By Michael Berry
The Michael Berry Show
HOUSTON — All I ever hear radio industry execs talk about is ratings and revenues, as if the two go hand in hand. With music stations, that may be true. But talk radio’s future will be determined by our ability to get results for our advertisers. That includes, but is not limited to, ratings, and it probably has more to do with ratings in categories currently seen as less, or altogether un-, important; namely, 55 and up, or 35-64.
Ratings are not an end in themselves, but rather a pricing mechanism by which advertisers determine the rates they will pay. In an industry which measures itself primarily, indeed almost exclusively, on the 25-54 demo, it’s good to remember how many people are active consumers who don’t fit into those niches. Twenty-five-year-olds don’t buy houses, or improve them. Their bodies aren’t breaking down, so they don’t need all the medical advancements of companies willing to advertise those services. They are not investing, banking, exercising, losing weight, restoring vision, or maintaining a house that needs everything from new pipes to electrical to roofing to driveway pavers to a pool. In short, radio can still be very profitable as our society ages by appealing to direct-buy advertisers. But only if radio can yield results for the client. Think about it: listeners tune to music radio to zone out to music, and when someone talks it’s a distraction. Listeners tune to talk radio to be engaged, and the talk by the host is what they sought. If the host’s endorsement of a product could be as compelling as his discussion of Obama’s hypocrisy, imagine the boon to advertisers. Winning the ratings war for most listeners under 54 does not necessarily yield financial returns to the people who pay for advertising. It is not the size of the audience, but rather the size of the response for the advertiser, that will build loyalty in clients. So how do we get results for clients, especially live, direct clients? Read More