Radio One regional VP Doug Abernathy is a veteran. He’d seen firsthand the casualties sustained at the ratings level when his leading Houston-based radio stations dropped like rocks, when he converted from the old-fashioned diary method to the Portable People Meter (PPM). That was in June of last year.
In the intervening year the stations in question, Urban Adult Contemporary KMJQ-FM and Urban KBXX-FM, have been working hard to adjust their strategies based on the new ratings technology. Their course has been educational, and surprising.
Barry Fischer, Executive VP of McGavren Guild Media, which consults with Hispanic Radio, used the PPM data to validate that, according to Fischer, Hispanic stations as a whole have delivered a total of national radio cume of 7.2 – 7.6 million. He said, “Our story is not that dramatically different. Our strategy revolves around that and selling an audience that is engaged.”
Abernathy declared “over” the practice of advertisers using general market stations to reach black audiences and said a huge opportunity exists “to sell the exclusivity that we always thought we had and can now demonstrate. Urban and Hispanics are the most loyal audiences and you can’t get them through other stations.”
Fischer echoed the notion saying that advertisers are better off zeroing in on a smaller, more engaged audience. “Would you rather advertise on an urban or Hispanic stations that is culturally relevant, out in the community doing events that engage that audience or on a general market station that doesn’t?”
I find it interesting that this mirrors the approach many people take while using the Internet for posting content — aiming for high impact, narrower markets (while the conventional wisdom of the web, that no matter how narrow the niche there is an audience, is not quite as extreme in the world of traditional broadcast). Of course, there is the pesky little fact that radio’s evolution dictates being on the net…
Photo courtesy of Aoife city womanchile