For those that are too young to remember, we used to get these rolled up bundles of information delivered to our homes or offices. The product was filled with new information and a bunch of advertisements from a lot of the top spenders in town – especially those auto dealers (after all, Grandpa advertised in the newspaper, so dad surely did as well!).
Some of us would, religiously, read it first thing in the morning before leaving the house. Most of us had our favorite parts we would go right to and read first, and I remember on more than once occasion getting yelled at for leaving the whole paper on the kitchen table, except for the sports section which could be found in my room.
Last week, I saw something on a driveway that resembled a newspaper, although it looked more like a leaflet, and there were actual rocks in the rolled-up bag, presumably from keeping it from blowing away in the wind. After all, it was much too thin to stay in place by itself. When I opened it up, I still saw some information, most of which I had read about the day before, but hardly any advertising was present, except for the large color ad for a hearing loss center on the back of the sports “section.”
I bring this up because I am wanting those in our industry to go back to the time when advertising still went on in newspapers, but everyone under the age of 65 knew that it was headed in the wrong direction. We all knew that print would soon no longer be a viable advertising option.
If you think back to that time, you will remember an all-out assault from every different direction – television, cable, radio, and any other form of advertising all went after the newspaper. If you talked to someone who sold any form of advertising besides print, the subject of the decline of newspaper was likely to come up. The advertisers heard it from every angle possible and it wasn’t long before print advertisers started running for the hills.
Now, fast forward to today. While not quite as dramatic as the decline of newspaper advertising, a new reality is happening – television and cable aren’t reaching anywhere near the same amounts of people and the cost of running ads is going up. Report after report is coming out on the decline of the television audience while the reach of radio remains consistent and strong.
The question to me is, why isn’t the message getting to the advertisers as fast as it did with the decline of print? The answer seems to be that radio is now left out on its own island. Whereas radio had its counterparts in television and cable to help tell the newspaper decline story, radio is now left alone to tell the story of televisions great decline.
So, it’s our job to tell the story. It’s our job to make sure that no matter if we are going directly after television dollars or not, the advertiser hears about the decline of television and the continued success of radio. Radio is providing a significantly better return on investment (more than double television), and this is something every advertiser and every ad agency needs to hear over and over again.
We have to be committed to making sure that the facts that are out there are repeated – radio is America’s number one reach medium, 93% of America is listening to the radio (that’s 271 million people weekly), and adults are listening to more than thirteen hours of radio each week.
Those of us in radio need to be the ones telling the story and we should be shouting it from the mountain tops. If we don’t tell the story, who will? It certainly isn’t something that you’ll read about in the newspaper, if in fact yours hasn’t already blown away.