(By Gary Berkowitz) I am having some work done on my house. The other day one of the carpenters walked into my office and said, “I hear you’re a big shot radio guy.” I replied that I was not a big shot, but I was in radio. He is 35 years old and is clearly a music fan. He also likes radio. Here’s how the conversation went. I will refer to him as “John.”
John: I love music, but these days, I get everything I need off my phone. Straight music and no commercials. But I do like listening to the radio too, but I don’t have a radio. I’ve got to think that between phones and the Internet, radio must be hurting.
Me: Well those things (Internet, satellite) have definitely created more choices, but…have you tried downloading radio station apps on your phone?
John: What? (key reaction)
Me: Yes, many of the radio stations have apps and you can download them for free. Then you can listen to any radio station on your phone.
John: Wow. I did not know that. Can you show me how to do that?
We then went to the App Store and put in one of his favorite stations here in Detroit. And like magic…it downloaded!
John: Wow, this is great. Can I do this for all the stations?
John: Wow. This is great, and it’s free too!
So what does this brief but telling conversation mean? Here’s what I get out of it. As an industry, we have not done a good job in letting our listeners know that these apps are available. We have not communicated that “if you’ve got a phone, you’ve got a radio.” Now John can easily listen to his favorite radio station. I never thought that as an industry we did a good job promoting what HD radio was. Apps are different as, unlike HD, everyone has a phone and we have a world of listeners out there…as long as they know how easy it is to listen to us.
As for John, when he came back the next day to finish his work, guess what? I heard THE RADIO in the background, loud and clear (on his phone)! If you have an app, let’s ramp up the promotion of it. I’m not sure listeners are hearing it or getting the message.
Gary Berkowitz is president of Detroit-based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. Contact Gary at 248.737.3727 or [email protected].