By Scott Lindy, Futuri Media
In yesterday’s post from CRS 2022 in Nashville, I shared many reasons why it’s so good to be here in person rather than virtually. As the second day of learning at Country Radio Seminar transitions into the second night of live music and overdue revelry, the positive vibe and camaraderie continue to grow. The in-person experience is driving that, but there’s something else happening here too.
The second day of any convention or seminar is when the hallway chatter amps up. The first day’s sessions are in the books and ready to be picked apart. CRS attendees have shifted from, “Hello! How are you? It’s so good to see you again!” to deeper discussions. Strolling through the Omni’s convention center between sessions, I overheard exchanges ranging from passionate agreement to good-natured but vigorous squabbling. That’s what we’re here for, right?
Wait … what? YouTube?
At CRS in 2020, Futuri’s Daniel Anstandig presented the findings from our joint research study with the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communication. It was the first time any major study revealed podcast listeners’ remarkably high preference for YouTube. Then the pandemic shut the world down. Is it possible this essential and revealing data got lost in the sea of Covid-19 coverage? Maybe.
When Daniel referenced the 2020 study in yesterday’s Albright & O’Malley & Brenner pre-seminar session, the murmurs started in the back of the room. In two of today’s sessions, the mention of YouTube’s strong performance as a podcast listening destination (which has since been confirmed by several subsequent studies) was met with some furrowed brows. During today’s CRS Research Presentation from NuVoodoo research presentation, I heard a person behind me say, “Wait,…what? YouTube is for videos.” I was delighted to hear another voice say, “that’s correct, including video versions of podcasts.”
Then, more voices joined in, whispering quickly. The hushed conversation from a few rows behind me was about the difference between a podcast and a video. Does it matter? Is it more important than getting your station’s on-demand content to as many people as possible? Nope.
Dive in. Either you or your competition is going to start making video versions of podcasts. If you’re interested in how we can help you beat them to the punch, start here.
I sat in the front row for Daniel Anstandig’s second appearance on stage at CRS, “Sayonara, Stale Thinking: Prioritizing Innovation On Your Team.” I didn’t have detailed notes on what Daniel would say, but I know the material very well. When that acronym JTBD appeared on the giant screens at each side of the stage, I had to turn around and watch the room. I knew what was coming.
Daniel explained that the letters stand for the Jobs To Be Done. It’s a framework for better understanding customer behavior created by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. We apply JTBD thinking at Futuri every single day. The reason I turned around was to watch the audience’s reaction to Daniel’s always motivating description of JTBD. Among life’s few wagers guaranteed to pay off is a bet that the majority of the room will be taking notes and making a reminder to find out more about Clayton Christensen every time Daniel shares how we use JTBD at Futuri. Today was no exception.
CRS 2022 Research data
Although NuVoodoo’s research presentation showed many issues for Country Radio to overcome, Carolyn Gilbert, Leigh Jacobs, and Jeri Fields presented the data with a highly encouraging tone. Disruption is afoot for the country radio stations stemming from the effects of the pandemic, the connected car, and digital platforms.
Since the CRB will make the CRS 2022 Research data available soon, I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details here. Still, there’s one eye-popping statistic from the study that’s been stuck in my brain since I heard it earlier today: 62% of Gen Xers and 73% of Millenials would pay for a monthly subscription that lets them hear their favorite country radio station commercial-free.
Wow. What would the price for monthly subscriptions need to be to offset the (potentially) lost advertising revenue? How many subscriptions would you need to make it work financially? What kind of investment is required to develop and sustain subscription-worthy content? My mind is racing.
A roomful of leaders
There’s more to study and a significant amount of music, content, and strategic distribution evolutions needed for Country Radio to reverse its four-year downtrend. It won’t be easy, but it will happen. This is Country Radio we’re talking about. It’s more than just a format or a genre of music. It’s a calling. I saw the look in the eyes of the hundreds of people driving the bus towards yet another boom for Country Radio. Their sense of confidence was inspiring.
As Mike Dungan, Chairman/CEO of Universal Music Nashville, put it in today’s Heads of State panel at CRS, “We need something exciting to happen here. Yeah, we’re stuck a little bit. But we’re not the only ones, and it’s not the first time.”
Scott Lindy is a Marketing Content Specialist and Partner Success Specialist at Futuri Media. He works with a select group of stations to drive their digital efforts forward while also creating compelling marketing content about Futuri’s audience engagement and sales intelligence solutions. Prior to Futuri, Lindy spent 30 years developing an impressive programming resume at companies including Cumulus, Clear Channel, Lincoln Financial Media, and SiriusXM. He has also served on the boards of directors for several industry organizations, including the Country Music Association and Country Radio Broadcasters.