Investing In Revenue

“As opposed to trying to attract millions of eyeballs and monetize them with ads, branded social networks are less about profitability and more about creating loyal and engaged customers that will ultimately create revenue in more conventional ways.”
~Adam Ostrow


The conversation around radio stations eventually seems to wind up in a discussion of how to monetize digital media.  The answer eludes most radio people, because the idea of building loyalty and creating engagement, and then earning from that, doesn’t make sense.  Interesting, since that’s how radio was designed to be “monetized.”

Some time ago most of our efforts were to not only get people to listen, but to be as loyal as possible.  We wanted to build fans, not just listenership.  Over time, especially after the joys of consolidation, it became a battle for “ears” instead of a battle for hearts and minds.  Instead of being a way to more effectively reach people on a personal level, digital media is in danger of becoming another way to sell things to people.

This isn’t one of those, “why can’t it be like the old days” rants.  Instead, it’s a call to arms for those who still understand that the battle lies far beyond the ear.  Digital and social media don’t need to be a replacement for radio, they can actually be integrated into our plans as a compliment to radio, part of the larger media pallet we all need.  But it requires alternate thinking.

First, we have to understand that both radio and digital media are built on fans, not just listeners.  PPM results show the same thing, with the majority of listenership coming from P1s instead of listeners.  I know there’s a school of thought that radio is simply cume based, but a radio station of a large base of listeners, without any fans, is useless when it comes to making money.  Success lies in the careful relationship between cume and P1, not just one or the other.

I’m going to step out here and suggest that, just as revenue used to be (and probably still is) a byproduct of compelling programming, digital media income will be a byproduct of compelling digital media.

There’s no empirical research to show this yet, but I’m willing to bet it’s the hardcore fans of a radio station that move product for the clients.  Occasional listeners, especially those we find spending one hour or less with the station, aren’t helping much at all.

Happy 4th of July

“The very essence of leadership is [that] you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
~Theodore Hesburgh

Happy Fourth

Happy 4th of July to everyone as we celebrate the anniversary of our country.  Special thanks to Brooks Mason (1737-1825) my 5th Great Grandfather, and his 16-year-old son Malachi (1760-1847), who both fought in the Revolutionary War.

It’s difficult to imagine stopping your life to help found a nation, especially when you’re not in the military.  The vision of what could be was strong enough to create patriots from all kinds of people.

Vision, what Simon Sinek calls “the why” is a powerful magnet that draws people into motivation they sometimes didn’t know existed in themselves.  The lack of a shared vision makes it all about the individual and their needs.  An organization becomes whatever the leader is interested about at the moment, not a shared goal or emotional purpose.

Vision is what makes a normal organization special, and the lack of vision is what makes it ordinary.  That’s as true with your organization as it was for our nation in 1776.

Frost Advisory #316 – The Bill of Rights (and Wrongs, and Responsibilities) for Your Station

The United States of America was born 240 years ago with a Declaration of Independence, and a subsequent Bill of Rights for all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  But as Americans we know that with rights comes responsibility.


Yes, you have the right to play any song you want.  But you also have the responsibility of creating passionate fans beginning with a foundation of songs they know and love.

Yes, you have the right to talk about anything you want.  But you have the responsibility of connecting with common interests and values, and communicating the bigger idea!  That’s how groups become tribes, and tribes become movements.

Yes, you have the right to blabber on as long as you want.  But you have the responsibility of communicating effectively, which means being purposeful, prepared, and precise.

Yes, you have the right to be among the lowest rated stations in your market.  But you have the responsibility that goes with being the largest church in town.  To fulfill that responsibility your station needs a clear purpose, a team of people that are united around it, and the passion and determination to execute the programming and marketing elements that make that purpose a reality.

On this 4th of July weekend, let’s wave our flags, shoot off our fireworks, and sing our patriotic songs.

But let’s not forget our responsibilities!