My Advice To Radio: Be More Creative. Your Medium Works


Colin Kinsella is CEO at Havas Media Group North America, an award-winning global media network operating in over 140 countries worldwide. Kinsella is also on the upcoming (11/12) cover of Radio Ink Magazine, which is also our Forecast 2019 issue (Kinsella is also speaking at Forecast 2019). Most importantly, Colin Kinsella is helping you tell radio’s story.

Kinsella is in such a high-level agency position there’s no doubt that what he says will move the ad revenue needle for your station. When Colin Kinsella talks, people listen. His opinion means a lot.

This is one of those stories you’ll want to make copies of and take to every client you call on. The only way you’ll be able to read our interview with Colin is if you subscribe to Radio Ink Magazine. This cover story will not be posted online.

Here’s a snippet of our cover story with Colin Kinsella…

Havas clients include Disney, PayPal, Michelin, Dish, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and 21st Century Fox. Before joining Havas Kinsella was CEO at Mindshare North America, a division of WPP’s GroupM unit. During his tenure at Mindshare, he managed bigtime clients, including Volvo, American Express, Unilever, and Nordstrom. He’s also held leadership roles at Digitas, Razorfish, Foote, Cone & Belding, and QuinStreet. Under Kinsella’s leadership Havas was named Adweek’s 2016 U.S. Media Agency of the Year and MediaPost’s 2017 U.S. Media Agency of the Year — and in 2014, the innovative work produced by the company’s North American offices captured an amazing 34 industry awards. Kinsella’s also been recognized individually for his work: MediaPost named him a Digital All Star in 2015.

And the best thing about Kinsella, as far as the radio industry is concerned? He loves radio and cannot understand why more big brands aren’t using it.

Radio Ink: Give the radio industry advice on how to increase revenue.
Kinsella: Demand the clients you’re working with do better creative work. Don’t allow crap advertising on your medium. It is up to them how to sort that out. It is so easy to me, philosophically, for radio to become hip. It’s the notion that radio is so old, it’s hip. The Ryan Seacrests and Rush Limbaughs of the world, there are huge personalities in radio, and the advertising that is on some of them is not good. Radio has to say, “We’re not putting you on unless it’s good.” The stuff you hear in a 10-pod radio break is what drives people crazy. It is out of touch. Your DJs are the most in-touch people in the country. You can leverage them at store openings. I can’t fathom why it’s not better.

Want more Colin? Subscribe to Radio Ink HERE
Check out our Forecast agenda HERE
(Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley will interview Colin on November 14 at 3:30 p.m.) 
Register HERE



  1. In his way, TheBigA accurately answers his own ponderings.
    If Radio is to continue with expectations of future prosperity, it MUST become (again) a primary source of Entertainment and Information.
    Most importantly, the mere strategy of loading up on content is a bailing wire, chewing gum and spit alternative.
    The drastic improvements in the methodologies of DELIVERING whatever content is added is the KEY!
    Providing tunes, as has been expressed consistently and pervasively, no longer has the draw or the impact as was once enjoyed.

  2. I’m just wondering where is all the creativity at Pandora or Spotify or Apple Music or any of the streaming sites? Is the audience really seeking creative scripts and imaginative production? Or do they just want to hear their favorite songs uninterrupted by what some radio guy thinks is creativity? All I’m asking for is an example. If they’re abandoning radio because it’s not creative, where specifically is there audio creativity?

  3. Getting out of a dicey ratings system, while it may be prudent, is still about cutting the only lifeline – more like a thread – to the population. The anxiety of losing what it seems like they might still have (in terms of numbers) is tangible and causes bleeding from the skin.

    The industry can tinker all it wants with sales techniques and small improvements to technologies, but neither of those will sustain us in the long march ahead.

    Indeed, Comrades, Radio, as it is being delivered, sucks. The leadership has lost faith and the proletariat (us) are abandoning it. Our Salvation lies in the massive improvements of how, specifically, we are communicating to our audiences.
    Nothing else will do.

  4. Note to Radio Lifer:
    Of course, your comments, and those of the others, are valid and few could or would argue.
    This leaves the question of: Given that radio practitioners are well aware of their own crippling foibles, what stops them from making corrections, and immediately so?
    The answer is sadly and reasonably this: They just don’t know how!

    • Ronald I agree, they just don’t know how but I also feel that they (radio heads) are focused on creating revenue generating platforms that are NOT based on Nielsen ratings, such as digital/podcasting/streaming. The sooner they can generate significant revenue without relying on Nielsen ratings the sooner they can drop Nielsen, save the money, and not live with the month-to-month/year-to-year headaches of the ratings process as the driving force for the business. It won’t happen overnight, but I believe this methodology makes sense as to why no one is spending significant resources on the current issues of radio and why you hear more about the digital/podcasting/streaming universe.

  5. Here’s some food for thought. It’s like opening a restaurant and investing in the decor but making poor quality food. It’ll only get you so far before people say…”The restaurant was beautiful and service was amazing, but I wouldn’t eat there again”… Why would radio NOT want to invest in their product/production? Some things are a matter of taste and you can’t make everyone happy I get that.. But I would recommend not saying “NO we won’t air that”…Instead offer up a better product that is far more palatable for your clients. Not too many people would turn down a meal prepared Gordon Ramsay’s.

  6. DJ…in the local arena the sales rep absolutely has control over the spot creative and should do everything in their power to create engaging ads or hope to heck their station still employees as copywriter. In the agency realm, the rep is handcuffed with whatever the agency sends over and unfortunately a lot of what agencies produce stinks as well. My point is that what Colin said in the interview is correct, but unfortunately it’s the same mumbo jumbo that radio heads have been reciting for years and yet nothing has changed. The cries for better creative for spots falls into the same category of “shorter spot sets”, “more local personalities and less voice-tracking”, and more. When will radio stop talking about making these elements better and actually DO something about it? You are correct when you say “Like it or not the product the sales department puts out can make or break a station just as fast if not quicker than the show production and format”, but until I actually see (or hear) a difference in how stations approach these key categories to help revive the industry I will remain a skeptic.

    • “more local personalities and less voice-tracking”
      Yes indeed… I started with a station that was live accept for overnights. Now, it’s a different story.
      It’s hard to find a true live and local station anymore.
      The end result – Bartered programming and local voice tracking has produced a negative impact on the sales dollars for local/rural stations.

    • Shorter spot sets? No problem. But that means less revenue. How do you pay the live local talent, unless we’re talking about college kids? Remember that spot sales is built around repetition and multiple impressions. Fewer impressions will mean fewer sales. It’s nice to have a discussion about creative. I’m fine with that. I’ll discuss creative all day. That’s the fun part of radio. But selling spots is selling numbers. That takes a different part of the brain.

  7. With what, specifically, is DJCarter disagreeing?
    Even the odd, deluded and thoroughly gullible Republican voter knows that radio’s hallmark has been its insistence on delivering the wort possible copywriting and on-air communications..
    As the wise oracle has said: “Garbage goes out – stink comes back in.”

  8. I totally disagree with the other two comments.
    If you feel you can not change or enhance the creative coming from your clients without harming your bottom line then you don’t have the honest relationship with your clients that it takes to make good radio in the sales department. Like it or not the product the sales department puts out can make or break a station just as fast if not quicker than the show production and format.

  9. So Colin says the same thing about good creative that people have been saying for years and it’s supposed to hook me into buying a subscription to Radio Ink to find out the rest? I don’t think so. While “good” creative is a no-brainer, getting stations to turn down business unless a client agrees to “good” creative is a pipe dream. Right now it’s all about SHARE in the sales departments at radio stations (which is dwindling month over month, year over year in case no one has noticed), so there is no way in &$^# a station will turn down a piece of business because the copy sucks. Why do you think so many crappy spots air as it is? I love radio and wish it would finally put in place all of these great ideas that are tossed around, but that is likely a pipe dream as well.

  10. When Colin says about ads on the air, “We’re not putting you on unless it’s good.” I understand. I get that.
    Meanwhile, back to real life.
    Were that the attitude, never mind the policy, of local radio, the station would be a pizzeria in less than 60 days.
    That the guy (Colin) is utterly and sadly for radio accurate, only points to radio’s self inflicted, open and sucking chest wounds.


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