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November 28, 2014

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07/19/99 Is Radio Showering In The Bates Motel?
     One of Radio's biggest selling points is that every car is a Radio on wheels, a box in which people are stuck for long periods of time each day. In the car, consumers aren't likely to read the paper or watch TV, and you'll certainly not find them on the Internet. At least not yet.
     Not surprisingly, Radio's largest local advertisers are car dealers. After all, where better to reach someone who is dissatisfied with their present car? Since Radio's biggest category is automotive, it should concern you deeply to know that car manufacturers are currently betting heavily on the Internet.
     Honda has been the first to break those sacred dealer bonds by selling cars online. Honda buyers can now bypass the dealer and buy directly from Honda.
     Autobytel.com is selling $24,000,000 worth of cars a day online. That's a million bucks an hour. Beginning to see the picture?
     Remember when local, main-street retail was replaced by Wal-Mart and the category killers? Remember what it did to the local Radio dollar? In the average market entered by Wal-Mart, 80 local retailers dried up and went away. Did Wal-Mart replace those dollars on your station?
     Radio stands to lose 40 to 60 percent of its revenues as a result of Internet direct selling by manufacturers. Doesn't this bother you a little?
     Yes, the Net is a serious threat to Radio, but it's also an opportunity. Yet, most Radio people I know are so focused on meeting budgets that they've not taken the time to learn about the Internet. When I give my Internet seminars to Radio folks, I'm always shocked by how little they understand about what's happening. The really frightening thing is that they don't seem to care.
     For your own sake, please don't ignore the Internet. Understand it. Embrace it. Use it and lead your clients into a better understanding of it so that they don't get swept away.
     Your station needs an Internet sales division, and Radio Ink wants to help you start one. There will only be 607 seats at the Radio Ink Internet Conference this October. Be sure that one of them is yours.



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