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December 10, 2012



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Ronald T. Robinson

That national advertisers are ignoring radio is truly a challenge. Now, i have argued that, on a local level, the travesty of shoddy creative has been the bane of radio for decades. The creative and sales departments have little understanding of how radio actually works and have failed - utterly - to provide the kind of messaging that would be most effective for the local advertisers.

However, when it comes to national advertisers, the dynamic shifts significantly. This is because the nationals are providing agency-supplied creative - supposedly outstanding creative, too.

My argument continues that even national creative is not particularly outstanding, although with some spectacular exceptions.

Our job, then, is to demonstrate, locally, that we can deliver the goods... consistently.

I suspect that, explicitly or intuitively, we have little confidence in out own medium. How could we? We take such shabby messaging to the street that the only advertisers who do really well when they use local radio are those who are also dropping their pants on the price so drastically that the savings on the products and services are often enough to generate sales. We have only taken part in providing the information, albeit in innocuous and irritating ways.

Writing off the nationals is just another form of surrender. Why? Because we're out of ammo.

a Michigan broadcaster

Personally, I'm far more concerned with what folks like Patrick Morin think about Radio. Morin, a local business owner in Oregon who credits Radio for his success, is interviewed by Radio Ink in today's radioink.com Top Story, "Debt Free Thanks to Radio." My station has never seen a dollar from the panelists who represent "75 percent of all advertising spending in America," and never will.

Gerry Cunningham

Responding to Keith, I agree 100%. Radio has always had a problem with the ratings sample size being way too small.
When I was a GSM I tried to sell the Radio "big picture" to advertisers and was successful in getting several national advertisers to buy Radio in my market. This sometimes resulted in their company using Radio nationally, but I think this tactic would probably be impossible with any of the current players. They wouldn't allow any long-range marketing; not the Wall St. vulture capitalist way.


Lew Dickey was on the phone trying to get a loan to stay in business thats why he missed the panel.

Keith Williams

A lot of what was said about radio's audience share isn't true. We have been losing audience share for some time. The problem is that radio hasn't begun realizing who they are broadcasting to now. A lot of people still don't believe that the rise in minority listening is real. If they did, they would provide better programming choices for them.

Another issue is hard numbers in measuring audience share. It's still to small, segmented, and unreliable. All the PPM is done is measure the behavior of the small samples that is measured.Don't believe me? Look up the San Francisco Chronicle story about a woman who is being measured with a PPM. You wouldn't feel that confident after reading that.

Gerry Cunningham

So what am I missing here; seems the giant consolidators like CC and Cumulus don't want a local sales staff and mistreat the ones they have. Looks to me like the Radio industry is so far off the mark running their own stations that any paradigm shift in how Radio is sold is most likely a pipe dream. The guys in charge today seem to think they can sell Radio by telemarketing. Tell me how that works out!
And this news that Radio doesn't know how to sell to AAAA agencies or direct to C-level execs is nothing new; it's certainly not "historic". Radio lost it when Television became a force and never recovered. Now you guys still in the industry must deal with no new listeners in younger demos and erosion of TSL (instead of beating every other medium just a few years ago).

Ken Dardis

Bravo to Eric for stating this as a must-do for radio. I can imagine the thoughts running through this panel's minds seeing the top radio executives showing that input from agencies isn't important enough to hear.

What's incredulous is that here you have agency leaders spelling out what it is they want radio to deliver - handing out a road map for business to radio - against scowls from radio folks trying to sell what isn't being requested. Agencies see this: "Pandora can not only give targeted data by neighborhood, it can tell you how many listeners clicked in response to an ad and how many of those went on to make a purchase."

Pandora also changes copy in mid-campaign to improve response. Whether radio execs care to embrace these concepts is not important because agencies are buying this technology from others.

Technology-served advertising that I've been associated with has focused on what's best for the client - improving response. Sellers of radio seem intent on convincing advertisers that they must appreciate the value of radio more.

Selling impressions is a thing of the past. Advertisers are buying response. Branding campaigns aside, it's that simple.

Sandy Orkin

Perhaps Radio cannot live by "reach" alone! Advertisers want results. They want radio listeners (consumers) to buy their product and/or service and unless their radio message can connect with the listener emotionally,i.e. allow the listener to identify with the message, then radio commercials will continue to "go in one ear and out the other" with no apparent definable results for the advertiser. Give the advertiser/agency results by helping their message creatively reach the audience, STICK with the listener, and motivate the listener to use that product or service, then RADIO may become a more effective medium and,indeed,embracable. It's not the messenger...it's the message! Just a perspective to consider? (Not the whole solution-but certainly a big part of it!)

Sandy Orkin- Radio Ranch

Dennis Gwiazdon

I commend you for calling us out, Eric. As long as our industry remains committed to spending millions of dollars to measuring only listening levels (that thess decision-makers have stated they don't care about as much as they care about ROI, i.e. results) we'll remain in the same holding pattern that radio has been in for decades. Make a similar financial commitment to a different kind of metric and the conversation with advertisers changes immediately. I just hope that we can band together and come up with the solutions needed. It would seem that the RAB could be the catalyst to make this happen.

wayne ens

Eric has always been a passionate believer in radio and radio C-level executives would be well advised to heed his advice and gather the facts to build a story advertisers will buy.
And that story is not just for the nationals.In a study we conducted of 540 local businesses in three different sized markets, 82% of advertisers said they advertise to "increase sales" yet less than 10% of the radio presentations we see address how their proposals will increase sales....an obvious disconnect.
The study Eric is proposing would fullfil many purposes, from not only proving radio can move product, but to helping broadcasters understand what kinds of programming and what types of advertising actually engages audiences and moves product....sadly, many radio people don't understand HOW to create formats, promotions or campaigns, that do produce results and can't think past old reach and frequency models.
Admittedly, ongoing credible studies of the nature Eric proposes are a very costly investment in our future and most of the high-dollar CEO's can't see a future (or even a job) beyond this quarter's share holder results.
Eric made the comparison that advertisers buy advertising like they buy stocks...they choose the ones with proven returns.
Maybe we should invest in radio the same way good financial advisors would advise us to invest in stocks....think beyond quarterly results and invest for the long term

Dan Aron

Amen. The sooner the industry puts forth the evidence the advertisers are demanding (and we all know it's there, but not how to quantify it), the sooner we'll be given the respect we deserve.

Charlie Ferguson

I can't help but wonder if the RAB would be willing to share their call log with us. If our industry is going to produce a study to prove the ROI our clients are getting, they should ram-rod the project.

Rod Schwartz - Radio Sales Cafe

One additional thought:

"We all believe radio moves product." Bet most of your readers have more than a belief that radio moves product, but can document case histories with some form of a client brief, specific budgets, schedules, creative, and results. If you were to collect just one such success story (with documentation) from each of your readers, you'd have the makings of a powerful empirical body of research that could be presented to the CMOs and other decision-makers who need to see and hear it. Wouldn't this seem to be a worthwhile step that we could take as an industry without resorting to funding yet another study. (Speaking of studies, what's being done with the Radio Ad Lab's research these days? They presented some good stuff on Radio's ROI.)

Chuck Smeagul

Getting stats for an online ad campaign with geo-location, click tracking, user profiling, etc is pretty simple to do. The long-standing problem for radio is/was/will be how do you create hard numbers? The old standard of having people filling out 'listener journals' has been proven unreliable at best.

I don't disagree that something needs to be done to prove the power of radio, but it's significantly easier said than done. How do you propose we do it? Just saying we need to doesn't solve this dilemma.

Rod Schwartz - Radio Sales Cafe


Did you record this historic session?

Are you making this important presentation available to radio group heads, owners, managers, and salespeople?

This would seem a reasonable first step.

Thanks for considering.


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