Another Reason Why Google's AdSense Is Nonsense

GM is cutting its ad expenditures by a whopping $600 million. Inside Radio reports that powerful ad exec Betsy Lazar told the Radio Advertising Bureau convention that business as usual won't win GM's business.

What does she mean?

No lazy 30 second ad pitches.

She wants ideas that show involvement by the station. Imagine. This from an industry that is flirting with letting Google automate its ad selling to cut costs. To radio's credit it may be flirting but it hasn't proposed marriage or even an affair with Google. Those who work in radio know that if radio is anything it is a one-on-one relationship with the listener and with the advertiser. Consolidation has turned top radio decision makers into something ugly. Just check at the station level and you'll see that those in the know (the execs the consolidators are not listening to) know that radio is in the relationship business.

GM goes further.

It wants ideas that use radio station databases in meaningful ways. That means -- God forbid -- that radio has got to come up with meaningful ways to use its own Internet presence. Radio dragged its feet on this issue and is in the process of playing catch up. It seems for some radio's idea of utilizing interactive media is to allow Google to sell its inventory on line with no relationship being established. In other words, the Google plan makes radio ad sales more of a commodity.

General Motors has problems. It has gotten itself into trouble in the auto business and it has to work those problems out. Massive slashes in advertising -- not uncommon when the auto business goes south -- is just a beginning.

But if I'm a radio executive with any decision-making power at all, I'm avoiding Google's AdSense as making no sense at all when the secret of radio past, present and future is establishing close relationships with its listeners and coincidentally with advertisers to help them solve their problems.

This yet another example of back to the future for the radio industry.