Fries Delivers "State of the Radio Industry" Address
February 2, 2006 at 2:21 PM (PT)
RAB Pres. and CEO GARY FRIES delivered his "State of the Radio Industry" speech today before attendees of the RAB’06 conference today in DALLAS, Opening the speech, FRIES declared, "This is the future of Radio -- you people who are here!"
FRIES praised the industry for its resiliency. "This past year has been a changing environment -- an evolution. I’ve heard about the demise of Radio many times, but it always rises to the occasion, reinvents itself, and moves forward. It’s because of the people.
"2005 has not been the best year," he noted. "It’s been lackluster. Local ad sales were up 1%; national was down 2%, and total spot was flat. But before we become too concerned about that, let’s look at what is going on in some categories.
"Fourteen percent of our billing comes from automotive and they’ve been in a flux. That’s one billion dollars of our revenue and it’s been down 1%. In spot TV, it’s been down 10%. In fourth quarter 05, newspapers experienced between a 15 and 20% drop in automotive.
"Compared to other media, we’re down only one percent in automotive. That means we did something. Give yourselves a pat on the back. The audience responded with a round of applause as FRIES continued. "You did something about it!"
"The train has pulled out of the station, is moving, and has arrived," FRIES said. "The digital age has arrived, and we are going to change with it. The biggest threat to our industry is wanting to stay the same. If you stay the same, you will have no success.
"The digital age is opening doors to new territories. Radio will be a part of it. We have to stay relevant to our listeners. Our biggest asset is our listeners," he said.
"The advertising community is also changing," noted FRIES. "They are interested in connection; in being consumer-centric. Everybody has a favorite Radio station. You are programming to a specific target. New media is so exciting because it is personal. That is an opportunity for Radio, walk with the future.
"What are advertisers trying to do?" he asked. "They’re trying to get ROI. The challenge to Radio is to constantly move and progress. When my successor comes, that person will take the RAB to a new level. Constantly look for being part of the future -- part of the change. Do not get locked in the comfort zone."