L.A. Panel Featuring Radio Heads Is Upbeat About Biz
February 1, 2008 at 5:48 AM (PT)
"The Status and Future of Audio-Anchored Advertising" was presented THURSDAY (1/31) evening by THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION and trade organization THINKLA. The panel featured CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO Pres./CEO JOHN HOGAN, CBS RADIO Pres./CEO DAN MASON, CITADEL Chairman/CEO FARID SULEMAN, EMMIS Chairman/Pres./CEO JEFF SMULYAN and UNIVISION Pres./COO GARY STONE. RADIO ONE Pres./CEO ALFRED LIGGINS was scheduled but did not appear.
SCBA Pres. MARY BETH GARBER opened the event, and then ad agency DEUTSCH/LOS ANGELES EVP/Dir. Media Planning KYLE ACQUISTAPACE set the tone with his introduction, "The topic today is the future of audio-anchored advertising, formerly known as radio."
The perception is that radio's stale -- it's yesterday's news -- it's a dinosaur.
John Hogan: Radio Is Challenged
HOGAN commented, "radio today is challenged" by new technology and new competitors, but added, "radio is up to that challenge. We compete very, very effectively. It is a vibrant, robust, ubiquitous, easily accessible, diverse, reliable, high-quality source of entertainment and information. For advertisers, radio today is effective, flexible, targetable, allows for easy implementation, allows for a wide variety of creative approaches, and it is an exceedingly efficient way to reach consumers."
HOGAN addressed "misconceptions" about radio in saying, "Performance and capabilities are not our problem. Our problem is one of perception. Radio today is perceived very differently from how it actually performs." Continuing, HOGAN commented, "Another perception is that radio has lost audience. And the truth is that we have our challenges as consumers have more choices. When you look at how we have fared in the face of our competition," he said, "we have managed to keep 85 to 87% of Time Spent Listening."
Dan Mason: PPM Will Revolutionize The Industry
MASON described his early radio ambitions and admiration for DJs and for radio's ability to reach out during emergencies. "I've known since I was 12 years old that this was the medium I wanted to be in," he said.
Touching on the advantages he sees for radio from electronic measurement, "PPM is going to revolutionize this industry," MASON said, "because we've worked with an antiquated diary system that is 30 years old," adding the early PPM results in NEW YORK were "outstanding" in terms of cume. He pointed out that PPM shows CLEAR CHANNEL's AC WLTW/NEW YORK had a cume of 5 million.
"If I listen to one more analyst or one more satellite advocate say that radio doesn't work, I will turn into a werewolf, I promise," quipped MASON.
Smulyan: The Perceptions Is, Radio's A Dinosaur
SMULYAN echoed the point about radio's perceptual issues, saying the "perception is that radio's stale -- it's yesterday's news ... it's a dinosaur. What we'll do with our audience is engage them, and engage our advertisers, and meet these challenges head-on."
He presented statistics showing radio's decline has been exaggerated, saying, "This is the same decade where we've seen the rise of satellite, the Internet, cable TV, mobile phones and, with all this, radio has lost only 3% of its reach. And with population growth, there are more people listening to radio today in the U.S. than at any time in its history."
Stone: I'm In The Audio Delivery Business
STONE was upbeat, saying I am very excited about the future of the radio industry, and Spanish-language radio in particular. Hispanics are more connected to the media they listen to than their non-Hispanic counterparts."
Making a point on who things have changed, STONE said he'd been in radio for 38 years, then announced, "I'm no longer in this business. Instead, I consider myself to be in the audio delivery business."