The radio business is stuck without a unified message about the positive attributes of the industry.
Competition is fierce for attention.
All generations have” go to” options besides radio when they seek entertainment.
Some are paid and some have free components but there are plenty of options.
Personal choice is easier than ever when it comes to options such as plugging in your phone and letting your choice come to you, when you want it and how you want it.
Remember the days when a captive audience sat by the radio in a living room listening to a show?
I don’t and neither does the audience, although the business sometimes still behaves that way when it comes to content delivery.
I wrote ten years ago that radio suffers from an inferiority complex that must be addressed and the business must snap out of it.
Yet, little is done other than retreating to a defensive position that only makes us smaller in the eyes of the advertising community.
In July of 2019, my late comrade Bob McCurdy wrote in this publication “Radio needs to show more swagger” when it comes to realizing and touting the benefits that the industry provides to consumers and clients.”
Bob was a passionate advocate on behalf of the industry, but he also wasn’t afraid to lay out the facts to advocate a change.
When an industry is maligned for standing still in the face of change it will ultimately catch up to it.
Radio is long overdue in creating a branding campaign that is thoughtful, creative and simple to promote the business.
The business should take the industry strengths and run towards those elements proudly in the branding campaign.
Its time to not take anything for granted and tout what the business means to all aspects of the value chain.
For listeners Radio is a source of constant companionship that creates a tremendous bond with brands.
Radio is the conduit for engagement in every community.
A great Radio brand represents the pulse and vibe of every community.
Radio is always at its best when it serves a local community in times of need.
Time and time again this has been true and is something that can’t be duplicated from other sources of content delivery.
WMMR in Philadelphia exudes the heart and soul of the market. www.wmmr.com
No station in America sounds like MMR and its special sauce is a sense of constant uniqueness and imagination.
Each daypart on the station sounds unique to itself so this is not a homogenized presentation that could be heard anywhere USA.
The talent at the station is united around specific goals: the love of Philadelphia and the love of music!
Radio has tremendous assets when it comes to personalities and what they do for their audience, their advertisers and their communities.
This is another unduplicated strength that needs to be touted.
Listen to great personalities like Chaz and AJ who host mornings at WPLR in New Haven and you observe a show that is so dialed in to the market and makes it look effortless www.wplr.com
They are remarkedly entertaining, but they also have the keys to the market by having relationships with every key influencer spanning the world of entertainment, music, sports and politics.
They have earned loyalty from their audience as a result of many years of great performance.
The audience loyalty for the Mega 97.9 show in New York City is an outstanding example of the asset radio has with tremendous personalities www.spanishbroadcasting.com
The show is EL Vacilon de la Manana(roughly translated to “The Morning Tease”) and its history of fan engagement and creative content has led the NY market and its other syndicated markets for many years.
There are many other great personality examples that I’ve left out because of the sheer volume that involves mentioning them.
Visit every large market and you can find them and hear the meticulous work they deliver day in and day out.
Look if we are being honest, we know that in many cases these “perceived strengths” are being minimized or eliminated when financial cuts need to occur.
When looking at the radio businesses strength in community I fear post pandemic there aren’t the proper resources to execute the best street strategy.
Maybe that is another important point in this branding campaign.
If the business acknowledges the importance of its strengths maybe it won’t eliminate these positions and in fact maybe the business can recommit to these principles.
Let’s advocate all companies finding a common ground putting industry first and their own individual companies second and unify around a brand messaging campaign.
It is more important now than ever.