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Radio's Creative Sucks


While that headline may have a little punch to it, most radio people will admit the majority of the commercials that make the cut, and get on the air, probably shouldn't. How many times has somebody at your station written an ad, recorded it, and had it on the log in under an hour? How good could that spot really be? If everyone was as pro-radio as Horizon Media President and CEO Bill Koenigsberg, our industry wouldn't be scrambling for the revenue scraps after all the other media have taken home their unfair share.

After touting radio's weekly listening numbers, Koenigsberg said, "The power that you have to mine your audience is lightning in a bottle." However, sometimes, even your friends need to tell you your baby is ugly. And Koenigsberg is not impressed with radio's creative. "Radio creative, for the most part, sucks," he said. And he offered up a solution.

Koenigsberg said radio should start its own own creative agency. "That would help the entire industry.You'll get more dollars. If you can improve the creative for more clients, they will spend more dollars." 

On using radio as a digital option, Koenigsberg echoed a lot of what we heard on day one of the Radio Show: How radio measures its online audience is terrible. "The biggest issue on the radio side is measurement. We are feeling our way in the dark. If I'm putting my money in digital radio, what's my return on that? The biggest barrier is getting a better handle on what that true audience is. The clients think its a risk."

Bill Koenigsburg is the co-chair, along with Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, of Radio Ink's 2012 Forecast in New York City.

(9/20/2012 4:29:18 PM)
Back when I was in the business, we had an annoying client who wanted crap ads that we hated.

At one point, a couple of us decided to write the worst possible ad we could, loaded with cliches, a barrage of numbers, prices, addresses, and pone numbers, slapped it together, and played it for the client, fully expecting it to be rejected.

The client loved it.

Not only did the client love it but the darned thing *worked* and it ran for nearly a year in high rotation.

At that point, I lost hope.

- Steve
(9/20/2012 12:08:38 PM)
TV ads are not much better. The TV ad trend seems to recycle some oldies song, or put a bunch of bland people who speak and act on a sixth grade level in a office cubicle or meeting room talking about the product. Agencies and PR firms actually approve this for broadcast? Radio can do better, and in turn get a grater share of the ad buy.

- Damon Collins
(9/20/2012 9:33:35 AM)
Actually, Dan, it does have to be that way. It's carved in soap in every executive washroom in the country. If I were to suggest to almost any radio executive that their locally-produced commercials doth verily suck, their response would be along the lines of "So, what!?"
Meanwhile, ditto to what Ken sez.

- Ronald T. Robinson
(9/20/2012 9:28:04 AM)
matter of course; some, on occasion. But rarely have radio stations contacted us for help. Maybe they don't know about creative services for radio. More likely, they're afraid of the cost. (For bettor or worse, we do have to make a living, but the cost doesn't necessarily have to be out of reach for their clients.)

Listeners know "good" when they hear it on radio, just as they know "bad" when they hear it (or see it on TV, for that matter). It doesn't have to be that way.

- Dan Aron
(9/20/2012 9:20:02 AM)
There's no doubt that most commercials on radio do suck -- but they don't have to.

For decades there have been some highly creative and innovative companies who have written and/or produced exceptionally effective radio spots. You can start with Stan Freberg's work, and trace them to the present, including my company, No Soap Productions in NYC (originally No Soap Radio).

Some advertising agencies, large and small, have taken advantage of the abilities of the companies I refer to above as a

- Dan Aron

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