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We Need to Play Offense

July 21, 2022

I am a geek for any kind of survey or questionnaire. I almost always participate for two reasons. First, because getting sample is difficult, and second, because I’m always curious about how questions are constructed.

Recently I got canvassed by (and responded to) a web service called MyShopperVoice.com. They are working for a local grocery store chain gauging my habits and attitudes about shopping. (I could also win a $10 gift card which, of course, I have not.)

The last questionnaire they sent me concerned some charity initiative they are launching. Cutting to the chase, they asked what outlets they could use to better get the word out about this project. They gave me plenty of choices: TV, newspaper, social media, podcasts, store app, store flyer, etc.

Guess what was missing? Yup, radio. (I wrote it in.)

Houston (and Washington and St. Louis and every other market) – we have a problem. This is a major grocery chain on the East Coast that – at least in the past – was a big radio advertiser. Now it appears that our medium is not even worthy of inclusion in a questionnaire.

We have reams of data from countless sources showing the viability of radio as an advertising medium. We can talk about the tremendous reach. We can talk about countless advertisers who have had great success while utilizing radio. We can talk about the spending power of our listeners.

We talk about that stuff all the time … among ourselves. It seems like all the positive press radio can generate is done within the industry’s echo chamber.

Why is that? Why – as an industry – do we not sell ourselves better?

As one of The Ratings Experts, I see things. I know that radio has devolved into a 35+ medium. We won’t be able to convince anyone that radio has gotten its sexy back. That ship has sailed.

We can, however, point out that more people engage with our medium on a weekly basis than read newspapers or watch TV. We can prove that radio works.

The solution to this issue will have to come from someone far above my pay grade. This is a perception issue and, unfortunately, perception is reality. We need a robust – and consistent – public relations campaign. As an industry, we need to be much more aggressive in selling ourselves. From a perception standpoint, our image has been in decline for far too long. We will often go to herculean efforts to help our clients.

Isn’t it about time we help ourselves?

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant