Tag Archives: Podcasts

The Narrowcast Future

There was a point this summer when my keyboard got quiet.  I had simply tired of writing about the way things were in radio.

Memories of the great jocks,  fun stations and the way we used to do it.

Tired of the conversation from radio people that want it to go back like it was.

During that time I became heavily focused on digital media and specifically how we can use the tools to communicate.

Now my thinking is focused  on where things are going in all media.

It is going to be very different from the ‘good old days’.  These are likely to be better days. Way better.

The occasional story about a great station or jock will pop up here.  But the conversation within our industry must change.

Like it or not radio and all media are changing.  There is no choice.  Technology is the reason.

Technology is changing the way we live, how we use our time, and what is available to us.

We once thought of ourselves as ‘radio people’ or ‘TV people‘, now we are now simply in media.  The web changed how we do our jobs and more importantly what those jobs are today.

A person who concentrated on audio  must know about written content and video. Radio news reporters now produce video pieces for their websites.   The lines have blurred.

Here’s the big one.  Narrowcasting will replace broadcasting.

The day of programming to the masses is going fast.  Programming to highly focused niches  is already here.

Narrowcasting won’t kill off broadcasting this year, but the future will be more about highly targeted content than what appeals to the masses.

Some would argue that cable networks have started this trend.  Fox News serves a niche.  It is not intended to be the news channel for everybody. Those that like it, love it.

The History Channel, Cooking Channel and even ESPN are narrow in approach.  But they are almost ‘mass appeal’ narrow.

This is about being much more narrow.  Very narrow.  Instead of the History Channel, it might be Civil War Battles,  or Civil War Songs, but not covering everything about the war.

A transmitter is no longer needed to reach an audience.  And anyone can start a media outlet from their laptop using audio, video and written word.  This content can be distributed numerous ways on the web.

A pod cast created in your basement can have a larger audience than your local radio station with  interesting new sales opportunities.

Narrow your focus and program to people who are highly passionate about a subject.  This is about gathering  your own ‘community’ interested in what you have to say.

Topics that aren’t  found in mainstream media defined as radio, TV, newspapers and major websites.

A audience of dog lovers devoted to Pugs is probably small within your town.  But imagine the number of Pug fans nationally and worldwide.

Your listeners/viewers/readers are as likely to be in  Australia as in the town next to yours.

Browse I-Tunes and you’ll find hundreds of programs in a wide range of topics being produced.  This shouldn’t stop you from doing something too.

Find a subject that people are passionate about, and go for it.

The web is big. But keep your focus narrow.


Posted by on October 21, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Six Pixels Of Separation

A business book that is well targeted to the needs of radio and other media only comes around once in a great while.

Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels Of Separation is such a book.

Perhaps you read about Mitch last week in Mark Ramsey’s Blog, Hear 2.0.  Mark included an audio version of the interview which you can download from I-Tunes.

Mark’s site is at

It was because of Mark’s writing that I bought Six Pixels.  Well actually two copies.  The hardcover and audio book.  Hey Mitch’s kids deserve a college fund.

Inside you’ll find  tons of highly actionable information for anyone in radio.  Whether your morning show blogs or you Twitter,  Six Pixels is a real ‘how to guide’ that will energize your on-line efforts.

Mitch does a couple of excellent Podcasts about on-line marketing and using social media.  He is forward thinking but most importantly has connected to many others of like mind to create an interesting program.

Mitch is found at

Six Pixels gave me some interesting ideas for a meeting I had this week with a Minor League Baseball Team to discuss their radio and media presence.  A few of those ideas are likely to go into action this fall.

Bloggers will learn new ways to increase traffic and build their influence.  The web is way more than a source for  gathering ears and eyes for the sales department.  This is one of the most powerful communication tools ever.

Radio, Television, Newspaper and Magazines need to re-think all of it.

Let’s stop looking at the corporate internet initiative as a cram down or just additional work for the staff.

This is the future.

And the future is already here.

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Posted by on October 16, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Confessions Of A Real Pirate

Now a confession.

Hope the FCC isn’t listening.

I had a pirate radio station as a kid.

WXRZ put a city grade signal over Brent Place in Succasunna, New Jersey.

Well not all of Brent Place, just the part near my house and on real good days some of Golf Course Road, too.

The signal was always better with a fresh nine volt battery in the transmitter.

My friend Glen lived on the next street and had a pirate station, too.

Glen isn’t here right now, so I’ll confess for him.

Together we operated the only radio network in the neighborhood.

My station would pick up the ABC Contemporary News from WABC at exactly 54:30. Glen got the news from my station and rebroadcast it live on his.

An official network.

Our station consisted of two turntables, a few reel to reel tape recorders, a mic, a mic stand and mic mixer.

The studio was in the laundry room behind the sheets and drying clothes.

I was pretty tight working with that equipment and spent hours ‘smacking’ the vocals using a recorded ID and records. WFIL was tight, but they were no WXRZ.

We often broadcast by remote from my front yard. This involved bringing the studio equipment outside and running a wire back to the transmitter.

All went well until the day when Glen turned to me and asked, “do you smell something?”

It smelled a little like smoke.

That is forever known as the ‘Day The Station Burned Down’.

Thankfully we were outside and not broadcasting from the behind the sheets in the laundry room.

The small studio I’ve assembled at home reminds me of WXRZ. But it does way more.

The reel to reel was replaced by a multi-track software editor on my laptop.

The inexpensive Lafayette Radio mic mixer is now an M-Box that interfaces with the laptop.

A borrowed Neumann Microphone replaced the five dollar tape recorder mic we used.

Anyone can be a ‘pirate’ today.

Creating Podcasts and programs in your home is very much like pirate radio.

There is no better way to sharpen your skills than by playing with your own blog, podcast or perhaps internet station.

They can still hear me on Brent Place from a thousand or so miles away.

Think of what I save on nine volt batteries.

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Posted by on June 28, 2008 in Radio programming


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IPOD vs. HD and the winner is….

Yesterday I visited several Best Buy and Circuit City stores trying to buy a replacement car radio.

Most of the radios on display offered several features such as IPOD ready, HD ready and Satellite ready.

All the salesmen were enthusiastic about the IPOD feature. It was simple to operate, just plug in and you’re in business.

The satellite ‘ready’ feature required a $100 part to receive either XM or Sirius. Colorful posters advertised all of the programs, personalities and features available.

The salesmen were well informed about the choices.

HD, that hot new thing pushed by the big radio companies was another matter.

The radios were HD ‘ready’, which like satellite required buying another part for $100.

I asked what could be heard on HD.

None of the salesmen had the slightest idea. Each had a different, but very vague response. Their body language saying “please don’t ask me about that”.

This is the ‘front line’. The radio industry needs these guys to be excited about the product and at the very least aware of it.

As Earl Pitts would say, “Wake Up America!”

I hate to tell you guys on Basse Road and in Buckhead, Georgia HD is DOA.

The bigger threat and opportunity is IPOD .

I chose an inexpensive Sony with a very nice IPOD interface. I can listen to podcast programs of my choice with ease.

You’re missing an huge opportunity if your station doesn’t offer podcasts.

Every radio on the shelf had IPOD interface. Those with standard HD were expensive, or required a costly interface.

Hey, didn’t the radio commercials say HD is free?

Podcasting is another way for you to re-purpose your content and connect with your listeners.

Here are five ideas to help you build a simple daily podcast for your station.

  • Have the morning show do a short rundown of their best calls, bits and news items after each day’s show. Kind of like Oprah’s ‘after the show’ segment. They host. It takes 15 minutes to prepare.
  • Archive great bits and recap them in a special programs.
  • Invite listeners to submit their own podcasts with the best being available for download.
  • Find vintage airchecks of your morning show and put them up on the web for download.
  • Partner with people that offer great lifestyle content and link their podcasts to your website. Again, like Oprah these are your Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil. the specialists with great content.

It is astonishing how many radio websites have no audio available.

Our world is audio.

Imagine your sister television station without video on their website.

The local paper without pictures.

That’s what most radio station websites are like. They ignore the most important ingredient. AUDIO!

Think in sound.

Use lots of audio to connect with your audience.

The IPOD is just one more way to touch the listener and keep them coming back for more.

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Posted by on May 7, 2008 in Radio programming


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