How’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

Chris Byrnes – ByrnesMedia

By now the experts say that 80% of those resolutions we all made around New Years
Eve have been broken. Chances are you’re not going to the gym more regularly, you haven’t quit smoking and you are not spending more time with friends and family. But if one of your goals was to increase your knowledge or advance your career in 2011, there is an opportunity to do that in early March at the Canadian Music Week conference (CMW) in Toronto. This is year number 29 for what some feel is the best radio conference in Canada.

Aside from being a great place to network and meet old friends, the learning opportunities this year are better than ever. CMW runs from March 9-13 and is held at The Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. Neil Dixon and his team have put together sessions that will help broadcasters in any sized markets, so chances are you’ll come away from this conference with pages of actionable ideas. There are six panels that I think are well worth attending this year:

Ross Davies will lead a panel discussing the state of Terrestrial Radio today and where it’s heading in this new digital and social media world. (Thursday 10 – 11:30am Concert Hall)

Fred Jacobs will talk about how the mobile phenomenon has changed consumers’ listening habits. Jacobs has talked to thousands of consumers and has some amazing information about the way smart phones are both helping and hindering radio listening. (Thursday 2:30-3:30pm Salon A)

If you’re looking for promotional ideas, Peter Diemer from Media Marketing has gathered together some of the brightest minds in broadcasting, who will share their thoughts on how promotions should be executed now and in the future.  (Saturday 5-6pm Salon A)

Morning shows,and PD’s who coach them, will want to attend the morning show tune-up session. Mike O’Mally and Tommy Kramer will share 50 great ideas in 50 minutes to keep your morning show sounding fresh and help create content that connects with your target audience. (Friday 10-10:50am Salon A)

Learn the finer points of creating an online personality and widening your reach across the key social media platforms as Steve Jones and his panel give you a plain and simple “how to” for setting the right tone and identity on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Linked in. (Friday 11-Noon Salon A)

You can hear the leaders of broadcasting companies, including Paul Ski from Rogers, Rob Steel from Newcap, Christopher Grossman from Haliburton, Bill Evanov and others share their vision on radio and where they see it going in the next few years. (Friday 2:30pm -3:30pm Concert Hall)

For those who don’t overdo it too much on the Friday night, at 8:30am on Saturday CMW brings back what may be the best breakfast of your career. Kickstart your day at this round-table breakfast session that puts you face-to-face over coffee with elite radio consultants and programmers from across North America. Each table hosts a PD, GM, consultant or CRTC luminary. You’re getting them up close and personal for 20 minutes each (Saturday 9am – 11am Library)

If this is your first CMW, here are some tips that will help you. Scope out the sessions you want to attend before the conference, make sure you know where each meeting room is located. Show up early to the session, if possible, as the good sessions fill up fast. Also, sit as close to the front as possible, as sometimes the sound is not great. It’s also a good idea to stay in the hotel so you ditch the conference bag (travel light) and also grab a rest between sessions. Take lots of notes, bring lots of business cards, and know that sometimes the best learning sessions happen in the bars or restaurants after the sessions, where radio people gather to network and share ideas.

The cost is $200 for students and $745 for others. That includes the Keynote from Melissa Etheridge and Sammy Hager, but tickets to the Gala Dinner and the Crystal Awards luncheon are extra. More info at