bill has quietly become one of Rock radio’s most respected radio programming professionals. He emerged from Michigan State University with a Master’s degree in Telecommunications, and then became a Research Analyst for the USA Television Network. He later joined Eastman Radio in a similar capacity.
Bill was lured back to radio and joined Jacobs Media as a consultant in 1987. Since then, he has designed the programming for countless radio stations, has contributed to the company’s most impactful radio promotions, and most importantly, has become an expert in the specific needs and challenges facing small and medium market radio stations.
Mike Stern – Consultant
This is Mike’s second time working at Jacobs Media. The first time was nearly 20 years ago when he came to the company after having graduated from Michigan State University and working at a station in Anchorage, Alaska.
Three years with the company taught him a great deal about successful radio programming and helped him launch a career that included overseeing stations in Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Dayton. He primarily worked in Alternative and Active Rock, though he was also involved with Heritage and Classic Rock stations as well as Hot AC and the 80’s format.
After leaving his position as Vice President of Programming for Emmis Chicago, Mike began writing about the industry taking positions as News/Talk/Sports Editor for Radio & Records and Editor of Billboard’s Top 40 Update. During that same period, he also began consulting Arbitron’s Programming Services Team and helped launch their twice-weekly column Not Your Average Quarter Hour, which focuses on providing insights for programmers and helping them maximize the value they get from their ratings data.
Finding that he missed working with talent he also launched his own coaching business, Talent Mechanic, where he worked closely with hosts from across a wide range of formats and market sizes, as well as a large number of podcasters hosting shows about a wide range of topics. While looking for new ways to help hosts bring out their true personalities, Mike has taken classes in and performed both stand-up and Improv comedy where he discovered the differences between the two disciplines and how each applies to being on the air.
Seth Resler – Digital Dot Connector
Seth Resler is a broadcasting veteran who, for more than two decades has worked behind both the mic and the programming desk in major markets, including New York City, Boston, Seattle, St. Louis, Providence, and San Jose. He left radio in 2006 to enter the world of online marketing. But he kept returning to the broadcasting industry, teaching radio stations how to apply the online marketing techniques being used by Silicon Valley companies. He blogs about digital strategy for radio broadcasters. He also hosts the Worldwide Radio Summit podcast, the CES for Radio podcat, and The D Brief podcast. In 2015, Seth joined us as our Digital Dot Connector, helping radio stations combine all of their digital tools into one overarching strategy.
Jason Hollins – Research Director
As our Research Director, Jason plays a pivotal role in overseeing the strategic and operational aspects of all research projects for the company. Since 1996, he has conducted hundreds of studies for a large portfolio of clients including Fortune 500 companies, radio groups large and small, and digital media properties. Previously, Jason spent the entirety of his career in media with Edison Research, including serving nearly twelve years as Vice President. Jason has been intricately involved with dozens of industry studies that have helped shape the online audio, online video, and podcasting industries.
Jason is a graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Chris Firmage – Associate Consultant
Chris is the newest member of the consulting team at Jacobs. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Arizona in 2002, he rose his way up the ranks at the alternative station in Tucson eventually developing it into one of the first and most successful alternative/active rock hybrid stations in the country.
While at the station, he wore many hats overseeing everything from creative direction, to talent coaching, to data analysis, to brand development and management. He also was syndicated in numerous markets nationwide as on-air talent in the Classic Rock and Classic Hits formats while working for Westwood One.
Chris resides in Tucson with his wife and three daughters.