Roger Coryell is the Managing Partner at Brandhound Destination Marketing in Sonoma County. Coryell actually started in radio back in 1973 doing mornings and as working APD at KKSF San Francisco. That’s where he discovered digital and helped build the first radio station website and did email marketing and banner sales for radio. He also worked at KFOG and led Bay Area digital efforts for Bonneville, then Disney and Citadel. We reached out to Coryell to ask him to give us his unique perspective on the radio industry now, from the other side.
Radio Ink: Why did you leave radio?
Roger Coryell: I’ll probably never really leave radio. I have my hand in community broadcasting, podcasting, streaming, voice acting. But I left my last radio management position because I saw better opportunities in the real world. My radio mentors, people like Dave Kendrick, Chuck Tweedle, and Mickey Luckoff, encouraged me to learn and grow as a marketer and manager, and working for a bankrupt corporate media company no longer provided those opportunities for professional growth.
Radio Ink: Are you happier outside radio?
Roger Coryell: My days as a broadcaster were a wonderful part of my life. There were some rough moments, but we did good work, had a lot of fun, made a difference in the community. But I don’t miss it. And I only get “the dream” every year or so.
Radio Ink: What do you see from the outside, as opposed to being on the inside (of radio)?
Roger Coryell: I live and work in an area that is prone to catastrophic floods and fires. Local radio operators come through with flying colors. The culture of agility and public service that I thought was gone is still alive and well. I am proud of my radio friends in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties who have proven that radio is a vital resource to our region. But on a nice day, with no emergency, radio just isn’t very important to most people. Especially younger people. Media is important. Audio is important. Storytelling is important. Advertising, which lubricates our economy, is important. Localism is an important opportunity. But “radio”? Nope.
Radio Ink: What are radio’s biggest problems through the eyes of an agency executive?
Roger Coryell: Poor measurement that lacks credibility, long spot clusters that create a bad environment for terrestrial radio ads. Poorly trained sellers (although I can think of notable exceptions). Poor execution (again, there are notable exceptions).
Radio Ink: Do you still use radio for your clients and is it working?
Roger Coryell: Yes, and yes, when I can convince the client to use radio as part of a campaign.
Radio Ink: Do you believe the numbers radio executives throw around regarding radio’s ROI?
Roger Coryell: Nope. I believe, strongly, that radio can be very effective when used right, as part of a cross-media campaign, for both direct response and branding. But what I hear from radio executives is fluff.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for your old radio friends?
Roger Coryell: Invest in credible measurement technology, and training. Get rid of Nielsen, or hold them to a much higher standard. Whatever the solution, it’s going to cost more.
Invest in training. Encourage sellers to learn more about the measurements that matter to your clients, and how to move those measurements. For example, if you’re selling into the travel and tourism space, familiarize yourself with the STR report. Give the sellers the training and tools to be real marketing solution providers. This MUST include digital. Radio and digital are a powerful combination initiating trackable conversations between brands and customers.
Be willing and able to create solutions that are not limited to a given media company’s menu of in-house offerings. Invest in more compelling content. Take a clue from the wine industry. Wineries sell product two ways: through a convoluted and expensive tiered distribution system, and through much more lucrative direct-to-consumer sales. The key to the D2C revenue is carefully nurturing a personal, face-to-face branded relationship with consumers, including tasting rooms, experiential marketing, loyalty programs, segmented personalized email marketing, key partnerships. This is all stuff I learned how to do in radio.
Tourism? Same thing. It’s about building user personas, identifying your audiences, figuring out how to reach them, touching them repeatedly with a consistent message, compelling stories, and a call to action. Then we get permission to market to them and follow that path. We identify the aspirational traveler, we build the relationship, we influence behavior. Digital gives us tools that help us do that very effectively, and measure our efforts so we can iterate.
I would steer away from industry-specific vertical solutions for building and tracking relationships with your listeners and advertisers and connecting them. Most of the radio-centric vertical solutions are 10 years out of date. Live in the real world.
Radio has brilliant researchers. You know this stuff. Use it to help your clients.
Radio Ink: Is radio where it needs to be in the digital space?
Roger Coryell: Absolutely not. I still hear the same questions from market managers that I was listening to at Eric’s digital events in 2000. I still see the same insular sales culture and a “not invented here” bias in large groups.
Radio Ink: How can radio be better at digital?
Roger Coryell: PLEASE PLEASE get rid of the clunky crappy spot replacement in your terrestrial streams.
Radio Ink: Is radio taking podcasting seriously? Should it?
Roger Coryell: This is one of the bright spots I am seeing. Podcasting is a very cool medium, and listeners are embracing it. Radio has always been about storytelling and curation and brand building. Radio has very talented audio producers. You know how to do this. Own it!
Reach out to Roger at [email protected]