/Mike Henry

About Mike Henry

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So far Mike Henry has created 81 blog entries.

Are Smart Speakers the Bitcoin of Radio?

Smart speakers seem to be the Bitcoin of radio.  Clearly, smart speakers provide great upside for radio, and the fervent rush to employ smart speakers seems to have no end in sight.  But, there is another side of the coin that radio should consider as it develops the best smart speaker strategies. The Good Smart speakers and voice activation are great for any company that works in audio as it’s a new distribution outlet.  The recently released NPR Smart Speaker research has plenty of positive news from smart speaker users.  The adoption rate has been faster than any other recent technology of late.  Users say smart speakers are essential because the speakers encourage more listening and simplify their lives.  Over one-half of the heaviest smart phone users are under age 35, which is a younger profile than overall radio usage.  Operators would be wise to check the demographics of early these adopters, as the demo of users generally indicates what type of content they would want on demand. The Bad  However, Sound Exchange fees increase due to higher streaming demand, so the cost of customer acquisition is higher than free broadcast radio.  The early financial winner in the smart speaker evolution is Sound Exchange, not radio. Monetizing smart speaker audiences is currently elusive.  If your station simulcasts the broadcast signal on your stream, then that’s a win for your advertisers who pay for broadcast ads and are essentially getting the smart speaker audience for free.  If your station uses ad replacements on the stream, then it’s possible that it MAY help raise streaming cost per thousand pricing, but so far there is no evidence of that happening. The Ugly  The greatest benefit to smart speakers…voice [...]

By | December 10th, 2017|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments

Where is the Heartbeat? It’s Music Radio’s Turn to “Take Action”

Our nation is overwhelmed in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. It’s almost impossible to avoid social topics everywhere you turn, and emotions are running high. Now, weigh the current national temperature with new research that shows millennials who go to concerts and festivals are tied at the hip with social causes. In fact, 8 in 10 millennials are more likely to attend a concert or festival with artists who support social change and to show their support. Millennials, and likely many music lovers of all ages, are connected between their ears and their hearts. Meanwhile, music radio stations are mostly staying on the sidelines. Yes, the primary role of music radio stations is to entertain and that must always be in the forefront. But, we’ve never seen a political climate like this in our lifetimes. Ignoring the anxious reality of listeners’ lives today leaves a wall around the heart and soul of your radio station, denying listeners the heartbeat they sorely crave. Do you have to “take sides?” No. Can you have opinions? Yes. Frankly, in my world, unequivocal human and social equality is a given. Not everyone agrees, but (I believe, or hope) the vast majority of us do. So, instead of “taking sides,” why not promote a positive culture of “taking action?” At a minimum, “Take Action” is a term every music radio station can get behind. It’s self-empowering to the listeners without being one-sided. Acknowledge what is happening in our world and run “Take Action” promos and live reads that send listeners to your website for a list of links where they can take action. “Just go to our website and Take Action!” Use your social platforms to inform listeners of [...]

By | August 20th, 2017|Creation, Direction, Interactive|0 Comments

Radio Milwaukee Throws Down a 10 Spot

Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-FM) recently celebrated their 10th anniversary by doubling down on local music.  Featuring over 700 songs from over 600 Milwaukee artists, the new channel uses 88Nine’s HD2 frequency to air online and on the station’s mobile app.  Over 100 bands have used the station website to upload their music for consideration.  Milwaukee bands on the channel includes Violent Femmes, Citizen King, Coo Coo Cal, Field Report, Ish Darr, Trapper Schoepp, Naima Adedapo, Vinyl Theater, Willy Porter, GGOOLLDD, WebsterX, Paul Cebar  and the late Al Jarreau.” The “ Worldwide Debut” is a special offer to established Milwaukee artists to debut new songs on the stream and on the FM at the same time.  The featured debut gets 12 plays in one day on the stream, in addition to 2 plays on the 88Nine signal.  Radio Milwaukee also posts a blog that links to the artist page and any platforms that stream the debut track.  The FM station promotes the local channel when it plays local music, and the local channel promotes back to 88.9 FM. launched with a custom imaging package and station voices, and will be a training ground for local students. […]

By | July 13th, 2017|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments

SXSW Panel – “Alternative Radio: Balancing the Art of Music Discovery vs. Playing the Hits”

SXSW is always a big circus, and this year was no different. But, there is also important business to be covered in the actual convention part of SXSW. Last Friday, I moderated a panel focused on the Alternative radio format. The panel, “Alternative Radio: Balancing the Art of Music Discovery vs. Playing the Hits,” focused on music discovery at two levels. First, how do Alternative program directors discover new music in non-traditional terms? Second, how do Alternative PDs provide listeners with their own music discovery when listening to their stations? […]

By | March 23rd, 2017|Direction, Interactive|0 Comments