Get Their Attention

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Consultant Tips” series, written by Charese Fruge on October 7, 2020

It’s a known fact that the number of actual radios in a household were decreasing before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and now that we’re 7 months in, we have research from Jacobs Media, Edison and Triton that supports that fact and indicates that it has gotten significantly worse since the pandemic arrived. Especially when it comes to the younger generation.

Most Americans are now spending much less time in their cars, which is where most radio listening took place before the world went into lockdown. The research says Americans are now watching more and more television. If they are listening to radio at all, it’s on a smart speaker, phone or computer at home or in the office. That’s great for extension of the brand, but if nobody knows how or where to find your station and they don’t realize it’s easily accessible without an actual radio, it doesn’t matter how much you promote it on your traditional signal, if no one is listening to a “traditional radio,” they don’t know you still exist. You are going to need to get creative about promoting it to the available audience via television or social media. You’re going to need to get their (available audience) attention.

This was top of mind in a conversation I had with a colleague recently and has been a common concern among a lot of programmers since March and the onset of COVID-19. With non-existing marketing budgets, how are brands going to promote their station streams outside of their traditional signals? The best way to do that right now is television. If you don’t have a marketing budget, can you do a trade deal with a local affiliate to help promote your stream? At the very least, can you build a partnership to help promote your stream via their social media accounts?

Another good way to do this is through your own social media accounts. Use your brand extensions to promote your stream on a regular basis. Set appointments via Facebook and Instagram and maximize TikTok and YouTube with creative videos that are engaging and instruct the easily accessible access of your streams on phones, smart speakers and computers. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube ads are relatively cheap and effective as well. I know that’s easy to say at a time when companies are looking for ways to cut every possible expense they can, but at the end of the day, we are talking about a small expense to help keep your brand alive and competitive for the long hall.

We must face the fact that the industry is moving forward at an extremely fast pace and digital audio is the future. The days of the old school radio in the house or office are over. If traditional radio is going to survive, it is going to because for now, during the pandemic, television is our friend, and long term survival will be because we used our digital assets to engage and promote our traditional signals, normalizing their existence in a way that makes the audience feel like we’ve adapted to the times.