Wake Up, Radio!


(By Randy Lane and Jason Goodman) Imagine Spotify came first. Then imagine radio recently entered the media arena as a competitor. Spotify would consider our product a huge threat because they couldn’t connect emotionally with listeners, provide companionship or be local.

We are in the business of delivering free, engaging, personality content that can super-serve a local market and region regardless of the delivery platform. The name radio may be an antiquated term since the content is now delivered on a stream, an app, a smart speaker, an FM signal – you name it.

Compelling personalities that listeners relate to and consider friends build a sense of belonging and a community connection. A sense of belonging develops relationships and companionship with listeners on an emotional level.

This is our niche. Not only on an engaging entertainment level, but OTA personalities and podcast hosts are highly effective in delivering advertising copy as highlighted in Westwood One’s weekly blog.

Personalities can attend local events and businesses to engage with listeners in person. This is one of the most effective ways of moving products and services.

For the last five years, the Jacobs Media Tech Surveys reveal an increasing demand for local content. Even on digital platforms, people often seek information about local events, news, and weather.

Radio has the distinction of being live or recorded, and both attract an audience. Live is powerful because there’s a sense of drama. Listeners never know what might happen next.

We can adapt and thrive in the evolving media environment by embracing digital technologies and staying true to its local community.

The audio space is flourishing, and radio is reaping the benefits. The New York Post interviewed iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman this week and he points out, “Radio is as strong as ever. We’re not competitive with the music services – we’re synergistic. The consumer uses us both, but at different times, for different reasons.”

Pittman went on to say, “When people listen to the radio, they’re joining the world. With us, they’re looking for connection, companionship, and someone to hang out with, and that’s our purpose – even though we may also be playing music on some of our radio stations.”

We are creative marketing experts for our advertisers, yet radio does a poor job of marketing our own industry. Brand differentiation is crucial to success in today’s crowded media playing field. Here’s how radio will continue to thrive.


Radio’s brand distinctions:

  • Radio has interesting, entertaining, and captivating personalities who have a relationship with listeners.
  • Companionship: Be consistently interactive on air, online, and in person. Music stations: Have talent connect briefly in music sets with teases, promo liners, and relevant info.
  • Radio personalities make a positive impact for advertisers.
  • Stress local: Utilize digital platforms to promote and cover local events, festivals, and community initiatives.
  • Embrace digital platforms and use them to expand our audience and highlight our unique attributes.

Jason Goodman is DBC Radio VP of Programming.

Randy Lane is the owner of the Randy Lane Company, which coaches and brands radio and television personalities, business professionals, sports personalities, entrepreneurs, and pop culture artists, helping them master communication skills to have an impact on their audiences. Read Randy’s Radio Ink archives here.


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