How Does The C-Suite Monetize Radio’s Digital Media?


With radio on the hunt for maximized advertising revenue, NAB Show 2024 brought together four industry leaders for “Maximizing Radio Revenue: Monetizing Everything You Create.” The panel discussed strategies for leveraging radio and digital platforms.

Cumulus Media/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard highlighted the enduring strength of radio as America’s top-reaching medium, consistently outperforming other platforms over the past decade. In the fourth quarter of 2023, ad-supported audio saw AM/FM radio holding a dominant 68% share of ear, with podcasts capturing a 20% share. In-car listening statistics showed AM/FM radio at an impressive 86% and podcasts at 7%.

Bouvard also noted the increasing daily podcast listenership among Americans aged 25-54, which has risen to 32%.

Salem Media Group CEO Dave Santrella spoke about the opportunities digital expansion offers, particularly through niche targeting. As Salem focuses on Christian content and conservative politics, Santrella says this demonstrates the success of staying within a well-defined niche. Salem’s initiatives like SalemNOW — a conservative content service akin to Netflix — and their OTT platform, Salem News Channel, exemplify this approach.

Santrella emphasized the importance of maintaining focus, noting that straying from their core areas often leads to setbacks.

Red Apple Media/WABC President Chad Lopez discussed how digital platforms should be viewed as extensions of a radio brand, not separate entities. He stressed the importance of training sales teams to comfortably sell across multiple channels, including digital, podcasts, events, and even billboards.

Lopez criticized the practice of offering “added value” as a sign of sales discomfort with new products, advocating instead for recognizing and selling the inherent value of each channel.

Perry Publishing and Broadcasting General Manager Kevin Perry underscored the ongoing battle to demonstrate radio’s relevance in today’s media landscape. He and other panelists advocated for a strategy that moves beyond immediate sales to build long-term brand associations. This approach involves educating advertisers on the benefits of sustained advertising, which should aim to create memorable experiences rather than just immediate sales boosts.

The panelists collectively emphasized the need for a minimum commitment of six months from advertisers to allow for effective brand building. Bouvard metaphorically compared effective advertising to planting seeds rather than just picking apples, highlighting the importance of nurturing long-term growth rather than expecting immediate returns.

By embracing digital opportunities, focusing on core strengths, and educating both sales teams and clients about the value of sustained advertising, radio can continue to be a powerful medium in the multimedia landscape.


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