A few years ago, Radio Ink did a promotional campaign that said "Radio Is Everywhere™," showing radio being used at work, in the home, in the car, on portable radios, etc. In the short time since that campaign ran, the world has changed dramatically. In order for radio to be everywhere, it needs distribution on all mobile phones and must be accessible from all streaming devices.
Though there are champions in our industry who disagree with me about the importance of streaming and allowing your signal to be heard on computers and mobile devices, the statistics show that 50 percent of all streaming listening is to in-market stations. Perhaps that listening is by those who can't get your signal in their buildings or in their part of town, or perhaps it's just easier. Though the economics don't play out because of the cost of streaming and music licensing, the distribution is important just the same.
Also important is the mobile phone. Our industry has argued two sides of the coin regarding having an FM chip on the phone, with some wanting government intervention and others looking for market-driven adoption. As I've stated before, I'm in the market-driven camp. Though you should be able to listen to any radio station by streaming it over your phone, many broadcasters simply do not stream -- and the reality is that an FM chip on a phone will not only prove beneficial to a local-market listener when other services may not be available, it's clearly a benefit to radio to be there. (At the worst, it can't hurt.)
Back in April I asked Dick Orkin at the Famous Radio Ranch to create a spot based on the concept of "I want FM." That spot was designed to make consumers aware that phones with FM are available today. Several thousand stations have been running those ads. But, like all good campaigns, we must keep the spots fresh, so we've added two more.
If you're not running our "I Want FM" campaign, I encourage you to help drive consumer adoption by putting these spots in high rotation for at least the next three months so consumers will request FM on their phones. The more they request, the more they'll buy, the more chance we will see more companies adding FM to their phones.
My cellphone is my Swiss Army knife of gadgets. My HTC Evo has an FM chip built in, allowing me to listen to FM whenever I like. Though I'm not pushing for a government mandate, I'm hoping consumers will drive the demand to make FM ubiquitous on all phones. Frankly, if I could get AM on phones as well, I'd push for that, but the antenna requirements make that difficult, and to my knowledge there is no AM chip available.
You can download the spots at www.radioink.com/IWantFM.
Please forward this to others in this industry whom you think would like to run the "I want FM" campaign.