NAB Supersession Focuses On The Positives
September 26, 2005 at 10:00 AM (PT)
CLEAR CHANNEL's JOHN HOGAN, INFINITY's JOEL HOLLANDER, NEW RADIO GROUP's MARY QUASS, ICBC's CHARLES WARFIELD, and SAGA's ED CHRISTIAN were featured at the NAB RADIO SHOW's Radio Group Executive Supersession, covering several hot-button issues facing the industry.
CHRISTIAN disputed moderator REED BUNZEL's characterization of the economy as "moderately healthy," citing the underlying weakness behind factors like mortgage refinancing and asserting that radio is doing all right under the circumstances. HOGAN went further, saying that "radio is on the uptick... There is a lot of innovation occurring," a sentiment seconded by HOLLANDER.
Radio is on the uptick... There is a lot of innovation occurring.
On radio's accountability to advertisers, CHRISTIAN cited the RAEL studies as an example of how radio is addressing the problem. HOGAN stressed the distinction between accountability and return on investment, noting that "we need to do a better job of selling ourselves to the advertising community... We have a great story to tell." QUASS added that "we have to reinstill in our advertisers... that we are a reputable business and that we do what we say we're going to do," while WARFIELD charged that "a lot of knocks against our industry" are internally based, coming from within the radio industry.
A discussion of ARBITRON's PPM raised some passion, with HOLLANDER saying INFINITY is "ready to wait" to see how the methodology plays out, insisting "I'm not ready to pay an exorbitant amount of money" for a system that may not be the final choice. WARFIELD agreed, saying "I don't think we're there yet"; HOGAN touted CLEAR CHANNEL's request for proposals from alternative companies to ARBITRON ("until we see what else is out there, we don't know").
On CLEAR CHANNEL's "Less is More," HOLLANDER said his competitor "should be applauded for doing something different... They can point to some ratings increases. Hopefully, they can monetize that down the road." WARFIELD said he hopes the move will lift rates, while QUASS said "a lot less is a lot better... We're all a bunch of wimps, afraid to raise our rates... Cut the inventory, raise our rates, we'll all do a lot better."
CHRISTIAN, focusing on the creative aspects of 30 second spots, decried the way radio got rid of copywriters and has salespeople writing spots and "trying to be creative." HOGAN said "Less is More" has been "educational" and while the company has taken a 5 percent revenue hit, "we like a lot of what we have seen." Nevertheless, HOGAN noted that his company is still selling 60 second spots as 65-70 percent of its business.
HOLLANDER said that an industry announcement about plans for the additional channels available through HD RADIO will be announced in 60-90 days but "it'll be a five, six, seven year project" to fully implement the system.