(By Ed Ryan) I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this topic (kids…a record is a round, flat, disk thing in which musical sound vibrates out of when struck with a tiny needle).
When was the last time you gave away a free radio? Was it before or after those new iPads or iPhones you gave away? How many new listeners did that promo get you?
The stories are hard to ignore over the last few years. The number of radio’s in the home are declining. Consumers have an easier time finding baby formula than they would finding an actual radio to buy today. And, as you’ve been following over the last week on this page, radio listenership is declining, according to the Jacobs Media Techsurvey.
Here’s something I ran across that inspired be to write this piece. Perhaps it will inspire a cool idea for some of you. 100 years ago The Spokane Daily Chronicle used radio to increase subscriptions. According to The Spokesman-Review the paper came up with a promotion to put a radio in the hands of “every man, woman and child” in its circulation area. Wow! Imagine running that promo on YOUR station today. The trick back then was that newspaper subscribers had to get 20 new subscribers to pay for a 6-month subscription (at 65 cents per month).
Maybe instead of ordering those t-shirts, or hats, or stickers, or whatever it is you order from your promotional budget next time (if you still have one), you order a few hundred “collectors item” radio’s with your logo and popular morning hosts signature right on the front. You’ve seen the stories; listeners love that special bond they have with their local hosts. You do have at least one local host that the community loves don’t you? Give them that free t-shirt when they post pictures to their social media pages WITH your cool, hip looking new radio.
Why not create a team of those P1’s and recruit them to distribute your cool, hip looking radio’s to their friends who are not listeners today? Surely you have the confidence that those listeners can be converted to your station. They just need a taste, a sample, a push to come over. Who better to promote you than the people who love you already? Put your tribe to work for you.
I hear what you’re all saying, ‘there goes that old man editor again with another dumb idea.‘ Maybe so. Or, maybe we can do something to “put a new radio in the hand of every man, woman and child in the United States of America.”
And, just a random thought here. When radio station shows are on their local TV stations, why is it that there’s never a radio on the console? Why all the bobbleheads? It’s not like those dolls are ever wearing your radio station’s t-shirt.