We continue to be mystified by “Big Data” – the numbers that drive our industry and our lives.
And whether it's Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning, the ability to be able to take the numbers swirling all around us, and use them to predict outcomes is what data scientists are wrapping their heads around.
Last week, many numbers came flying into my email box and Twitter feed. They tell amazing stories about what's happening in broadcast radio – and the audio ecosphere that it's a part of.
As someone who prides himself on being a “data whisperer,” today's post underscores some fascinating trends, as well as some context to explain why they matter.
That was the final share price of Pandora when SiriusXM finally closed on the audio streaming company, ending years of misery. Pandora's IPO price of $16 back in 2011 is a far cry from where it ended up. Now, with the strength and stability of SiriusXM, how will Pandora's fortunes change, and how will they impact the future of one of broadcast radio's biggest competitors – satellite radio?
Diversification and partnerships may be the only way that streaming audio brands can consistently turn a profit. In Pandora's case, hooking up with a company with strong assets – a successful subscription business with a stronghold in cars – could be the best news in recovering its mojo and providing an accretive piece to the SiriusXM portfolio.
That's a big number, and it represents the number of TSA employees fed by KSOS, a Christian music radio station in Las Vegas. Living up to its slogan – SOS Radio – the station connected with its community during its time of need.
McCarran Airport is one of the busiest, most congested airports in the country, especially around mega-conventions like NAB and CES. Demonstrating the power and passion of local radio, SOS Radio stepped up to thank 700+ hard-working TSA agents when the government shutdown ended by providing meals – breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and overnight snacks – late last month.
The shutdown coverage focused on those 800,000 federal workers. But keeping in mind that most of them are connected to others – spouses, children, relatives – all living in local areas, the pay stoppage affected many more people – especially in a service economy like that of Las Vegas.
$200+ million (EST)
While specific terms of the purchase were not made public, Spotify has stepped up big-time into the podcasting game with the purchase of Gimlet.
And to underscore its commitment to the podcasting platform, Spotify simultaneously announced it is also buying publishing company Anchor for an estimated $150 million. If you've been wondering where the money is in podcasting, Spotify obviously believes its mega-investment in the platform will pay off, by controlling content and distribution.
In an arena dominated by Apple, Spotify sees a big opening and a way to diversify its streaming footprint by becoming an audio company, rather than a music streaming platform. And they're sending a message to the podcasting community they're as serious as a heart attack about competing in this space.
Speaking of heart attacks, many in the podcast world did a double-take last week when they heard the story about an entirely new podcast platform – with no shortage of financial backing.
On the heels of Spotify's announcement comes the “other shoe” – more podcasting investment news heralding a brand new, well financially supported platform called Himalaya. It goes without saying this is a lot of money for a start-up, and it speaks volumes about the belief many investors have in podcasting.
But some of the backing comes from Chinese-based radio network, Ximalaya FM, along with financial powerhouse, General Atlantic. Fast Company says this new venture has potential because Apple Podcasts is already giving up ground to Spotify. Why not another player on the horizon?
For other players in the podcasting space, perhaps their value just took a nice jump. But so did the table stakes necessary to remain a viable player in this medium.
And it looks like the Podcast Movement agenda just got exponentially more intriguing.
A happy announcement came out of Beasley/Philadelphia's WMMR last week. Midday icon, Pierre Robert, has signed a contract extension, keeping his unique persona on the air for what's being described as “multi-years.”
Great radio brands almost always have a face. And while MMR also boasts the services of Preston & Steve, Jaxon, Jacky Bambam, as well as a who's who of Philly rock radio over the years, Pierre has been the “heart and soul” of the station, as PD Bill Weston describes him.
I've had the distinct pleasure of working with some of the rock radio's best and most dynamic personalities over the years. Pierre is one those rare stars who truly is all about the brand, working effortlessly in everything it does to make it an even bigger part of the community. He is the real deal, ,and it's a win-win-win for him, MMR, and Philly.
There have been many, many radio conferences over the years – R&R, Gavin, the Radio Show, and even our many Jacobs Summits. But I'm hard-pressed to think of one that has survived and thrived like the Conclave.
Known in its earlier years as the Midwest Conclave, the mission of this event (and the organization itself) has been to support young broadcasters and students find their way into successful radio careers. Conclave has always been about mentoring and giving back. Its speakers, panelists, and keynoters never receive compensation. They give their time as investments in the sustainability of radio broadcasting.
The Conclave board has also been made up of big-time radio programmers and executives who realize the importance of the Conclave and its mission. They work tirelessly to ensure the convention comes off without a hitch, providing a great experience in networking and education.
Several years ago, Lori Lewis came to us, and asked whether it would be OK with us if she became Board Chair of the organization. The convention had been floundering, beset by budget woes as well as intense competition from the many other gatherings that vie for radio broadcasters' time, attention, and money.
Lori has turned it around, providing a great schedule of sessions once again. She calls it “radio's summer camp” – an aptly named event. Paul and I are happy to once again be hosting sessions at Conclave 44, and as a former Rockwell Award recipient, I couldn't be happier being a part of this great organization. Registration info here.
Another Jacobs Techsurvey is in the books, thanks to the partnership of hundreds of radio stations across North America, in search of data that can help guide their strategies through these changing times.
This is the biggest broadcast radio/media usage study of its kind in the world, now in its 15th year. As the numbers show, TS 2019 generated north 50,000 in-tab interviews from more than 500 stakeholder stations.
Our web-based Techsurveys focus on radio listeners – the people contributing most to ratings and revenue. We break it all down by generations, gender, and formats, providing stations with a unique view of their audiences – with a focus on what they're doing when they're not listening to radio.
There's a stakeholder presentation first (the week of March 25), and then its first public unveiling at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Burbank, CA later that week. Joel Denver and Sat Bisla put together a killer conference of broadcast executives and heavy hitters throughout the U.S., Canada, and the world. Info is here.
I'm excited to show you the data. See you next month.
That's the new Amazon Prime sale price for Echo Auto – the new aftermarket product that brings Alexa to any car (equipped with Bluetooth or an AUX IN jack). It was one of the big technologies we saw at CES last month – part of Amazon's master plan to ensure the voice of Alexa is embedded everywhere – including the cars, SUVs, and trucks we drive.
They already have more than 1 million pre-sales for Echo Auto, a clarion call to radio that “voice” will play an even more important role in how consumers discover and consume content – especially in cars, radio's #1 listening location.
If you haven't give a whole lot of thought to you voice strategy, this seemingly unspectacular annoucement from Amazon is an indicator they're in it to win it. It will most assuredly impact radio – and every other content source hoping to be discovered and usesd while on the road. For an industry heavily dependent on in-car usage, broadcasters best pay attention to the impact of voice on their livelihoods.
Amazon says they're already shipping Echo Auto. I've ordered one, and will report on how they work as soon as that familiar package shows up on our doorstep.
2 years, 7 months
That's how long radio personality, Corey Dylan, spent on the beach (literally – she actually lived in the Tampa/St. Pete area), looking for her next radio opportunity.
Last week, we wrote a post about resilience – the rough and tumble ability for radio as an industry and many broadcasters to survive and thrive under increasingly difficult circumstances. Disruption, budget cuts, and a changing media landscape put pressure on everyone in radio, not the least of which are its personalities. We highlighted Corey's sojourn, mentioning she was on the cusp of wrapping a deal that would get her back on the airwaves.
To put a bow on Corey's saga, I wanted to be sure you knew she has indeed landed on her feet – and then some – last week. She's in Atlanta, co-hosting the Kicks 10.5 (Cumulus) morning show with Cadillac Jack.
For Corey, this was a long wait to score just the right job in the right market at the right time. We wish her and her team nothing but the best.
2019 marked the 10th consecutive ear Paul and I have made the annual trek to Las Vegas for CES. This year's convention was especially noteworthy as broadcast radio is now recognizing the value of making CES part of its annual agenda. The NAB was out in full force this year, with an emphasis on bolstering its automotive relationships.
This year, we helped guide a record three tours of broadcast executives through the Las Vegas Convention Center, exploring the technological wonders of audio, voice, automotive, AI, and other leaps that will rock radio's world, now and in the future.
This Thursday at 2pm, we've partnered with Inside Radio to present “10 Big Things That Happened at CES – And How They'll Impact Radio” It will be a fast-moving 30 minutes, packed with trends and technologies that will help your perspective, whether you're on the air, on the street, or in the corner office. Registration is here.
As I'm fond of saying, we go to CES so you don't have to. But as we're happily discovering, “radio guy/gal sightings” are becoming more and more common each year at the over-the-top event. Join us for the webinar, but make plans to make the trek with us next January.
That's the number of Grammy Awards taken back to Frankenmuth, Michigan by Greta Van Fleet. They took top honors for Best Rock Album for “From The Fires.” very likely the first of many as the years roll on.
We've talked a lot about this band over the past year or so, and on otherwise “meh” Grammy show, it was great to see rock n' roll represented by a young band on the way up. Now, if we could just develop a few others…
That's the number of minutes Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, referred to during his Congressional hearing last week. Responding to a key question from Representative Jerry Nadler, Whitaker drew gasps from attendees when he brought up this number:
“Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up.”
And I'd love to know which media number jumped out at you?