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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Radio Has Got to Tell a Better Story


We've heard that line many times before, from some very familiar faces in the radio industry. Now, we're hearing it from an increasingly visible face on the radio stage: Darren Davis, the recently appointed president of the networks group at Clear Channel. And, watching him tout the strengths of radio and digital, it's easy to understand why Clear Channel corporate has moved him up the chain and pushed him out on the speaking circuit. He points out a few very specific radio R.O.I. success stories that the industry can do a better job selling. Success stories that dwarf the success Facebook is having.

Davis started out as an intern and a station van driver, has held just about every position in radio, and today is one of the 40 Most Powerful People in Radio. He made some very powerful arguments for radio -- some that leave you scratching your head as to why radio revenue does not grow by leaps and bounds.

Davis noted that while Facebook is bragging about how it provides advertisers with a 2-to-1 return on investment for advertisers, research from the recent Nielsen/Catalina study showed a soda company receiving a return of 5-to-1 using ROS. And, he said that when a more targeted, premium buy was made -- an iHeartRadio sponsorship -- that return jumped to 10-to-1.  Davis pointed out, ?Radio averages 6-to-1, but we need to do a better job selling that.?

Davis went on to talk about the connection radio personalities have with listeners: ?People have a bind with their favorite radio personalities. Personalities are the key to radio's future. It?s our key defense against music services.? He said compelling storytelling forms an emotional bond with listeners and he went on to do his best Paul Harvey impression, starting started with a story and ending with a Bose Wave Radio commercial, just as he heard it growing up listening to radio in his dad?s bakery.

Davis conclusion: We need to fix our image problem. The challenge: Nobody's been able to figure out how to do that yet.

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