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Monday, January 30, 2012
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Today's Radio News You Need to Know

Bravo! Every now and then a radio industry trade publishes an article that exemplifies important information. I'm talking about items beyond station format changes, or personalities who've been let go (or hired). This reference is about topics that people who work in radio need to read, so the industry can move forward over the next few years.

"Telling the consumer that they have to change, to accept radio's product, is exactly what does not work today." Radio Ink has featured such an article today, one that I urge you to read. It's title is "Advertising Executive: Radio Needs to Reinvent Itself to Grow Revenue." And the message contains advice for radio executives from CEO and Founder of "one of the largest independent media agencies in the world," Bill Koenigsberg of Horizon Media. (He was selected as AdAge Agency Executive of the Year.)

There's only one part of one sentence that's needed here; it's Mr. Koenigsberg's advice to radio: "...proving cause and effect, return on the golden goose, the holy grail." (Read the full Radio Ink article here.)

This is a person who's on the front line of advertising. He's chair of the 4A's media-policy committee. And his message is so easily understood that there should be no mistake; if it wants to increase revenue, the radio industry should not just talk about delivering reach - it needs to quantify returns. For the GSM, this means be looking at ways of proving to clients how the dollars they give you are effectively spent.

When Radio Ink asked Mr. Koenigsberg how the radio industry could increase its share of the advertising pie, much to its credit, it used these words to preface his answer: "Not surprisingly, his answer had nothing to do with the typical radio research which, to an advertiser, really means nothing." I admire the stark reality of that sentence.

Accountability in advertising is sweeping the media buying world. Radio needs to get on this train before it pulls out of the station, or it will realize a lower portion of total ad spend over the next few years.

While this article exemplifies an agency's view of helping radio, there's a single comment below it (evidently, from a person in radio) that shows why this advice is going to be so hard for the industry to swallow. As impressed as I was by Radio Ink's words, I was equally dismayed by the show of ignorance from this person. His response to Mr. Koenigsberg's advice: "It's the advertisers who need to reinvent themselves..."

Telling the consumer that they have to change, to accept radio's product, is exactly what does not work today. Yet, over the weekend, I've had this same style of response in two other conversations I was involved in with people in radio.

If someone doesn't grab this golden ring of advice soon, we're not likely to have much of a radio industry left by 2015.

As a BTW: Advertisers are reinventing themselves, by demanding proof of ad campaign performance. Accept that or face the consequences.

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