Remember when spot loads were small, rates were high, profit margins were 30% to 50%+ and revenue growth was double digit. I do.
FM radio replaced AM radio.
And AM radio stations are adding FM translators in an attempt to stay relevant.
An Abundance of Listening Options
Today there are too many radio stations playing the same program features, repeating the same positioning liners and doing the same things that we used to do 30 to 35 years ago.
Pureplay streamers are relentlessly competing for our listeners’ ears.
Listening options are infinite.
The Internet Tore Down the Gate
Traditional media was born when the “gates” to being a media property were very high. For newspapers those high gates consisted of having to buy large printing presses, paper, ink, etc. For radio & TV those high gates were things like having a broadcast license, a transmitter, studios, etc.
Traditional media enjoyed being gatekeepers for news, information and entertainment because there was no place else to go.
Legacy media enjoyed attracting huge audiences, huge margins and lots of cash flow.
The Gatekeepers of the 21st Century
The new gatekeepers are called listeners, readers and viewers of media.
The new gatekeepers are accessing their media via their smartphones, tablets, computers, smartTVs and now voice activated devices such as Alexa, Google, Apple and Cortana.
Long stop sets no longer need to be tolerated by listeners or advertisers. Every element that goes out over-the-air needs to be thoroughly vetted from the listener’s perspective.
And your streaming product cannot be an afterthought. It’s your future and if you expect it to grow into your new revenue source, you need to give it your full attention.
Have you noticed the growth of Christian formatted radio stations? Have you noticed the growth of NPR and public radio?
These radio stations depend on listener support as well as business underwriting.
If your station stopped selling commercials and asked its listeners to donate money to support it, would they?
The challenge for broadcasters is to build audio brands that our audience doesn’t just casually listen to but feels they can’t live without. To do that, your media property needs to know your listener so well, that you are creating a product that they find engaging in every way.
It’s time to play to win again versus a decade of trying not to lose.
Consumers Have a Choice
Here’s the reality of today. Consumers of media have lots of choices for how they want to spend their time. They don’t need us. It’s up to us to create a reason for them to want us, to need us.
NAB Radio Show 2009
Now here’s the ear-opening part of this article.
Most of these points were made during an NAB Radio Show presentation I attended almost a decade ago.
It’s 2018, how many of these issues are the same today?
Why is that?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.