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Radio Pride. Should We Ditch it?


Right around this time each year, as the technorati of the world trek to Las Vegas to take in the latest gadgetry, I am struck by this thought: Although I work in a world that bridges new media and traditional media, I admit that sometimes its a lot of work to make a medium that dates back to the 1920s sound innovative.

With this in mind, I read Antony Youngs AdAge piece, How To Package Traditional Media to New-Age Marketers, earlier this month with great interest. In the article, Young talks about how traditional media have been too traditional in how they pitch themselvesmaking it too easy for advertisers and others to peg them to the past.

And hes right. We spend more time than we should defending our relevance.  Even the use of the accepted term traditional media the bucket our medium gets thrown in, along with the even more aged print media, and the comparatively young televisionseems dowdy and unimaginative. In the piece, Young suggests adding some Sizzle from Silicon Valley to our pitch, talking about radio as a medium with the potential to rival Facebook as a new-media darling.

Wow. Its a bold claim. Given the topic of my column, his take on radios relevance as an inherently mobile channel deserves some attention:

The medium is available on just about every mobile device, including those running Android and iPhone operating systems. It is accessible in 100 percent of todays cars. This medium is a powerful channel to engage very desirable, hard-to-reach and mobile millennials. Its distribution also extends to out-of-home venues including retail outlets, fast-food restaurants, car dealerships and sports venues, making it a powerful medium at point-of-purchase.

Ive used this column to tout the potential for a new mediumthat is, mobile, and more specifically, mobile marketingto extend the value of our traditional medium. I have talked about how mobile can help extend the power of radio beyond the on-off switch:
        How SMS loyalty clubs, mobile websites, branded apps and special mobile content can help strengthen listener engagement.
        How in a world of increasingly national programming, mobile can help stations remain tied into their local communities.
        How mobile can provide your sponsors with a highly valuable tool for remarketing purposes: opted-in listeners who want to connect with their favorite brands on their local devices.
        How mobile can put radio squarely on the SoLoMo map, a glue that binds radio with social media and local presence.
        And how mobile can be the glue that further binds listener

And while this is all true, I think its important to remember that, at its core, our medium already has tremendous powerand that message needs to come through loud and clear when we talk to advertisers.

In closing, Young calls radio a unique mobile, hyper-local, multi-platform channel that delivers scalable brand marketing campaigns for retailers. Take a second to read that again. Hes not talking about the latest social media platform or music sharing service. Hes talking about traditional radio.

This reaffirms what we already know. Never underestimate the power of radio.

Ivan Braiker is the president of Hipcricket+Augme Technologies, Inc. Drop him a note at

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Think about HOW listeners are supposed to engage with advertisers. If it is meant to be direct response (not pure brand advertising) the answer is telephone (if it's a URL, that means later, which usually means never). The difficulty lies in the inability to humans to easily remember a random 10 digit phone number.

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Great points Ivan. Marketing has always been about leveraging right content in relevant way over the right channels. There is no one channel today that delivers the optimal value and power of direct response and branding benefits -- it's leveraging a few smartly to take advantage of their individual and collective powers. Radio and local tv have a new dimension to exploit in combination with new media. It's time we marketers youn and old recognize the power of both new and proven media

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