PPM Rollout At Forefront Of Industry Debate At Interep Symposium
June 28, 2007 at 4:15 PM (PT)
Today INTEREP held its fourth annual Radio Symposium at BEAR STEARNS' headquarters in NEW YORK CITY. This year's event -- entitled "Radio: New Century, New Directions, New Opportunities" and co-sponsored by ACTIVE INTERNATIONAL, ARBITRON and MEDIA MONITORS -- kicked off with INTEREP CEO DAVID KENNEDY welcoming the crowd, saying, "Since our last symposium, quite a bit has happened in our industry. We've seen the rollout of the PPM. The RADIO AD LAB continues to bring us new, quantifiable research on the effectiveness of our medium. HD Radio has begun its roll out across the country in a big way. And broadcasters have made significant strides in extending their on-air brands to include online, mobile and other digital technologies. That being said, there is still a lot of work to be done in all of these areas."
Electronic measurement ... will help radio get the recognition that it deserves and ultimately improve our growth rate.
He later added, "I have long believed that radio is undervalued relative to its ability to generate results. Electronic measurement and all of the metrics that support radio’s strengths, particularly its ability to influence consumer behavior, will help radio get the recognition that it deserves and ultimately improve our growth rate."
KENNEDY co-moderated the event with BEAR STEARNS Sr. Broadcast Analyst VICTOR MILLER, who asked in his opening remarks "Is the radio world flat?" and cited the difficulty in identifying true radio revenue trends over the past several years due to unusual events: In 2005, CLEAR CHANNEL introduced its "Less is More" initiative, significantly reducing available radio inventory; in 2006, HOWARD STERN moved from broadcast to satellite radio; this year, the privatization of CLEAR CHANNEL, the rollout of the PPM, and changes within the management of CBS RADIO are having an impact on the industry, further complicating projections on growth trends for the medium.
He then threw out the challenge, "Who will be the next CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS to prove that the radio world is not flat?"
Mancow Decries 'Senseless' Programming
On-air personality ERICH "MANCOW" MULLER was a featured speaker, and he discussed the pressures faced by air talent to "push the envelope" but spoke harshly against what he called "lazy" radio that puts listeners in harm's way and uses off-color language, racism or other questionable tactics. He said that this kind of "senseless" programming does not forge long-term relationships with the listeners. He was also adamant about the importance of talk programming to the future success of radio, saying, "Unlike with music channels, you cannot recreate what a unique voice brings to radio."
PG/MAGNA GLOBAL USA SVP/Director Industry Analysis BRIAN WEISER gave the luncheon presentation, called "Understanding Changes in the Media Economy," and proposed that, despite all of the press on the tremendous changes occurring within the traditional media space, we must approach this view cautiously. He said that "we must look beyond the early adopters -- real change in media is hard" and suggested that while change in media behavior is occurring, it is happening at a slow and less dramatic rate than often reported.
'We Still Reach 96% Of Consumers Each Week'
In the final panel of the day, entitled "A View from the Top," ENTERCOM CEO DAVID FIELD, UNIVISION President/COO GARY STONE, CITADEL CEO FARID SULEMAN, and INNER CITY BROADCASTING President/COO CHARLES WARFIELD shared their views on the radio business. The general consensus among the group was that radio has had to overcome several hurdles in recent years and that growth rates should improve.
FIELD said, "Advertisers are going to rediscover that radio is an incredibly undervalued medium in terms of the results that we produce. We don't get credit for the resiliency that radio has had amongst incredible change. We still reach 96% of consumers each week."