A busy week at The Radio Show and a decidedly more upbeat radio industry taking in the sights and sounds of Music City. Here are a few quick hits:
- Nashville turned out to be an interesting venue for the conference. The temperatures were hot, but the city was cool. Music is in the air – everywhere. While not Austin, there's nowhere you can go – restrooms, taxis, elevators – without hearing music. Especially Country music. It seemed like there was live music coming out of every bar, including a number of the hotel restaurants.
- At the Renaissance Hotel on the night I checked in, there was an inspiring music competition taking place among local Belmont University students. It featured the excitement and flavor of live music in this town, and the hope that anyone can make it in the music industry.
- There are building cranes everywhere, along with streets and buildings being ripped up and rebuilt. It sure felt like the local economy is thriving in Nashville.
- OK, while I wasn't planning on visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, I ended up there. And it was a treat. It's an extremely well-organized and curated museum. And there was a lot more rock ‘n roll inspired displays that I would have imagined. Pictured at right is Elvis' solid gold 1960 Cadillac 75 limo designed and built by the legendary car customizer George Barris. Yes, there's a gold plated television and a record player in the back seat.
- There was a nice buzz at the conference, a congenial and large crowd, and a positive feeling about radio.
- That said, many of the same “ize” words permeated the air. How do we smartly digitize? What's the smartest way to strategize? How do we effectively monetize? How can we best prioritize? The radio industry continues to try to figure it all out.
- The buzz topic this year had to be podcasting, punctuated by Nielsen's announcement that they're figured out how to measure on-demand audio. Here's the money quote from Brad Kelly:
“It's no longer about measuring the device, like television or radio. It's about measuring the consumer and their behavior.”
- And podcasting sessions from Amplifi Media's Steve Goldstein and our Seth Resler (with the NAB's Josh Miely) were packed – a strong indicator about how broadcasters are trying to get their heads around podcasting.
- The “connected car” has been elevated to a key topic in radio circles. I participated in a free-wheeling panel conversation with Ford's Scott Burnell and Commonwealth Broadcasting's Steve Newberry. Moderated by NAB Chief Technical Officer Sam Matheny, we covered a lot of ground from the technical side to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But a big conclusion voiced by all three of us panelists was the need for radio to double-down on its content game to remain competitive in the ever-crowded dash.
- For some reason, I seemed to run into more people I hadn't seen in a number of years, a reminder that it's always great to connect with old friends and colleagues in the radio business.
- Jacobs Media celebrates another anniversary every year at the Radio Show – our 33rd. Thanks to our clients, friends, associates, employees, mentors, and readers of this blog for your support. It's been a great run.
- Finally, a shout-out to a great performer we had the pleasure of seeing at a dinner sponsored by Hubbard Radio's Ginny Morris. We were entertained by Bonnie Bishop, a singer with a story who was electric, passionate, and inspirational. I've been to many private functions over the years where national entertainers struggle to connect with a sometimes jaded group of broadcasters. Bonnie had us during the first song and never let go. You can check out her work and her story here.
Next year, see you in Austin.