Radio’s 5 Customers

“Radio is at the tipping point, and it doesn’t want to know much about the way its customers are changing.”

Joint Communications’ John Parikhal tells Tom Taylor of Radio-Info.com in yesterday’s daily newsletter he’s worried about radio tuning out its listeners:

“Internet companies are checking out the customer six ways to Sunday. But radio will tell you they don’t have the money to research their customer. I truly think we’re at the tipping point, because for any business, you have to know who your customers are. 

For radio, it’s 5 different customers:

#1 – Wall Street or another ‘lender’.

#2 – The advertiser. And radio should focus a lot more on the advertiser, because it has given them very short shrift. The more innovative companies are trying to become the digital and media marketing experts for the local guy, to help them move more product. Their competition is Craigslist and emerging online city directories.

#3 – The FCC, and I sense that radio will be hearing from them within a year.

#4 – The employees. With a few notable exceptions, they have been treated the way no customer should ever be treated. This whirlwind of firings and layoffs has nothing to do with performance, and the message it sends is very negative. People are now very, very wary about making radio a career.

#5 – The listener. But radio thinks ‘all we have to do is keep the listeners we’ve got.’ That’s a fool’s game. You have to grow the pie, and to do that, you need to know more about your listener than their favorite songs or that they like sports on the radio. The listener doesn’t care that radio is in a recession and won’t invest in understanding their changing needs.”

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Cover Story: John Parikhal on The Media Fix

John Parikhal

Never one to stand still and accept the status quo, John Parikhal has been a leading-edge thinker in the broad based media markets for over thirty years. As CEO of media strategy company Joint Communications, he has worked with a multitude of clients including TBS, MTV, VH1, XM Radio, Rolling Stone Magazine, Pepsi, Wendy’s, Molson, CBS, NBC, ABC, Time Warner and Radio One, as well as major record companies and radio stations in the United States, Canada and around the world.
In addition to operating Joint Communications, Parikhal has also formed a partnership with global media and entertainment expert Taran Swan who has worked with market leaders Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network over a twenty year media and entertainment career. Earlier this year the two multi-media doctors unveiled their latest venture, The Media Fix blog at http://www.gomediafix.com. It’s a must see site for all media and marketing executives who choose to be actionable in their approach to today’s solutions.

John Parikhal on imagination: If you take the commitment away from imagination, eventually you’ll even lose corporate focus.

e-QB presents excerpts from the NovemberFMQB magazine Cover Story with John Parikhal, CEO, Joint Communications

On the core concept of his new blog The Media Fix… The Media Fix became a way for us to start a dialog around the ongoing critical issues of the Internet, integrating ideas that parallel the broadcast and related fields. It’s not strictly about the digital space. We’re interested in all areas of media and technology focused on this changing world and its effects on the consumer. I’ve always been consumer focused. We want to stay on top of change to anticipate and help companies take effective competitive action while staying connected with the consumer.The Growth Curve is an important part of assessing where a company is and where it will go. Phase 1 in almost every business is the Discovery Phase during which you are figuring things out and investing a lot of time in the process which begins with losing more than gaining. You actually go down the Growth Curve before you go up. Once you discover what is really working you start duplicating the pattern of success. The Phase 2 is the Normative Phase where you duplicate what you have discovered and formatting becomes king. It’s also where you make the most money because of the repetition process. The Phase 3 is to rethink and modify what’s worked for you in Phase 2. It’s critical to the future of your business. You can get trapped in Phase 2 because of consistent success through repetition. However if you’re not thinking ahead and modifying your model, someone else will do it for you which can lead to disaster.

On the “Growth Curve” concept on the site which is an integral part of John’s strategic thinking…

On applying this concept to the radio industry…Radio is rethinking, modifying and innovating a lot these days. Some radio companies are doing really smart and creative things on the Internet. Radio is asking for innovation from their suppliers because they had to. You never really change unless you have to. As you move along the Growth Curve, whether you like it or not, after you make a lot of money duplicating the old pattern, it stops working and everybody always ends up at the rethink and modify stage or else they die.Radio is being innovative but there’s often confusion between innovation and top down initiatives. Top down initiatives are seldom innovative. They are usually the result of a committee meeting and jamming out something that’s sub-optimal but agreeable to all parties. Consolidation was developing managers burdened with too many responsibilities and radio lost its innovative edge.
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