TWO REASONS WHY SOME PEOPLE HAVE TROUBLE SELLING RADIO ADVERTISING

by Dan O'Day on March 25, 2009

Overheard on Twitter:

“Radio content isn’t worth the pain of radio advertising.”

(Don’t get mad at me. Those are the words of a listener — or, more accurately, a would-be listener.)

Slightly rewriting Hugh McLeod:

“If you talked to people the way radio commercials talk to people, they’d punch you in the face.”

Comments

comments

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

John March 25, 2009 at 6:08 am

Hi Dan,

I have to agree with this. And what continues to amaze me is the number of radio GMs and SMs who don’t understand at all that the advertising they’re running is more responsible for their ratings decline than anything else on air.

I need Crack Cream!

Kevin Zimmermann March 25, 2009 at 7:06 am

I agree…to a point.

Not to go "old school" here, but when I began in radio 33 years ago, radio (in general)content consisted of:

Music…News/Sports – network & local…local talk shows, features and current event shows. We had killer numbers and people showed up in large numbers for station-sponsord events.

Today content consists of:
Music…News/Sports – network & local…syndicated talk shows, features and current event shows. We scratch for good numbers and hope to have a decent crowd at station-sponsored events.

What has changed?

In my opinion, it is the listener's sense of loyalty; loyalty that grew from a sense of ownership (for lack of a better term). From what does "ownership" grow? For us, it was localism, bolstered by scant competition. That made it easier, but it didn't replace the fundamentals.

I return back to my Mass Communications 101 course that leaned heavily upon the teachings of Marshal McLuhan: The Medium is the Message". McLuhan described the "content" as "a juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind."

I believe people crave a distraction from the daily "in-your-face" issues – they don't need another pundit to tell them what they know, or how they should think. This requires more than a good moment or two, or one good song in a sea of disposable music. It requires that we take our audience on a ride that has a start, a middle, and a destination; a ride they WANT to take. Are we doing that in one shift? Can we do that in only a quarter hour? Can they stand to leave the radio for five minutes fearing they might miss something, or could they care less? I believe if we connect with (here's one for you, Dan) "common human experience", they will care. After all, if we relate to them like family or a good friend, the perception is one of care and comeraderie.

Do you care about your listeners? Then show it in ways they can relate to. We all start with the same batch of ingredients. It's the chef that makes them come together in an irresistable way.

Frank Baum March 25, 2009 at 9:53 am

Quote me – I think advertising will have to be developed “like program content” to be compatible and welcome in the future. Complicated in an economic downturn.

So many content choices will force eclectic paradigm shift basic to what the business is and how it relates to the listeners. (not causing rejection)

Tom Rohe March 25, 2009 at 11:43 am

It’s a great opportunity as print goes away. Stations now have both their on-air signal to sell time and their streams online. Lots of opportunities for revenue generating. Radio needs to go back to being personal to the individual. I loved selling it, but that was 25+ years ago.

MrSwindall April 26, 2009 at 6:04 am

Quoting Frank Baum:
I think advertising will have to be developed “like program content” to be compatible and welcome in the future. Complicated in an economic downturn.

How interesting that we should, in Baum’s words, go back to the way it was done before I was born (1964). Back when radio WAS entertaining… when jocks WERE personalities… and could actually TELL a story, and not just read one from a service. How I long for those days… I finally got out of radio because of the institutionalization of the media… AND the message!

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