Breaking The Cycle

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(By Deborah Parenti) If our latest issue’s cover interview with Colin Kinsella doesn’t have you cheering and running to make copies of the article to send to every client on your list, you might want to consider another occupation.

“One of the best things about radio is that it is real. It is there and you hear it. The fact that people aren’t talking about advertising the way they used to is the reason brands aren’t doing as well as they used to. We have to get brands to break out of the cycle. If I was in radio, I would want radio to be the cycle-breaker.”

These aren’t the words of a radio “insider.” These are the words of the head of one of the largest advertising agencies in the country. Someone whose agency deals with major clients and big brands, someone who is familiar with virtually every advertising and social media platform available to marketers.

And he is a fan of radio. In one sentence, Colin Kinsella provided the words around which a radio marketing campaign is begging to be created. “If I was in radio, I would want radio to be the cyclebreaker.”

I can hear it now. “Break the bad branding cycle. Break out with radio.” You get the gist. Maybe Colin’s agency could write the campaign.

Because this comes from someone on the opposite side of the table who does not just offer enthusiastic sound bites. It provides a real message that radio sellers and managers should not only applaud, but share with everyone in their sphere of influence.

“We have some clients incredibly bullish on radio. When I get a chance to talk about radio with someone like [Radio Ink] or in a conference, I’m always willing to raise my hand because I believe there is incredible power in radio.”

What a difference in how this very important influencer in the world of advertising views radio versus some of the naysayers within our own rank and file.

That’s not to say honest criticism should not be encouraged and considered. But it also means we might want to sometimes set the negatives aside for a minute (ever hear of stopping to smell the roses?) and unabashedly champion what’s good — make that great — about radio.

Radio could be considered an “early adopter” when it comes to social media. It was, after all, “social” long before there was “social media.”

Radio delivers richly compelling content thanks to masterfully talented personalities every day. While the Internet may connect a lot of people globally, radio reaches across this vast country even in places where Internet and cell coverage is spotty and unreliable. And when disasters strike, from horrific hurricanes to man-made tragedies, radio is always right there at the front line, keeping citizens informed, always going above and beyond in serving its communities. Radio connects listeners with vital services and resources and becomes an on-air comforter for those who need to hear a voice amid the chaos and uncertainty falling so suddenly around them. To say that radio literally saves lives is not an exaggeration.

This year’s Independent Group panel at Forecast offers tons of examples.

There are also the tried and true radio mantras — that it remains, for example, the biggest mass-reach medium in the U.S., with more than 90 percent of consumers listening on a weekly basis. And how it’s still the number one way people discover new music. According to Nielsen’s All Dimension Audience Research Report (2017), even family and friends drive more listeners to new music than online music services and social media.

Of course, always circling the radio wagon are those who opine that all of the above are defensive, head-in-the-sand incantations, who claim radio is losing the battle in the car and at work, and that it doesn’t have the metrics or the marketing sizzle to compete with today’s digital and social media platforms.

Oh, my. Remind me not to invite them to my next gathering. Not if I am trying to inspire the troops. Or unless it’s a wake.

Radio is alive and has a hell of a story to tell. Colin Kinsella confirms it, as do others. Just read the weekly series of Advertising Success Stories that have been appearing every Monday in the Radio Ink Daily Headlines if you need more affirmation. Radio can be the cycle-breaker for brands in search of identity. Time to start spreading the news. Time to engage in a campaign. Radio gets results!

Deborah Parenti is Publisher of Radio Ink. She can be reached at parenti@aol.com

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