What AC And Hot AC Must Do Now

rossonradio
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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I feel a little better about the music in play at Top 40 radio these days. The superstar-laden beginning of fourth quarter had been upstaged, for a few years, by April/May releases jockeying to be Song of Summer, but this fall, it’s definitely a more inspiring group of songs than we were staring at four months ago, to the point where one programmer told me recently that, for the first time in recent memory, he had more worthwhile potential adds than he could accommodate in a given week.

Portugal, The Man’s “Feel It Still” has changed the timbre of the format, now rapidly adapted by the same CHR PDs who let Fitz & the Tantrums songs stay on their side of the CHR/Hot AC divide. There is excitement about Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5. There is universal acclaim for Sam Smith—not a record that fixes the tempo issue, but a quality song that everybody seems to love.

Then there’s “Look What You Made Me Do.” The “Taylor Swift, right or wrong” fans are guarded in their assessments. The detractors aren’t guarded at all. And yet CHR radio has made “Look What You Made Me Do” top 5 while they figure out whether it’s a hit or just an event record—perhaps a meaningless distinction now anyway. I don’t mind. It’s a three-minute energy jolt that has gotten CHR running again, even if it’s running on vitriol.

These apparent format rebounds are always fragile. They hinge on a few records and they don’t always pan out. I remember writing a “hey, look at all these hits” column in early 1992, a few months later, we were plunged into CHR’s worst doldrums ever. And even if “Feel It Still” actually breaks the grip of 85 b.p.m. EDM ballads, the major labels still have six months’ worth of those songs, and loping midtempo tropical pop, to move through the system before anything can really change.

Either way, what Hot AC and Adult Contemporary radio must do is clear now. It wasn’t a great thing for CHR, Adult Top 40/Hot AC, and AC to be jammed so close together even when the music was good. The PPM moment when it seemed to work for everybody to play the same hits was short-lived (and at a time when any actual changes in formats’ fortunes may have been obscured by Voltair anyway). Eventually, fewer differences meant fewer reasons to listen to any station for a sustained period.

Now, it is possible to listen to Hot AC and hear that format and Mainstream AC struggling to digest CHR’s leftovers. I had that experience a few weeks ago with an Adult CHR that was still heavily invested in nine-month-old to two-year-old CHR hits, particularly EDM ballads. Some were undeniable hits on the “Don’t Let Me Down” magnitude. Some were the next tier of the genre—“Sit Still, Look Pretty” followed by “Starving” a few songs later.

AC doesn’t usually get to the second tier of songs. But its present model for current music is a six-to-nine month ratification of CHR hits. Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” becomes not the Song of Summer 2016, but winter 2017. Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” a song that ignited at CHR immediately upon its release on Jan. 6, goes 2-1 AC this week.

Sometimes the lag has worked in Mainstream AC’s favor. Earlier this year, when Top 40 was at its sludgiest, AC still had “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and “Cake By The Ocean” in current rotation. An AC client remarked that his had become the station in the market for tempo, and he was correct. But now, AC is going to be processing “Say You Won’t Let Go” and “Stay” for a while, if the pattern holds.

Mainstream AC has another issue to contend with. Over the past six months, a lot of the late ‘00s pop music has started to look shaky in AC music testing. It often looks very different from station to station—it might be a single artist or several. Even if I didn’t want you to do your own research, I would warn against any across-the-board response to that statement.

But the concept of the “millennial AC,” so exciting a few years ago, is challenged now by a simultaneous softening of the current product, and weakness in the library titles that PDs were so depending on. It’s not necessarily the fault of those songs, as much as the way we’ve handled them. They didn’t get a chance to go away and come back a few years later. Instead, AC had to take in “Firework” and “Hey, Soul Sister” when they had 40% burn at CHR. And unlike the ‘80s category, it was a relatively small handful of artists and music styles.

Hot AC programmers have the easiest remedies, beginning with better use of their gold library. There was never any law that “’90s to Now” had to mean “but mostly now.” There are a few Adult Top 40s—WKRQ (Q102) Cincinnati, WQAL (Q104) Cleveland, WWMX (Mix 106.5) Baltimore—that are successfully operating as the current hit music stations in their markets. For most others, the franchise is being the relief button from CHR, at least until Top 40 gets consistently better.

There are also Hot AC programmers who see an opportunity to delve back into pop/alternative titles again. For most, that means more attention to a relative few titles—Portugal, Judah & the Lion, the Revivalists, the next Imagine Dragons—but the idea of a Modern AC comeback now is intriguing. And Sinclair Communications, which has tried an Alternative/CHR hybrid in the past, is doing so again, this time on former CHR KSXY (the 101) Santa Rosa, Calif. 

The notion of taking control of current product will be daunting for many Hot AC and especially AC PDs. Adult formats have gotten used to being handed viable product from Mainstream CHR. Even as the pipeline began to clog this spring, they were more excited to play songs that had been ratified by CHR, even if they weren’t a perfect fit, than to help develop a “Million Reasons” or “Play That Song.”

For many programmers now, the reaction could be relying even more heavily on the exact recurrents that have been making CHR less exciting for the last year. It’s a natural instinct, like turning down the radio after a near miss on the highway. But I’m not sure what the benefit is in “play mediocre records more and hold on to them longer.” And it hasn’t helped Country or Alternative much. For AC and Hot AC, the answer is going to be going both older and newer, and recognizing the dearth of music from the last 18 months for what it is.


What AC And Hot AC Must Do Now

The Sound Podcast launches with Nobex Partners

caitwatson
Monday, August 28, 2017
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Santa Cruz, August 28, 2017 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nobex Partners is proud to announce our partnership with The Sound Podcast. They launched their custom app with Nobex Partners earlier this week.

The new podcast-focussed apps from Nobex Partners offer podcasters a chance to create custom mobile apps that are packed with all the great features that radio stations love about Nobex Partners, including integrated social feeds, custom requests forms, and push messages. Push Messages are really powerful for podcasters; being able to send a push that is in realtime, or scheduled, or episode specific draws listeners back into the app.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Nobex to bring our podcast, and all of our content to a mobile audience with our new The Sound Podcast App.”

— Ira Haberman | Host/Executive Producer, The Sound Podcast

“The Sound Podcast is a great example of what you can do with our podcast-focussed custom apps. It’s been great working with Ira to get this launched and ready for him to grow his listenership even more.”

— Cait Watson | VP Marketing, Nobex Technologies

ABOUT THE SOUND PODCAST

The Sound Podcast is a music discovery podcast rooted in music and musicians inspired by the Grateful Dead and the larger “Jam Band” community. We provide a forum for artists, writers and others involved in the scene to tell their story. Just like you, we’re always listening for the secret, and searching for the sound. http://www.thesoundpodcast.com/

The apps: https://www.thesoundpodcast.com/the-sound-podcast-app

 

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About Nobex Partners:

Nobex Partners powers a complete digital solution and custom apps for thousands of broadcasters and podcasters across the globe. It’s not just mobile – it’s a complete digital solution.www.NobexPartners.com


The Sound Podcast launches with Nobex Partners

New Partner Offer with Spacial Audio

caitwatson
Thursday, August 24, 2017
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Check out our latest Partner Offer – Meet the good folks at Spacial Audio!

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Spacial Audio has been the leader in Internet Radio Software since 1999, offering award-winning solutions, used by more than 250,000 radio stations in over 160 countries. Spacial Audio’s products include SAM Broadcaster Cloud, SAM Broadcaster Pro, SAM DJ and SAM Cast.
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We’re teaming up with Spacial to offer a free, 7-day trial so that you can discover the benefits of using their radio automation software.

Sign up for a 7 Day FREE trial for SAM Broadcaster Cloud today! Learn more on the Partner Offers tab.

Best Alternative to Your Internet Radio Automation Software
Are you looking for a powerful yet simple-to-use, Cloud-based Internet radio solution? Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just starting out, SAM Broadcaster Cloud from Spacial Audio includes all of the features you might need to automate and manage your Internet radio station.
Being Cloud-based removes the headache of having to stay connected to broadcast your station, with SAM Broadcaster Cloud’s flexible scheduling managing your station’s output when you cannot. If you or your DJs wish to broadcast live then the included SAM Broadcaster Live-DJ licenses allow you to switch seamlessly from the Cloud to live streaming. With a number of Cloud options available, Spacial Audio has a solution for most scenarios.

Here are some of the great features which make SAM Broadcaster Cloud stand out from the crowd:

  • Live Streaming with seamless switching between live shows and Cloud streaming
  • Cloud solutions – broadcast anywhere from any computer with an Internet connection
  • Powerful but flexible scheduling features
  • Multi-DJ management with each service including at least 5 SAM Broadcaster Live-DJ licenses for your DJs
  • Advanced audio processing, including cross and fading features
  • Easily manage up to 50 stations all sharing the same Cloud-based music library
  • Ability to stream to your existing ShoutCast/IceCast servers
  • Ability to stream in multiple formats
  • Detailed listener and history reporting

GET STARTED HERE!

  


New Partner Offer with Spacial Audio

New Forms Feature

caitwatson
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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FormsDriven by input from our top stations, we have revamped the Forms tool to make it more flexible and customizable. Not only can you use (and customize) our existing templates, you can also create your own form from scratch!
We have seen 1,400 different forms created and over 20,000 user interactions with them since we introduced Forms. It is an excellent tool to engage your listeners and create a sense of inclusion and accessibility. Listeners love to share their input, comments, ideas, and it helps you to develop and tailor your programming to suit your audience.
Song Request Form template
Editing a Song Request form template
Custom form template
Come up with your own forms – customize completely!

New Forms Feature

Tutorial: Automatically Promoting Your App on your Social Feeds

caitwatson
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
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A guest posting credit to: Ngonidzashe Kaseke, Joyful FM Radio, South Africa

Most radio admins and producers are well versed with the automatic tweets by their broadcasting tools. Its really easy. I will explain according to Radionomy but steps are the same.
STEP 1. Connect your radio to your social accounts Twitter or Facebook.
STEP 2. Upload jingles or promos for your station to your broadcasting tool. They can be audio ads about the app, how people can download free and listen via your new app. Even instrumental fillers of say 2 minutes can do.
STEP 3. After filling the metadata – track title and artist info e.g App promo – Joyful FM, and cover art; make sure you add automatic tweet info that will be tweeted automatically to your Twitter account or posted to your Facebook radio page. Same as how you add your #NowPLAYING info. Use the social share buttons of your broadcasting tools to do this . Here are examples of the text you can use for automatic tweets every time the promo or jingle plays on your radio : “Download our free app from Appstore /iTunes, GooglePLAY and Blackberry World. Search for Joyful FM” “Listen from your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch! Download free app here > http://goo.gl/nwYHFA or http://bit.do/joyfulfmApp “Listen from your Android device. Download now our free Joyful FM app here > http://goo.gl/DekyLa “This is what your twitter followers or fb fans will see every time your promo/ jingle or instrumental plays. Just like your #NowPLAYING tags.
Tweet your plugs for your app automatically
Tweet your plugs for your app automatically
Saves you time and your followers will see lots of them a day and will end up clicking!

Tutorial: Automatically Promoting Your App on your Social Feeds

Announcing Partnership with iPluggers

caitwatson
Monday, July 17, 2017
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iPluggers and Nobex Partners Announce a New Partnership

Santa Cruz, July 17, 2017 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Finding the right music for your station can be difficult and keeping it fresh can be even harder, so finding a service that keeps your Music Director updated with the latest releases would be amazing! Nobex Partners is teaming up with iPluggers – a digital promoter of new music – to make it easy for stations to keep their playlist fresh and packed with great new music from quality artists and labels. Stations with Nobex Partners apps will be able to take advantage of the huge iPluggers database of new high-quality releases available for airplay all from within their Partner Dashboard.

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Radio stations can sign up for an account with iPluggers free of charge and get tailored iPlugging updates featuring the station’s selected genres to get music with just the right feel for their programming. Not only do stations stay updated on the latest releases, they can also browse and download music from the extensive iPluggers database, which offers a wealth of music in over 200 sub genres. They have access to digital press kits for artists and labels, including artist information, videos, biography, and discography. Radio show makers who do interviews with artists can even request interviews through the platform.

“For Nobex, having stations get the most out of the platform is key. Being able to offer iPluggers’ service to our stations means making their experience even better. We’re thrilled to see this launch!” – Cait Watson, VP Marketing, Nobex Partners

“Here at iPluggers, we’re working on a daily basis to provide our worldwide network of stations with the best music from artists and labels around the globe. We are very excited about our collaboration with Nobex: their app is truly amazing and takes listening to the radio to the next level, and we’re looking forward to service their radio makers with great music for their playlist! ” – Marvin Kuijs, Founder & Head of A&R, iPluggers

ABOUT iPLUGGERS:

iPluggers is a worldwide digital radio promotion service. iPluggers promotes new high-quality releases to more than 30.000 radio stations worldwide (FM, AM, internet, digital, satellite, local and regional radio stations). Access to their large database is free for radio stations www.ipluggers.com

ABOUT NOBEX PARTNERS:

Nobex Partners powers a complete digital solution and custom apps for thousands of broadcasters and podcasters across the globe. It’s not just mobile – it’s a complete digital solution.www.NobexPartners.com


Announcing Partnership with iPluggers

How Push Notifications Boost Re-Engagement

caitwatson
Thursday, July 06, 2017
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I wanted to share a quick note with you about how effective Push Notifications are to re-engage listeners. For those of you wondering what push notifications are, it is a message that pops up on the home or lock screen of a mobile device. It doesn’t require the user to be in the app or using their device at the time it arrives. A push message looks much like an SMS text message and reach users who have installed your app on their device and granted permission to send push notifications.

​In a typical broadcast you can only reach listeners who are currently tuned in and listening to you. The power of push notifications is being able to connect with listeners who are not tuned in and encouraging them to launch the app and rejoin your broadcast.

Push Increase
Station introduced push in late March saw a dramatic increase in streaming minutes
Daily Usage
Each point represents a push message and the spike of usage after it is sent.

 

Schedule push messages to keep you listeners engaged, have your DJs and hosts send them in realtime, keep listeners coming back all the time.

There are some best practices to consider when sending push notifications

  1. Push Messages are Not Email:
    Messages should be brief and concise. Keep in mind most users will see them flick across the top of their screen and may or may not read past the first line
  2. Timing:
    Since push messages are delivered instantly (or immediately as scheduled) be aware of your timing. A few minutes before the start of a new show, or before a hot new track comes up in your program.
  3. Language:
    Encourage an action, create a sense of immediacy to get the best reactions.

The Push Notification feature is available to all stations on the Plus and Pro level plans. Visit the Account tab in the Partner Dashboard to subscribe.


How Push Notifications Boost Re-Engagement