Part One – Podcasting/Internet Radio Stations (originally published in 2005)
Remember that song “Video Killed The Radio Star”? Well, what Video didn’t fully accomplish, iPods and Commercial-Free Internet Stations are threatening to achieve. And that’s not a good thing for many radio formats (more specifics on that later). Radio has particularly seen a decreased audience amongst younger listeners, who can download or stream the exact songs they want, commercial free. With that power in your hand, why listen to Top 40 or Rock stations? Moreover, from this phenomenon has sprung “Podcasting.” Just like Pirate Radio stations used to do in the 1980s (the radio equivalent of those of SNL “Wayne’s World” sketches), broadcasters around the world are producing their own home-made programs and making them available on the Web for download to iPods. Thanks to iPods, now ANYONE can be a DJ or talk show host. And anyone can act as their own DJ, running the songs THEY want, WHEN they want to hear them.
How to make it work for you:
Podcasting is becoming more and more mainstream all the time. Much as we have Arbitron ratings for Radio, and Quantifiable means to measure Website traffic, there will no doubt emerge a standard to measure which Podcasts draw the top listeners and downloaders. When that method becomes finalized, buying Podcasts at a model comparable to Cost-Per-Thousand or Cost-Per-Impression WILL be come the standard. For now, it pays to research who the leaders are in Podcasting. As an example, former original MTV VeeJay Adam Curry is poised to become the Casey Kasem of Podcasting. He has been Podcasting a program from London for nearly two years now, and has built a Rabid Following. Buying Live Read endorsements and spots on Podcasts who are narrowly focused to your target demographic may prove to be a much lower and more cost-efficient model for you to test.
And remember that if you can’t beat them, it is pretty ease to join them. There is NOTHING stopping you from creating your own Podcast programs. Many companies run Half-Hour radio infomercials on local stations. Why not create your own Podcast show that is informational AND plugs your product? The World Wide Web gives you a larger Cumulative Audience than any radio property – you may find a source to sell your product AND become a Celebrity at the same time.
In “The Graduate”, Ben was told the place to be the future is one word – “PLASTICS”! In 2005, if a college graduate asks you for advice on the future, simply say “PODCASTS”.
Part Two – Why your favorite Radio Stations are getting “Hi-JACKed!”
In June 2005, unsuspecting New Yorkers were shocked at 5PM on a Friday when they tuned into 33-year-old Oldies Station 101 WCBS-FM. For over three decades, CBS-FM was more than just a beloved New York institution who played hits of the 50s through early 80s. It was the home of the same New York DJs who helped invent Rock and Roll, and remembered spinning all these Oldies back when they were still current Top 40 hits. Some of these DJs had been on radio for nearly 50 years, and spanned three generations of New Yorkers. The most notable jock was the beloved “Cousin Brucie” Morrow. Everyone’s favorite “Cousin” was synonomous with New York radio. You probably know him best as the Radio DJ who can be throughout the film “Dirty Dancing.”
So you can imagine the Surprise of several hundred-thousand New Yorkers when they drove home for the weekend, tuned in for the Beach Boys and heard……THE BEASTIE BOYS. And with that airplay of “Fight For Your Right To Party”, New York got to learn what JACK is all about!
Inspired to sound like “An Ipod on Shuffle”, JACK is radio’s newest format – No DJs, No Local News or Weather or Sports or ANYTHING that is not generic (just a lone announcer voice who occasionally drops prerecorded sarcastic one-liners). And a playlist over 1400 songs from the Beatles “Lady Madonna” to Madonna herself, from Jimi Hendrix to Stone Temple Pilots. And what of the DJs employed by CBS-FM? Fired without warning…….JUST like how JACK first went on the air.
This has been the case on virtually every station to turn to the JACK format (also known in other markets as Bob, Jane, Doug, Bill, and other names found in “See Spot Run” books). Established stations – mostly Classic Rockers and Oldies catering to an aging Generation X and Baby Boomer audience – have gone off the air unceremoniously in favor of JACK. Why? Because it reflects the changing way we listen to music (again – the “iPod on shuffle”). Because it is less expensive to program. And Because it combines the old playlists with enough newer songs to attract more of the coveted 25-54 and younger audiences that mainstream brand advertisers demand. Evidence? In Dallas, a station went from ranked 20th as an Oldies format, to 5th as a JACK in just 6 months. So how does the saavy Direct Response marketer make it work?
How to make it work for you:
For one, like with all new formats – TEST IT!! Obviously, it does not lend itself to Live Read endorsements. But it is still new enough that rates are low. And with the quick growth it has showed in MANY markets, you may be buying a larger audience (and one that seems to always be growing) than you think.
Moreover, observe the advertising dollars that are being siphoned from Oldies and Classic Rock stations. Remember, these stations are not going under because they are losing audience. They are going under because JACK is simply more profitable. There is less competition for their audience, and with decreased revenues, many are making deals like never before. I’ve seen these formats offer rates this year at HALF of what they were last year. So while Oldies and Classic Rock stations still exist, now is the time to buy them. YOU may be surprised at the deals you can make on these stations — and it may be easier than ever to get Disc Jockeys to endorse your product.
Remember, the primary audience for most Direct Response offers are older Adults with discretionary income. In other words – Adults who are more inclined to listen to Classic Rock, Oldies, and Talk Radio. Your core target has NOT abandoned radio – it simply now listens to more affordable stations!!
RADIO in 2005 — You now know the future – plan ahead!!!!
Joe Rashbaum owns THE RADIO SOLUTION COMPANY. Since 1996, we have been committed to making Direct Response Radio Advertising work for our clients. We specialize in Creative (writing, production, station promotions) & Media (planning, buying, and market-strategizing) for both Short-Form and Long-Form/Infomercial radio campaigns. We have served over 100 campaigns, and consulted two radio station ownerships on their in-house, direct-response efforts. In 2004, Joe also proved that he can make a Creative message stand out from the crowd — when he was cast from over 61,000 applicants to compete in CBS’ Emmy-awarding winning reality show, “THE AMAZING RACE”. Contact Joe at (805) 279-3391 or inquire below.