Thinking Un-Conventionally About Radio
Thinking Un-Conventionally About Radio

What happens at a radio convention?

Like those in all industries, a radio conference offers a chance for professionals in different aspects of the field, from program directors and on-air talent to consultants and music scheduling software developers, to discuss, celebrate and improve upon the craft for which they harbor so much passion.

You learn from CEOs the realities of running radio stations in a difficult economy.

You hear programmers explain how new media has made the radio signal just one part of a station's overall marketing strategy.

You listen to disc jockeys with ridiculously deep voices speak humbly about their fortune of getting paid to entertain people every day.

The 35th Conclave Learning Conference took place July 15-17 in Minneapolis. Helmed by executive director Tom Kay, radio's longest-lasting summit affords those who've dedicated their careers to the art of radio the invaluable experience of honing their skills face-to-face.

Following are first-hand notes and quotes from this year's convention, accounts that spotlight the state of radio in 2010, what awaits in the medium's future and more.

"I want to congratulate you for being here, many of you on your own dime. This is where you learn what makes radio successful."

- John Gehron, founder of media consulting firm Broadcast Wisdom.

"We're still a very relevant industry. We have people listening in droves, even the 12- to 24-year-olds. But we have to move into new areas."

- Jeff Dinetz, president/COO NextMedia Radio Group, on radio's need to take advantage of Facebook, Twitter and other digital platforms to retain top-of-mind awareness with listeners.

"We point listeners to our websites. We have interactive managers in every market. We are doing 7% of our revenue on the digital side. 50% of that is customized solutions for small businesses. In 2011, our expectation is that digital will deliver 10% of our revenue. That's one reason our presence in small markets has improved."

- Gary Rozynek, president/CEO Maverick Media, on how selling advertising in less-populated, more community-driven metros goes beyond the AM/FM dial.

"We used to use overnights as a breeding ground for developing talent. We have no bench, and that's just sick."

- Dinetz, to hearty applause, citing that the industry has too heavily relied on cost-cutting syndication and out-of-market, non-live 'voice-tracking' to fill third-shift programming, in place of training emerging announcers.

"I'm going to close my eyes and think of someplace warm (seagulls sound effects ...) Now, I'm going to open my eyes ... (Bleep) ... Snow."

- A promo that Darrin Marshall, creative services director/Clear Channel Washington, D.C., produced for WIHT (Hot 99.5) after a brutal snowstorm blanketed the area. "I stayed at the station for 36 hours," said Marshall, citing the importance of relating to what listeners are experiencing at every opportunity.

"One of my jobs was to feed the goat, Rita. Her job was to clip the grass out back around the transmitter."

- Dave Ryan, morning show host KDWB (101.3)/Minneapolis, remembering his (and a co-worker's) key responsibilities at a small religious station at the start of his career.