On The Business of Radio

“If not us, then who?

   If not now, then when?”

While many people have used this phrase for all sorts of issues and causes, the simple and compelling thought behind these few words is powerful.

If we, who work in this business, cannot effectively communicate the persuasive and effective value of Radio as advertising medium, then who will? Moreover, if we don’t take the time now to convince advertisers and their agencies that Radio, indeed, can work for them, then when will we?

The phrase screams urgency… demanding both action and a timeline to start, all within two simple questions; if not us, then who? if not now, then when? 

Despite numerous distractions for the American public from Satellite radio, pure play internet radio, video games, TV, Cable TV, I-Pods, I-Pads, PC’s, and just about any device with a screen and some audio on it, Radio continues to provide the most audience and the most effective reach for almost any type of advertiser. It is widely known that all the facts and research clearly show Radio’s continued dominance in comparison to all the “new media”.

The Southern California Broadcasters Association is made up of 186 quality radio stations, whose combined weekly listenership now exceeds 11 million Adults 18+. (Arbitron PPM, Monday-Sunday, 5:00AM-5:00AM, April 2013) and growing each year.

Our ability to reach consumers in almost any part of southern California is vast, with our total member stations covering 52,000 square miles. (Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau 2012)

The SCBA provides in-depth research, and can build an effective case for Radio advertising. However, it’s what each of us do with that information, and our understanding of Radio, that will either advance an advertiser’s perception of value for Radio…or not.

As an industry, and as sales professionals, we can no longer allow others to “reposition” Radio as a “legacy” media. Most broadcast Analysts project a 2-3% increase in radio revenue and have been doing so for so many years that we seem to except this slow growth as inevitable. Or is it? 

Is Radio’s slower revenue growth due to changing media consumption, more competition, more devices, or a more ubiquitous perception by marketing, planning, and branding professionals that Radio is “old media”?

The facts place Radio on the winning side of this question:

  • A five year trend of Radio listeners from 2008-2012, shows remarkable steady growth in three key age groups that most advertisers target.
  • From 2008 through 2012, Adults 18+ listening to Radio grew from 92.2% to 94.5%
  • For Adults 18-49, the same growth trend was 94.1% to 96.7%
  • And for Adults 25-54, a 94.3% to 96.4% growth trend.
  • These %’s represent all adults in the U.S. in each age group.
  • A nearly 100% penetration of every American in these key demos.

(Source: Scarborough, Release 2, 2008-2012, LA Metro)

So, if Radio listenership is growing based on the above trends, and if Radio reaches nearly every Adult in the U.S., then the tail of perception is wagging the dog of reality.

My point is simple and direct; perception is always greater than reality. And in our world, most of our digital and pure play competitors never reach beyond 22% of the population. So, Radio reaches nearly 100% of each key demo vs. an average of 22% or less for digital and pure play media. As an advertiser, which media would you chose?

The SCBA has begun a serious and sustained call to action by, and for, the Radio industry. We are committed to growing Southern California Radio revenue with actions and not just words. We are calling our ongoing initiative,

Why Radio…and why now!

Regardless of your role at your Radio station(s), each of us must be able to clearly answer the question, “Why Radio”. Once we have all mastered that compelling and professional response, and created both value and a need for our medium, we must then answer the call of “why now”. The sheer immediacy and real time environment that we as an industry produce are all designed for rapid sales, increased store and web traffic, and brand and market share growth.

Combine radio’s huge listenership with the increasingly growing digital platforms of web sites, streaming signals, mobile devices, and very active social media network that our members can offer, and one quickly grasps the ubiquitous power of what Radio can offer astute advertisers.

Why Radio and why now….

If we don’t change perception and inaccurate thinking, then who will?

If we don’t do this now, then when will we?

The SCBA is committed to helping any GM, DOS, LSM, AE and others at any of our member stations. Whether it’s research, training, and/or attending client appointments, the SCBA is more than ready to answer the questions:

If not us, then who?

If not now, then when?

“Why radio and why now” starts today!

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