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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
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Those Who Know - Those Who Don't


One of the most difficult feats in the world is teaching someone who resists learning. If there's a vested interest in that person maintaining their status quo, the job is even more difficult.

Hopefully, through a series of excellent videos conducted by Larry Rosin's team at Edison Research, those who don't know will uncover what others know about them. It cannot be urged more strongly. View these videos.

"The radio industry should stop seeking a simple solution to establishing itself as a player in digital media." There is nothing in the discussions that hasn't been said at Audio Graphics, or by others called "pundits" by radio industry executives.

Seeing these warnings come from the mouths of media buyers and planners, though, is like opening a dictionary and pointing to a word's description; there's not a radio executive around who will successfully argue against how these agency folks view radio's digital efforts.

Through the years I've pointed to two items as if the house was on fire - the facts are that important: 1) The radio industry jumped into digital fully expecting their own knowledge to guide them through a new media world, and got burned; 2) Many people with radio backgrounds call themselves digital experts though they haven't spent time in the trenches gaining real-world experience.

A bulk of radio's "experts" have knowledge gained from reading. They then convince others (who don't know better) that theirs is the way into digital. This scene has been repeated scores of times, and continues; certain people with radio industry backgrounds hold newly-created media positions in radio groups and organizations. We also have scores of radio personnel who have hung out signs claiming digital expertise. Many have opinions, but few show scars from battles in the real world of digital accountability.

Digital is far more difficult to get into and master than what I've seen or heard discussed in radio trades or at conventions. This is a fact I've stated many times.

The overlapping layers of digital (online, analytics, email, SEO, ad insertion, etc.) are so numerous as to be numbing. We've not yet had a digital certification course for radio personnel that teaches anything more than what can be absorbed by spending a few hours at the Guidelines and Best Practices page of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Additionally, the radio industry still refuses to see value in quality domain names. "RadioAdvertiser.com" and "RadioAdvertising.com" are primary examples of names that the industry could employ. Neither is owned by a radio group; both should be, even if to be used simply as a redirect to a main web site. (Disclosure: I own RadioAdvertiser.com and have never been approached by anyone wanting to buy it.)

One of the best examples of this misunderstanding in domain name importance is how "SeattleRadio.com" sits dead, even though it is owned by Seattle-based Fisher Broadcasting. Over the years it's not even been used as a redirect to the Fisher Communications web site.

To demonstrate just how far away the radio industry is from this concept of owning a relative domain name, just this morning I was able to purchase "HowtoUseRadio.com" for $12.95! How many small business owners do you think would try typing that into the address bar of their browser? That no radio group, nor RAB, could imagine its relativity to radio is remarkable. How about using it as a redirect to the deeply buried "Why Radio" web pages at RAB.com? Or a major group could create a web site that shows potential radio advertisers "how" to create a campaign. I'll sell it to anyone for $50 (to cover my admin costs), as it was purchased only to make a point.

The now defunct "Radio Heard Here" from RAB and Clear Channel's "Total Radius" were not even close to being a digital solution.

Katz Media Solutions, at one time, started down the road to educating advertisers and station personnel using the premise of a relative domain name (KMSRadioPrimer.com). But that evolved into a foreign language site.

Note from Bob McCurdy, President, Katz Marketing Solutions - "ken, the katz radio primer is now available on our website: www.raisingthevolume.com under the 'knowledge' tab....check it and the site out...

Note 2: Which exemplifies this point - why was the original "ksmradioprimer.com" domain not kept and used as a redirect? Besides the light bump in visitors from this logical name, just having the term "radio" within the domain name helps lift this page in search engines. "Radio Primer is currently buried within the "raisingthevolume.com" domain.

How far away from digital has radio gotten is best demonstrated in the ER videos. This is not a radio industry trade making you feel good, but advertising buyers and planners telling you how they conduct digital business - and why radio's not a large part of that business. Be sure to pay attention when they talk about the look of radio web sites.

One word of warning upon leaving: As the radio industry now tries to make up for lost knowledge, research those who claim to have answers. Sometimes there are online warnings, like what may be found about a new Radio Ink advertiser - Radio2Local.com. The domain is registered by a Neil Patel of Winnipeg, Canada. Here's how "Winnipeg Business Blogspot" describes a Mr. Patel's association with another online destination: "After a little bit of research I found the possible operator of this website is wanted by all sorts of people in the UK, the courts too, for monies he ripped off them." Make your own decision on this company's level of expertise after viewing comments following this article, too.

There are those who know, and those who don't. Radio should waste no more time listening to the latter, and start following what the former have been saying since the beginning: There is no easy way to do digital.

The radio industry should stop seeking a simple solution to establishing itself as a player in digital media. That's really what each of the people in those Edison Research videos is telling you.















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