(By Mike Bustell) I try to keep my head down and quietly work behind the scenes helping our salespeople make a killing for our advertisers and our company. However, I had to react to Roger Lanctot’s “Technology Tyranny and the End of Radio” LinkedIn article published in last Friday’s Radio Ink headlines.
How Tesla and Silicon Valley (and other tech giants) feel about local radio is not much different than what our salespeople hear when talking with their local garden center or auto dealer group — that local radio is no longer relevant to bother putting it on their 2020 dashboards.
All these objections are happy opportunities to educate, bond, and sway hearts, minds, and advertising budgets. We have to be happy well-armed warriors with targeted customer-specific information every time we ask for a decision-maker’s valuable time. Once we earn an advertiser’s business we can never stop educating, bonding, or working on helping them grow their business.
Below is the most up-to-date look at the audio sources that $100K+HHI purchasers and lessees for new hybrid and electric vehicles are using. Like Mike Bloomberg taking the salt shakers off of New York City restaurants’ tables, Tesla’s removing easy access to local AM/FM radio stations on their new vehicles’ dashboards shows a similar out-of-touch-with-the-people attitude. Ninety-four and a half percent of $100K+ Age 25+ adults who plan to buy or lease a new hybrid or electric vehicle in 2020 listen to Local AM/FM radio every week — nearly three times that of Spotify, the second most-listened-to audio source every week used by these consumers.
No AM/FM radio in a new Tesla? That’s ok. Like candidates to vote for in a primary, buyers or lessees of new 2020 electrics can vote with their wallets and drive off the lot in a new 2020 electric Chevrolet, Jaguar, Nissan, Hyundai, or KIA — all of which have both FM and AM. These automakers have figured out the technology to eliminate electrical interference noise caused by their vehicles’ electric motors. So, if I am an auto industry person trying to sell more electric vehicles, and I’ve got 94.5% of prospective customers wanting to listen to local AM/FM radio, and 24.1% wanting to listen to Pandora, how am I serving the shareholders by eliminating local AM/FM Radio from my vehicles? Arrogantly ignoring these voters (AM/FM radio-listening buyers) could make my electric brand “yesterday’s news.”
With this attitude my grandkids will grow up thinking that Tesla is an autonomous 18-wheeler truck brand and tunnel-building company and not a self-driving passenger vehicle brand, as we let our autonomous KIA cruise us to the beach listening to my favorite local station.
If in the year 2020 we find that 19 out of 20 buyers of the most-sophisticated new autos on the planet are listening to local radio, imagine how strong local radio would be when you show a similar story of audio usage to your local garden center or Ford dealership.
Listening to and reading all these stories about the “end of radio” is like listening to and reading stories that the Corona (COVID-19) virus is going to wipe us all out. Seriously? For 100 years local radio has proven that it has the best “immune system” of any media out there and we will keep that 90+% reach as long as we keep being LOCAL radio — your daily companion that knows and lives in your hometown.
Mike Bustell is VP Market Research, Hubbard Radio. Email him at [email protected]