The Radio Convention They Should Have Held

The trades tell us the just-concluded NAB Radio Show in Philly was brimming with optimism and for the life of me I couldn't find one person other than the owners who would agree with that.

It was so surreal -- you know, with a serious industry crisis going on and people running around telling you how good things are going to be -- that I got to thinking on my flight back to Phoenix --what would you do, Jerry?

Now I'm going to have a little fun while I deliver some constructive criticism so I know you are okay with that -- after all you read me every day -- but be careful not to forward this to any radio people who don't get it or are standing close to a ledge or are constipated.

This is the radio show the NAB should have held. My version is the JAD Convention (The "J" stands for Jerry and the "A" is my middle name Anthony pronounced "Ant-knee" back in Philly).

1. Rename the NAB Radio Show the NAB Radio No-Show. The wrong people attended and not enough of the right ones -- people who actually know how to do radio.

2. Let the audience teach and the speakers sit in the audience. The NAB currently has it ass backwards. Too often the wrong people were the "experts" on the dais lecturing to the ones who forgot more than they know. Listening to Mark Mays wax eloquent about how he wishes he had invested more in new media is an example. Okay, Mark -- then how about now? You've had the epiphany, now get the checkbook out.

3. Or Edison Research saying what we have in this industry is an HR problem. They are right, but they are telling the wrong people. Those people, the CEOs, wouldn't listen anyway. They are the problem.

4. Replace the Dickstein Shapiro opening funeral with Randy Michaels. At least Randy ran radio stations and he can make you laugh. If you only get one chance to make a good first impression then ... oops, keep the undertakers and opportunists out.

5. Next year, refuse to give any visibility to a radio CEO who will not pay to send his or her employees to the convention. That's the funny thing. Lew Tricky Dickey earns his nickname by prancing around the NAB acting like a supporter with his small retinue of minions but bans Cumulus market managers from attending saying they need to be at their stations working. And the NAB gives these guys credibility? Shame on them! (I'll be writing about my conversation with Dickey at the NAB sometime this week -- "The Thrilla from Philla").

6. Pay the attendees for going to the Radio Show. After all, with out-of-pocket expenses and many (not all) panels like the ones I just described, the attendees were not only getting a learning deficit but a financial one as well. Okay, I'm kidding. But ... make it free and let sponsors support it. Oh, the NAB can't make a profit from sponsors alone? Okay, then ask the radio groups to subsidize all the employees that they won't let attend because they are presently in bondage. Imagine throwing a radio show and the decision maker who refuses to let his people come -- goes -- and gets star billing. Just sayin'.

7. Put a wrecking ball to the exhibit hall concept. I mean, those poor suckers paid to watch people walk around, eat and drink free food and buy absolutely nothing -- again!

8. Pitch a big tent and bring events like Kurt Hanson's RAIN Summit under the same roof (full disclosure: I did a mini-keynote at this year's event so feel free to attack me for this idea). But, the people who attended the RAIN session were new media savvy and there was nothing but optimism in the room for three hours. Try this with the usual "tell them nothing" panel approach the NAB uses.

9. Have the entire show in the Reading Terminal Market -- arguably the best hoagies and cheesesteaks in Philly. Forget the convention center. It's Philly -- eating is more important.

10. Cancel it all together as Lew Dickey and his fellow consolidators do for their people. Then radio CEOs can't embarrass themselves publicly in front of non-employees.

11. Have a convention for everyone who has been fired from radio. Then when Dickey Do gets up to speak, one of the many irate "laid-off" employees will get the long awaited opportunity to stand up and scream out "you lie".

I invite you to add your "improvements" on my Facebook page for a radio convention. Or go to Inside Music Media's website and cast your vote for the best and worst radio group. It's on the right hand side.

We've been having a little fun here with the radio convention concept but it is fair to note that a lot of good people worked hard to put the NAB Radio Show on. You can't blame them. Maybe now that Gordon Smith is going to take over as CEO, the trade group could get real.

One thing is for sure:

You can't have a radio show without radio people.


For those of you who would prefer to get Jerry's daily posts by email for FREE, please click here.

Thanks for forwarding my pieces to your friends and linking to your websites and boards.

JERRY CAN HELP WITH PODCASTING ... Content, monetization and acquiring audience through social network -- (480) 998-9898 or click on "email author" (below).