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Chris Miller

Here's What You Can Do About Pandora



Pandora's been in the news again this week. Here on, "Pandora Offers Better Solutions for Advertisers Than Radio" and "It's Hard To Deny, They Are Growing The Revenue" pretty well summed up that their fans consider their personalized music streams to be a form of radio as good as any other, as Pandora works aggressively to monetize that listening.

So what's radio to do? Here's a list of three things. One's for programming, one's for sales, and one's for the market manager or GM.


Programming: Embrace Your Stream

Our heaviest users just don't want to be limited by the transmitter anymore. For one thing, more and more listening is moving inexorably online. For another, mobile listening is growing like a weed. Too many PDs either pay no attention to their brand's stream, or they've mentally set far lower standards for it than they do for what gets delivered via the transmitter.

Start by regularly listening to your stream instead of just your radio receiver. Listen on your computer, your smartphone, your tablet; use whatever you have. You're the brand manager; make sure you know what the experience is like any of the different ways that your product might be delivered.

You might have to realign some of your priorities throughout the day to make sure that what people hear is the best you can deliver, every way you can deliver it. Your stream is just as worthy of your attention as your broadcast, and there's much more growth potential in your online stream. Plus, stay aware of new developments relating to what you can do with your streaming experience. There are a lot of changes coming that our fans will enjoy.


Sales: Learn the New Targeting

Back in the good old days, radio WAS the targeted medium. Now we have some learning to do to really understand how much targeting we can do using our digital tools.

Ads on all your digital platforms can target customers for your clients in new and exciting ways. The place to start is by realizing some of the key differences. For one, you know exactly how many people listen to your stream, or visit your website, or open your emails. You can track every click. You can even figure out regular patterns that people tend to follow. This means that you're dealing with real numbers, not listening estimates. In addition, you own the data; there's no Arbitron showing your competitors the same information about your brand and others.

For clients, both big and small, being able to hone a message efficiently and measure performance is a huge plus. Spend time learning what your tools allow you to do, and break out of the "selling spots" mold. You have exciting new ways to solve your clients' marketing problems. Don't let Pandora be the only one in your market doing so.


Top Management: Lead and Don't Let Up

Today, broadcast revenue budgets are still many times bigger than the digital numbers we have to hit. At some point that will change. Even now, where is it easier to get revenue growth from…broadcast, or digital? I think we all know that digital revenue is the under-tapped resource with the most growth potential.

General managers, market managers, and corporate leaders have a key role to play. Unless they make digital growth and improvement a priority, people in the programming and sales trenches tend to remain focused on what's in front of them -- reaching their broadcast goals -- rather than spending time learning what's up with the digital parts of their jobs. Change management is tough. If you want even your most talented people to make digital headway, you have to be keeping it on the front burner all the time.

Chris Miller has been a major-market PD in Atlanta, Portland and Cleveland. He now operates Chris Miller Digital, which he launched. Visit his website at
Contact Chris via e-mail, or 216-236-3955.