Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are the scales of weirdness are balanced?

Have we reached the boiling point in regards to the "weirdness" happening now in radio and specifically Country Music Radio? What I mean by weirdness, is the it's getting better, it's getting worse sliding scale. Sometimes we see leverage and focus and other times still dismay. Only a few are fired up, yet no one is clapping out loud about the conditions. Everyone is waiting to see how Cumulus will fold Citadel into it's lair, waiting to see how Clear Channel handles the giant note that is due this year and the general operating feeling, will it get better or worse?

Radio still has a broken business plan. It's throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks. Out of touch account executives still selling commercials. Why isn't their a digital wrap plan installed, where the station digital vehicles and the clients merge together and radio spots become venues to market this. Earlier in the year Charlotte media buyer Nancy Haynes was asked: How are radio stations working new media into their ad opportunities, and has it been effective?

Far too many stations are still “giving it away” and this practice hurts the industry. When something has value, it’s okay to charge for it! Only a few stations have gotten their act together with regard to setting a price for new and/or alternative opportunities and sticking to that price. One of the best new offerings I’ve seen is web site video written and entirely produced for a local advertiser by the radio station.   

One recommendation for next year (or even sooner) is the hiring of a digital production director that works with the current station production director to produce videos and podcasts for clients. Show the clients that your digital plan isn't a few web site postings from a college kid in promotions. Radio doesn't seem to be able to let go of direct spot sales and embrace social media and digital programming/advertising. As long as this prevails, the scale of weirdness will still be tipping into the weird zone. 

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