Radio’s Friend From The Advertising Industry


Doug Ray has been in the advertising business for three decades. As the Chief Product Officer for Global Media at dentsu, he is one of the most important people in that space. Ray is on the next cover of Radio Ink and he’ll be speaking at Forecast 2022.

In our cover story interview you’ll read about what Ray thinks of radio, why he’s bullish on podcasting and what radio needs to do to get a larger piece of the overall revenue pie.

Here’s a preview of what you’ll read about in the November issue of Radio Ink and hear about if you’re registered for Forecast 2022.

Radio Ink: What’s the state of the advertising industry today?
Ray: We are at a massive inflection point. There’s more that’s changing now than there ever has been, even when you go back to the birth of the Internet in the early ’90s. That was the digitization of media over the course of the late ’90s and early 2000s — it was massive, and we didn’t simultaneously have the regulatory environment or the social platforms that are having to deal with issues related to challenges like the spread of misinformation, bullying, etc.

We’re facing enormous change in the regulatory environment, the social context, and some of the fundamental infrastructure. The deprecation of the cookie is changing the way clients think about their technology stack. Not too long ago every client was racing to be able to acquire a DMP, a data management platform, and now they’re moving away from that to a CDP, a customer data platform. The underlying identity on which much of the industry operated is going away. It will no longer be the currency by which we trade media. That is accelerating and complicating where we are. It’s an incredibly exciting time.

If you’re a student of this business or a curious marketer, it’s never been more exciting. But your day can be quite chaotic as you can be pulled from topic to topic because there are so many things conflating at the same time.

Radio Ink: Is everything moving toward digital and away from traditional media?
Ray: Yes. We envision a world where nearly 100% of consumer engagements are digital. That’s enabled through the accelerating use of data and technology. We like to think things will be data-led and technology-enabled going forward. If we are leveraging data and using technology to replace some of the things that were done by people — you are seeing AI replacing some of the simple analytical work analysts were doing previously, and automated platforms replacing some roles as we move to a more digital future — it doesn’t mean we’re going to completely move away from non-digital terrestrial radio, linear TV, etc. There will still be a role for them to play, but it will be diminished over time.

Radio Ink: Your answer sounds like bad news for radio.
Ray: Yes and no. With the explosion in podcasts, streaming radio listenership is at its highest levels. Radio is still the best way to reach many audiences across the country at scale. Terrestrial radio is still a strong and thriving medium. We are just adding to that. We’re giving more opportunities to connect with consumers through that medium.

I’m incredibly bullish about audio. I remember back in the late ’90s, the number of dot-com brands we launched on the back of radio with incredible success. We were able to test and learn. We did test and control markets, and radio was immediate. We built, and did it entirely through radio. We had incredibly strong live-read radio advocates working with the major personalities. I think radio is thriving. We have more tools in our toolkit now to leverage. Streaming audio and podcasts are areas marketers will be exploiting far more going forward.

Subscribe to Radio Ink in time to receive this issue HERE.
Register for Forecast to see Doug Ray speak HERE.


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