August 2006 - Radio Dial

Old School Radio Learns Some Lessons

By Dave Newmark

Today, even with satellite radio, Internet radio stations, podcasts and music through your cell phone, terrestrial (“old school”) radio reaches more people than any other medium (weekly listening reaches approximately 98 percent of anyone over the age of 12).

Countless local businesses depend on regular radio to drive customers into their showrooms, phone lines and websites. Yet, many advertisers have been drawn increasingly to more targeted media, such as search engine marketing, and more electronic/digital media in order to stay “cutting edge,” with ever-evolving technology being used by consumers.

Just like corporations that need to shed non-performing business units, terrestrial is learning a hard lesson that it needs to be much more than just a music delivery system; it needs to focus on its core competency: being great at being local. And this is happening. More and more, (with the exception of the “Jack” formats), radio stations are allowing their people to shine through…

…When talk radio gives listeners a local twist to national politics

…When rock stations tell young people where bands are playing at local clubs too small for the Internet

…When stations of all kinds inform drivers not only which highways and byways are crowded but give detailed alternate routes

…When sports reports and sports stations give pro, college and high school fans deep information on the teams they love or love to hate

…When local morning teams raise money from listeners for local and national causes

Moreover, “old school” radio has learned how to leverage the power of the Internet with online streaming of terrestrial signals (Listen Live features) and sell ad units beside them, as well as strengthen listener clubs by providing unique online content online, creating unique podcasts from on-air talent that is only available online and developing HD technology-which will add literally thousands of stations to those with HD radios.

Advertisers who want to connect with consumers should remember that old school radio has learned some new tricks that still click with America.

Dave Newmark owns two companies with his wife, Patty: Newmark Advertising, where they specialize in endorsement radio; and in Encino, Calf., a new online auction site to help advertisers to access last-minute radio buys on stations. He can be reached at (866) 326-7788.


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