Pumping the Brakes on Multi-Platform Streaming with a Focus on Winning Now


Every time you unplug a Tesla and get behind the wheel, you get a glimpse of the future. Whether it’s the car’s ability to drive itself or the variety of offerings built into the in-car entertainment platform that makes CarPlay look likes child’s play.

This perspective is not offered as a testimonial, Elon’s doing just fine on his own, but to demonstrate a clear understanding of how important a multi-platform future is for radio. After all, for all the gadgets and amazing features in a new Tesla, there’s no AM radio anywhere to be found.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused radio to confront a disappointing reality about consumption across devices.

When it comes to measured listening from smart speakers and smart phones, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

The exact reasons can be adjudicated later, but there will be an opportunity to understand why radio’s decade long effort to aggressively promote listening across smart devices has not been embraced by more listeners.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of radio consumption measured in the ratings, still happens on an actual radio. By the time 2025 or 2030 rolls around, that might not still be the case, but it’s true today.

As a result, as you’re preparing to navigate Q3/Q4 and begin looking ahead to 2021 with an even greater focus on ratings and revenue, ask yourself a series of questions.

As spending increases, what percent of your overall revenue will come from on-air inventory?

What percent of your measured listening comes from your stream?

If 90% of your A25-54 AQH Ratings in Prime comes from listening to a radio, while 90% of your on-air promos focus on a combination of app downloads, podcasts, smart speaker skills and online listening, there’s an opportunity to create better alignment and invite your listeners to specifically keep listening to your station on an actual radio.

In terms of your heavy P1s, the panelists who show up on your monthly CPR reports, they listen between 1-4 hours per day. That means they are still missing 80-90% of your daily content. Your competition’s P1s (your P2s and P3s) are missing 95% of what you’re doing each day.

When it comes to your social media and email newsletters, what percent of your content is highlighting the “Can’t Miss Moments” that are happening on-air along with allowing listeners to get to know your talent?

This is the content you own and can aggressively monetize, while most station newsletters are geared toward celebrity news along with podcast and streaming/app promos.

If you can read a couple of your email newsletters or scroll through your social feeds without seeing an invitation/reminder to listen on a real radio, there’s another opportunity to create better alignment with the consumption that matters most.

By consistently highlighting your best on-air content, building connections with your talent and inviting/reminding people to keep turning on the radio, it creates a flywheel that builds momentum and drives daily cume as heavy listeners resume their commutes.

With COVID-19, stations need to marshal their limited resources and focus on increasing the number of heavy listeners who matter most to ratings and revenue.

We can no longer afford to take listening occasions on actual radios for granted when it comes to the allocation of on-air promotional inventory.

This certainly is not suggesting radio retreat to an earlier time that no longer exists.

Just the opposite. By aggressively rebuilding listening now and improving your rank position and revenue, you’ll be in a stronger position to win the multi-platform future.

As the flight attendant says before every flight, “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

As radio’s “plane” levels off and starts regaining altitude, let’s be certain we’ve put the oxygen mask on the right passenger first, which will accelerate the recovery of on-air ratings and revenue, enabling our industry to get back to a multi-platform future that stations have been focusing on since the Great Recession.

As you look to maximize your station marketing, re-align your internal resources with the biggest opportunities to drive ratings and revenue. From there, we can grow your daily cume and deliver a clear ROI by efficiently focusing your external resources on the heavy listeners who matter most.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Tony Bannon, Jen Clayborn and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thank you for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO

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