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Field Questions Pandora Numbers


It's not unusual for Entercom CEO David Field to give a keynote presentation focusing on the positives of radio. Whenever he has a chance, he consistently tells a story about radio's strong listenership, extraordinary reach, and local consumer engagement. "The sky is not falling for broadcast radio," Field told attendees of Kurt Hanson's RAIN Summit in Orlando Tuesday. "Radio reaches 93% of the American public year after year.” But Field did enter some new territory, going into an area where very few others have been willing to go -- at least in public: He challenged Pandora’ listening numbers.

For what seems like years, Pandora has claimed approximately 7% of all radio listening. Those numbers are never questioned or challenged by analysts, and Pandora doesn't provide details on the methodology used to calculate those numbers. Field says they refuse to explain it, adding, "If you measure hours served, does that really mean hours listening? There is a massive audience gap. Broadcast radio has 20 times the audience of Pandora." Field was not done, though. He spoke about radio's local activation, saying, "Pandora does not bring any of that to the table."

And Field took aim at targeted advertising, which Pandora is very big on, and very good at. He said if you place a buy for  the 25-54 demo, that’s all you get. "With radio, if you place a buy in the 25-54 demo, you get all of that and the bonus weight of outside demos." Field was making the argument that when you buy radio, you get more. And he said radio is the single greatest way for consumers to discover music -- another zing at Pandora, which has claimed radio has dropped the ball on discovery.

Field then went back to his pro-radio presentation: "We entertain and inform. We deliver news and information. We set the mood for you. Radio is a community lifeline. Listeners are attached to their radio stations. The future of radio is bright. The opportunity is great. Listenership is growing. Radio continues to innovate at a rapid pace. Radio is playing offense in a bigger way than it ever has before. We are living in the golden age of radio, and our best days lie ahead."

(9/25/2013 8:26:50 PM)
Those of us with a little gray know the truth: Pandora is Muzak with lyrics. It is lifeless, devoid of companionship, devoid of a local pulse of any kind... and as any doctor will tell you; even a weak pulse is better than no pulse.

- Jim Morales
(9/20/2013 5:15:14 AM)
Local is a lie! Even in "the most beautiful small town in America" the AM station & FM translator are 66% owned by out of town interest and the on-air staff is unprofessional. News is ripped off the internet or local newspapers' website. Commercials have no creativity, just " we're the best, come buy from us..." But then again the "local newspaper" is Landmark and it takes millions of dollars out of the community with its cozy little monopoly of cable add insertions, that takes 80% away...

- Mark 3:26
(9/18/2013 11:34:16 AM)
we in radio have nothing to fear from audio/music players. As was stated in earlier comments...reel to reel, 8 track, cassette, CD, thumb drive, ipod, smart phone - music/audio players have always been is not just a music/audio player. radio is an experience. the radio industry has never stated that everyone is listening...just those individuals (large number) that love what radio does for them. its how the experience is delivered and recieved that is changing.

- smiller
(9/18/2013 11:26:36 AM)
As a retired commercial and public radio guy I have to respond. Watching the transitions in radio has been sad. Quit worrying about the station I listen to (Pandora) every night when I go to bed, and start working on making real radio work at the local level. Thank the big guys for ruining it and send them on their way. Go back to local relationships and a real sense of understanding your audience. Make it relevent and pay good people who care about good local presentation in content.

- Stephen
(9/18/2013 11:18:15 AM)
Radio is alive and thriving in small market America where the majority of statons are local and are the lifeline to the community. Pandora is not RADIO. Our industry needs to not give them the name. They are an Internet streaming music service and that is how they should be referred to.

- Bob Davis

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