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Friday, January 27, 2012
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Radio Industry Purpose: To Generate Response


I've not been paying much attention to what's happening in the radio industry this past week. Audio Graphics created and launched another of it's "Intro to Indie Artists" series of programs, so my time's been short.

Looking at the headlines around industry trades this morning, it appears not much has changed. We have 1) Talk about Pandora still heating up, as if Pandora matters to a properly run radio station; 2) Former Ando Media CEO Bob Maccini has a great question, challenging why radio groups are jumping on the iHeartRadio bandwagon; 3) Arbitron is still pushing the outdated concept that "Radio Delivers" through reach.

"The radio industry needs to change the fundamental ways it approaches clients and audiences." My favorite headline, though, comes from Clear Channel owned Inside Radio - "Buyer survey: Radio lower on the list."

This stunning story is wrapped around these words: The number of advertising agency media buyers and planners that say their clients are most focused on radio has fallen to its lowest level in a year. When STRATA asked at the end of fourth quarter which medium their clients are most focused on, just 8% of buyers said radio. That’s half as many as one year earlier. (My bold.)

One year earlier the radio industry was being warned by this web site, and a few others, that it better deliver more of what clients want to preserve advertiser interest. (Fact is, radio has received this warning for over a decade.) I have no way of verifying, but my guess is that a headline urging radio to move towards what clients desire was not featured a year ago by Inside Radio. Clear Channel would not have approved!

Place Pandora aside. You can't do anything about how fast it's building an audience. What radio could do is counter the attention Pandora gets from audience and advertisers by offering "different" of its own - which iHeartRadio is not.

Offering "different," or "change" if you prefer, has been a reoccurring theme on this web site, and I furnished the reason why it would not happen in May of last year.

Today, I'll urge you to read Bob Maccini's comments at RAIN. I'm not understanding this rush to Clear Channel's iHeartRadio either. And the Arbitron stance? As long as the radio industry insists that clients want large reach, when new media is selling response and accountability, we'll continue to see media buyers have a falling interest in radio.

The radio industry needs to change the fundamental ways it approaches clients and audiences. AG's "Intro to Indie Artist" series of programs (for streaming) is my answer to the latter. Sample these programs in Country, Dance, Jazz, Hip Hop & Rap, Pop, and Rock. Order them for your stream, free, here.

For advertisers, what follows will help you be successful. I wrote these words for the now defunct Radio & Records' May 9 2008 issue, under the headline "Sell Action, Not Eyeballs." The concept is still valid, yet we've seen no mention in a radio industry trade about anything resembling this approach today - or over the past year. It's time to change.

The future of radio is not so much in recognizing what the industry is offering to advertisers, but in what new media competitors are waving in front of them. From all major players (Google, MSN, and Yahoo!, and an assortment of aggregate networks) come an advertising tool box that makes Arbitron ratings and Scarborough look like a third grade math book.

When you begin to dig deep into not only the analytics and metrics being offered but how these numbers and approaches may be rearranged to give greater degrees of insight, a new world of advertising sales opens; it's like Dorothy stepping from the farm house into Oz.

Fear of change has been holding back many persons [in radio] from moving their thoughts to this new world of numbers.

I'll guarantee that if you wade into this sea carefully, though, you'll see the reasons why radio needs to take the plunge now.


Generating response is the purpose of our radio industry; whether it comes from audience or for advertisers. The only areas of focus for radio exectutives should be in measuring that response. Until the industry gets this right, Pandora and all of radio's pseudo attempts at calling itself "digitally-aware" do not matter.






Read the entire "Sell Action, Not Eyeballs" article here.

Also, Mark Ramsey interviewed respected researcher Gordon Borrell. Find it under the headline "Radio’s “Miserable” Digital Sales Progress." It's a video worth watching.















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