Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Unexpected answers from folks who should know

by Don Keith N4KC

So a publication called MediaLife Magazine did a survey and asked the question "What do you think is the biggest problem for radio today?"  Understand that MediaLife Magazine is targeted at media buyers and planners, the folks that actually do the work at advertising agencies of deciding on which media they will buy commercials and how much they will pay for them.  And when they say "radio," they are talking about commercial radio broadcasting, not ham radio or shortwave broadcasting or any of the goofy Internet "radio" that is suddenly so commonplace.

With that understood, most of us would assume that these buyers and planners would say, "Radio is too expensive," or "Radio is too hard to buy in order to get the best exposure for my clients,"  or "Radio sales reps are woefully inadequate and poorly trained." No, they don't say that at all.  Well, they do say that in some numbers and all three are absolutely true, but the largest vote-getters are the very ones I have noted in this blog.

 In fact, they sound like most of the rest of us who might express an opinion about the state of radio, from the guys in the carpool to individual advertisers who might use radio far more if it seemed truly interested in helping local merchants succeed.  Over half--51%--say radio's biggest problem is the concentration of ownership in the hands of a very few giant companies.  And they believe that is also the over-arching reason for some of the other problems they think are the major ones facing radio:

#2   Decline of local radio and its community involvement   49%
#3   Ad clutter       45%
#4   Lack of innovation   41%

Of course, they also threw in one not-so-surprising one, too: competition from digital players like Pandora, at 47%.  Lack of compelling content (same old music and talk) also was a strong one at 35%.

See, media buyers and planners are not just interested in making the math work when it comes to buying ads on radio.  Sure they want to reach the most human beings in their target as often and inexpensively as they can.  But they also want whatever campaign they are supporting to be successful, too.  They really need those "numbers" they buy to represent excited, motivated customers for their clients' products or services.

Dull, boring, background content with long, tune-out-encouraging commercial breaks don't make people rush out and buy beer, fast food or cars.  And when folks are not buying what an agency's clients are selling, agencies get fired and companies go broke.

(See the story and complete results of the survey HERE.)

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