The radio industry has a huge stable of smart, talented and experienced managers. In fact, 30 of them are interviewed in the October 14 print issue of Radio Ink Magazine (which you can subscribe to HERE). Those 30 managers gave us so much useful information about succeeding and leading in a fragmented media environment, we couldn’t fit it all in the magazine.
So, today, we bring you some of that overflow. Seven of radio’s top managers answer the following question: What Can Radio Do Better? Here’s what they had to say.
Ray Quinn is Area President for iHeartMedia Alabama and Market President for iHeart’s Birmingham cluster. “Self-promotion. Radio has a perception problem that needs to be addressed. Radio reaches 93% of the population each week. More people are listening to broadcast radio than are using Google or Facebook or Twitter, yet there is this impression that radio is a dead medium. I have been in this business long enough to have heard this BS many times before. Cassettes and 8-tracks and CDs were all going to bring doom to radio. Then it was satellite radio and Pandora. Do you know that 86% of the time people spend with audio is still radio? We need to do a better job of educating the marketplace as to the amazing continuing power of radio.”
Ami Graham is Market Manager for NRG Media’s Lincoln, NE cluster. “Every radio station gives special access to a unique group of people and we need to do a better job of being a matchmaker between our listeners and our advertisers. When we truly know and understand our audience, we make better recommendations for our clients wanting to grow their business. And the creative! We have to resist the clichés and deliver a message that is compelling and moves people through the buying funnel. It’s all about the right message to the right people enough times! We also need to do a much better job of recruiting young professionals into our industry. Radio will continue to be vibrant and thriving only if we continue to attract new talent in programming, sales, and engineering.”
Roger Lundeen is the GM for Galesburg Broadcasting Company in Galesburg, IL.”
The industry needs to get better at message development and creating great creative strategies for our advertisers. Lengthy spot breaks don’t have to be a tune-out, but unfortunately most of our industry still falls short at making our ads an interesting part of our programming. Most stations have creative control of the majority of their local direct clients, but spend very little energy on the creative. One way to stay competitive with the pure plays is to have great (and mostly local) content, and that includes the promos and commercials. Attention spans continue to get shorter and we need to be creating messages that listeners will not only tolerate, but enjoy. We need more research that shows which messages are effective and how listeners are responding, both long term and short term. The sales team can make the sale, but the creative team helps to get results and get the renewals. We need more “theatre of the mind” and less “PA announcement” ads on our stations. Great ads will inform and benefit the listeners. Bad ads will send them elsewhere. Our listeners do want to save money by switching to Geico. Let’s not scare them away so that they never get a chance to hear about it.”
Keith Lawless is the Market Manager for CMG in Tampa. “Working together. It has improved from years ago, but still lacks a united front. As audio options increase and the battle for the dashboard intensifies, radio should have a consistent message to listeners, auto manufacturers, advertisers, etc.”
Stephanie Prince is Good Karma’s Market Manager in West Palm Beach. “I think we need to continue to embrace how people consume radio and really be looking at our industry as the audio market vs. the radio industry. Between podcasting, streaming, and terrestrial radio, people are consuming the medium constantly and it’s everywhere. We also need to continue to take advantage of the social medium whether it be by pushing out audio or utilizing our personalities’ following to engage with our fans to keep everything top of mind.”
Paul Kelly is President/General Manager for Longport Media in Atlantic City – Cape May. “Two things jump out to me. First, radio needs to be better at telling our story. The dollars we command are not commensurate with the audience we deliver. It’s been that way for many years and it’s beyond time that radio takes control of our own narrative. There is a common misperception that radio is dying and our industry needs to do more to combat that. Secondly, we need to be more proactive in doing what radio does best – deliver local customers to the doors of our advertisers. Radio has been far too reactive in accepting new technology, new ways of thinking, and ultimately new ways of reaching people. We’re in the audience delivery business and whether we reach that audience over the air, online, through podcasts, on smart phones, at live events or whatever comes next, we need to be as proactive as possible in making sure that we’re never out of touch with the ways people consume media.”
Paul Rogers is iHeartMedia’s Area President in Panama City-Tallahassee. “Identifying, recruiting, and hiring the next generation of engineers. It’s alarming when you look at the average age of the chief engineers in our industry, how much incredible head knowledge and decades of personal experience they have, and then look at the thin “bench” we have of talent coming behind them. I think as an industry we need to invest in a program to attract new young engineering talent, while there is still time for them to shadow the more experienced folks at the end of their career so the knowledge can be passed on to the next generation.”