AM/FM Radio: Audio Dominance in a Mobile World

October 29, 2017

In the decade since the iPhone debuted, the world has been transformed by mobile devices. Despite this ubiquitous adoption of smartphones, AM/FM radio sustains its overall dominance in the audio space.

What makes AM/FM radio’s continued strength in a mobile age possible? In a single word: Employment.

Each month, adults in the U.S. (18+) consume 700 BILLION more minutes of AM/FM radio than pure-play streams. That’s an advantage of 50 BILLION quarter hours, based on national audience data from Nielsen Audio’s Comparative Metrics Report, Q1 2017.

Everyone in radio can recite statistics about reach, but that’s only part of the story. The ongoing power of radio rests with our employed audience, which consumes enormous amounts of AM/FM radio in the car and at-work. Best of all for advertisers, this audience has money to spend.

When economic headlines mention 5% unemployment rate, the obvious assumption is that 95% of adults are working. By extension, this same logic would indicate that every advertising platform is equally effective at reaching these most sought after consumers. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is simply not the case. 40% of U.S. adults are out of the workforce. That means 150 million Americans work (60%) and 100 million American adults do not.

Heavy listeners of radio are overwhelmingly employed with 85% of consumption among A25-54 being driven by people with jobs. Even on the younger end, among P18-24, approximately 63% of listening across markets and major formats is driven by employed persons.

The reason for this difference in listening isn’t due to smart phones or overly simplified theories about listening habits of millennials, who are already the largest generation in the workforce. It is because P18-24 are always less employed than their older counterparts. Decade after decade, this younger demographic has never been the driving force behind radio listening.

As station programming super-serves its employed audience, radio sellers need a more compelling story, not just to win ad dollars from other radio stations, but more importantly away from local TV and print.

The employment angle is compelling, not simply because it’s a long held programming fundamental, but because these are the consumers who advertisers want to target and reach, people with a paycheck and money to spend.

As recent natural disasters remind us, radio stations take their unique public service mandate seriously.  A similar public interest obligation can be brought to life by the sales team in terms of radio’s ongoing impact on the local economy. By putting advertisers in direct contact with employed persons, radio’s ability to deliver ROI and help businesses grow, which leads to job creation (and more listening) is enormous.

We recently discussed these employment and consumption insights with Erica Farber, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau on the Radio on Main Street Podcast.

We’ve also made a slide deck available to bring these points to life and empower radio groups and local stations as they advocate AM/FM radio’s position of strength in a mobile world .

Whatever challenges might await radio in the future, let’s not take our eyes off the prize now. 700 BILLION minutes and an employed audience are two huge chips that radio needs to keep cashing in.

Let’s discuss how your station marketing can ensure you Win the Commute and Own the Workday in 2018. Send us an email or call 859-957-1581.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO

Advertisements

Employment: The Key to Unlocking Your Online Strategy

October 1, 2017

There are 2.8 million apps available for download and the average person interacts with their smartphone more than 1,000 times per week.

Despite unlimited access and an infinite choice of options, most interactions with the phone involve just two or three apps, with text messaging and Facebook dominating mobile usage.

In addition, nearly 60% of all Google searches are now done on mobile devices. Looking at the most popular searches offers additional insights into what people do with their phones besides catching up with friends.

While it is important that your brand and your website have strong Search Engine Optimization performance, not a lot of traffic is generated by people searching for local media.

What are they using search for? Primarily, it’s based on learning and discovery.

Google just released a list of the most popular “How To” keyword searches. On the surface, the top results are random and inconclusive. 

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make French toast
  10. How to lose belly fat
  11. How to write a resume

Now consider the fundamentals of radio listening. It’s driven by employment, which empowers drive time and at-work consumption.

With that in mind, let’s look again at #1, #6, #8, #11. They all connect with work.

1. How to tie a tie
6. How to make money
8. How to write a cover letter
11. How to write a resume

As you look at creating compelling online content, how much (if any) currently ties back into what people are naturally searching for along with the added benefit of connecting to the #1 driver of radio consumption… employment.

Even # 4, #10, #7, and #9 can easily be viewed through an employment lens.

4. How to lose weight
10. How to lose belly fat
7. How to make pancakes
9. How to make French toast

#4 and #10 connect with self-confidence, which is certainly a valuable attribute in a job search as well as when you are in pursuit of your next promotion or are just going through another 40 hour week.

Meanwhile, when it comes to getting out the door on time and still enjoying the most important meal of the day (#7 and #9), what about sharing life hacks for making breakfast?

Last but not least, radio is always looking for ways to connect and engage with younger audiences. Some tasteful creativity involving #2 and #3 (kissing and getting pregnant) would generate compelling station content and drive engagement.

It all starts with a deep understanding of your audience and the fact that 85% or more of your listening is generated by employed persons who turn on your station in the car and at-work.

Let’s use radio’s talent and creativity to generate digital content that people will more readily discover and share because it reflects the topics they are already searching for.

When your brand is top of mind with the employed listeners who matter most, it allows you to win more listening occasions and drive your ratings and revenue.

Let’s discuss how your digital content can drive listening and ratings. Send us an email or call 859-957-1581.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


Open Letter to Radio: Insights on Generosity and AM/FM Listening following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

August 31, 2017

An Open Letter to Radio,

Surrounding any natural disaster, there are a series of predictable events including an outpouring of charitable giving and a surge of radio listening.

While the generosity of charitable giving is viewed through the lens of “America at its best”, which undoubtedly is true, radio listening will be held by some to a different standard.

Critics and skeptics will contend that while radio listening increases during and immediately after a disaster, it goes away almost as quickly as it came. In some cases, radio’s role moving forward is predicted to be “perhaps only existing as emergency frequency.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As people in Texas, Florida and other areas hit by these hurricanes benefit from an enormous outpouring of nationwide support, does anyone believe that people merely “rediscovered” generosity? Of course not.

We all know that America is generous 365 days per year. Our charitable spirit simply gets magnified in times of disaster and crisis.

The same is true of radio. 24/7 we are operating in the “public interest, convenience and necessity” and the audience knows it. In their cars and at-work, radio usage by Americans is unrivaled. Radio is their preferred destination, not an option of last resort.

When a natural disaster strikes, people don’t “rediscover” radio anymore than people “rediscover” generosity. Instead, they double-down and magnify their daily media habits, which means listening to more radio.

Hearing a trusted voice is even more important during times of crisis.

Another important connection between generosity and radio is employment. You cannot donate money that you don’t have.

The same is true with radio. People don’t listen on their couch at home. The vast majority of AM/FM listening is driven by employed persons.

We know all of this to be true about radio – the challenge is having the courage to believe it.

Despite the current political climate and variety of mobile audio platforms, the role of generosity and AM/FM radio in the lives of Americans is not only secure, it’s vibrant.

Here’s to celebrating what’s right with radio and the world.

Sincerely,

Andrew Curran
President and COO
DMR/Interactive

 


Online Vanity Metrics: All That Glitters is not Gold

August 7, 2017

“The promise of mobile is to make people’s lives easier, not to occupy their attention.”

Sage advice from a recent Harvard Business Review article that challenges brands to think beyond the smartphone.

In fact the article contends that most brands get their digital strategy wrong, in part because they don’t reassess it often enough as the world becomes increasingly mobile.

What often ends up getting measured by default? Vanity metrics.


Page views, email list size, Facebook fans and app downloads are all examples.

What should you be measuring instead?

Start with the end in mind. What is the desired outcome of your mobile strategy?

Since we know that even your best listeners (1+ hour per day), spend 90%+ of their lives away from the radio, a goal of your mobile marketing strategy should be to win their next listening occasion, which most often occurs in the car and at-work.

With this defined objective, you can segment your mobile strategy by daypart to offer relevant and compelling content that drives consumption and engagement with your brand.

Vanity
The first step involves getting your programming and promotions team on the same page. If this isn’t being done at least quarterly, each new hire is a great opportunity to revisit your overall mobile goals and strategy.

From there, you can identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as email open rates, text club members that can be matched to a profile in your database and social media engagement metrics.

The exact number and metrics to include will vary, but according to the HBR article, there are a couple of important considerations.

Everyone on your team should understand how to read the data and everyone should have easy access to the data (could be as simple as sending out a weekly email). In addition you should develop a rolling average that gets tracked over time.

While digital is growing quickly, it still represents just a fraction of radio’s overall revenue. The most efficient pathway to station revenue is through consistent ratings and growth.

Ignore the hype and noise around vanity metrics and focus on the data and heavy listeners who matter most to your ratings and revenue.

To discuss the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are right for your situation, send us an email or call 859-957-1581.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


Teenage Summer Jobs: The Evolving Marketplace

July 10, 2017

Remember your first summer job?

It’s a right of passage that lasted just 10-12 weeks, but provided invaluable lessons and memories for a lifetime.

I had a paper route for a couple of years, when at the age of 15,
I became a busboy at the local country club.

I still remember the transistor radio positioned near the dishwasher.

Only one station played in Chef Paul’s kitchen that summer: WEBN, Cincinnati’s legendary rock station.

Over the recent 4th of July weekend, I noticed a Time Magazine article describing the current state of teenage summer employment.

As Bob Dylan says, “The Times They Are a Changin'”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the high water mark for summer jobs was 1978, when 72% of American teenagers were employed.

Fast forward to last year and just 35% of teenagers were in the job market.

Since 2000, teenagers working summer jobs have dropped by 15%, falling from half the population to one-third.

Despite the fear each generation has about kids today being lazy, the reasons point in a variety of other directions.

From the consistent rise in minimum wage in recent years that allows more experienced workers to fill entry level jobs to the myriad of sports and activities that occupy their time, teenagers are stretched thin.

Even summer school, which traditionally helped kids catch up is now being used by high achievers to get further ahead and polish their college resumes. Last summer, 40% of 16-19 year olds were enrolled in school.

In addition, to help put their best foot forward with colleges, 77% of high school students are willing to volunteer to gain relevant experience in a professional setting without a paycheck.

In fact, that 15% decline in the teenage workforce since 2000 has been mirrored by an increase in college enrollment over the same period.

While it’s easy to over generalize about the work ethic of today’s teenagers, it’s equally dangerous to dismiss the strength of radio.

So where do we fit into this changing teenage landscape? In a word, radio is RESILIENT.

According to Nielsen, over the last decade radio has retained its teenage audience.

As these teenagers become adults, radio continues to flex its muscle. In Nielsen’s latest Comparable Metrics Report, radio reaches more 18-34 year olds each week than TV or smartphones.

We know that a majority of radio listening is driven by employed persons in the car and at-work. In fact, our core target audience is comprised of exactly the audience advertisers want to reach … people with money to spend.

Your heavy listening P1s are employed outside the home and consume a lot of radio, which is why they make such an significant impact on your ratings.

As summer employment trends among teenagers continue to evolve, radio’s strength and resilience endures … driven by compelling content on-air and Top of Mind Awareness off-air.

Want increased listening? Let us recruit and engage the heavy listeners who matter most to your ratings and revenue. Send us an email or call 859-957-1581.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


Standing Room Only: How the Predators Created a Juggernaut in Music City

June 12, 2017

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins won Lord Stanley’s Cup, but the story of the NHL season belongs to the Nashville Predators.


Music City is now also a hockey town. This year, they sold out all 41 regular season games. In fact, according to NHL.com the 703,000 fans in attendance served as an encore to 2015-2016, when they had 35 sellouts and drew 695,828 fans.

Following the passing of marketing and advertising icon Jack Trout, who was the master of positioning, it’s fitting that the Predators have just taken another step to bringing their long held position to life.

As you might have guessed, selling hockey in Nashville has not always been easy.

According to Forbes, a decade ago the franchise was exploring the possibility of giving up the dream and relocating to Canada.

A local ownership group stepped up and brought in President and CEO Sean Henry, who also runs Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. Together they developed One Goal, which is both clear eyed and incredibly ambitious for the one time fledgling franchise.

According to Henry, “This team is the center of everything we do, to the point where our goal as a company is to make Bridgestone Arena the No. 1 sports and entertainment facility built around a Stanley Cup Champion Predators hockey team — that’s it.” Worth noting, iconic venues like Madison Square Garden with a hockey team of their own, aren’t simply watching the world go by.

In addition to the hockey games, Bridgestone Arena hosts another 150-175 sold out events each year including the CMT Awards, which this year had to be relocated to the Music City Center due to the hockey playoffs.

Bridgestone Arena also is in the midst of an unprecedented 12 year agreement with the SEC to host a men’s or women’s conference basketball tournament each year in Nashville.

Passionate fans are nothing new in Tennessee, but the team has done a nice job of embracing those storied traditions. In a recent interview with the Hockey News, Henry said, “I think it’s a really healthy mix of SEC football, SEC basketball, NASCAR and the passion of what we think of the European soccer fans.”

In fact, the Predators have made a connection with their fan base like no other market in the league. It doesn’t hurt when just outside the arena is Lower Broadway, a world class entertainment district that fans can enjoy before, during and after the games.

Yet, tying it all together was no small feat.

In another recent interview, Henry describes the work involved, “When I first got here, I felt we had to connect what happened in the bowl to the excitement outside the building,” Henry said. “It’s like you hit our curb, and this boring lull hit and we took the excitement out of you almost with our plaza and our concourse until the game started and it built back up. So we did our best to raise the energy level so we could build upon the excitement you’re coming in with.”

Not only did Henry reinvigorate the fans, but he also reinvigorated the employees. “For whatever reason, and it was not intentional I am sure, but you had the Hockey Operations Department in one silo, you had the Hockey Operations Business in another silo, and then you had Building or Event Operations in another silo,” Henry said. Henry added, “Breaking down those barriers did so many great things for people’s careers, how you work and how you feel about yourself, but more importantly, the business.”

Energized employees, energized fans, energized business. All skating towards the same goal: making Bridgestone Arena the No. 1 sports and entertainment venue in the United States centered around a Stanley Cup Champion Nashville Predators hockey team.

A similar opportunity exists for radio, but it starts with us as an industry realizing that reach is not a position to be filled in the minds of advertisers or listeners.

AM/FM radio is the #1 source of entertainment for employed persons in the car and at work.

Everybody loves a winner. If radio is #1, by definition, everything else from Facebook to Spotify to podcasts, even with Apple now releasing data, is just playing catch up.

We already occupy an amazing position with employed persons. If we only believed it enough to resist the urge to try and be everything to everyone, which forces radio into a preoccupation with reach; despite its proven inability to generate revenue growth.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


Keys to the Driverless Kingdom: Compelling Content + Top of Mind Awareness

May 15, 2017

When it comes to disruption, there are two sides of the coin: Risk and Opportunity.

While doom and gloom about the future has become a cottage industry, the driverless car represents a transformational opportunity for radio as we strive to achieve $20 billion in annual revenue by 2022 (#20×22).

In order to fully capture the opportunity of driverless cars, we must first understand that the future is already here.

Although cars will continue to have steering wheels and brake pedals for years to come, the ability to switch to auto pilot on the interstate exists today, as this entertaining 45 sec. video of a 70 year old behind the wheel of a Tesla demonstrates.


At the moment, Grandma is not seeing the opportunity, she is fearing for her life. However, as an industry, this seismic shift in commuting represents a billion dollar opportunity and radio is well positioned to cash in.

According to Business Insider, starting next year, driverless car shipments will experience significant annual growth.


Although this accelerated growth might seem hard to believe, if we look back, the iPhone adoption rate followed a similar growth curve. Even more remarkable considering that shortly after it debuted 10 years ago, we experienced the Great Recession.


Last month at TED2017 in Vancouver, Elon Musk announced that a driverless Tesla would go from LA to NYC before the end of the year and that within 2 years, drivers could fall asleep and wake up at their destination.

Companies including Uber, Ford, Waymo (Google) and Apple are investing billions to expedite the mainstream adoption of driverless cars, ride sharing and other mobility services.

Also worth noting: the 2020 Summer Olympics are in Tokyo, just 3 years away. During the games, the host city and Japanese automakers are planning to show the world a self driving city.

Own the Commute

As drivers increasingly become passengers, they will still commute in isolation, which means the companionship of radio will continue to be in demand.

More importantly, drivers will for the first time have the opportunity to respond and interact in a deeper way with their favorite DJ, something difficult to currently do while operating a vehicle.

Whether Dr. Johnny Fever is doing a live read for an advertiser or he’s asking people to rally around a sick child on social media, commuters will have an opportunity to lawfully and safely interact with your content and one another in real time.

This ability for stations to strengthen the connection with the audience (both with the brand and one another) along with deeper and more immediate interactions during drive time, creates the foundation for radio’s billion dollar growth.

To realize the full potential of driverless cars, Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) becomes even more important.

Before starting their commute, is your target audience thinking of your brand first and most? Compelling content without Top of Mind Awareness is futile.

The challenge of the driverless world is also our challenge today. Radio’s best listeners, the heavy listening Nielsen P1s, spend 90% of their lives away from the radio.

Being part of their life away from the radio is already an essential component of success. With that in mind, here are three ways to generate Top of Mind Awareness and Own the Commute:

Facebook video to jump start the day. People start their day on their phones. A quick daily video by your morning show with a rundown of the show and a preview of the day is great way to generate TOMA.

Gas cards. Radio has been doing free gas giveaways for decades. It’s another great way to generate Top of Mind Awareness among commuters, but let’s innovate this promotion with a data driven strategy that maximizes the impact. Surprise & Delight individual Super-Fans and Amplifiers in your Hot Zips with gas cards.

Coffee and Carry Out. While a gas card fills up the SUV, what about the driver? Coffee for the commute will always be a staple of morning drive. In the afternoons, provide dinner to your best Super-Fans and Amplifier with a gift card from an advertiser.

Best of all, these moments are shared on social media and discussed via Word of Mouth, which is the most effective way to generate Top of Mind Awareness.

The full impact of driverless cars won’t be realized for many years to come, but there’s no time to wait. The fundamentals of the future are the fundamentals of today. Compelling content on-air. Top of Mind Awareness off-air.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO