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Eric Cuts In On The Fred Jacobs Prom


Since our sold-out Forecast 2013 closed shop, there has been a running debate on Fred Jacobs' blog after he posted a piece somewhat critical of the cries that radio needs to figure out how to tell a good story. Jacobs has more direct answers as to why radio revenue is stagnant. "Radio has become an industry that has essentially written off engagement with the youth market, thus choking off radios appeal to young, fresh sellers, not to mention the buyers and planners who are todays decision-makers."
Jacobs went on to say, "If the radio industry doesnt address its sales strategy, these panels and conferences will continue to repeat themselves, frustrating attendees, to be sure. As radio continues to look for the answers, the media world is moving on. This isnt a 'death by a thousand cuts' situation. There IS a smoking gun." Radio Ink Publisher Eric Rhoads posted the following response to the Jacobs blog and the comments that came as a result.

Bravo Fred!
The reality is that MOST of what was said by the advertiser panel (which represented $100 billion in advertising and 75 percent of ALL advertising) went over the heads of most of the people in the room. They were talking concepts about measurement techniques, for instance, that were new to everyone in the room. There were lots of blank stares. They stated that radio does not even know what they dont know.

Radio is not on the radar of these advertisers, they dont naturally think about using radio and rarely consider it, they find it hard to understand and harder to buy, said they cannot interest their creative people in doing radio, dont feel they know how to get good creative done or who to go to, and dont feel radio is approaching them with compelling ideas.

Most importantly they said radio lacks the data to prove its relevance to clients. They said ratings were not the metrics they were looking for but they needed proof of our ability to move product and research to support it, which no one in radio has provided. They told us that other media are considerably more prepared and sophisticated and that they rarely meet with radio people. Though they said ideas sell, we cannot even get to that discussion until we can first provide data about radios relevance to their customers, response rates, impact on their social relevance, etc.

Product benefit is just the cost of entry, the consumer wants value exchange. It used to be about reach, now its about engagement. It used to be about frequency, now its about relevance. No longer cost-per-point, now cost-per-value-point. Your story has to be reinvented, you have not figured out how to take the engagement factor and audience engagement and package your story. -Bill Koenigsberg

Fred, you are not wrong that radio is missing the boat. Though a few select group heads were in the room, others were in other rooms for meetings and were not there listening to this important panel. When the group head meeting occurred they talked about what we should be doing. Problem is that only one on the panel made remarks relevant to what the advertisers were saying we needed to do. The others completely missed the mark and sounded like 1980 not 2013.

In reality there is this giant elephant in the room. Everyone talks about the need to tell our story but no one does it. Im honestly not sure anyone knows our story as well as they should, or perhaps a better way of saying it is that our story, as were telling it, is not relevant to those we need to listen. Clearly there are some evangelists who repeat the same numbers, the fact that radio remains strong while newspapers and others crash, but nothing matters unless it matters to the advertiser. What can you do for me?

Radio as an industry has some big issues to repair. It needs to start by actually listening to the clients not hearing what we think we want them to say. There is, I fear, a touch of arrogance among us, which does not bode well for making change based on someone who knows better the advertiser.

Strategy is discussed Fred, the problem is that we have different silos who refuse to agree on which strategy to follow. Some want to do it themselves, others want to do it the way its always been done, others dont want some groups to participate. It's a mess. If we were smart, RADIO as an industry would hire Bill Koenigsberg, who lead this advertiser panel, give him a giant check and say, "Develop a strategy and implement it, we will follow. But I dont think we could get agreement on this.

The panel told us they no longer have radio departments, they have audio departments. Most are embracing Pandora, Spotify, doing business with them and giving them the information needed about their audiences that go beyond ratings. It's all about response and we need to start proving it.

Read the entire Jacobs Blog HERE
Send an e-mail directly to Eric HERE
Send an e-mail directly to Fred HERE
Leave your comments below

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The Disconnect Between Radio and Advertisers
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(12/5/2012 11:19:56 AM)
Bottom Line:
It all starts with leadership. The LEADERS dont give a damm. Period. The guys in charge of radio today are checked out and drowning in debt. Back when radio was local with local management. Their was a fierceness which is history. Everyone local is scared to death and only worried about holding on to a job. The local management waits for a call from corp to make a move and they dont make a move without some corp fool approving it. Its all destroyed radio. His blog misses this.

- smitty
(12/5/2012 9:28:43 AM)
I'm surprised there are no reports of radio's leadership excusing themselves and puking into the plant pots in the hallways.

Even if radio could deliver qualitative and quantitative data to advertisers, we'd still be screwed. This, because radio has yet to figure out how to: a.) communicate to an audience more effectively and, b.) generate commercial content that is both appealing and influential.

Until there is a way to generate useful and favorable data, we had better pull our heads out and concentrate on both "a" and "b". We can, at least, do that.Can we not?

- Ronald T. Robinson

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