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April 18, 2014

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08/02/99 Radio's New 'Dirty Little Secret'
     Silently, quietly, tiptoeing like a thief in the night, a few cutting-edge Radio stations are putting some very significant billing in their pockets while the rest of us sleep. History repeats itself.
     It seems that, just yesterday, we were hearing the hot new buzz about NTR (nontraditional revenue), but only after a few very bright Radio groups had quietly raked in millions for a couple of years, before their secret got out.
     Radio eventually caught up, feverishly adding NBD/NTR departments. The early birds, however, got the worms, and their advantage continues.
     The next buzz was event marketing. Again, early adopters reaped the rewards by getting aboard the gravy train on the dawn of this new opportunity, while others slept, eventually running behind the caboose, trying to catch up.
     The "latest" new revenue craze has been recruitment advertising, which is fueled by a great economy, low unemployment and a desperate need for employees. Quietly, many have been reaping rewards for years. Just now, recruitment advertising is catching on. It's considered the newest thing in Radio. Or, that's what some want you to think.
     Meanwhile, as you continue like a chipmunk on a treadmill, going faster and faster to keep up with corporate projections, paperwork and management issues, a small, select group of people are selling the biggest thing ever to happen to Radio. These stations (and groups) are selling millions (yes, millions) of dollars in off-air revenues on the Internet, hoping that you still believe that no one will ever make a dime on the Net. Most are using almost laughable methods to prevent their guarded secret from escaping.
     The Internet is the biggest windfall of NTR that Radio has ever seen, and nobody knows it. These people rejoice when they hear us make statements like "We know the Internet is happening, and we'll catch up eventually, once it gets critical mass." Or "We'll deal with it once someone starts making money," all defaulting to the Amazon.com model of losing money.
     Today, the Internet is already beyond recruitment, event marketing, NBD and NTR. The big difference is that the Internet not only impacts our NTR income, but it is slowly and quietly eroding the business of local retailers, car dealers, bankers, brokers, travel agents and insurance agents who compete with those selling online.
     The opportunity is happening now. Radio managers, SMs and PDs must immerse themselves in the Internet now. As David Field, President and COO of Entercom, said following my Internet speech at the Missouri Broadcasters Association, "This is a wake-up call. Radio's not paying attention to the Internet, yet it's the single, biggest opportunity Radio has ever seen, and it's passing us by."
Will you take time to get off the treadmill and study the biggest sensation to impact your business in Radio history? Or will you keep running in place while others pass you by?



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