A message from Eric Rhoads, Publisher of Radio Ink
What is the power of a single idea? A business or industry can change dramatically within 90 days based on one new idea, one new direction, one new bit of information. Apple is a great example. Others had MP3 players on the market, but the slick Apple user interface, combined with the iTunes Store, made Apple a changed company.
The same held true with the development of the app. Apps changed the nature of the smartphone and will change the nature of all computing, rendering the Web less pervasive. As an iPad user, I confess that my habits have changed and I'm no longer tethered to my desktop -- I've been freed in a way even the iPhone could not provide. This, too ,will change computing forever. Apple knows that one idea can change the nature of an industry.
I've seen this happen in my business career dozens of times. One little, seemingly innocuous idea offered up by someone on my team ends up changing the nature of our business and our fortunes. That's why it's important not to be a know-it-all. Those who don't know it all will suggest ideas that know-it-alls know can't work. But frequently, they do.
Big Money Lost
Fifteen years ago, I was offered a tiny piece of a little company in exchange for some free ads in Radio Ink. Because I was a know-it-all, I said no. Three years later, that company sold for over $6 billion dollars. Even the few points of stock they offered me would have been worth millions.
Every time I start to think I know everything, a new idea changes the world, or business, or the way people use consumer products. It's why I fight not to be a know-it-all.
I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, but we're living among a lot of know-it-alls. You may be one of them. Are you one of those people who criticize the new breed of group owners for their experimentation, their new unproven ideas, or even their tight operating practices? Will one of those companies you're criticizing stumble on to one thing that will change radio industry revenues and outcomes forever?
You may think they don't know the answers -- and maybe they don't -- but even ideas that have been tried before can be tried in different times or with a different twist to produce new outcomes. Though I don't love what is going on in some camps (because I think I know better), I'm always willing to listen for a golden nugget.
To that same point, some group leaders who are accused of ignoring the input of their employees may be missing out on great ideas that would change their fortunes in new ways. There is no such thing as a stupid idea.
No one can afford to be a know-it-all. No matter how smart or rich or successful you've been. You don't -- you can't -- have all the answers. Never forget that one idea can change a company, or an industry, in 90 days.
Your Desk Is Your Anchor
My mentor Dwight Case (who invented the name Radio Ink and helped me start it after he left R&R) once said this to me: "Get out from behind your desk and go do something new that has nothing to do with what you do every day. Go to a seminar in another industry, or even in your own. I guarantee you'll learn something new that can apply to your business. Your desk is holding you back." I love that guy.
A Lifelong Learner
Last year I noted something that really impressed me. Dan Mason, the president and CEO of CBS Radio, sat quietly through almost the entire day at our annual Forecast meeting. He wasn't checking his BlackBerry, he was listening and taking notes. Though the other group heads come to our Forecast conference too, they tend to be in and out throughout the day, running off to conference calls and meetings. What impressed me was that this busy and successful group leader was hungry to learn and grow. He didn't assume he had all the answers and actually devoted a day to learning. I love that guy too.
Your Next Left Turn
Your left turn can happen and your business and our industry can change significantly in 90 days, just one quarter. That is the very reason I hold my Forecast conference in December. By December, we have almost all the data in for the year and advertisers know the direction their clients plan to take for the year ahead.
When you have current, up-to-the-minute data, you can make a dramatic left turn in strategy before the year starts and still recover for the coming year. I've watched companies adapt their strategies as a result of something they heard at Radio Ink Forecast, the only end-of-year radio financial conference with the data, the advertisers, and the new information about the coming year.
The Money Is Moving To Digital Media
Each year my team struggles to find new information, new ideas, new people who will help you think about new alternatives to make our industry stronger. You may think someone like our keynote speaker Arianna Huffington is just another smart speaker with strong political opinions, but I wanted her there to make a point about how she started a blog and news and commentary portal that now reportedly as a market value exceeding that of the New York Times.
Arianna is a beacon of digital media, and from her you can learn exactly what you need to do at your radio company to take a bigger leap into the new media arena and follow the ad dollars. (Arianna is on the cover of Forbes this month as one of the Most Powerful Women in America.)
It's The Economy….
Andrew Ross Sorkin, the brilliant writer and economist from the New York Times, will be there to offer you timely information to influence decisions for your 2011. With the input of Andrew and the other economists on our agenda, you'll get a better feel for where the economy is going, the impact of the midterm elections on your business, and what you really face in 2011.
The Look Of Surprise
A couple of years ago, I had lunch with my old friend Elliot Evers of Media Venture Partners. I first met Elliot as the attorney who handled my station acquisitions and divestitures in the 1980s, when he was working with Jason Shrinsky and long before he went out on his own to form a premier media brokerage firm. We were both pretty young at the time.
When we met for lunch, he told me he'd never been to our Forecast event. So I insisted he attend, and he did. And at the end of the day, he looked at me in surprise and said, "Eric, I had no idea. This is like a who's who in radio. Everybody who is anybody is here, and the event is first class all the way. I don't know how I missed this for all these years. This is one of the best events in radio."
Elliot and his partners are now a major sponsor of Forecast. Are you missing one of the premium industry events, with all the right people in the right place?
Patterns And Conclusions
No one can tell you what 2011 will bring. But we will bring you so many experts that you'll start to see patterns and will be able draw your own powerful conclusions about what to do with your business in 2011. Most importantly, you'll have the data to make a left turn, to adapt your business based on up-to-the-minute information.
You'll gain fresh ideas and stimulate your overly taxed brain. And of course, you'll see everybody you want to see, too, which is not only fun, it makes Forecast a great networking event to do business. And your registration buys you access to our private gathering in the incredible Harvard Hall as we honor The 40 Most Powerful People in Radio. So far half of the 40 have RSVP'd with a "yes," and it's not even November yet.
Why does Forecast sell out every year -- even in the last three bloodbath years?
1. People love the candid discussions. Our no-press policy assures that most people speak more candidly than they would if we were recording sessions or if we had the press in the room. In this environment, fluff answers won't work, and the truth usually gets called out. Every year we have press people begging us to attend. Every year we say no.
2. We limit attendance to 200 people. It's not just because of the restrictions on the Harvard Club, it's because of the exclusivity. A small crowd not only makes the discussions and the networking more intimate, it makes sure Forecast doesn't turn into a convention circus. Everyone is here for serious business and serious contacts.
Of course, there are many more reasons, but the bottom line is that it's all about the left turn. Being there to learn about the latest data and making decisions so you can respond accordingly.
If you plan to join us for Forecast this year, now is a good time to reserve your seats. People are seeking new solutions, and we are anticipating more executive teams attending, along with their boards and investors, and we expect to see more CFOs than ever.
To make your reservations, call this number today: 561 655 8778
Or visit www.radioink.com/forecastsummit
PS: Last week I was telling a friend that it seems like we are all working longer hours, more weekends, and at a more feverish pace, and sometimes if feels like we're merely treading water. When I get into this mode, it's difficult to think clearly or generate new ideas. When I get to that point, I treat myself to a conference. Not because I cherish the idea of another night away or another flight but because I know these things stimulate my thinking and help me develop new ideas to enhance my business. You'll find that stimulation at Radio ink Forecast.
Radio Ink Forecast 2011
December 7, 2011
The Harvard Club, New York
Online Registration Here, or phone 561-655-8778.