Notes from the OAB Town Hall meeting last Thursday
What follows is an abridged version of conversations at the Marriott Toronto Airport hotel.
Moderator: Maureen Holloway, co-host of Darren & Mo on CHFI (MH). Panelists: Julie Adam, Sr. VP, Rogers Radio (JA)’ Elmer Hilderbrand, CEO, Golden West Broadcasting (EH)’ Michele Pauchuck, advertising executive (MP); David Phillips, President & COO, NLogic (DP); and Chris Sisam, VP, Corus Radio East (CS).
MH: Coming to the end of a rating period, flat is the new up. How do you sell radio to your clients?
MP: Advertising, like radio, is changing to become more customer-centric. You need to do research and understand the analytics to understand what the consumer is doing – and that’s lacking today. Especially in the digital realm.
DP: We need to have a think about existing analytics. Numeris does what it does well, but as an industry, we need to figure out what we need from digital.
EH: Canada has a dual broadcasting system; one in the major markets and everyone else. The challenge with connecting with customers in large markets is substantial. Not for small markets; they can create a portal that encompasses everything in the community. Radio in smaller markets can really become embedded.
MH: How can we better sell radio?
DP: We’re not going to increase the number of listeners. But we can improve the yield, and we can find new revenue sources.
MP: Some radio stations are creating interesting content possibilities that they aren’t taking advantage of.
MH: Radio personalities are encouraged and expected to be social media personalities. If social media is so important, why are we relying on our on-air personalities? Shouldn’t we have dedicated social media staff?
CS: It’s both. You need both. Your personalities are your strength. They need to be leveraged to engage audiences.
EH: Our community portals generate over $3M annually in revenue. This is a small market solution that probably wouldn’t work in Toronto.
MH: Millennials: What does radio have to offer millennials?
DP: What radio offers is the same thing as other content; content they enjoy with good personalities. It’s that simple. We believe too many myths about millennials.
JA: Millennials are listening (and she tells a story to prove the point). My kid loves Ellen (DeGeneres). She asked the daughter how do you watch the show? The daughter replied, does she have a show? She watches her on YouTube. The point is: everyone loves personalities, wherever they may be.
EH: Young people are only young for a time. They aren’t leaving. They’ll grow up and return.
MP: The content has to create that instant connection across platforms.
MH: Let’s talk about cars. What about self-driving cars?
DP: We’re overstating the danger of new technology. It’s not necessarily a new change. We tend to automatically see new tech as threats. Why not view them as opportunities?
MH: Let’s talk about sexual harassment. Bullying! How do we deal with it as an industry?
JA: I don’t know a woman who hasn’t experienced harassment. Men experience it too. Tolerance for harassment and bullying in the workplace has dropped substantially. The business has changed. Rogers has tonnes of HR people to help and the resources for those suffering.
CS: Where we’ve come from twenty years ago to today is big. Tolerance is dropping to zero. Codes of conduct are in place and there are alert lines that people can call.
MP: We exited someone from the company 18 months ago for sexual harassment. He was gone in 12 hours from the complaint being brought forward. That gives safe space to people who experience harassment.
JA: Our business has tolerated high performers with low values for too long.
MH: Talk about your greatest fears. What keeps you up at night? And what excites you?
DP: I have hope that radio has a big opportunity to innovate. My fear is that radio won’t capitalize on the opportunity. Radio hasn’t changed in 30 years. But it needs to adapt.
JA: What keeps me up at night is the people. Giving them a bright future. I’m excited about the possibilities and platforms; what keeps me up at night is how to leverage all of them effectively. We know it’s about serving the community and listeners and advertisers but it’s harder than ever.
But it is a fantastic business; it’s fun.
CS: What keeps me up at night is the perceived relevance of traditional media in our industry. We need to battle daily. We’re in a golden age of audio. Measurable audio.
EH: Nothing keeps me up. After 60 years, I’ve seen it all come and go. The most important thing is to look after our audience. We do that well and we’ll be OK.
Some radio stations are downsizing in the wrong areas, such as in talent and news. We need to keep these areas strong.
DP: The pure plays (Google, Facebook, etc.) are good at driving fear in purchasers. Driving that fear is that if ad buyers don’t get on board, they will be missing the next big thing or the next big platform.
Question from the floor: Thoughts on enabling the FM chips in smart phones?
CS: The OAB has been speaking with various cell phone manufacturers. Natural disasters have interestingly given a public policy reason to potentially turn them on, but there’s still pushback in the US and Canada.
Bell Media Appointments: Taylor Jukes, Val Meyer take on new responsibilities
Rob Farina, Head of Radio Content, Strategy, and iHeartRadio for Bell Media has announced the appointment of Taylor Jukes to the role of Senior Manager, National Content, iHeartRadio.
Farina and Val Meyer, VP and GM of Bell Media Toronto Radio, have also announced that Karen Steele assumes the role of Program Director, 99.9 Virgin Radio Toronto. Both appointments are effective today (Nov. 13).
“Taylor is a tremendous asset to our radio operations, and I am delighted for her to expand her scope in a new, nationally focused role,” said Farina. “Taylor is a proven leader and a tremendous supporter of talent, both on and off air. In this role, she will apply her creative content expertise across our leading radio brands, as we continue to innovate and invest in iHeartRadio Canada.”
Reporting to Farina, Jukes’ newly created role sees her overseeing the creation and production of original content, marketing communications, and project management for iHeartRadio Canada, Bell Media’s industry-leading radio network. Since joining Bell Media in 2015, Jukes has held the position of Program Director, 99.9 Virgin Radio Toronto, following a move from Newcap Vancouver.
“Karen brings substantial leadership skills and strong relationships to the Virgin Radio Toronto team,” said Meyer. “With a wealth of experience in promotions and programming, particularly in the Toronto market, Karen is a perfect fit for this newly expanded role as we continue to elevate these strong Virgin Radio brands.”
Reporting to Meyer, Steele takes on the role of Program Director, 99.9 Virgin Radio Toronto in addition to her current role as Program Director, 105.3 Virgin Radio Kitchener. Her past accomplishments in the Toronto market include the roles of Program Director of the former Mix 99.9, Promotions Director of CHFI, and Program and Promotions Director of KISSFM.
Newcap Radio is picking up two FM radio stations in New Glasgow, NS, in a deal that still has to be approved by the CRTC.
Newfoundland Capital Corporation, which owns the 72-station Newcap Radio chain, did not divulge the price it is to pay under that deal for the Hector Broadcasting’s CKEC and CKEZ in Pictou County.
Newfoundland Capital Corporation CFO Scott Weatherby said in an interview Friday the federal regulator is expected to make its decision on the deal within the next four months.
The media chain already owns five radio stations in the province, Q104 – The Home of Rock n Roll and Mix 96.5 FM in Halifax, The Giant Cape Breton 101.9 and New Country 103.5 in Sydney, as well as K-Rock 89.3 in New Minas.
Profits for Newcap rose six percent, to $8.2M, in Q3 due to higher revenues and tighter controls on costs.
“The company had a successful third quarter, which made up for the challenging start to 2017 and positioned us for another successful year,” said Rob Steele, the company’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement – Source: The News
Fairfax investment in Torstar hints at big changes for Canada's largest circulation newspaper
Toronto-based Fairfax Financial is boosting its stake in Torstar and leaving the door open to significant strategy discussions with management.
Fairfax announced late Thursday it acquired an additional 9.4M Class B shares in the publisher of The Toronto Star, taking its stake to 40.6 percent of the company’s outstanding B shares.
The company said the shares were acquired for investment purposes, while adding that it in the future it could discuss a range of options with Torstar management and its board of directions, including mergers and changes in the boardroom – Source: BNN
The Montreal-based publisher has announced the sale of 21 of its publications and their related web properties to Icimédias Inc., a company led by its President Renel Bouchard, with Marc-Noël Ouellette as Managing Director.
In total, 140 employees of these various publications and 28 employees from TC Media's Production team are transferred to Icimédias. With the completion of this transaction, close to 50% of the titles included in this process are now in the hands of local owners.
The publications sold are: L'Avenir de l'Érable, La Nouvelle union - Wednesday edition and La Nouvelle union - Sunday edition, in Centre-du-Québec; Beauce Média, L'Éclaireur Progrès, Hebdo Régional, La Voix du Sud and Courrier Frontenac, in Chaudière-Appalaches; Le Progrès de Coaticook and Le Reflet du Lac, in Estrie; Le Courrier Sud, L'Écho La Tuque/Haut-St-Maurice, L'Écho de Maskinongé, L'Hebdo du St-Maurice and L'Hebdo Journal, in Mauricie; L'Avenir et des Rivières, Granby Express, Journal Le Guide, Le Canada Français, Le Richelieu and Coup d'œil, in Montérégie.
Renel Bouchard, President of Icimédias: "Today's transaction will result in the creation of the largest regional independent newspaper group in Québec. We believe in the future of regional weekly media and are confident that weeklies are critical to the vitality and development of our communities, cities and towns, and their region.”