The Future for Radio is bright according the Jeff Haley

The 2012 CMW got off to a very positive start in Toronto last Thursday (March22nd) with the opening key note speech from Jeff Haley President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau.

“Often we in radio are our own worst enemies and we tend to project a level of insecurity about the fact that radio was the first broadcast medium, we were the first mobile medium, we have the most reach, we’re the #1 medium between 6am and 6pm… all these things can make one feel insecure I guess.”

There are thousands of ways for marketers to connect with the consumer today, but the reality it is more difficult to reach consumers today than ever before.  The Paradox today is that with all the mobile devices, and all the ways to consume media today while you have tremendous reach and 24/7 connectivity, there is very little engagement.

Jeff feels that 15 years from now mass broadcast channels such as radio will still be the dominate mediums consumed by more people than any other, because of scale, live and local and mobile.

Scale is an amazing thing. There are 11,000 radio stations in the USA and over 350 in Canada.  We are talking about brands and franchises that really can be actionable by a marketer in a simple easy to manage process. So if I am McDonalds and I’ve got 2,300 stores in the USA and I’ve got 1,100 stores in Canada I can reach every single market that the local retail store is in, in a powerful way at scale by buying radio. I can focus my messaging and I can be very actionable with scale. The technology – where you have a one to many platform such as terrestrial radio is very efficient and the scale is tremendous.

Being live and local is also another benefit that radio has over other medium. Radio creates over 15 billion hours of content each month. There is no other medium on the planet that generates as much live content as radio on a monthly basis.  Radio covers local events and talks about events that are relevant in that community. It also is the medium we turn to when emergencies happen in our community. The power may be out and cell phone towers down, but the local radio will have the information in a crisis.

Radio is the closest medium prior to their point of purchase. The average consumer of radio has listened to radio 13 minutes prior to a purchase. For television it is 45 minutes, while newspaper and the internet are even further out that that. Nobody is as close to the point of purchase than radio which is why radio is such a powerful promotional medium.

So radio is right at the point of purchase, it is a broadcast reach medium and it’s at scale, that can be actionable in every single community, and it can be leveraged through local radio personalities. These are all unique attributes of our business that no other medium can offer. The personalities in radio create a sense of intimacy that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

The first mobile technology that was invented was radio. 50% of radio listening happens when we are in a vehicle. And marketers want to engage a lot of people who are on the move. Radio needs to embrace mobile and we need to leverage that as quickly as possible. Radio needs to do a better job of getting FM chips into cell phones and we need to continue to control the in car entertainment. We need to improve the listener experience and push more relevant information to enrich the listening experience beyond pushing title and artist to make it a more interactive experience. We can buy the song or via a push message get free fries if we mention this ad at McDonalds in less than a kilometer. This technology is available today.

Jeff Haley is very bullish about the future of radio. Radio ad spending is growing at 4.2% growth while newspaper is down 5% and outdoor is flat. Radio is doing better than others and provided we take advantages of scale, live and local and mobile then our future is bright. Learn more about the RAB here