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Why Should I Listen to the Radio?

September 14, 2023

This is re-printed with the permission of Jeff Schmidt who is the SVP of Professional Development for the Radio Advertising Bureau.

“I considered listening to the radio today” was how the text exchange with my son Carver began. Carver is a software engineer at Apple in Austin, Texas. In some ways, Carver is a typical 20-something, and here is a proud dad coming through; in many ways, he’s exceptional. He loves to try and get under his radio-loving father’s skin, thus the way he started the text.

Practicing what we teach about handling objections, rather than take the bait and share all the research with Carver (like the fact that 74% of people his age choose radio as their in-car audio choice or that 83% of adults his age tune into radio each week (see Why Radio Slide deck on RAB.com), I instead asked questions. Here’s the exchange:

Carver: I considered listening to the radio today. I didn’t do it, but I considered it.

Dad: LOL. Thanks for sharing. What caused you to consider this?

Carver: Well, I’ve run out of music to listen to. It’s a constant problem. I’ll put music on indefinitely when I’m doing work, but when the playlists start looping, it gets repetitive and old fast. Radio wouldn’t necessarily solve that because if I listen to a station long enough, I’ll hear the music repeating. Still, it would be interesting to have someone come on occasionally and say things. Radio has hosts that talk and make it interesting.

Dad: Tell me more…

Carver: Like a talk show all day, it’s like an infinite podcast. So that’s like the thing that radio has going for it, the hosts.

And there it is again! This time from a 23-year-old. Our talent is the point of differentiation for radio among Spotify, Pandora and other curated personal music playlists. The “hosts,” as Carver calls them, come on every so often and say things. When he was in school in Rochester, New York, I asked him if he ever listened to Brother Wease. He said, “How could I not? The guy is everywhere. There’s even a restaurant with a Brother Wease Burger!”

Because we work in the same building, we can easily take our on-air team for granted. We sometimes think they are nothing special other than just more workers in the building. But to the audience — even a younger audience member — they are the key difference between all the different audio options. They are the stars that keep our industry fresh, current, relevant and personal. They do fantastic work connecting with our communities.

If it’s been a while, go down the studio hall today and thank the on-air staff for the incredible work they do. They make a difference, and for radio, talent is THE difference that sets us apart. Then talk about leveraging their relationship with the audience to benefit your clients through live reads, endorsements and appearances.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on Carver.

Jeff Schmidt is the Senior Vice President of Professional Development for the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn. For more sales tips from Jeff Schmidt sign up for Radio Sales Today (Free) on the RAB website at www.RAB.com.