Last week, we were asked to submit a proposal for consulting services to a station manager who we’ve known for a number of years. It’s been more than a decade since we worked with him, and he was seeking to reacquaint himself with our company and our services.
We’ve changed a great deal over the years – adding digital consulting, sales guidance, and extensive music mapping – all elements that weren’t being offered when we last worked together. After reviewing his needs and what we provided, he still questioned whether his station truly needed someone to tell him which Nirvana songs to play.
And I explained that for the difficult strategic, directional decisions that he’s been tasked to make for his brand, the people who work for him require an outside, unblemished voice of reason.
And it brought to mind a quote I heard from the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, many years ago:
“Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut.”
That’s because you pretty much know what he’s going to tell you. And by the way, he’s holding the scissors.
A great decision-maker needs impartial opinions and analysis, free of bias or agendas.
Consultants that essentially offered advice on which songs to play and where to set minimum rotations have mostly gone out of business or moved on to other lines of work. The essence of what we do now for clients – whether commercial or public, inside radio or outside – is to help managers navigate these tumultuous, disruptive waters.
It helps to have some data. We’re excited to be reviewing Techsusrvey12 spreadsheets, now that it’s back from the field. This robust study will provide listener-level information for more than 220 stations across North America, helping them better understand their brand’s digital footprint.
But if it was just about metrics, everyone would be making good decisions. Between Nielsen ratings, Mscores, and the plethora of other numbers, there’s no shortage of analytics. True guidance comes from studying the available data, and translating it into smart actions that can keep brands healthy, relevant, and profitable. It is no longer about just cranking out music logs or designing caller #9 contests. It is about making the right calls that best utilize human and financial resources to stay ahead of the pack.
Pop culture, media usage, and consumer behavior are changing at a rate of speed unprecedented since the Gutenberg printing press. Calm, insightful, studied, and rational advice has never been more important.
That’s what it’s always been about.
And I promise never to bring along the scissors.
Techsurvey12 will be presented at the Worldwide Radio Summit in L.A. on April 13-15. Details here.
Prior to launching the company, Fred spent the majority of his time designing and managing research projects as the Director of Research for the Radio and Publishing divisions for Frank N. Magid Associates, a leading research and consulting firm. Later, Fred became Director of Radio Research for the ABC-FM Owned and Operated Radio Stations. From there, Fred gravitated to the station side, becoming program director for legendary WRIF-FM in Detroit, before forming Jacobs Media.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults Jacobs Media’s major market Classic, Mainstream, and Active Rock clients, while having input in every client relationship.
Fred has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.
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