Jacobs: My Biggest Observation of 2022

In the News Social & Digital

As many of you know, we work with a broad array of broadcasters – commercial stations in markets of all sizes, public radio and Christian radio – and for a lot of media-adjacent companies whose products support broadcasters. We also own a mobile app company – jacapps – which provides us with a unique perspective on what broadcasters are thinking since media companies make up the bulk of our clients.

We are also fortunate to not only spend a lot of time inside stations, working with their staffs and helping with their strategic development, but also attending numerous conventions (including WBA) where we were not only present, but interact with thousands of broadcasters.

In addition, we attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) each year, taking us way outside of the borders of our industry. We bring more than 30 broadcasters on a tour of this amazing conference, as we are able to get a vision of what the future holds.

From this position it would be impossible not to spot trends and have a feel for what broadcasters are thinking, and frankly as I reflect on this past year, it’s clear to me the biggest trend I see in broadcasting is an embracing and acceptance of the power and potential of digital.

For some of you this might seem like a mundane observation, but until this year, we have encountered a lot of pushback from broadcasters. Some have complained about the cost, others about “digital dimes replacing broadcast dollars,” and others concerned about training old staff to learn new skills.

In 2022, these objections began to dissipate and were replaced by a much more forward-leaning embrace of the digital opportunities that lie ahead for broadcasters.

Now admittedly, the lack of growth of broadcast dollars (ex-political) is part of this, but I think we are entering a period of enlightenment as broadcasters recognize the tectonic generational shift taking place, and the reality that Gen Z and Millennials don’t watch nearly as much linear television or listen to AM/FM radio as the generation they are replacing. Therefore, the only way our industry is going to thrive and survive is to accept reality and adapt.

At the heart of every successful digital strategy is one thing: content. It’s not a cool app, beautiful website, or a snappy Alexa skill. The optimal digital strategy relies on the one thing local broadcasters do best and do every day – create compelling content that engages, informs, and delights. When broadcasters focus on content, they will have a successful digital strategy.

Therefore, I am extremely enthusiastic about what lies ahead for local broadcasters in 2023 and beyond. We look forward to helping you on this journey via the WBA Digital Hotline – feel free to reach out to us at any time and we will help you with your digital transformation.

We wish every Wisconsin Broadcaster a happy, healthy holiday season. Here’s to a great – and digitally successful – new year.

The WBA Digital Hotline is a free service from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. If you have any questions or digital needs, please contact Paul Jacobs at paul@jacobsmedia.com