Industry News

Westwood One Audio Active Group: AM/FM Sells Cars

This week’s report from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group reveals the results of a study from data analysis agency Colourtext and UK commercial AM/FM radio industry group Radiocentre. Calling it the “largest and most comprehensive AM/FM radio ad effectiveness report in the world,” WWO says the study measured 59 tier-one auto campaigns for brands like Toyota, Honda, Land Rover, BMW, VW, Nissan, Volvo, Lexus, and Jaguar. The conclusion is that “AM/FM radio advertising generates significantWestwood One - Westwood One increases in advertising awareness, brand relevance, brand trust, and brand consideration.” Other key findings include: 1) AM/FM radio increases the efficiency of automotive media plans: Colourtext and Radiocentre compared AM/FM radio’s average share of total media spend to the increase in advertising awareness, brand relevance, and brand trust generated by AM/FM radio campaigns. In each case, the auto brand lift is four to 11 times greater than AM/FM radio’s share of media spend; 2) the best performing auto campaigns place an emphasis on creative consistency; 3) AM/FM radio creates future demand for automotive brands; 4) Nielsen Scarborough: American auto intenders clock a lot of miles in their vehicles: A Nielsen Scarborough study of 199,118 Americans finds new car buying intentions in the next year increase as miles traveled grows; 5) among ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio has a dominating 89% share of in-car time spent; 6) Nielsen Scarborough: Heavy AM/FM radio and digital consumers are way above the norm for auto purchase intention; and 7) new vehicle purchasers are similar in profile to heavy AM/FM radio listeners, and heavy Internet users, and podcast listeners. See more about the study here.

Industry Views

Remaining Optimistic About Radio

By Walter Sabo
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host

An article in the Los Angeles Times shows a picture of a radio DJ next to a control board boasting the headline, THE RESURGENCE OF RADIO. Dateline: 1982.  This headline appears in various forms every few months in articles and blogs throughout the country. Writers discover radio! The power of radio! The popularity of radio! Why is radio either dying or being rediscovered when neither is true?

Recent artifacts: Every single press release from Nielsen reveals that radio is doing fine thank you. After decades of promoting its television clients and bashing radio, now that Nielsen measures radio – son of a gun – radio is thriving, it’s alive, it’s growing, it’s a success. Nielsen’s tone is one of surprise that radio attracts large, loyal audiences.

Why is radio’s 100 years of success a revelation rather an assumption? First it is because radio is ubiquitous. Walk into a store, radio. Turn on the car, radio. Wake up, radio. The sound of radio has always been everywhere and continues to be everywhere. Maybe once a year I go to a gym and hear Spotify, but I have to ask an employee where that music is coming from and they are never sure! Television is not everywhere; it has to be turned on. Magazines, websites, books, direct mail have to be considered and then opened. Not ubiquitous. Radio’s ubiquity renders it invisible on the media landscape. Radio wins by losing.

Radio salespeople sell radio to negotiators, time buyers. The job of a negotiator is to criticize and devalue the product being pitched. That’s their job. A salesperson spends nine hours a day with negotiators telling them that their product is at death’s door. To a radio salesperson, every day is a bad day. They become immersed in the pessimism of radio’s future.

“Do you realize that most 19-year-olds discover new music from the Internet?” declares a time buyer to a radio salesperson. Oddly, the fact that 19-year-olds occasionally find new music on other audio media is a dark mark against proven radio. Until this moment, the location of new music discovery had never been a deal point for the Honda dealer time buyer. But, boy this “discovery” business is charts-and-graphs serious!

To perform as a programmer or talent in radio one must be an optimist about its future. A programmer or host is intimate with listener response to their work. Radio stars see the millions and millions, and millions of dollars raised for quality charities every single year by their words, their appeal — their credibility. TV stations and newspapers rarely conduct fund drives. Have you ever heard a local TV anchor ask for donations for – anything? No, probably because it wouldn’t work as well as a pitch from the morning host on your station. A powerful, yet unseen, spokesperson can be quite persuasive to a listener to donate their money to a charity.

SiriusXM satellite radio’s lead investors, Apollo and Blackstone jointly engaged me to consult the company on site for many years. During that time, I became well-acquainted with the initiatives of all-digital audio platforms: AudibleAmazonPandoraSpotifyGoogle and many others.

At digital media conferences spokespeople for those companies would sit on panels and bash the dinosaurs called AM and FM. However, those same companies insisted on branding themselves as… radio! Spotify RADIO. Pandora RADIO!

Walter Sabo is a long-time radio industry consultant and thought leader.  He hosts and produces a network radio show titled “Sterling on Sunday” 10:00 pm-1:00 am ET.  www.waltersterlingshow.com.   walter@sabomedia.com

Industry News

Westwood One Unveils NFL Postseason Audience Data

Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group releases its comprehensive analysis of the NFL postseason audience using 2022 data from Nielsen Scarborough USA+ and MRI Simmons USA. WWO says, “The data revealed that the AM/FM radio audience is far more passionate about football compared to the more casual sports fan found in the TV audience.” Westwood One is the official network radio partner of theWestwood One - Westwood One NFL, and this year’s Super Bowl coverage marks the 50th time that the network will broadcast the game. Some of the key takeaways from this study are: 1) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are a desirable group of consumers: They are more likely to work full time and have higher disposable incomes compared to NFL postseason TV viewers; 2) The NFL postseason AM/FM radio audience is more engaged with sports: MRI Simmons finds NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners attend more sporting events, seek out sports information on their phones more often, and play more fantasy sports than NFL postseason TV watchers. The higher levels of engagement translate into greater advertising effectiveness; and 3) NFL postseason AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to make purchases across key consumer categories: Compared to the NFL postseason TV audience, AM/FM radio delivers more consumers who are likely to buy a new or used vehicle, start a new business, or hire a financial advisor.  You can see the complete report here.

Industry Views

Local News Matters Most

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

Beard - ForeheadWhy? Done right, it makes you special. Because new-tech audio competitors don’t do local news, and with most broadcast radio hours now robotic.

“Why waste your time with AM/FM radio?”

Responding to that recent SiriusXM Marketing campaign, NAB president & CEO Curtis LeGeyt:

  • “Unlike our competitors, listeners do not need to fork over a monthly subscription fee, purchase a program or afford an expensive mobile data plan.”
  • “During times of emergency, Americans are not told to turn to SiriusXM for lifeline information. They are not going to get emergency alerts, hear up-to-the-minute reporting or find out where to get help on Pandora or Spotify. No other audio medium can replicate our service when lives are in danger.”
  • “Broadcast radio also provides an engine for economic activity. When local businesses want to get the word out about their goods and services, local radio stations provide an affordable way for them to advertise and reach the consumers who live in their area.”

These are not “normal” times

  • When Trump was on the front burner, his controversies alone changed daypart-to-daypart, even hour-to-hour. The talk part of the news/talk format remains largely static, no minds change. But our news content is dynamic.
  • In a monsoon in Las Vegas (NOT a misprint) someone drowned; and video of rain cascading through the ceiling onto blackjack tables at Planet Hollywood went-viral. We prayed as Kentucky drowned and Buffalo got snowed-under. After tumbleweeds piled-up around her Colorado home blocking windows and doors, Marlies Gross told AccuWeather: “We have so many fires here, and we have a drought and those tumbleweeds, they would just go up and explode into flames all over, and we probably would go with it.”
  • After 2+ years of arguing about vaccines, Polio is back and COVID is back again’ and RSV isn’t just a kid thing. Increasingly noticeable in my travels: Without being required to, people are re-masking.

It’s easier to add Occasions than Duration-per

Translation: There’s little we can do to keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories. And AM/FM has never had more competition. So, to keep ‘em coming back, keep telling them something they can’t hear elsewhere, and make it sound different than last hour.

And TELL THEM that’s what you do:

  • “Are you on-the-road? Stay up-to-speed with us!”
  • “What happened since breakfast? We’ll tell you before dinner.”
  • “Stay close to the news.”

Be known for knowing. And tell them when and how you’ll tell them, on various devices.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke