Rotella Highlights Radio/Digital "Symbiosis"

Here’s what he said at the NJBA annual conference
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Radio isn’t afraid of digital, in fact, radio embraces it. That was the message from Paul Rotella, who in his role as president and CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association is a notable cheerleader for radio who also has his eye on issues of interest on the local level.

He spoke at the 68th annual NJBA Conference and Gala.

“Perhaps the better word to define our relationship is symbiosis,” he said, a “close connection between different types of organisms in which they live together and benefit from each other.”

In addition to how the radio landscape is changing in the new digital world, Rotella spoke on the airing of Public Education Program announcements, the need for a better EAS, the activation of more FM chips in cellphones and smartphones, and the threat of a “performance tax.”

The NJBA Conference and Gala took place June 17-18 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Here is a major excerpt of Rotella’s speech, as provided in a transcript by NJBA:



***
My fellow broadcasters,

I want to thank you for airing our PEP announcements so frequently. Even so, I have to ask you to do even more!

Your diligent, on-going support of this essential program, is the very life blood of your Association. It allows the NJBA to forcefully advocate on your behalf, and to provide valuable member services like this conference and Free ABIP Inspections to keep our stations running without the threat of FCC fines!

But if our PEP program falters, if it is any way undermined, our industry could be diminished, and your jobs, could be at risk. So, please, Air these PEP messages as if your –livelihood depends on it—--because it really does.

You know, these past seven years have flown by--- and yes, they have been full of challenges for broadcasters.

But, I love advocating on your behalf!

When the power is out, the internet is down and cell phone and wireless networks are unreliable, there is no more reliable source of information than local radio!

And your association never lets anyone in Washington, Trenton, or anywhere else, for that matter, forget what we do and – Why -we - do - it!

Your magnificent efforts to keep your audiences in New Jersey prepared and informed simply cannot be duplicated…or replaced…and they never will!

Your association-- is leading our industry in advocacy-- by promoting the need for a new and comprehensive EAS that builds on the backbone of our ubiquitous FM radio infrastructure….

Your association continues to advocate for the re-activation of FM Chips in ALL Cell and Smart Phones, and the NJBA was the first to support NextRadio and other important, game changing initiatives. And we continue to FIGHT:

  • Burdensome Regulations and laws
  • Ad taxes
  • The Fairness Doctrine
  • An unfair TV Spectrum Grab
  • And of Course, the Mindless, Performance Tax.


My fellow broadcasters: The Performance Tax is a bigger threat than ever. WE need to all work together to stop it. Our adversaries have very powerful and popular friends pushing for this tax in Hollywood, Nashville, Motown, and yes, even in New Jersey.

We have to stop them!

Your support of the NJBA—through Playing PEPs and by your station management and owners staying committed to our success -- stopped this toxic legislation. We need to stop it again!

And so, we must hit back hard! Will you join me in this fight again? Will you lead the way by reminding your audiences of this threat to local radio? Will you keep your association strong so was can hit back hard!

We must continue to fight for our future, in Washington and Trenton, and on the dashboard.

The enduring value of broadcasting is not something that policymakers, competitors, new media, or OEMs, should take lightly.

One policy maker who get it -- is Commissioner Ajit Pai. (Plays Video Welcome By Commissioner Pai) Thank you Commissioner, for recognizing that …free-over-the-air broadcasting should never be taken for granted. Not when Local Radio and TV reach more New Jerseyans than all other Media combined!

You know, Change is all around us. But yet, the power, influence and popularity of local broadcasting, particularly local radio, has not been diminished.

Rather, it has grown! It has expanded, and it has flourished.

So, forgive me for being a little cocky…….That’s why this year’s theme is so very apropos for us in New Jersey:

Broadcast Has a New Attitude!

Yes, we have witnessed many challenges to our industry, but we have adapted and we now have more to celebrate, and more to offer to our clients and audiences.

Last year, we talked about pure plays and what, if any, effect they are having on our culture.

I said that “we have nothing to fear...”

I said that “WE may even embrace our would-be competitors, as long as we are as competitive with them ---as they would like to be with us---- And that “Content is always King!”

I want to show you this “prize” that was donated to us a few years ago. I never gave it away, and you’ll see why in a moment:

It’s a “portable Internet “Hook Up’; It plugs into your electrical outlet in one room and has a corresponding unit that plugged in another room in your home or office and EOLIA -- You can have an internet connection in another room!

Miracle technology, huh?

Well, this unit was on the Dollar Clearance Table a year later, because YOU SEE… WIFI made this gadget irrelevant—it made it worthless—it made it extinct.

We’re gonna see a whole bunch of apps, music services, etc,. come and go in the next decade.

Many only being around a few weeks before newer, better apps replace their popularity. Just ask your kids.. they know!

By the way—this prize was donated by Pandora! :)

But think about our industry….

WE have been witness to the invention of stereos, quadrophonic, 3D TV, 8 tracks, cassettes, CD’s, laser disks, MP3 players of all kinds, Bluetooth, and now, Internet apps and pure plays.

These technologies did not replace radio, nor did they diminish our audiences, or lessen broadcast radio’s impact on our culture.

In fact, we often married these new technologies with our beloved radio.

Remember your grandmother’s or parent’s old stereo console cabinets?

They were enormous pieces of furniture with self contained speakers and a turntable… and what else? A radio! Remember that little red light that went on when you tuned in a “Stereo” radio signal correctly, remember? --On the outside of the cabinet…Down in the lower right hand corner?

8 tracks, cassettes, all kinds of Bluetooth devices… and they all have radio as an integral component to their repertoires!

They didn’t shun radio—they embraced it!

Today, we will embrace some amazing new apps and technologies that enhance the audio experience... Yes, some of our friends in the “pure play” world claim we no longer listen to radio…

They are correct!

We experience it!

Digital technology has changed the very way we experience life, let alone radio. It has spawned a wealth of innovative tools that can reflect content success, predict trends, and help us more accurately and quickly react to our audience’s demands.

This new technology is the perfect complement to the miracle technology known as radio!

New apps like Shazam, which I believe is blazing the musical trend trail, have put a new face on radio.

Now, our listening audiences and advertisers can interact, explore, and prosper like never before! And all of this has happened in just the past two years! And this--- --This --is just the beginning!

Digital technology will give you the ammunition you need to capture more and new revenue from your sponsors, and it has revolutionized the way we measure audiences.

While advertisers have long believed in the power of radio advertising, many are struggling to draw direct correlations between their ad investment, and campaign performance metrics.

Hey—we all know that the days where advertisers can get by without justifying their investments are dwindling, which is why it’s never been more important for them to have direct insight into whether their efforts are paying off. And we must give it to them.

The good news is that new digital technology allows advertisers to assess whether their radio ad campaigns are affecting consumer purchasing behavior, as illustrated by the results of a recent joint study conducted by Nielsen and the Katz Radio Group to assess return on advertising investment.

The results showed that radio delivered $14 dollars in incremental sales for each dollar invested in advertising.

That’s a 14 to 1 ROI folks! Not bad, not bad at all!

We’ll be hearing a more in-depth analysis of this phenomenon from the VP and Director of Sales for Nielsen, Rich Tunkel in a few moments. This study yielded a lot of data. It showed the enormous impact of radio on consumers across the demographic spectrum.

But the impact of this campaign resonated particularly well with Millennials-------who represent the largest generation of nationwide, radio listeners-- doubling the increase… in their monthly spending.

There is no question that interactivity has changed how people communicate.

Who’s texting right now—and not paying attention to me?

And, who is getting content from the web, and who is Shazaming, tweeting, insta-graming, snap-chatting, periscoping, or somehow sharing this conference right now --with people all over the world?

Our digital partners are changing – are enhancing--the way people consume our product. Yes, I said “partners. “ And why not?

NextRadio and our industry’s initiative to activate the FM chips in cell phones are prime examples of our cultivated partnership with digital technology.

Perhaps the better word to define our relationship is Symbiosis: a “close connection between different types of organisms in which they live together and benefit from each other.”

Recent history has proven that we CAN live together--- and WE are embarking on the embryonic establishment, of a whole new era of interactive broadcast; Benefiting – and profiting-- from each other.

Interactivity, not pure-play, mix tape technology, that many have wrongfully fixated on for the PAST few years, is the FUTURE of broadcast.

Interactivity, brought about by the digital tools we have at our disposal---is the future---it allows us to connect and consume radio like never before;

It allows us to instantly create audio and video content, and interact with our audience and our sponsors, like never before!

And it enables quick and efficient audience measurement, giving us instant feed-back, like never before!

Embrace it – enjoy it---exploit it—--but first---- you must understand it!

And to those who understand how to exploit this technology, the world is going to explode for their business! …

So LET US REMAIN confident and strong--- I am so proud of your achievements!

I remain honored and humbled to be your president and CEO.

Thank you all for your continuing support, and may God bless you and our work together to keep this industry, and our association, strong!

Thank you very much!

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