37,182 Weekly Radio Mistakes

Radio has had an illustrious history of selling merchandise and services.

That's why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can't buy enough of it when they are battling in Democratic primary states. It's cheap (especially for politicians) but it's not all that prohibitive for the rest of the advertising world.

Still, as powerful as radio is with older listeners, there is one thing it cannot sell even to them -- HD radios.

You can hardly find a person who owns an HD radio in the real world. Broadcasters know this because they don't program anything compelling to make consumers even consider buying an HD radio. They are apparently wrestling with that age of hypothetical: What comes first the chicken or the egg -- the content or the radio.

It's getting to be a ritual that when you check the top ten national radio advertisers in any week you always see the HD Radio Alliance on the top of the list.

Take April 14-20.

There's Geico, Home Depot, Wall-Mart, McDonalds, Verizon, Toyota, AutoZone, Ford Lincoln Mercury and AT&T in that order -- with the HD Alliance on top.

One of these things is not like the other one.

The HD Alliance is running free ads contributed by the nation's radio stations. The other advertisers are -- well, paying. That's 37,182 freebies nationwide in just one week to no avail.

Radio must have a lot of unused inventory sitting around, don't you think?

That's bad enough. Propping up this group of pretenders who will in the end fail to impose digital radio on a marketplace that is either happy with analog radio or is unavailable to radio makes the point moot.

Can you imagine what would happen if radio put its power and might behind 37,182 national spots that mattered.

No. Not "Radio Heard Here" -- the costly boondoggle that the major consolidators and NAB are foisting upon the industry.

Is it me or am I missing something. "Radio Heard Here" means nothing. Says nothing. Is nothing. Now you can understand why the leaders of the radio industry can't succeed in a more competitive digital world. They continue to show us -- and their investors -- why they are clueless.


There was a piece in Inside Radio last week defending the new "Radio Heard Here" concept as cool. They're playing with us, right?

They don't know what to do.

So, I've got a suggestion.

Take the 37,182 spots that were wasted that week and ...

1. Give them away to public service campaigns

2. Sell them to somebody

3. Don't run them and help clean up on-air clutter.

4. Run spots exposing excessive corporate executive pay in radio (sorry, just kidding -- couldn't help myself).

5. Run one spot 37,182 times that clearly tells how radio actually helped a business sell more inventory or service. Call Chuck Blore out in Hollywood who has forgotten more than most radio people know about creating positive imagery for the advertising community. Take plenty of notes. Listen. Don't talk a lot.

There is incompetence all around us.

And you wonder why an industry loaded with dedicated, creative and hard working people is marginalized while some suits now decide to waste radio commercials on radios that will never get sold off the shelves of Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Radio Shack. The shelf will be sold first.

I'm sure you know people -- maybe you are such a person, yourself -- who have a better idea how to use 37,182 wasted spots per week.

We don't make $11 million a year, but I'll bet we could come up with a better way to put radio's best foot forward.

Instead of in its mouth.

For those of you who would prefer to get Jerry's daily posts by email for free, please click here. IMPORTANT: First you must check your mail or spam filter to verify your subscription immediately after signing up before daily service can begin.
Thanks for forwarding my pieces to your friends and linking to your websites and boards.