You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. You put radio in Sprint smartphones, and we’ll make it worthwhile by placing the weight of the radio industry behind it. $15 million a year for three years. The radio industry’s deal to promote Sprint and the NextRadio app seems to me like a giant win for radio. Why?
First and foremost, no one really knows what will happen when you put that many smartphones in the market with a radio built in. Will it be used? Will radio replace streaming listening? Will radio see an increase in listening overall?
There’s bound to be a bump in radio use, and that’s a good thing. If I have any concern at all, it’s that Arbitron’s PPM measurement won’t capture listening over headphones, the way most smartphone audio is heard. Still, more radio listening — and more response to advertisers — even if some of that listening is not recorded, can only be good.
But better still is that we, the people of radio, have a giant opportunity to show what radio can do to drive adoption of phones with radio on board. It’s a giant test to show how radio performs — and proof is critically important today.
Last, this will gain the attention of other phone manufacturers, which may also look to radio to boost their sales by committing to put radio chips in their phones as well.
Should radio continue to push for other smartphones with radio built in? Absolutely. Now is the time for radio to step up to the plate. This is a brilliant strategy, a reasonable quid pro quo, and a chance to keep radio in the hands of every American.
Congratulations again to Jeff Smulyan for his leadership and to the RAB’s Erica Farber and her board for making this commitment happen. Only good things can come from this.