(By Randy Lane) “Radio is punching below its weight.” Entercom CEO David Field.
RLC digital specialist, Stephanie Winans says, “Unlike companies and brands in every other industry, radio thrives online by extending audience engagement from the mic to the keyboard. When they say radio isn’t adapting to today’s digital climate, show them the social comments that are so plentiful they’re hard to keep up with. Show them the video views, the web traffic and the followers. Talent is nailing it, and it’s time we start talking about that.”
We believe that radio will not only survive, it will thrive in the future.
With the CBS merger completed, we are elated to see the stance Entercom is taking. Last Monday the company launched an advertising campaign called “A Marketer’s Guide to Radio.” It will run in Ad Age, Variety, NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, and several other national publications.
Radio revenue has declined sharply over what it was pre-recession, while listenership is largely still there. Much of the decline is the perception that radio is losing ground to the new digital platforms. National publications often lump radio with old media, such as newspapers, which are losing ground with younger audiences.
Bring in the fact checkers.
— Radio is the #1 reach medium at 93% of the U.S. population weekly including 92% of Millennials.
— TV viewership is 89%.
— Smart phones 83%.
— Digital radio listening has increased dramatically since 2007 from 12-53% in 2017.
— DMR Interactive research reports that the total smartphone audio streaming average audience is 860,000+ compared to 18 million + for AM/FM radio
Many people listen to radio, Spotify, or a podcast daily, depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Radio reigns in the auto and in the workplace.
The Future of Radio is Talent
It will continue to be more difficult to distinguish radio stations with music. It is accessible everywhere on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
Two or three stations in many markets play the same music — think Country, Classic Hits, Adult Hits, and Classic Rock. Music now crosses more formats than ever, creating saturation and faster burnout of popular songs — think Top 40, Hot AC, and Mainstream AC.
Radio was the original social medium. The most successful radio stations and shows are embracing all the new platforms to expand and deepen their brand. Winans says, “They tell us radio is dead. I’m not buying it. Every day I’m blown away by the way radio talent are leveraging the Internet – social media, blogging and podcasting – to build an empire around their personal brands.”
Air personalities are the main reason why listeners choose radio over Spotify, for example. Listeners choose to listen to personality brands because they entertain and connect emotionally with them.
Music can be duplicated, talent cannot. When two radio stations in the same format are in a heated battle, the station with the superior morning show almost always emerges on top of the ratings and revenue. Talent has become the great distinguisher.
Randy Lane has worked as a DJ, program director, and general manager. He launched the Randy Lane Company in 1996 with the mission of developing morning shows and coaching talent. He has collected numerous industry awards, including Billboard’s “Consultant of the Year” for Adult Contemporary and Top 40.