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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Conclave 41: The Highlights

Cundill Denver Conclave

Thursday and Friday, many fine broadcasters from across North America, gathered at the 2016 Conclave Learning Conference in Minneapolis to learn. I had my choices of conferences to go to this year and chose the Conclave because it provides incredible access to sit down face-to-face with everyone. Representitives from everyone from Cumulus, iHeartRadio, and Hubbard to Jacobs Media,, Benztown and Neilsen; talent, imaging, social media, operations managers and owners. Those who know me undertand that I love to share and teach; those who really know me know l love to learn.

Lori Lewis, the chair of Conclave 41 said in her opening note: "We all need friends, colleagues and mentors to grow. Success is not a solo process."

While speaking to Joel Denver of - Art Vuolo started filming us and I thought - "Holy shit! That's Art Vuolo!" Twenty-five years ago I used to order and share his video tapes of other disc jockeys and loved what I saw. It made me want to do better on the air. I got to thank him and tell him that his videos are a big reason what I am here today.

While on the subject of video; it continues to be an amazing outlet for personalities to showcase their personality. Greg Cypin was showcased in the "Video: Consumption Has Exploded" session, hosted by vocieover and creative genius Drake Donovan. Greg makes video's to extend his brand:

Another Great Video showcased was by Chris Cruise. Here's 9 Things Not to Say to a Radio DJ:

Other Highlights from the Conclave 41:

* Sarah Smerz told me about her brand extension with a video blog called "Toilet Talk". Fun, simple, quirky, highlights her personality and works in any format. (She is the midday personality at WFMB 104.5FM in Springfield, Illinois)

* Great to meet Jennifer Williams, Director of Interactive Marketing at Greater Media in Detroit who mentored many social media and content managers. Jennifer understands how to make interactive work for radio stations. Unfortunately, there were many stations where staff do no have 100 percent buy-in from air talent and/or sales people on the interactive strategy. Stations where one person is doing all the social media activity is actually disfunctional and a recipe for disaster. (Call me - I can can have everyone buying in)

* When Rico Garcia of Results Radio in Northern, California asked: (and I'll paraphrase) With most stations carrying syndicated and voice tracked programming, what were radio companies doing to grow talent? No solid answer came out but Ginny Morris from Hubbard Broadcasting did acknowledge that "we could all do better in this area." I regret not getting a few moments with Ginny Morris at the mentor session to ask her about her company's recent partnership with Podcast One, and also the insight on this station - which is the future - As the need for music radio dwindles.

* I enjoyed getting a few minutes with Mike McVay from Cumulus. Here is an innovative idea he told us about regarding developing talent. His company is using the dead space on their online streams to 3-5 minute talent segments. These could come from podcasts or post-show content or serve as audition space for up and coming talent. ESPN has been repurposing its content in that space for years, but dipping into podcast for this audio is exciting. (Note: American stations cannot run their commercial blocks on their streams because of rights issues; Canada does not have this issue)

* Podcasting remains a curiosity for radio. The session hosted by Perry Michael Simon of and Fred Jacob's Tech Survey 12 both had many questions and many answers. Quick note for the organizers that I would love to see any session where data is unveiled, scheduled as an earlier session, so it can be referred to in later sessions at the conference. Perry's All Access column about the conference is here.

* The Imaging Session with Katie Green, Justin Case from Benztown, and John Cruz is one that needs to be repeated next year. The need for imaging is more important than ever to separate your station, not only from other stations, but to solidify it as a brand. (I know that seems rather obvious, but if it is so obvious everyone would be spending more in this area Stop getting all figity... you know I am right)

* Paige Nienaber's "Marketing with No Budget" rattled off more than 75 ideas in less than an hour.

Finally, a congratulations to Lori Lewis and the Conclave board for putting the shine back on this event. The tireless hours of work did not go unnoticed by your colleagues and as a result - many broadcasters are waking up on a Saturday morning, richer for those who shared their knowledge and mentorship.


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