Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest speaker at numerous Radio Advertising Bureau conferences (now merged with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Show, for whom I’ve also been privileged to speak many times).
I remember oh-so-clearly the first time I ever spoke at an RAB conference.
Of the 100+ sessions that year, mine was the only one dealing not just with selling commercials but also with the quality of the commercial copy itself.
I have a vivid memory of the beginning of that session.
I began by saying something obvious like, “The purpose of a radio commercial is not to show off or to entertain. It’s to make money for the client.”
At That Point, The Audience Reacted In Such A Shocking Manner That I’ve Never Fully Recovered.
I couldn’t believe what happened next:
At least half the people in the room wrote that down.
“Wait a minute!” I cried. “That’s not supposed to be a big revelation. You already know that, don’t you??”
But apparently no one ever had suggested such a thing to those radio account executives and sales managers.
Over the years, our industry has talked more and more about delivering measurable results to advertisers.
Most of the talk, unfortunately, is nothing more than talk.
The prevailing attitude at most radio stations is:
“We fully support the idea of creating results-producing commercials for our clients.
If we happen to have time.
And if despite the lack of true radio advertising education among our staff members we’re lucky enough to have someone who knows how to write good radio commercial copy.
Fortunately, there are some individuals, employed by radio stations, who have a talent for creating radio advertising.
Some of them even have the support of their employers.
The percentage of such individuals in the radio industry isn’t increasing; if anything, their number is diminishing.
Consistently writing and producing smart, effective, results-and-profits producing commercial campaigns requires the copywriter or the Creative Services Director (i.e., a copywriter or production director who was given a more impressive job title in lieu of a raise in salary) to be willing to fight daily battles…
…usually with account executives who are too timid to say to advertisers, “No, you don’t want to do that in your commercial” — salespeople who’ve never learned (and sadly, often have no desire to learn) how to educate their clients.