I went to Las Vegas last week for the 2022 NAB Show hoping to see more radio industry integration after the announcement last fall that the Radio Show would be permanently consolidated there.
Actions spoke louder than words. Although there was a slight increase in pressure for their small and medium market radio sales boards and forum, the loss of a centralized convention for radio was felt. Many executives, brokers and union members had their usual meetings in their suites at the Wynn and Encore. At the show, the number of booths dedicated to radio companies was dwindling as they were spread across the three open rooms and, unlike in previous years, no dedicated area with an audio focus. This left the show completely disjointed for someone trying to find certain sellers.
There are still a number of conferences dedicated to one part of the industry, but not one where the whole broadcasting community can come together for a common purpose. Where station owners can see future transmission technology or on-air talent can learn sales practices to potentially make them more useful to their stations or learn a new side of the business. Plus, what radio person doesn’t want a reason to go to Las Vegas?
Inquiring with NAB Senior Vice President/Communications Ann Marie Cumming on the show, she said they have no plans to have an increased radio presence on the show. NAB’s October Party in New York City outside of the Marconi Awards ceremony. There could be potential to add more panels for other facets of the industry to Las Vegas next year, but unless they find a way to bring everyone together under one roof, it’s all could be in vain.
Is there another show that can pick up that torch to bring the entire industry together? Perhaps one of the larger state organizations like Texas or Michigan? We need a place that can talk to all the radio and bring it up together. A place to own the brand of “radio” for what it means in 2022 and beyond.
Speaking of owning your brand, Christian AC 95.1 WRBS-FM’s under-the-radar rebranding of “Shine FM” for “Bright-FMis a perfect example of a radio station making a short-term loss for a long-term gain.
WRBS-FM General Manager Steve Lawhon was candid with listeners, telling them they used the “Shine” name licensed from the network of Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, which has decided to require all others to rebrand due to digital confusion caused to Illinois listeners.
Now both stations have names they own entirely with trademarks. Too often in commercial radio we see trademarks come from syndicators who license them, like “Jack-FM“, “Costs“, or “The edge“rather than a single station claiming a brand to own on all platforms, as radio becomes so much more than just its AM or FM signal. Try to be a named station”Z100“not in New York trying to get good SEO or social media accounts. iHeartMedia controls the brand in Portland and Eau Claire, but good luck trying to pop up the Country station in southern Illinois or the Classic Rocker in Missoula if you’re an unaware listener to the massive national brand or just looking of “Kiss FM” or “The bull“.
Sometimes a good idea shines bright.