Read the quarterly reports and it's evident that digital revenues are keeping the radio industry out of red ink.
Double-digit increases in digital revenue now regularly appear in reports. National sales keep increasing in low single-digit, and we hear less about what "local" is producing with each reporting period.
"There is no evidence merchants are going to stay aroused at radio's vast reach, willfully ignoring new media's response metrics."
So what's the next step? Mobile everything? Is a focus on couponing going to provide enough revenue to justify its effort? Will radio's continued course of cutbacks, in the name of "improving" the industry, work?
As it pertains to the radio industry, social media's the other question. How to effectively use SM is as unknown as how a radio station can monetize its stream.
Everyone who works in radio should, by now, be spending time learning how digital works.
Using new media;
what's the best way to effectively reach audience
(email, social media, web site interactivity)?
What, other than rebroadcasting its over-the-air signal, should a radio station
place on its stream?
How can a radio station fully use its ability to gather names, email addresses,
and other data?
Why are spreadsheets becoming the marketers new best friend?
There is no evidence merchants are going to stay aroused at radio's vast reach, willfully ignoring new media's response metrics.
To date, we have a lot of discussion but nothing firm. And, frankly, discussions are all that's been going on since naysayers began calling for radio to move faster towards digital over a decade ago.
Clear Channel, CBS, Emmis, Cox, and a couple other companies have all taken steps based on duplicating new media successes, but nothing has been "created" by the radio industry to coalesce radio's strengths with that of new media. (There is one effort-to-educate that needs mention:
Katz Marketing Solutions "The Radio Primer."
It's obvious that digital is where youth are moving. To save its future, radio needs to be where youth are. Attracting them to broadcasts with programming that is more "music discovery" oriented is one approach. As for Apps? For a radio group they make sense. But I can't find the math to show enough of an audience will use a single-station's app to make the cost worthwhile - even if we don't take the brief shelf-life an app carries into consideration.
Digital dollars are growing for a reason. Clients see an upside to advertising online, while the audience is further along the learning curve that makes digital intuitive.
There are hundreds of online sources for audio that weren't there to compete with radio in years past. That leaves a choice for the radio industry to get better online or risk losing audience by attrition and/or irrelevance.
Just what do you do with your station's web site? What is done with email lists? How is your social media campaign working? What is it on your stream that's different from what you send over-the-air?
Taking advantage of the growth in digital dollars is more than offering clients a banner ad on your web site, or an audio ad in its stream.
There is opportunity in a variety of online disciplines that the radio industry needs to explore with more aggression. If effort is not put forth now, the broadcast radio industry will continue to find its portion of online dollars - though still double digit, Y-2-Y - lagging behind other online ventures.
Offering something different in streams is a good place to start. It's where we see the highest growth rate of audience response to digital radio.
Here is a selection of Audio Graphics created programs that give you something to promote in your stream - "Intro to Indie Artists."
It's a free way to feature new online content, and no more difficult for you to offer than adding a song.