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

Notes and quotes from 35th Conclave Learning Conference celebrating radio, held July 15-17 in Minneapolis.

"There's one reason people listen to radio: to be entertained. If you're not more entertaining than another song, shut up."

- Terry Phillips, creative director/CBS Detroit.

"The PPM (ratings) data we have seen tells us that listeners pretty much interpret everything (not a song) as a commercial. The less you stop the music to identify yourself, the better. We have also done away with the long, pointless slogans. For us, it's just 'All the Hits'."

- Ricky Roo, formerly of KDWB, on how Arbitron's Portable People Meter has, in numerous markets, replaced the company's decades-old diary method, whereby listeners write down what they remember hearing throughout a given week. With PPM measurement, a portable device monitors what listeners are choosing - and tuning away from - in real time.

"I just heard smooth jazz - in the restroom - for the first time in 18 months."

- Bruce Reese, president/CEO Bonneville, on how PPM findings have driven many operators to abandon niche formats in favor of more mass-appeal options, such as top 40, rock and country.

"You can't beat a station that has personality. This is showbiz."

- Paige Nienaber, "VP/fun and games," Clifton Media-CPR.

"You know that billboard your station has? I think you should cover it 60% of the time. That's what you are doing anytime you leave your station vehicle in the parking lot."

- Nienaber, on the need for stations to be seen on the streets constantly. (His favorite station vehicle among his clients? The one whose wheel wells are adorned with impossible-to-miss strobe lights).

"Imagine how excited we'd be if there were an artist here ..."

- Mike Klein, program director WZKF (98.9 Radio Now) and WLGX (Gen X Radio 100.5)/Louisville, Ky., on how touring an empty performance studio at Clear Channel's Minneapolis cluster didn't diminish the giddiness of a contingent (including this author) of proud "radio geeks."

"Program directors get into the business because they love music and want to discover new music. Nobody wants to program 'Jack & Diane' for the 800th time."

- Sean Ross, VP/music and programming Edison Research, as captured on "KLAV-TV," the Conclave's dedicated hotel channel, by videographer Art Vuolo, aka "Radio's Best Friend."

"I get to go to work every day and worry about, 'Are we playing the right Rolling Stones songs?' Who else gets to do that?"

- Reese, echoing the feelings of numerous attendees on how the biggest problems in radio never eclipse one's gratitude for the honor of making a living as a broadcaster.