As an industry, radio has seen many new trends impact it over the past few years. From the rise in digital and social media to new engagement opportunities like voice activation and podcasts, it’s an ever-evolving business that can be difficult to stay on top of.
That’s why it’s great to get out and learn from others in the industry. What are people talking about? How are listeners engaging with radio stations? What’s important to advertisers today?
The SoCast team had the opportunity to go down to Orlando for the 2018 Radio Show and visit a ton of great panels and learn from others in the industry. So, in case you didn’t have the opportunity to go, or if you did and would like a recap of the hottest topics, we’ve distilled all of them for you right here.
Without any further ado, let’s get into it. Here are the top seven takeaways from the 2018 Radio Show:
1. Radio needs better advertising measurement
The trouble with radio advertising is that, while effective, lacks the attribution that digital channels such as Google and Facebook have. Sure, an advertiser may see a spike in sales after buying a 30 second spot on your station. However, radio does not offer the click-through conversion attribution that digital channels do. Advertisers don’t know 100% for certain if someone purchased because they heard their ad on the air.
Fortunately for radio, advertisers understand digital metrics such as streams and time spent listening online. This allows radio to charge per impression and gives advertisers a better understanding of how many people their ad will reach in digital channels. As more listening and ad spend moves towards digital, it will be easier for radio to demonstrate the value of its inventory.
2. If you’re not doing podcasting, you should be
Podcasting is a growing medium. In fact, nearly 68 Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis and podcasting ad revenue grew from $69 million to $220 million between 2015 and 2017.
Creating podcasts is just natural for radio. Stations already create excellent content and have personalities that their listeners want to hear from. Why not create on-demand content that can extend the shelf life of what you produce on-air?
One company with a strong focus on podcasting is Beasley Media Group. According to CEO Caroline Beasley, their strategy is to “keep people in their ecosystem” with podcasts, then monetize them.
By leveraging their brand power in podcasts, Beasley is able to keep their listeners engaged even when they are not listening to their terrestrial broadcasts, in the end resulting in more revenue for their stations.
3. Radio faces ear-share competition in the car, but also has an opportunity for resurgence in the home
70% of Americans aged 13 and up consume audio in their car, more than any other location. However, radio is facing competition in this space due to connected cars, which allow listeners to access other digital content in their vehicles.
On the flipside, radio has an opportunity to win back ear-share in the home, thanks to smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa. While few consumers today own a physical radio, smart speakers allow them to listen to your broadcast in their homes.
Check out this blog post to learn more about how radio can benefit from the smart speakers trend.
4. Radio needs to harness its data more effectively
As we mentioned previously, radio has a data problem lies in its inability to attribute on-air ad spend to purchases. NAB Executive Vice President Steve Newberry identified data as “crucially important” for the radio industry.
One option to help overcome this is for radio stations to use data management platforms to aggregate all their sources of audience data. This data can give stations and their advertising clients a better understanding of who they are engaging with.
Additionally, attribution systems such as AnalyticOwl can show how certain advertisements are resonating with audiences.
Other ideas for radio to better harness data include using it to go beyond gender and age to target audiences, determine what content audiences are engaging with and help clients understand which advertisements work best.
5. Stations need to embrace and create digital content
With technology transforming radio, the industry needs to adapt and create content that fits with these new channels. For instance, this could mean creating interactive experiences on smart speakers and visual elements for mobile audio.
Radio needs to move more outside of its traditional wheelhouse of creating on-air content. Since listeners are engaging across a plethora of digital channels, radio needs to be there as well.
6. Radio is no longer exclusively an ‘old boys club’
In recent years, more women have been in leadership positions in the radio industry. This is of course, for the best, as no industry should discriminate based on gender and the best talent should be what gets recognized.
Check out this 2018 Radio Show panel, presented by the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group and moderated by RAB President & CEO, Erica Farber, where women leaders share how they achieved success in the industry.
The panelists highlight the most important traits for someone (female or otherwise) who wants to work up in the industry as having a positive attitude, passion, a natural curiosity and the ability to work hard to achieve your goals.
7. Digital is the pathway to revenue growth for radio
We’ve seen the stats before. Between 2016 and 2017, digital revenue for radio grew 13.4% while on-air revenues stagnated. Additionally, 70% of local advertisers said that they planned to increase their digital budget in 2018 (Borrell Associates 2018 Local Advertiser Survey).
The 2018 Radio Show featured several sessions discussing digital revenue for radio including The Radio Show Sales Consultant series, hosted by Jeff Schmidt, Senior Vice President of Professional Development at RAB and SoCast’s “Turn Digital Into Dollars” session, where our panel of digital experts discussed how their stations use digital to drive revenue.
So there you have it, our recap of the 2018 Radio Show. It was great to see all the familiar faces and to learn and share with one another. We are most certainly looking forward to 2019!
If you have any questions about anything in this post, or anything else from the 2018 Radio Show, let us know! We’re happy to chat and share our knowledge. Also, if you’re a broadcaster and you’re looking to take your digital game to the next level, SoCast offers an integrated suite of solutions to help you do just that. Talk to one of our Specialists to get started.