Thursday, April 13, 2017

Episode #25:
17 Survival Tips for 2017

There are some who say radio can be hell, but it’s a dry heat!

No question, the mediascape continues to evolve in ways foreign to many people. However, there are any number of clues as to ways in which things are likely to move, and importantly, ways in which YOU can prepare to success.

In this 15 minute episode, we’ve compiled some of the best CAREER ADVICE from top radio performers, managers, and media thought leaders to help you sharpen your career survival skills.

We’ve also created a cheat sheet of “17 Career Survival Tips”, inspired by these guests.

Insights from:

(Click "PREVIOUS EPISODES" link on lower right for their full episodes.)

One-minute Martinizing:
Hot Wash

Successful performance artists share a secret. They care enough about their craft, about their success, to carefully study each performance. The playbooks of great athletes, winning politicians and legendary broadcasters include a discipline and dedication to critical self-reviews. It’s an important part of the process of becoming and staying successful. The objective is to notice what’s working and what’s not. The goal is to make every performance great getting there one step at a time.

The military conducts what they call a hot wash or after-action evaluation immediately following a tactical or kinetic operation. It’s a formal review which produces a set of lessons learned. In the cases involving our military lives are saved, in broadcasting the hot wash can save and, more importantly, make careers.

Here’s the hard part. Listening to your show every day – no exceptions – is not fun. It’s a time suck and, after all, you were there, you’ve already heard it, right? No, not really. The concept is to put yourself on the listener side of the radio. You need to hear the entire performance. You should take notes on things you notice. What’s working? What’s not working? How does it feel? What could you change to make the show better?

In my experience, winners including Dave Letterman, NFL MVPs, and a bunch of very successful radio broadcasters, have all included a daily hot wash or after-action eval as part of their day. Give it a try for ninety days. You’re right, of course, that’s a big commitment but you’ll discover it produces big results. Go for greatness. Thank me later.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Episode 24:

Producing Better Radio
by producing radio BETTER


Radio's ONLY Hall of Fame Producer
The biggest challenge in presenting TOMMY SABLAN is where to start. Seems like his shows have been on top of the San Diego morning show heap forever ─ both on TV and radio. He’s perhaps most widely know as the ‘producer’s producer’ of the famous     Jeff & Jer Showgram in San Diego. There, his contributions to an uber-talented team have lead the ratings as the show has moved from station to station, time and again. Now, Jer has retired from radio and the show continues as Jeff and the Showgram, and Tommy reveals how he orchestrated the evolution without missing a beat! Tommy Sablan is the first-ever executive producer to be named to the National Radio Hall of Fame.

In this episode, Tommy shares ways ANY station or show can dominate in their market, larger or small. He also offers insights on doing the impossible: helping a show move from station to station, while GROWING the audience each time. He also has some interesting insights on this that have worked so well, the radio industry STOPPED doing them.



>>> Check the Jeff & the Showgram YOU TUBE channel:

>>> See Tommy working a Jeff & Jer Showgram event back in the day!


Expanded Play Interview:

One-minute Martinizing

You’ve Got Mail

One of the fun things about the day job is getting paid to be a student of advertising. Not a week goes by without learning something new or learning something again. The ongoing objective is discovering what seems to be working and what’s somehow failing to get it done. My preference is to keep a journal and make note of what’s happening, what’s interesting. As the cool kids at Field Notes say “I’m not writing it down to remember it later. I’m writing it down to remember it now.”

Before I offer a theory of the case, let’s agree we are in the business of changing behavior. Our intent is to get as many people listening as many times as possible for as long as possible at the lowest cost. We need to be included in what’s called “the evoked set”, that is, the choices which are top of mind when someone wants audio. Building an audio brand or franchise starts with getting into that evoked set and then growing share of ear to become the first preference of the set. Put simply, penetrate occasions then dominate those occasions.

The most cost effective marketing tool for this task? My suggestion is that nineties throwback – email. Email continues to be the dependable workhorse of smart marketers. From savvy single location Mom & Pop merchants to global enterprises, email gets the job done. To be effective it’s a careful mix of art and science. It starts with the opt-in list. Accomplished entrepreneur Seth Godin holds what is practically a daily clinic on using email to drive engagement. You begin granular. Target a specific audience, one with a particular interest. For music shows/stations it might be an artist now on tour or one with a hot upcoming release. It may be exclusive as a genre (e.g., metal). For spoken word stations it may be listeners interested in local politics or personal finances. What can you offer the audience in exchange for their opt-in? This is the first “ask” you must get right.

Mail Chimp and others offer cost effective solutions which will help you get your email marketing up and running. The key, as always, is ask for action to be taken. Provide the rationale, then, encourage to “click here to listen.” Drive tune-in!

P.S. Allow me to suggest you Google “theskimm” and check it out, subscribe to get a look at it. It’s a wonderful email based enterprise which targets women. These young entrepreneurs get it. They have a strong working knowledge of how email can produce amazing results. Is your morning or midday or afternoon or night talent offering a cool email like this? Why not? You've got mail too. Use it!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Episode 23:
VO Superstar Nick Michaels
The STORY behind great imaging!

Nick Michaels is a writer, narrator, and broadcaster whose voice has appeared on over a billion dollars of paid advertising for clients like Bristol-Myers, General Motors, Kellogg's, P&G, Gillette, Coca-Cola, and many others.

Nick can be heard on National Geographic Explorer episodes and many other TV projects. His writing, voice, and television commercials are helping to shape the image of some of the most influential stations and networks in the country including KSWD-FM in Los Angeles, WDRV-FM in Chicago, KCBS AM/FM in San Francisco and even CNN, among others.

Nick's syndicated radio program, 
The Deep End With Nick Michaels, can be heard across the country. 


Hear Nick's impact on writing and delivery, in helping unseat a longstanding heritage market leader!

One-minute Martinizing: 

Get Different

The mission at my day job is to help others change behavior. We believe …“All that matters is what’s coming out of the speakers and on the screens. Everything else is a footnote.” Nick Michaels delivered the goods in this episode. His take away – what’s important is what they’re hearing not what we’re saying – is spot-on. The magic happens, or not, on the listener side of the radio, in the listener’s mind. Nick’s success comes from a deep understanding of the true nature of great audio - it’s a performance art.

Writing on his blog, programming ace George Johns recently said “It’s time for radio to take the blinders off and get the hell out of the forest so they can breathe some fresh air. We need to start creating some new radio because I’ve heard all this stuff before. The radio industry needs to do something so compelling that it forces its listeners to tell their friends and co-workers all about it every day.” Right on the mark, as ever.

Nick and George share a passion for making exceptional audio, audio that strikes a responsive chord, audio which triggers an emotional response. Job 1 for radio is creating exceptional audio, doing the common uncommonly well and to a measureable effect. What are you doing on the air that “forces…(your) listeners to tell their friends and co-workers all about it”? Getting listeners to talk about you, your show, your radio station is one of those critical measureable effects. You’ll get into their conversations by first getting into their mind.

Let me suggest this – something that gets people talking will breakthrough because it’s fundamentally different, it’s something which captures attention and engages the imagination. The task at hand is putting the listener mind to work. Getting the listener involved in filling in the blank. My sense is this involves a focused effort to get different rather than continuing to invest precious time and resources in getting better. Get different!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Episode 022:

Paige Nienaber:
Promote THIS!

Radio's Evil Genius Speaks

If you look up Paige Nienabor in the Encyclopedia of Radio Promotions, you’ll see his picture. Largely because he WROTE that book among several others!

In this episode, Radio’s “Evil Genius” shares some of his favorite stunts and the results created.

After groundbreaking stints at stations in Portland, Minneapolis, Charlotte and San Francisco, for the past 20 years he’s been consulting stations around the world on Marketing and Promotions. His contests and campaigns that have made hundreds of thousands of dollars and guided both stations and shows to market-leading ratings and revenue numbers.

His CPR Promotions is the go-to resource for hundreds of AE’s and Programmers who need ideas FAST! And he loves it. Working with fun, talented and creative station teams, Paige has helped orchestrate attention-getting promotions that get press worldwide.

He also reveals where he gets inspiration for some of his wackiest concepts and offers great tips for people who are short on two things: TIME and BUDGET!

Learn from Paige:

including great imaging examples,
fun videos and photos and TONS of great ideas!

Connect with Paige:


One-minute Martinizing
Know Thyself

Self-awareness is one of the secrets to achieving sustainable success. It’s also a precious gift. All of the successful people I know are serious about self-awareness. They know where they stand, honest about what they need to work on. They know how to do the work that will make a difference and move them forward. They understand doing that work – after knowing what needs to be done and knowing how to get it done – is the critical step. Without actually doing the work nothing happens.

This secret became obvious to me when one of my mentors suggested a specific daily ritual would help me to be more successful. The legendary Paul Drew told me I should end each day by taking a moment to reflect on what happened and then give myself a grade on my performance. He said “Give yourself a grade, A to F, and ask yourself why you got that grade, how could you have gotten a better grade?” Most importantly he added, “What would have to happen for you to get an A tomorrow?”

Paul’s advice has served me well (and many others lucky enough to have worked for him or to have known him).

As part of this daily exercise I have adopted a process which still works for me.

Be brutally honest about the grade you give yourself and then think about why you got that grade. What happened? I believe in writing these thoughts down, making notes in a personal journal.

When you ask yourself that last question make a list of the five most important things you need to get done tomorrow. Prioritize that list of five – be real. The next day work on #1 until it’s done and only then move on to your #2 and so on. At the end of the day move any of your top five not done to tomorrow’s list. Try this for a month and you’ll notice your daily grades getting better. Bonus: you will feel better about yourself and your job.

We all have bad days; it’s understanding why and having a plan to crush it tomorrow that will move you forward. The ancient Greeks put this secret into two simple words – Know Thyself

Monday, February 20, 2017

Episode #021

Zach Sang

Radio's FUTURE is HERE!

If you’re wondering where radio’s future superstars will come from, here’s a hint: ZACH SANG!

At a time when most of his friends were exploring other creative outlets to express their talents, Zach believed in radio ─ but with a twist!

Like many people his age, Zach found an out-of-touch medium targeted more for his parents than his generation. Nonetheless, he got ‘bit by the radio bug’ but decided to create an entirely different take on what ‘his definitation’ of radio could be…including tons of engagement using other co-branded programs. In other words, the epitome of “Brandwidth”!

Now he’s one of the youngest broadcasters ever to head his own network radio show, the pop culture show Zach Sang and the Gang on Westwood One. 

In this episode, Zach identifies exactly what he -- as a listener -- saw missing, how that inspired him to ‘go for it’, and HOW he made his moves. He shares valuable tips on engaging the audience which ANY local host or station can put into use immediately for instant improvement!

More from Zach:

One-minute Martinizing 


Radio, the first tribe of wireless, continues to enjoy considerable advantages in the daily battle for consumer attention. The most successful talent and leaders in the trade are those who take nothing for granted putting those advantages to work.

Among Radio’s natural advantages are characteristics other media are trying to exploit or copy. These include wireless, mobile, local and real-time.

Thanks to wireless devices and networks, access to practically every media can now happen wirelessly. Moreover, these devices and networks have enabled the migration of internet based assets from fixed locations (e.g., desktops in the home and office) to mobile - almost any location with wireless connectivity.

Internet technology has created the opportunity for media to offer consumers content which is sensitive to location. While it may require consumer permission it is now possible for the new wireless media to create, deliver local content.

Radio’s major advantage continues to be its real-time or in the moment capability. This advantage – the incredible power of NOW - is truly unique since it plays an essential role in Radio’s ability to relate. Radio can be a real companion and talent using one-to-one communication skills are able to offer consumers remarkable experiences not always available from other media.

The challenge is to make something happen, to do work that, as Seth Godin says, “…people would miss if it were gone.” We are competing against ourselves. Zach Sang is spot-on when he talks about connecting with people and engaging the audience. Zach’s success is no accident. He’s a performer putting in the hard work to develop his craft and in that process he’s making a difference.

If you’re willing to play the game, serious about going to work every day dedicated to committing great Radio, then the only limitation is your imagination. Make something happen. Game on.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Episode #020:
Gabe Hobbs - Gabe Hobbs Media
Finding Your Inner SuperStar

Gabe Hobbs is a longtime award-winning radio leader, specializing in spoken word formats for the past 20-plus years.

As SVP Programming for Clear Channel Broadcasting, he oversaw 275 News, Talk and Sports stations, and served as in-house advisor to Premiere Radio Networks, where he worked with names you’ll know ranging from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, to Dr. Laura, Bob Costas and even the President of the United States, Donald Trump

Now he heads Gabe Hobbs Media, featuring an impressive roster of top talent.

In this episode, Gabe reveals common threads to all of his successes, and offers tips you can implement immediately.

Gabe also shares insights on the 2017 Talk Show Boot Camp in Atlanta, where he'll unveil his latest 'HOBBS REPORT' on trends and performance of News/Talk stations and shows.  

He also shares tips that radio people of ANY format should be paying attention to moving forward!

You'll also want to check out the EXPANDED PLAY of Gabe's interview, with even more great insights trimmed for time!

One-minute Martinizing


It’s easy to forget the awesome power of Radio, the unmatched ability to create awareness and prompt action – to influence the local market.

At the best run stations, advertisers have an advocate – the sales department – which is preoccupied with their success. Putting the right creative to work in the right way improves the odds of client success and renewal. For sellers there are no stop sets only go sets.

Listeners also have an advocate – the programming team – which is obsessed with their wants, likes, preferences, interests, hopes, dreams, desires and latent fantasies. The mission, as Dr Roger Wimmer often says, is find out what the audience wants, give it to them and tell them you delivered.

My thought is the programming team should also lead a daily initiative to champion good things. Consider this three step process

1. Do your homework. Discover good work being done which deserves more attention. Be sensitive, attuned to those things which resonate with your target.

2. Create awareness. Provide the audience with what they need to know. The what and the why.

3. Encourage engagement. Sell listeners on what they can do. The how.

This week in your market there are people doing good work that deserve and need help to get the word out. Whether it’s a blood drive, a cup cake sale to raise money for school athletics, or a food bank which is failing to keep up with demand, local people doing good typically don’t get the media attention they should.

You can make a real difference. Be the change, help others to do good in your community. Give a damn. Become known as the relentless champion of locals doing good. Use your influence to get listeners involved in things that matter. It’s the rent we pay for the unique privilege of being a broadcaster.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Episode #019:
Tom Webster - Edison Research
What the "INFINITE DIAL" Means for YOU!

Tom Webster is Vice President of Strategy for Edison Research, and has nearly 20 years of experience researching consumer usage of technology, new media and social networking, which makes Tom an ideal guest for Brandwidth On Demand.

Edison Research is perhaps best known as the sold providers of exit polling data during US elections for all the major news networks, and radio’s benchmark INFINITE DIAL STUDY, America’s longest running research series on digital media consumption. 

Tom also a popular keynote speaker on data and consumer insights and writes about all of these topics. (Please see links below)

In this episode, Tom breaks down where radio IS, where he sees it going, and importantly, steps INDIVIDUALS can be taking now to secure their future career viability.

We ask Tom about what is stations may ‘think’ they know about their audience, product or branding, that they should maybe FIND OUT for sure?

We also explored 'disconnects' that he's observed between radio content creators and listeners.

And you won't want to miss his observations on lessons radio can learn from the recent elections!

More from Tom Webster:


(space limited on a first-come basis)

One-minute Martinizing:

Dare to Dream 

What can we learn from a banjo player? As it happens, we can all learn a lot starting with his now famous admonition…“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

A cheerleader in high school, his first job was working weekends at Disneyland selling guidebooks. He started playing the banjo as a teenager.

A college dropout with a theater major, he landed a writing job on a network TV variety program which earned him, along with others, his first Emmy Award at age 23. He then began a career as a stand-up comedian. The banjo played a part in his act.

By the end of the 1970s he had become one of the most popular and successful stand-ups. Sold out tours, two platinum comedy albums, two Grammys for Best Comedy Recording and a Top 20 single, he’d made it.

He started the 1980s getting out of stand-up with the goal of getting into acting. He enjoyed acting success for three decades. Respected as a performer he hosted the Academy Awards three times.

Along the way, he got back into writing. One-off essays, plays, novellas, a memoir, a novel.

In his 60s, it was finally back to his first love, his true passion - the banjo. He released his first all-music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, which won him a Grammy.

This year you can catch him on the road, he’s the guy playing a banjo, co-starring in a show with Martin Short.

Steve Martin's career serves as a reminder, an inspiration. It’s never too late. We may not be able to write a different beginning about our careers but we can always put our imagination to work and write a new, different ending. Never give up.

This is not a dress rehearsal.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Episode #018:
SBG Morning Host FITZ sez: B Y O B*

(*...and that doesn't mean what you might be thinking!)

FITZ in the Morning
From a kid who would do almost ANYthing to get on the air calling local DJ’s, and started developing his ‘act’ doing humorous PA announcements in grade school, Seattle-based FITZ shares the story of how he got his start, and the steps that lead to his nationally syndicated morning show, distributed by the SBG radio networks.
Add FITZ to YOUR lineup: Click HERE 

Fitz reveals some of the biggest mis-conceptions and next steps to those who THINK they’d like to be syndicated, but aren’t ‘there’ yet.

He also shares some great tips for PD’s & GM’s on the care & feeding of an established air talent and what HE looks from a good program director or manager and how he deals with having TON's of PD's clearing his network show.

We also asked FITZ what’s ONE THING that worked so well radio stopped doing it. His observations may surprise you…as may his tips to correct the problem! 

Get to know FITZ:

One-minute Martinizing


No matter the significant changes which technology has introduced to the complexity of being a media company, the daily mission remains the same as it has for decades – put on a good show. The winners go to work unconditionally dedicated to committing great radio.

Great talent and great stations invest time and attention differently than others. One of the things the greatest do consistently is get people to talk about their shows and their stations. “Get people to talk about your radio station,” so said the legendary Gordon McLendon in advice to his managers about how to be a market leader. As a practical matter this means putting the audience to work, getting listeners to spread the word about your station.The ongoing challenge is to engage the audience and get into their conversations. This process begins with creating something worth talking about. Content is still king. Channels of content distribution have increased dramatically representing a radical change in how people become aware of and consume content. It’s the dawn of a new world including new behaviors and habits in media consumption. The good news is thanks to digital distribution, including social media, once you’ve created killer content, getting content and word out about that content out there has never been easier.

The most successful shows and stations understand it’s critical that their content be discoverable and easy to share. They develop and practice a disciplined policy of staging content across every available and appropriate platform. From on-air recycling, to owned platforms (e.g., station websites and apps), to social networks popular with their audiences, the winners ensure their best stuff is not only out there but ready to be shared as part of the conversation. The A students know the value of exploiting the territory. They’re creating tags, owning hashtags, cultivating key influencers to drive sharing, re-sharing their “greatest hits,” and, most importantly, listening to the audience, constantly looking for new ways to make them the stars of the show.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Episode #017 - WZPL, Indy's Dave Smiley:
Confessions of a Morning Maniac

When it comes to top-rated morning shows, most managers will agree that it takes a little bit of ‘crazy’ to create the chemistry, commitment and contagious enthusiasm that keeps a show at the top of the ratings.

Few local hosts exemplify this trait than DAVE SMILEY, captain of the dominant “Smiley in the Morning Show” at Indianapolis CHR mainstay WZPL. In his multi-faceted roles as quarterback, coach and cheerleader, he has demonstrated that there is far more to making 
great morning radio than meets the ear, and maintains a crucial focus to create the seemingly free-styling morning powerhouse.

In a great story, Dave shares the story of how his first radio gig happened on a 'wing and a prayer'...literally!

He also reveals some of his biggest surprises since moving into large-market radio with a leading broadcast company and the journey behind creating such a high-profile, top rated morning show.

PD's or those who would like to be will gain insights on what a developed show hungers for, and some things NOT to do!

We also asked Dave about things he knows NOW, he wishes he'd know "THEN". His response may surprise you!

See The Smiley Show You Tube Channel

Please NOTE

         These first 10 Episodes will be available in their entirety ONLY through the end of January, 2017. Then,they’ll be tucked away in the Brandwidth Archives, so if you missed any previous episode, please  feel free to download them now.


Hear the EXPANDED PLAY, including items trimmed for time:

One-minute Martinizing: 

What’s missing?

Audience development deserves a place on your weekly agenda. Developing programming which attracts new audiences or persuades existing audiences to listen longer (new occasions or more time per occasion) is essential.

One approach in development which is particularly effective is to listen for what’s missing. This requires you to listen to the market and carefully note what’s now on the air. Whether this study involves a daypart, a specific day, or the market overall, the goal is to put yourself on the listener side of the radio and take notice of what’s being done. Once you know what’s on the air you can begin asking, what’s not being done, what’s not there – what’s missing?

Two examples of this approach in practice.

The Great American Dream Machine was a weekly magazine show on public television. A mix of short features, sketches and song, it was both satire and documentary. It’s acknowledged as seminal work, a precursor to Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show.

The show runners planned to launch the show with rotating weekly hosts rather than the traditional regular show host. It was the brilliant Sheila Nevins who had the better, original idea. Since every show has a host or two, we’ll go without any host. Using images and animation as bridges to connect the show’s segments, Nevins’ fresh concept proved to be a masterstroke. She was watching for something that wasn’t there.

Bill Drake and Ron Jacobs noticed the music stations in LA were playing commercials in what seemed to be a cluttered, random way. The way commercials were played varied by the hour and by the show. Drake and Jacobs decided to program commercials like they programmed music – they used a formal structure. Clutter was cut, commercials were limited and played in clusters creating music sweeps. They had invented KHJ’s now famous game-changer, the More Music strategy. They listened for what was not there.

To grow audience for your show or your stations one of the secrets is to stop trying to get better and start trying to get different.