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Can Off-Air Assets Lead To More Revenue?


If you hear another person say we are living in transformational times, you will likely throw up. Its true. radio sees consumers gaining power all around them and many in our industry are trying to figure out how to reshape with the changing times. This power-shift includes everything from what has happened in the music business for record labels to what is taking place now in automotive (if you are not up on consumer demand changes in automotive, I suggest you visit your local Ford dealership and ask about apps in cars).

The question is: How much longer do you wait before you take aggressive action to build a digital business right alongside your legacy radio assets? How do you build a business that works with your existing business without killing it?

Digital reputation takes time to build and radio can see the exploding digital revenues in market after market. Meanwhile my sister-in-law recently asked me why radio station websites are so stupid. When I asked her why she thought they were stupid, she said they offered nothing for her. She sincerely didnt understand why there was in her words no value on the websites of her favorite radio stations.

This brings us to four important questions about how you are viewed outside of your signal and inside the e-technology of direct contact for smart phone users and users of technology (that likely fit nicely into your target listener group)?

1. What does your website do for listeners?  Most radio station websites are all about what the radio station wants. When you look at your Web-based assets, you should ask, What does this do for my target listeners? Without value to them (to bring them back often), you really have nothing to sell advertisers of any significant value. If you go to your station website right now and look at it with this in mind, it is very likely you may have some work to do. In addition, you can brainstorm on how solving problems for listeners often leads to revenue possibilities from retailers who may be eager to advertise with you because your website does actual things for listeners that are interesting, timely, and profitable for the advertiser.

2. What does your app do for listeners? Dont have an app? Hmm. Did we mention this is about being in transformational times? Consider this: If your app only lets listeners listen to your station, then the app is only about what you want. What about value for them beyond just listening to the station (after all, they likely have opportunity to listen to you at work, at home, and in the car already)? Again, listeners are using transformational tools to help them get more accomplished, enjoy their lives more and feel empowered. Does your app do that for local listeners?

3. What does your loyal listener email do for listeners?  Do you send out loyal listener email that simply announces a concert or gives them an offer on tires? What about presenting them with something that says you care about them? What about including connective details every time you send an email to them, including a concert calendar, local event calendar, an opportunity to get a prize just because they emailed you, and perhaps tips on what to do this weekend? I always tend to think you have opportunity to add revenue if you have valuable assets that deliver real content. If your loyal listener email steps up, I bet advertisers will too.

4. What is your sales team doing in the digital world to become the go-to resource for local advertisers in your market beyond trying to sell them advertising on your stations? I know we always seem to focus on listeners, listeners, listeners, but radio is a connective experience for advertisers who want to attract our listeners. It seems to me that every radio cluster should have a small- and medium-size business expert (salesperson) who writes content about business success tips. That should include tips on advertising, social media, event marketing, and a variety of other ways advertisers can mix it up and get more customers. It might also lead to seminars on media and customer generation. After all, having a resource for these things tied to your radio station will likely draw more advertisers to your cluster.

Think beyond the way we did it in the past. Think about how you can change the future by reinforcing the value to listeners and advertisers associated with your off-air products as well as your on-air. Just beginning by improving these four basics you will be setting a path to think about how you can create local value in assets other than just your on-air.

Times are changing. If we stay in the 20th century, radios value will fade. If we change with the times by making sure that value to listeners and value to advertisers is up front and easy to see across the board, we will connect more often with m-o-n-e-y. Were 13 years into the new century. Dont leave money on the table. Think of ways to build on what radio does best: Local.  Do that and you will grow relevance and new revenue. Thats just a fact.

Loyd Ford is the direct marketing, ratings and social media strategist for Americalist and programmed very successful radio brands in markets of all sizes for years, including KRMD AM & FM in Shreveport, WSSL and WMYI in Greenville, WKKT in Charlotte and WBEE in Rochester, NY. Get his radio social media blog FREE right on your cell phone or email here: Learn more about Loyd here: Reach out to Loyd via e-mail HERE  Visit his Facebook radio social media page HERE

(11/1/2013 11:56:46 AM)
IIQcNH Major thanks for the article. Much obliged.

- NY
(10/24/2013 5:15:11 AM)
afaAwU Really informative article.Really thank you! Fantastic.

- NY
(9/13/2013 1:13:26 AM)
vkVyNm Wow, great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

- NY
(9/7/2013 8:19:40 PM)
BbgoCQ A round of applause for your blog.Much thanks again. Cool.

- NY
(5/14/2013 9:20:52 AM)
I do understand frustration in looking at digital assets and the approach of most radio stations.

My sister in law recently ask me at a family event why “radio station websites were so crappy.” So, I am aware (as are listeners) when broadcast companies are paying lip service to their digital assets.

There are a lot of pitfalls out there when it comes to these digital and strategy or lack-of-strategy. However, like with other things in life, the misunderstanding revolves around perceived value. Once radio operators can be shown the significant digital revenue value of these assets, some broadcasters will show respect to what they are doing in digital and move to capture the revenue.

I don't think most of the broadcast companies are yet hunting with the right philosophies for capturing significant reoccurring revenue. Many have tried digital using the same approach and sellers they have for radio with consistent poor results. This challenges them to see there is another way.

There is a more pronounced focus on digital right now in and outside of radio. That's because of the explosion of digital revenue and the continued prediction of what I call "traditional advertising leakage" to digital products in market after market. Those broadcasters and companies who seek and find true tools and successful new sales strategy(not tricks) that can turn into major revenue streams will benefit the most from their digital attempts to create new revenue because solving problems for local listeners and advertisers is still the business model that works the best. Radio is still about bringing value to our local core customers.

Radio CAN capture significant reoccurring revenue. There are specific things that can be done to get on the path now and generate revenue pretty rapidly. Broadcasters just have to know where to look and have a serious desire to learn some new strategies to make it happen.

With the explosive digital growth we are seeing in revenue, there is no such guarantee about radio failing to capture our share of that revenue. Radio has a very, very large CUME in market after market and is in a powerful position to take advantage of our strategic strengths that other media just doesn't have.

The question will be: Which radio companies are serious about capturing revenue based on having the best digital products that work with the synergy of radio and solve real problems for local business owners?

Ronald, I understand your frustration. It is difficult to love radio as much as many of us do and have vision for what digital can be for our industry while watching a lot of struggle and waste as broadcasters look more and more at digital tricks instead of opportunities and largely have current disappointing websites for their core products. Hopefully this will change in the near-term. I certainly hope it does. Thank you for your comments.

- Loyd Ford

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