Radio: Still Valid and Important After All These Years



It is easy to find doomsayers willing to tout the death of radio. Marketers across the attention are all agog at the potential of of social media. Applications like Facebook and Twitter seem to consume all of their conversation. As a person who makes his living off of social media, I share their love for these tools, but I still must differ with their early presumption of the demise of broadcasting.

Caroline Krediet, whose work you may be familiar with if you read MediaPost, agrees with me. She advances numerous reasons that radio is still vital, and possibly more important than ever during the economic disasters facing us.  Ads are everywhere, but engagement? That is a different story.

Via Media Post:

Most important, however, is that great radio work can have a huge impact. Best-in-class examples: Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius, or CDP’s Hamlet cigars. A 2005 study by research firms Millward Brown and IRI found that radio provided 49% better return-on-investment than TV. In recent years, numerous studies conducted by third parties prove that radio is more personally relevant, more persuasive and just as emotionally engaging as TV. Some particularly thorough researchers have gone so far as to use facial electromyography to track emotional response!

Now those are figures that can make you smile! And it dovetails nicely with my own personal experience. I have always felt that an integral part of what makes radio special is the connection people feel to their radio personalities. To many, it feels almost conversational. (In my opinion, call-in radio shows were the true birth of social media, long before the silicon revolution known as the Internet.)

Radio as a medium is tailor-made to the challenges of our multi-tasking, ADD age. Consumers might be working, driving or gaming, but they can still listen. Acceptance of radio ads is higher than that of TV ads: 51% of the listeners queried by American Media Services claim they do not switch radio channels when commercials come on. I recently worked on Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign. In qualitative groups, my colleagues and I were shocked at how many respondents recalled lines from the radio–even more so than the TV.

Combined with the inexpensive production costs of radio ads, these factors alone make radio an ideal weapon in the fight for survival most brands are having at the moment. I highly advise reading the rest of Ms. Krediet’s column. She touches on a number of points that space constraints prevent me from addressing here. Really great points that should be considered by any and all who work in our industry. As she so eloquently puts it, “A radio revival could be just the thing to beat the recession blues.”

Photo courtesy of The National Guard, used under its Creative Commons license


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