(By Bob McCurdy) It’s been said to see the future consult the past. So we did, digging into our files from 2006, re-acquainting ourselves with the key issues and headlines of the day.
We hoped that this exercise would not only afford a better understanding of the “present” but also provide greater insight into the “future” as a result of having a deeper contextual understanding regarding pace of change, prediction accuracy, and technological advances/assimilation over the past decade.
It was an illuminating drill that confirmed a couple of things:
The naysayers will always grab the majority of headlines. “Status quo” doesn’t make for a good headline.
There will always be new competitors trying to siphon off our audience and revenue.
The staying power of traditional media behavior is underestimated.
Each decade has a “new,” unsuccessful radio “killer” of its own.
Those things that are thought of as “can’t miss” often do miss.
It’s easy to be a prognosticator. It’s difficult to be correct.
Déjà vu is real.
2006 Programming Headlines
McDonald’s CMO Warns That Radio “Has the Potential of Becoming a Dead Format.”
A Crisis as Big as the One in the Golden Age of Traditional Radio
How Compelling is Radio’s Content, Really?
Radio Needs to Invest in Localism
Study: In-Car Listening “Under Siege”
Radio Must Embrace the Younger Demographics
It’s Cool to Hate Radio
Bridge Ratings Finds Passion for Talk Radio is Waning
A New Study Shows 18-34s Think Radio “Has No Buzz”
TIVO for Radio: Snaptune One
Assessing the iPod Threat
The Future is in Beating the iPod
Multicasting: HD Radio’s “Killer App”
Observation: There’s no question we need to continually refine our content, but in the 10 years since these headlines were written, radio remains one of only two media that reach over 200,000,000 consumers each week, still produces terrific results/ROI for our clients, and remains far and away the audio choice of American consumers. Similar headlines have been going on for decades. In 1952, Billboard magazine proclaimed that “Radio is Dead: With the Lone Ranger and Jack Benny Gone to TV, Bye-Bye Radio!” and in March 2005, Wired magazine predicted “The End of Radio” on their front page. So scribes from as far back as 65 years ago also under-estimated radio’s staying power and appeal, and got it wrong.
2006 Revenue Headlines
Does Wall Street See a Future in Radio?
How’s Business? Analyst Paints a Dark Picture for Radio
It’s Sad When Plus One is a Pleasant Surprise
Still Too Much Supply, Not Enough Demand?
Slow Growth? Get Used to it
What the Google Deal Means for Radio
Observation: In light of the number of media channels increasing from a total of 7 in the 1970s to over 100 today, there’s still a lot of advertisers who rely on radio to move their product/services. And while the industry is not growing at its previous pace, it is still growing, as we continue to refine our digital and experiential expertise in search of additional growth. “Low cost” for “high reach” remains an extremely attractive media offering, as does our unique onsite capabilities, positioning the medium nicely for the future.
Additional 2006 Industry/Media Headlines
Death of the Rep Business as We Know It? Online Radio Remnant Marketplace Fares Well
The End of Advertising and Media as We Have Known It
Click Fraud — A Huge Problem
Ad Buyers Say Radio Creative is the Biggest Trouble Spot Today
NAB Chief Tells Broadcasters to be Bold. And to Quit Playing Defense
Podcasts Lure Big Advertisers
ZenithOptimedia: TV’s Dominance Is “Over for Good”
Polk Calls Traditional Media “Nearly Obsolete” Among New Auto Buyers
As 30-Second Spot Fades, What Advertisers Will Do Next
Marketers Lose Confidence in TV Advertising
Karmazin: Is Sirius About Live TV in Cars?
Observation: Katz remains alive and well, Google has long been out of the radio sales business, the podcasting headline was a decade early, the 30-second TV commercial is still its mainstay unit, marketers are still using TV, click fraud remains a huge problem, and the automotive industry are still big supporters of traditional media.
2006 was clearly a year of dynamic challenges and change but what year isn’t? A decade ago PPM was being rolled out, there was an RFP being shopped for an alternative rating service, the iPod was the next anointed radio killer, Sirius and XM had not yet merged and were bleeding red, Google was getting into the radio sales business, clutter concerns and “less is more” were in full swing, HD was being embraced and touted as radio’s savior, Pandora was commercial free with Microsoft acting as its sales arm, and companies like mSpot, Yahoo Music, Sprint Radio and Motorola iRadio were battling for digital audio supremacy. And in spite of all this chaos in 2006, radio is now the #1 reach medium in the entire United States, reaching just about every citizen in 2016.
So as we read today’s headlines about eminent technological advances and other can’t-miss media marvels that are sure to negatively impact AM/FM listenership, let’s keep in mind a couple of things. First, things usually take longer to happen then predicted — if they happen at all. Second, having current programming and sales challenges to overcome doesn’t spell doom, it comes with the territory (the Internet is still grappling with click fraud 10 years later and doing OK), and third, we’ve seen this movie before and it ends well as long as we remain vigilant, aggressive, and hungry.
So let’s keep an eye on the future but our feet firmly planted in the present as we sell the benefits of this terrific medium and work closely with our clients to enhance their business!
Bob McCurdy is Corporate Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]