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Monday, April 7, 2014
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Radio Industry: Stop the False Comparisons


I find it difficult to accept 2 items that made their way into one radio industry trade publication this morning. First, in the form of a Quote of the Day: “Radio was the original native advertising..." are these words from Tim Clarke of Cox Media Group, who clearly doesn't understand the definition of "Native Advertising."
"It's fine to question; I do it all the time. But let's spread those questions out equally against all, or hold our silence."

Had he made even a cursory search of the Interactive Advertising Bureau web site, he would have found "The Native Advertising Playbook," which gives a detailed description on the differences between what radio delivers and what occurs in Native Advertising.

Like with cries that radio was the first social media, understanding what you are trying to tear apart is required here. Radio is not a social media but a one-way communicative tool.

As it is defined by digital media buyers, here is why radio does not serve Native Advertising and was never "the original native advertising": 1) It requires measurement; 2) It demands disclosure be "clear and prominent."

All that happens with claims like this is that passivity falls upon the victims. Radio industry personnel need to download "The Native Advertising Playbook" for facts. It's not a laundry list of wishful statements made to make the audience feel better.

Radio has not changed how it presents a client's message in over 40 years. Now it's being forced to rethink that lag in creative. There's no room for whining anymore. Which brings us to the 2nd item that bothers me, reported in this same radio industry trade: [Pandora] "Still not disclosing how it calculates the number...." This is a statement made by a frightened industry in dire need of comprehending today's competition.

I'm curious as to why, when Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan announced his NextRadio app was downloaded 240,000 times and that nearly 8,000 radio stations had listeners tuning in over 190,000 hours after the app was launched, not one word was written questioning the veracity of these statements.

Nor did we read anything questioning how Emmis came up with statistics that the average minutes listeners used the app "jumped 62%," or its claim that "average listening sessions was up 76%."

The radio industry needs to get in this digital game in a consistent manner, now, and quit trying to denegrate new competitors. If these companies weren't any good, or they were not delivering content to consumers adequately, they would not be competition.

It's fine to question; I do it all the time. But let's spread those questions out equally against all, or hold our silence.

The main problem rests with the radio industry trades that are so willing to print what they think their readers WANT to hear, as opposed to what readers NEED to hear. It was only last week that one radio trade quoted Clear Channel exec Andrew Jeffries on how (paraphrased) "radio helped make Facebook." That's a ludicrous statement, which - I'm glad to see - is called into question by Fred Jacobs today.

Acting as Three Blind Mice (or those monkeys who see, hear, and speak no evil) will not help the radio industry fight its growing competition. Only facts will generate the type of enthusiasm needed to win this battle.

False assumptions garner nothing more than a feeling of calm as radio's competitors grow stronger, and gain a more prominent position on the automobile's dashboard.



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