Kia Motors America Shifts Gears in Radio’s Favor

Kia Motors America wants to cut its hefty dependence on third-party shopping sites for online sales leads and we applaud this strategy 100%. Kia’s goal is to bring more quality leads to their dealers by directing prospects to kia.com and not buy and sell “leads” to their dealers from third party sites such as autotrader.com, cars.com, and autobytel.com, to name just a few.

The problem, which is industry wide, is that these third party sites do not offer the quality leads that dealers need to convert to a sale. The current internet definition of an auto internet lead is anyone breathing who has filled in their contact information. The second issue is one of price expectations. These third party sites boast about lower dealer prices if one registers with them.

So, what is the Kia dealer getting when it buys third party leads from these and other auto aggregating sites?

Unqualified leads and prospects who have an expectation of a lower price since, after all, this is the internet and these sites promote lower dealer prices. Not only are the leads that Kia dealers are buying unqualified, the prospect is expecting low, low prices and begins the discussion with “What deal are you offering me?”  Continue reading

Like Moths to Radio’s Flame

The flame of Radio is more brilliant than ever as it attracts the best and the brightest minds into its connected orbit. We see the irresistible pull every day in so many ways as the allure and unharnessed potential of Radio in all its forms continues to draw in very talented and motivated people.

We only need look in our own backyard to understand the vibrancy and kinetic energy surrounding our member radio stations and their staffs right here in Southern California. Our region is arguably the nation’s epicenter of great Radio and audio content being created everyday by our 175 member stations, as well as cutting edge mobile apps, complete digital solutions, nationally known talent, sold-out station events, award-winning creative commercials, real and sustained community and charity involvement, brilliant NTR events, and 15.5 million listeners a week covering 52,000 square miles. And of course, the nation’s biggest traffic jams with huge in car listening!

In Southern California, the flame of Radio burns brilliantly.

Southern California Radio’s “flame” has more weekly reach than Google, Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, and any other media sources have in a month.

Southern California’s “population” of registered vehicles, 16.8 million and counting, exceeds the entire populations of Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Houston, and New York City combinedContinue reading

Sunset for TV and Pure plays…and the Introduction of the SCBA Auto Focus Report

As of now, the “great threat to Radio” is at the beginning of a very slow and painful decline to its ultimate place as another niche audio internet playlist, much like Sirius/XM has become. Of course we are talking about Pandora, whose stock just suffered another bone crushing loss of value (-10%) as investors now know its business model is genetically flawed. We are talking about Pandora, whose ominous audience erosion has been continuous for the past 5 months; both in time spent listening and log in occasions. “Active users” fell again from 76.2 million to 73.4 million as their “earnings guidance” to investors plunged for the second time in three months. Stock Scouter, a service of MSN, gives the stock a rating of only 3 out of 10.

A humbling 3 out of 10 rating for the “next great threat to Radio.” All that hype, all that attention, and all it comes down to is an embarrassing rating for its stock and its business model.

Pandora’s ultimate descent will not be pretty for investors or the “media experts,” but descending it surely is.

An inconvenient truth for yet another start-up trying to be Radio…  Continue reading

The Past is Prologue

You need not have an advanced degree in investing or have Wall Street insider information to see a trend that is so obvious, if we would only spend 10 minutes to really look at it.

2013 was a great year for Radio stocks with most publicly traded Radio companies doubling and/or tripling their 12 month performance. These stunning Radio stock increases can only be attributed to 3 key factors; a greatly improving ad revenue environment, a higher dividend to shareholders, and the realization from trading houses and investors that the ad supported, local Radio model works very well after all.

Why did it take these “experts” so many years to come to the same conclusion all of us in Radio knew all the time? Perhaps we need to understand that it takes most businesses a very long time to become established, profitable, and worthy of the public’s trust, like Radio has.

If the past is prologue, as suggested by William Shakespeare, then perhaps we need to be more cautious on what the financial/media experts are calling the “next big thing”. It is very difficult for any new medium to compete against Radio in the long term which makes investing in companies looking to compete with Radio a very risky proposition.

Here are just three glaring examples of why betting against Radio is a very bad investment decision.  Continue reading

An Important Invitation for Southern California Advertisers

As we all begin a new year, it makes perfect business sense to evaluate your company’s marketing and media strategies and their written objectives. Critical questions must be answered in a quantifiable manner as your organization moves forward;

  • Is our advertising growing our brand awareness and market share?
  • Is our media strategy cost efficient?
  • Are we falling behind our competitors?
  • What are our creative costs?
  • Are we reaching our core customers as well as new customers?
  • Have we met our 2013 objectives?

Can we agree that everyone in your organization has a different opinion about advertising…finance thinks there is too much, sales thinks there is not enough, marketing wants more colorful brochures, creative services wants more production budget…and on it goes.  Continue reading

Radio Rumbles On

I’ve been reading about the “death” of radio for far too long, and would find it all most amusing, if it were not so misguided and plain wrong. Each commentary is as dire as the next. Each story is the same and all you have to do is change the decade and the latest “threat” to Radio and it all goes something like this:

1. TV is killing Radio. “It won’t be long now until Radio is gone,” Billboard Magazine (1960)
2. Cassettes and 8 track tapes in the car will “kill Radio, why would you listen anymore?” (A Music Expert, 1970)
3. The Sony Walkman will “Rapidly eclipse Radio” (A major Advertiser, 1984)
4. Betamax and VHS will “erode Radio listening substantially.” (Local TV station, 1985)
5. The Internet will “destroy over the air Radio listening.” Various. (1990)
6. Consolidation will “turn off listeners in droves.” Various. (2000)
7. Sirius Satellite “will soon replace traditional Radio within 5 years.” – Various bloggers (2007)
8. The IPod “will bring Radio down…once and for all” Various Bloggers (2008)
9. Pandora and “pure plays” will cripple Radio forever” – Various Sources (2010)
10. In Dash “Internet Radio” in cars “signals the death of traditional Radio” Various critics (2011-2013)

Yet for all its competition, known and imagined, from its long line of “expert” critics as well as its own weak PR efforts, Radio is still having explosive growth in many sections of the U.S. and especially, in Southern California. In fact, I would call Radio’s momentum a “re-birth” … growing and adapting in ways all these critics have somehow failed to see. These rants against Radio reflect unprofessional journalism at a high level and are not the true state of the Radio industry today. Rather than just offer my opinion, I think it would best if we all look at some undeniable facts about Radio Today and why it is more popular with listeners and Advertisers than ever before.  Continue reading

Much Ado about Nothing

Pandora’s continued press barrage about growing revenue, ending caps on listening hours, and their “brilliant” idea of being more like Radio by adding commercial pods was supposed to impress investors and Wall Street. The effect was devastatingly the opposite.

Pandora’s stock plummeted 13% for the week ending August 24 on all this “good news” as investors’ fears about Pandora’s future continued to grow. And in its most deliberate statement about a stock in recent memory, The Motley Fool Investors Newsletter urged its readers to AVOID Pandora stock and sell its shares if owned…”NOW”! (Their word, not ours)

If Wall Street is not impressed with Pandora’s “growth” and so much of its future depends on investor money to survive, is the grim reaper of bankruptcy far behind?  Continue reading