Radio’s Clear + Present Danger


(By Loyd Ford) You heard it, didn’t you? On the podcast associated with Borrell Associates this week. They said there are so many local digital agencies being born. This is trending.

You should not only be aware, but you should be doing something about it in your market right now. These local digital agencies are zeroing in on your local business right now. On the podcast the Borrell team talked about the three (3) most profitable categories of business. Do you know what they are?

Is it time for you to engage in education about them?

Meanwhile some local radio operators continue to say, “Why should I do that stuff?”

How do we get local radio to recognize the power of purchasing a local digital agency that helps your cluster deepen relationships with existing clients, grow new relationships and ‘thicken’ the revenue pool all while helping you protect profit margin and play a strong defense?

Let’s opt out of “death by a thousand cuts.”

I say this all the time, “Once you have a radio station you can get anything else you want.” That is really a confidence statement in the power of radio people to branch out, move into areas of digital, event, social and other areas of influence and expand our advertiser foot-print. You are not limited. We are almost 25 years into what I call “The Innovation Century.” Technology and customers are moving fast.

What are the important reasons local radio clusters should consider purchasing their own local digital agency?

  • To deepen relationships with local advertisers (as suggested above)
  • Having a local digital agency allows you to focus on profit margin while expanding local (and regional) revenue
  • Bring a wide variety of local advertisers into radio’s area of influence (many of these buyers may have not considered radio because of their age or other factors)
  • Having a semi-independent local digital agency means expert digital sellers and revenue pressure beyond moving money around
  • When you deepen existing relationships, this increases your opportunity that clients will stay with you longer and purchase more from you in the future
  • Having a local digital agency that is attached but not the same staff as your radio sellers and other radio staff gives you ability to see different opportunities and places more pure focus on digital revenue and digital profit

If local radio clusters don’t participate in anything but white label low profit digital, look for radio to lose ground and perhaps what will look like losing all ground to local digital sellers in the future. Not just digital dollars. ALL dollars. This is your turf. Radio gets power from being local. Why shouldn’t you dig deeper and modernize in a way that will allow your company to have another set of tools, products and assets to help local clients get ahead even more?

Digital profit and loss isn’t coming; it’s here. And that “loss” will be your traditional revenue as you fall behind instead of GROWING. Let’s not forget that a very significant number of local businesses are currently participating in digital advertising in your market. Be the leader in your market that puts a premium on your leadership and sets the tone for the new generation of your employees, local clients and your existing audience because the opportunities that may develop with your own digital agency may surprise you in 2022 and beyond.

I imagine a limitless future for smart local radio operators who find a way to become focused on the way local buyers are looking to purchase digital, is prepared to tell radio’s story to these younger buyers and will break with decades of retro-thinking when it comes to adapting new ways to engage opportunities off the radio station itself.

Don’t kid yourself. Radio is a great platform, but our creativity, speed, how we tell stories, the emotion and connection we bring to local customers are always critical ways that set us apart from other competitors. Radio + A local digital agency = Warp speed serving future buyers, more local business and moving your cluster profit ahead.

Are you ready to become aggressive in digital and grow your local foot-print?

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. If you’re on the Clubhouse app, you can join Loyd’s radio pro encouragement group “The Encouragers.” Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].


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