The Perils of Chasing Something Shiny

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August 4, 2014
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August 13, 2014

The Perils of Chasing Something Shiny

Thousands of happy radio advertisers have thousands of stories of how well radio advertising works for their brand. Most cite the sound fundamentals of AM/FM, rather than how they gambled and won on new technology that’s still finding an audience.

Buzzworthy radio platforms like Rdio, Jango and Abacast deliver sound advertising options online, but none of those three services delivers a million unique listeners in any given month. So there’s the issue of scalability.

The good news with these new services – and other online delivery platforms – is that you, the advertiser, only pay for actual message delivery. So whether you make 1,000 or 10,000,000 advertising impressions, that’s the number you pay for.

Yet lost in the desire of many to find “What’s next?” the powerful, dominant platform of AM and FM is often overlooked. Some dismiss 20th Century technology as dated simply because something WOW comes along. But when over 244,000,000 Americans still listen to AM and FM every week, why would you abandon those colossal numbers to chase something shiny?

So let’s address the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Why does AM/FM Radio get such a bad rap?

  1. IT’S OLD – Commercial radio is nearly a century old. The advent of AM Radio was big news back in the Woodrow Wilson administration, not so much in the Obama years.
  2. THE MEDIA HAS CHANGED – The AM/FM-only choice of just 20 years ago has evolved into seemingly endless choices today. That means more publicity buzz for the new guys, with little excitement and ink leftover for journalists to cover the aging AM/FM giant.
  3. YOUNGER BUYERS PLACING MEDIA BUYS – With Generation X and Millennial media buyers now placing the bulk of the time buys, there’s an inherent familiarity with the formats and platforms of their generations. That means fewer, proportionate dollars for AM/FM, the popular favorite of their parents.

At The Radio Agency, our mandate is to remain agnostic. All stations, networks, channels and platforms are chosen on merit; evaluating ratings and performance to make sound choices. Just as we’d never summarily dismiss “the next big thing” simply because it isn’t proven, we’d never summarily dismiss “the #1 radio advertising platform” simply because it isn’t new and shiny.

Focus on results. Stay neutral. Most advertising success stories model winners and “copy smart.” For every iconoclast who breaks or bends the rules to great fanfare, there are hundreds more who “swing and miss,” chasing something shiny. Both paths have merit. It’s just a matter of how much you’re willing to risk.

Mark Lipsky is the President and CEO of The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above.Visit our website