Radio is Overloaded
The other day I was flipping through the dial and every one of the ten stations I flipped to was in commercial at the same time. Yesterday, I was air-checking a new morning show and between the commercials, traffic, weather, and canned commentaries I listened for 30 minutes without so much as a “good morning” from the new personality.
Tragic. Opportunity missed. Quarter-hours lost. Radio listener’s discouraged.
I listen to quite a bit of radio. I love radio. I should say I WANT to love radio, but I am increasingly dissatisfied with the return on my investment of time. Gang, we got a spot problem. There’s way too much clutter. We’re strangling content to squeeze blood from a turnip. Enough already.
I know I’m not the first to bring it up. I just watched a talk Jerry Del Colliano gave at Talkers 2014 and he brought it up too.
It was also a discussion in the #SRCHAT (Sports Radio Chat) on Twitter last night too.
A2: re: breaks per hour. Listening to a national show this morning and it felt like they were constantly going to break. No content. #srchat
— Owen Murphy (@SportRadioCoach) September 10, 2014
A2) too many breaks and not enough content kills all. Even Rush. Content is king #srchat
— Matt Perrault (@sportstalkmatt) September 10, 2014
— Brent Dougherty (@brentdougherty) September 10, 2014
That last one caught the attention of many on the chat. We are willingly sacrificing what’s best for the listening experience to accommodate a revenue model that was introduced in 1921.
Let that sink in.
The same year radio began to sell spots; World War I ended, Warren G. Harding was inaugurated as President, and KDKA created the first radio news room and broadcast the first ever baseball game on the radio.
Radio commericals have had a good run. But, the time has come to rethink the way we monetize our content. We don’t need to eliminate them altogether, but we need to value our platforms at a much higher rate, creatively collaborate on projects with advertisers and be willing to say “no” a whole lot more often to spots that don’t match our brand or meet our production quality standards.
(Insert a spit take from GMs and GSMs across the country)
The more we load up our hours with limitless units of :05s, :10s, :15s, :30s and still even :60s, the faster we’re pushing the next generation of radio listeners to competing audio content providers.
Think about this. The #1 thing in every research project radio has EVER conducted (hyperbole intended), commercials are what listeners react the most negatively too. And you know what we say? “Oh, they always say that. Just ignore it.”
I’m afraid we can’t ignore it anymore.
It’s going to take creativity, guts, leadership, ideation and innovation. Raise your hand if you have an idea. The solution isn’t going to likely arrive from the corner office. I’m looking at the board ops, producers, talent, reporters, street-teamers, and sales assistants. We need to start asking different people how we can solve this problem. So, I’m asking. Do YOU have any ideas?
- Co-branding opportunities / strategic partnerships (studio, phone lines, text, street team, events, etc.) I know this is happening in some stations already but usually it’s undervalued and tragically it’s often flighted-in instead of signing an annual.
- Multiplatform solutions or coordinated Brand Takeovers (audio, video, text, web, stream, podcast, app)
- XAPP Media – interactive online/mobile spots
- Creating exclusive online stations for partners co-branded with radio station featuring exclusive promotions/access/messaging for partners. (Listen to the Jones Honda Hits Music Channel on thisradiostation.com for your chance to win a trip to the Honda 500)
- Invest in great copy writers.
Add your ideas in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org