RAB's Fries Bullish On Radio, Pushes For ROI
September 26, 2005 at 10:00 AM (PT)
RAB Pres. and CEO GARY FRIES delivered his semi-annual state of the industry speech this morning at the NAB Radio Show, outlining a radio business that is on the precipice of a "repositioning" that could propel the medium forward into the future -- if the industry acts. "There's lots of positives in our business," stated FRIES.
"We take ourselves for granted," FRIES said as he encouraged radio broadcasters to be proud of their work in the aftermath of HURRICANE KATRINA. "Make sure everyone you talk to understands how important radio was to the people of the Gulf States," he said. FRIES pointed out that the unfortunate disaster spotlighted the significant role radio plays in the local marketplace and revealed how the industry could join forces for the good of the community.
Make sure everyone you talk to understands how important radio was to the people of the Gulf States
FRIES went on to describe the importance of the RADIO AD EFFECTIVENESS LAB (RAEL) research to verifying the medium's effectiveness, and commended the industry's cooperative support of the effort. "There's a tremendous coming together of resources from the smallest stations to the largest companies," he said.
FRIES attributed the research from RAEL as a key element in the success of RAB's National Marketing efforts to secure appointments with advertisers and agencies. "Next month, the RAB National Marketing Department, along with a coalition from the radio representative companies, is meeting with a major, national retailer to present the RAEL research studies," he stated. "This is one in a series of meetings with the advertiser -- who had traditionally been a non-Radio user -- and its agencies. You can't just walk in and say give me the money. You sow the seeds first. We've had several victories, but this is real-time, happening next month."
He continued, saying, "RAB is engaged in promoting radio at a level greater than ever before. Advertisers are looking for new ways to reach consumers. We must not fight being repositioned," he cautioned. "We have to do things differently and we have the opportunity to do so."
"Electronic invoicing is a must," FRIES said. "It took the RAB four to five years of bringing up that subject for the industry to start taking it seriously. We need to speed it up!"
Electronic measurement was also a key topic in FRIES' agenda, but he stressed that he was not endorsing of any one device. "I don't care what it is," he said, "but we need electronic measurement and it must be right." FRIES pointed out that the RAB sponsored a presentation by EURISKO, a European company offering an alternative to ARBITRON's PPM. FRIES said he believed there was even more potential revenue for radio than the recently released FORRESTER STUDY on the "Economic Impact Of The PPM On Radio" showed.
FRIES did warn that the move to electronic measurement couldn't be slow. "It must be done rapidly and in every size market. You cannot have electronic measurement without saying the diary method is flawed, and you cannot sell a flawed device."
Changing gears, FRIES stated, "We need HD Radio in a lot better fashion. It's a digital world and we don't want to be left out. Advertisers will give us more money if we do these things," he predicted.
"Advertisers are moving money to new media and we need to be in the mix," he advised. FRIES referenced the current Request For Proposal (RFP) from RAEL, explaining that two of the hottest topics under consideration were Radio audience engagement and the synergy of radio and the internet.
"It's ROI; not CPM. Our advertisers need metrics that shows their advertising works. We need to move product for them. We need to change the way we work with them. Advertisers want accountability. They want confidence in the system and in the numbers. Most importantly, they want a partner -- a marketing partner!"
Stated FRIES, "Last year, according to RADAR, radio gained 3 million new listeners. That's more than both satellite companies combined. But, we're being repositioned. We need to be part of that repositioning or we will become a secondary medium. Let's start beating our drums. Radio salespeople aren't excited and that's because management is not teaching them to be excited," he said.
FRIES went on to urge managers to teach their people how to "block and tackle" and to convey a sense of excitement about radio. "This is not something that the 'other guy' or the 'big group' should be doing. You should be doing it." He also recommended that GMs be active in the sales call process.
"We're pretty darn good, but we need to get better. We need to understand who and what we are, and do what we can to improve on it." He reminded the audience that their biggest asset was their audience. "Protect that asset," FRIES recommended. "Use it to help someone get success -- get ROI!"