CBS Radio President Dan Mason has decided to get back to basics with the company’s music-formatted stations, sending a memo to format managers and market managers company-wide on 5/24 detailing the move. The goal is to tighten the relationship with record labels by including title and artist mentions on new music releases to personalize and drive sales. They will also embark on a project expanding stations’ radio play history online as far back as several years.
Here’s his memo:
A Message From Dan
While I was in Los Angeles recently, I met with a leading music industry executive to discuss the mutual benefits of keeping an open dialogue as our respective businesses navigate the future. Certainly the dynamics of 2011 are vastly different than they were 20 years ago for both industries, and maybe it’s a bit idealistic to think things can be the same as they were when I was the program director of WPGC in Washington. But I believe we should always be thinking about where we were and where we are now, and how we can apply what we’ve learned to help us grow.
In the spirit of this conversation, I asked this exec what’s the one thing the radio industry could do to help sell more music. The answer came from him in less than five seconds which astonished me. He replied, “Just give the title and artist of the music you play.” Pretty simple idea and it wasn’t the answer I expected. He went on to question me as to how the concept of not giving that information ever crept into radio programming in the first place. Having been around programming for 40 years, my recollection was that in the early 80’s that information was defined as clutter – the more music and less talk theory. I didn’t subscribe to that theory, but it was the thinking at the time.
It’s been several days since that meeting and after much internal discussion here’s what we’re going to do to put that sacred cow to pasture. Effective immediately, CBS Radio contemporary, rock, urban and country stations will increase the integration of title and artist information on new music releases in an effort to personalize, and drive sales of the product. We will also be expanding our radio play history online as far back as several years, providing a living synopsis of the songs we feature on the air for anyone to access.
This is a commitment I feel very strongly about. Our listeners should hear an immediate difference in the way we present our day to day programming as we implement this. Click here to listen to a few examples that I think hit the right tone in pre- and back-announcing songs.
This is a positive step CBS Radio is taking not only to support the sale of music, but in strengthening our relationship with the artists and those that promote and manage their careers.
I welcome and appreciate your feedback on ways we can bring new energy and passion to the way we present our content. We shouldn’t just play the music, we should showcase the music. Love of the product is contagious. Please feel free to email me and let me know your thoughts.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s been a while since radio and record labels have sat down and worked together on helping each other—because for many stations, it’s the music that matters. Whether or not the cooperation includes more promotional dollars or just plain ads for albums is not clear at this time, but getting back to basics and becoming more involved with the music and artists can’t hurt both industries, because for traditional radio, Pandora and other competitors to are not going to stop chipping away at our ratings and national business.