Why I Switched Careers


It has now been a full month since I walked away from 8+ years working for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne Indiana.

All together I have spent 25+ years in the radio business with a couple of breaks. I started as a teenage disc-jockey and moved into the advertising and marketing world which I found fascinating.

Radio uses push marketing methods. In order to get the free music, they will push advertising messages out too.

Television broadcasting works this way too. Newspapers also use push marketing methods… you want to read the news, then you have to page thru the ads too.

Yellow Pages is not push marketing. I don’t know of anyone who has casually paged thru the phone book as a source of entertainment.

The selling point for yellow pages sales reps was, the book was the place people go to find a business to spend money with to solve problems. Once you pick up the book, you are ready to spend.

Technology however has made the phone book and the yellow pages outdated. When we want an answer, we Google it. The web and search engines are replacing the yellow pages as the source for finding information and answers.

The other reason I switched careers, I believe in the methods used by my team at Cirrus ABS which combines sound technology, solid strategic planning and analytics to measure the results.

Our Sunday Seth talks more about this:

Paying attention to the attention economy

Most of us are happily obsessed with the economy of money. We earn it and we spend it and we generally pay attention to what things cost.

Certainly, salespeople and marketers are truly focused on the price of things, on commissions and shelving allowances and net margin and the cost of goods sold.

With all of these easily measured activity, it’s easy to overlook the fast-growing and ever more important economy based around attention.

“If I alert my entire customer base, how much will this cost me in permission?”

“How much time do we save our customers with a better written manual?”

“When we fail to ask for (and reward) the privilege of following up, are we wasting permission?”

“Does launching this product to an audience of stangers waste the attention we’re going to have to buy?”

Attention is a bit like real estate, in that they’re not making any more of it. Unlike real estate, though, it keeps going up in value.

The Future of Radio & the Web


Automobiles have been mobile radios for decades.

More radio listening occurs in our vehicles than any other place.

We are a captive audience.

Tape players, CD players, MP players… none have made the car radio obsolete.

But now, in 2011 there are several new vehciles that offer the internet as a listening option.

The changes will take years as explained in the following interview:

Online Radio’s Big Frontier: The Automobile

Study Finds That 14 Percent of Listeners Already Stream

People have been streaming radio on their computers for years, with sites such as Pandora, LastFM, AOL Radio and more drawing millions of subscribers for hundreds of stations. The next frontier for streaming radio is in cars, and in fact it’s a frontier that a surprising number of people have already traversed.

A new study from knowDigital, a Lafayette Hill, Pa.-based digital media research firm, finds that 14 percent of Americans listen to streaming radio in their cars on a regular basis. What’s interesting about the study is that it also concludes that streaming radio actually does not constitute a threat to traditional radio in either the short or long term. These early adopters are heavy consumers of audio media, and they listen to terrestrial stations as well as streaming ones. Also of note: In-car streamers aren’t necessarily heading for Pandora when they connect. Many are using their cell phones to plug into the Internet and stream, say, their hometown radio stations, and they’re doing so even when they’re many miles away from home.

Sam Milkman, president at knowDigital, talks to Media Life about the challenges to in-car radio streaming, who these early adopters are, and what this study means to media buyers and planners.

What did you find most interesting or most surprising about this study?

I guess that people are already doing this. People are already streaming in their car and the future is now.

Even though we had seen it before, it’s the level at which they’re doing it. Even though there are obstacles, there’s really a halo over this activity, and they forgive the fact that you have to go through some hoops to get it done.

What’s the most important thing media buyers and planners can take from it?

The other interesting point is that despite an endless number of choices online, when asked to program a new digital dashboard with 10 pre-sets, most streamers could only think of four or five sources they wanted to program. That includes their phone, one or two FM radio stations, their digital library and perhaps one other source.

If media planners and buyers want to find a mass audience they will need to continue to focus on the big brands in the radio space.

I’m wondering whether there’s any evidence that they were using streaming to avoid commercials. Some of that is going on, but it’s clear to these consumers that there are commercials in the stream.

What are the perceived difficulties to in-car radio streaming, and how are in-car streamers working around them? What’s the most common way to stream (smartphone, USB port, etc.)?

First there’s the connection. They’re plugging [their phone] into a USB port on their dashboard, or they have a fancier Bluetooth or some accessory that is transmitting a signal to the FM receiver.

The problem then is to make [channel] choices requires that they fiddle with their telephone and use the phone’s battery and data plan. They don’t like that this phone is in a cup holder or seat or that they’re looking down to play with it and make changes. So they’re not necessarily plugging in for a short trip, which suggests to us that if a solution was there they’d use it more often.

The smartphone, probably wired to the dashboard at this point, is the most common way to stream.

Is in-car streaming more or less popular than you expected? Why?

I think that it is more popular. We thought a smaller group was doing it, but we were surprised that a good number is doing it a least a few times during the week. It suggests 14 percent of Americans are streaming at least 5 minutes per week in the car.

What sort of characteristics do in-car streamers share, beyond presumably being early adopters? Do they listen to traditional or satellite radio as well, or mostly streaming?

They definitely listen to other forms of radio. They all reported starting their drives with FM radio. The study revealed a lot of reasons why they still turn to traditional radio. There’s certainly a lot of reasons why they rely upon traditional broadcasters.

Some have satellite radio — these are people who are interested in audio media in the car in general, or just audio media in general. So it didn’t surprise us a lot had satellite radio.

Also, they’re commuters, they spend more time than most people in the car. They’re highly interested in audio of all kinds. And beyond that they probably are looking for something different, some variety and customization, all the characteristics that apply to streamers in general.

Are there cars that stream audio without connecting to a phone or other device?

What I got out of these sessions is people don’t want the car to have its own Internet connection. They want the car to pick up their phone’s Internet connection, and that’ll be by Bluetooth or otherwise. That’s in the near future. I guess the real challenge here is how many people are going to turn over their cars and buy new ones.

How does the quality of streaming compare to traditional radio? Will this be an issue for future adoption?

They think the quality is better, that’s the funny part of the whole thing. They perceive the quality to be better, and they forgive the technical limitations. So if it cuts out or buffers, they understand how often that happens and they’re not bothered by it.

How much of a short-term and long-term threat to terrestrial radio is in-car streaming radio?

I think the two are compatible. They see a value in over-the-air radio and they see a value in streaming. And they seem to use the two in tandem.

Certainly in that more crowded dashboard, someone will get elbowed out. But the funny thing is, a lot of the streaming was of radio signals, it wasn’t like they were turning to another source. I think in the long term the two media will learn to live together.

Over-the-air begins to adopt some principles from streaming, and streaming will incorporate elements from over-the-air, and the two come together at some point.

How long until in-car streaming becomes mainstream? What percentage of the population does it now?

I think it has to do with the cycle of car purchasing. And it’s probably two generations of cars because 35-year-olds have to buy the cars that have the capabilities, and then the 18-year-olds get the used cars. So it may be as far as 14 years off.

There are certainly car radios you can buy now that will bring your phone into the dashboard via Bluetooth. And there are certainly a number of aftermarket suppliers looking to create something more than bringing the phone to an unused FM position. They want to get to a place where you can control your phone with a dashboard and not worry about messing with the phone anymore.

What are the long-term challenges to in-car streaming radio?

You know, it’s the car turnover rate, and also, does the population really want more out of radio? Are they happy with what’s provided to them already? To that point there have always been other sources of audio in the car — CDs, iPods, tapes, 8-track tapes, etc., and none of those things killed radio.

This may be more interesting because it actually is radio in some ways, but in the end I think broadcasters will collect themselves and focus and meet the challenge.

There’s also data plan problems and capacity problems. I heard from some that said their data plan is limited and if they stream in the car they’ll rack up charges, and they don’t want to do that. And there’s probably a whole host of capacity issues lurking if everyone started doing this.

(Source: Diego Vasquez, Media Life, 04/28/11)

Radio…Still Not Dead


Good thing too, since that’s the business I’ve spent the most time in since my teen years.

In a Renaissance for Radio, More Listeners Are Tuning In

Radio stations are receiving a surprisingly strong signal from audiences and the financial markets this year, even as they face intensifying competition from satellite and Web-based audio services including Sirius XM Satellite Radio XM and Pandora.

An average of 241.6 million people 12 and older listened to conventional radio stations each week last year, an increase of 2.1 million over 2009 — and up 4.9% vs. 2005, according to an annual study that media and marketing research company Arbitron released Monday.

“Radio is much stronger than the general perception of it has been,” says Carol Hanley, Arbitron’s executive VP of sales and marketing.

The report follows the announcement this month of the biggest radio deal in years: Cumulus Media, the No. 2 station owner, agreed to buy No. 3 Citadel Media for cash and stock that values Citadel at $2.4 billion.

Cumulus will have 572 stations if federal antitrust officials approve the union. That would trail industry leader Clear Channel, with more than 850 stations.

The industry still faces challenges. From 2000 through 2010, teens and young adults cut their radio-listening time in half as they became infatuated with the Internet, cellphones and video games, Edison Research reported.

Yet stations appear to be getting a lift from their ability to adapt to local tastes. Radio owners “can shift their programming very quickly,” says Howard Bass, senior media and entertainment partner with consulting firm Ernst & Young. “That’s why they’re so resilient.”

That has helped radio appeal to the growing Hispanic population. The number of Hispanic radio listeners increased 1.1 million last year, Arbitron says, as stations picked up on programming formats for Spanish-speaking audiences.

For example, Texas now has 154 Spanish-language stations, up from 25 in 2000.

The Hispanic audience “has grown immensely,” Bass says. “Clearly the listenership has followed the trends.”

Meanwhile, radio is benefiting financially from this year’s stronger-than-expected market for local ads. Radio’s biggest customers, automakers and dealers, are introducing 65 models in 2011, up from 60 last year and 40 in 2009, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker says.

“As these local dealers become more (economically) sure-footed, you’re just going to see incremental growth in that category,” Cumulus CEO Lewis Dickey told Wall Street analysts last week.

The auto industry accounted for $1.8 billion of radio’s $17.3 billion in ad sales last year, according to the Radio Advertising. The industry total was up 6% vs. 2009.

(Source: USA Today, 03/22/11)

Rebirth of Radio?


The industry that pays me the most is the radio industry. Been in it since I was a teenager with a couple of breaks but for the past 8 years, I’ve worked for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana handling advertising sales, campaign management, and the occasional talk show host.

Of all the folks in the building, there are 5 air staff that have been here longer than me, otherwise, I’m the senior dude.

I’ve seen good times, and lean times, and 2010 turned out to be a good year, with 2011 looking even better already. And it’s not just us:


Print Has a Pulse, But Radio Has a Rebirth

According to the STRATA quarterly survey of media buyers, 24% of agencies’ clients are more focused on radio, up from 17% in the prior quarter. The number of agencies reporting they are spending less on radio is off by half, with 17% trimming radio budgets compared to 34% who said that three months ago.

The survey of advertising agency buying teams finds fewer are cutting radio budgets, and client interest in the medium is growing. The report notes that the top three media, television, Internet and radio, appear to be the breakout hits of the advertising recovery.

Areas Of Client Focus

Most Focused

% of Respondents

Spot TV

44%

Internet/digital

21

Spot radio

16

Print

7

Network TV

6

Network cable

3

Spot cable

2

Out-of-home

1

Source: Inside Radio/RAB, January 2011

J.D. Miller, STRATA marketing chief, says “… classifying the advertising avenue that agency clients are most focused on… TV remains at the top followed by digital… But survey takers were surprised with #3: radio… 16% of clients rate radio as their top pick, compared to 9% who said that in the prior quarter’s survey… “
Spot Radio Focus (% of Respondents; Compared to Previous Year):

  • 24% more than last year
  • 17% less than last year
  • 59% same as last year

Though there’s a considerable drop off of interest in other media, notes the report, print ranks fourth, with 7% of clients making it their top pick. Miller says “… print has a pulse… it was almost nonexistent, now it has a pulse… “
STRATA president/CEO John Shelton says, “Advertisers are finally feeling more confident about the economy… ” 51% of buyers surveyed in the study say their agency is seeing improving business, up from a low of 23% during the 2008 economic meltdown.

That confidence is manifesting itself in a surprising way, says the report. As budgets come back, buyers appear to be more interested in traditional advertising like television and radio, with demand for digital advertising going in the other direction. But Shelton notes that “… while (digital) is still hot, it is used more in a solid media mix… “
The most popular digital menu items are website display ads, social media and search, but just 29% of buyers say they’re buying mobile ads. Among those who are, mobile display is the preferred format with SMS text ads fading fast, with just 15% of agency buyers say they’re on their radar in 2011.
For additional information from Inside Radio, please visit the RAB here.

The Return of Radio Advertising

For the past 8 years, I have worked in the advertising department of a group of radio station in Fort Wayne, Indiana. All together I’ve been in the radio business for more than 25 years including on the air and in management.

Every morning, I receive an email from the Radio Advertising Bureau that is one of the resources I use for the daily sales training tip I post at 6am every morning on this site. This story was in my email today:

Agency Survey Shows ‘Rebirth’ of Buyers’ Interest in Radio

A survey of advertising agency buying teams finds fewer are cutting radio budgets, and client interest in the medium is growing. STRATA executives say the top three media — television, Internet and radio — also appear to be the breakout hits of the advertising recovery.

“It’s looking very bright for radio,” STRATA marketing chief J.D. Miller told Inside Radio. The firm’s quarterly survey of buyers found 24% of agencies’ clients are more focused on radio, up from 17% in the prior quarter. The number of agencies reporting they are spending less on radio is off by half — 17% say they’re trimming radio budgets compared to 34% who said that three months ago.

When it came to classifying the advertising avenue that agency clients are most focused on, the STRATA survey found TV remains at the top with 44%, followed by digital at 21%. But even the survey takers were surprised with #3: radio. The results show 16% of clients rate radio as their top pick, compared to 9% who said that in the prior quarter’s survey. Miller says, “Something good is happening for radio.”

Beyond the top three, there’s a “considerable drop off” of interest in other media. Print ranks fourth, with 7% of clients making it their top pick. Miller says that could be considered good news for newspaper publishers. “Print has a pulse — it was almost nonexistent, now it has a pulse,” he says.

Agencies Grow More Confident in Recovery — and Old Media Friends

By their nature, media buyers are a tough crowd not known for gushing optimism. So when a survey shows a steady uptick in client activity, it’s worth taking note.

More than half (51%) of buyers surveyed by STRATA say their agency is seeing improving business, up from a low of 23% during the 2008 economic meltdown. STRATA president/CEO John Shelton says, “Advertisers are finally feeling more confident about the economy.”

That confidence is manifesting itself in a surprising way. As budgets come back, buyers appear to be more interested in traditional advertising like television and radio — with demand for digital advertising going in the other direction.

“We see that the focus on digital has fallen off a bit,” Shelton says. “While still hot, it is used more in a solid media mix than more dollars heading its way.”

The most popular digital menu items are website display ads, social media and search. Mobile may have buzz, but just 29% of buyers say they’re buying mobile ads. Among those who are, mobile display is the preferred format with SMS text ads fading fast. Just 15% of agency buyers say they’re on their radar in 2011.

(Source: Inside Radio, 01/21/11)

If you are in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area and would like an honest evaluation on how radio can be a cost effective and important part of getting new customers, combined with the internet and web elements we have to offer, contact me: Scott@ScLoHo.net

What’s up with Radio? (Part 2)


Here’s another update:

Radio Gains More Than 3 Million Listeners

Arbitron Inc.’s RADAR 107 National Radio Listening Report, which was released last week, shows an increase of 3.3 million radio listeners age twelve and older per week, versus the December 2009 report. The number of persons twelve and older listening to radio each week now reaches an estimated 239.8 million — 93.2 percent of all Americans twelve and older.

In addition to persons twelve and older, radio listening increased year-over-year across major demographic groups, with adults aged 18 to 34 showing the biggest gains. The number of adults aged 18 to 34 who are weekly radio listeners increased nearly 960,000 in the past year, and adults aged 25 to 54 gained more than 750,000 in the same period. Meanwhile, teens aged 12 to 17 continue to embrace radio broadcasts with an average weekly increase of 365,000 versus last year’s report.

Despite the proliferation of competing media platforms, radio continues to reach just about everyone on a regular basis. RADAR 107 indicates that, over the course of a week, radio is listened to by over 92 percent of all teens aged 12 to 17, 94 percent of adults aged 18 to 34, and 95 percent of adults in the 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 age brackets.

Radio’s diverse appeal
The data from RADAR 107 showcases radio’s penetration among various ethnic groups, particularly Black (non-Hispanic) and Hispanic, a direct result of airing an array of formats.

  • Overall, radio continues to reach more than 93 percent of Black (non-Hispanic) persons aged 12 and older and more than 95 percent of Hispanics aged 12 and older on a weekly basis. Hispanic listeners 12 years and older grew more than 1.4 million year-over-year.
  • More Hispanic teens aged 12 to 17 are tuning in to radio, versus the same period a year ago. This demographic group increased 177,000 average weekly listeners, year-over-year.
  • Black (non-Hispanic) and Hispanic adults aged 18 to 49 demonstrated the biggest gains in overall weekly radio listenership versus last year, showing an increase of 165,000 and 834,000, respectively.

On an average week, radio reaches 95 percent of adults 18 and older with a household income of $75K or more. More than 96 percent of adults aged 25 to 54 that are college graduates and have a household income of over $50K tune in to radio weekly. Radio also delivers 96 percent of adults aged 18 to 49 with a college degree.

Network radio commercial listening
Arbitron also reported in its December 2010 RADAR 107 radio network audience ratings that over 189 million Persons 12 and older heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period. That’s an increase of over 800,000 versus the December 2009 report.

The RADAR 107 survey period demonstrates network radio’s continued broad reach across all key demographics on a year-over-year basis. Among the prime audience demographics sought by advertisers, the commercials aired on the 54 radio networks reached:

  • 73.7 percent of persons aged 12+ (189,685,000 persons)
  • 74.1 percent of persons aged 18+ (172,292,000 persons)
  • 73.3 percent of persons aged 35+ (118,732,000 persons)
  • 76.6 percent of persons aged 18-49 (103,455,000 persons)
  • 76.9 percent of persons aged 25-54 (97,537,000 persons)

(Source: Arbitron, 12/10)

What’s up with Radio? (Part 1)


Wayne Ens sends out a newsletter that I receive. Here’s a recent one that tells about the relevance of the radio advertising business:

Look at this research of younger demos from the September 2010 American Youth Study by Edison Research, and know that radio’s continued acceptance with older demos is even more impressive.


A follow-up to Edison Research’s landmark 2000 study on the media habits of 12-24 year olds reveals that America’s youth are still very much in tune with Radio, despite living in a gadget-filled world where media is increasingly pulled and not pushed. While challenged by a proliferation of alternative media choices, Radio continues to play an important role in the lives of the 12-24 population.

— 80.2% of 12-24 year-olds listen to AM/FM Radio to hear their favorite songs;
— 71.9% listen to learn about new songs;
— 66.0% listen to find out what the popular songs are

Radio is the leading source for new music discovery among 12-24 year-olds.

  • 88.2% discover new music listening to the radio (50.6% frequently; 37.6% sometimes)
  • 72.2% — YouTube
  • 64.7% — Music featured on TV shows
  • 61.7% — Music video channels
  • 58.8% — Social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook)
  • 41.6% — Internet radio stations (Pandora, Last.fm, Yahoo Music)
  • 35.7% — streaming AM/FM radio online

Radio is also the top medium to first hear about upcoming concerts (which respondents attended), at 16.9% — far ahead of #2 social network sites (10.2%). Word-of mouth (friends, family, coworkers) are the leading source of news about concerts, at 43.5%.

Including AM/FM Radio, streamed AM/FM, and Internet-only stations, 12-24s spend over 1 day per week (24 Hours 23 Minutes) listening to Radio. Among this age group, online delivery is the preferred method:

Hours/Minutes per week:

AM/FM Radio/Streamed AM/FM Radio:


10:15

Internet-only Radio:


Pandora
Other


6:53
7:15

Total Radio Listening:


24:23

The average household with a member in the 12-24 age group has 3 Radios (not including Radios in vehicles driven by the household).

Nearly half (46.7%) of 12-24s listen to radio in places other than the car. One-third agreed somewhat to the statement that they listen to AM/FM Radio only in their cars, with another 20% agreeing strongly that in-car listening is their only venue for AM/FM tune-in.

“We were pleased to have Edison Research findings revealed at the Radio Show, and excited about the continuing prominence of over-the-air radio in the lives of 12-24 year olds,” stated Jeff Haley, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau. “Radio retains its position as the number one source of music discovery and its leadership in time spent with all forms of audio entertainment. The Edison study highlights important trends in social media and new forms of audio that I’m confident will be a source of inspiration and innovation by smart broadcasters everywhere.”

(Source: From the American Youth Study 2010, by Edison Research, 09/29/10)

Wayne Ens

ENSMedia Inc.

705.484.9993

www.wensmedia.com