BRADENTON, Fla. — The current pessimism in the talk radio arena is a self-inflicted wound. Quick! Let us all immediately run for our sack-cloth and ashes as we tell each other that the format – talk – and the medium – AM radio – are dead. Of course we are shaken when we hear of large, well-known companies imploding or others which are burdened with enormous debt. But is it because of the medium or the format or the new technology?
Nielsen Research recently produced an extensive, in-depth study that revealed that 91% of Americans over the age of 12 listen to the radio every week. Think about that number for a minute. That’s almost everybody!
Add to this the information, in the same study done last year, that “each dollar of ad spend generated an average sales return of $6 from listeners in the 28 days after they heard the ads.” And several recent surveys have showed that AM/FM radio is the audio device new car buyers request the most.
Yes, the research does say that there has been a slight listening decline from 95% to 91% in the past dozen years that may even be attributed to statistical issues, but nothing that indicates even the minutest sign of impending doom.
Sure, things have gotten more competitive with the growth of all the new, high-tech devices that have come into our world. Yet, despite the claims of the “millions of hits” their ad effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated. A lot of this romance with the new-tech is simply the current fling. And with the speed at which things are happening, by tomorrow morning some 15-year-old electronics wizard in the old family garage will have invented a new gizmo that will make all the other devices we now carry around and stare into every five seconds obsolete!
But if you are raising a skeptical eyebrow to the aforementioned research, then let me summarize a personal tale. Among other projects, I am a longtime radio sales peddler. At the beginning of this year a client was brought to me who was interested in using talk radio to promote their product. For them I was able to do something that most advertising agencies do not want to take the trouble of doing… cobbling together some 16 independently produced talk shows which aired on AM radio covering 440 markets across the country.
The produced commercials that went along with this campaign were good, as well, featuring honest testimonials from a number of the product’s users. Not jammed with copy, just a couple of key selling points in each :60 second spot that hit hard.
The ad schedule started at the beginning of this year for a six month run. Then they renewed in July through the end of 2015. A week ago we began discussing plans for 2016. Simply put they sold a lot of product. The result is clear, indisputable evidence as to the effectiveness of the format and medium. It comes with the knowledge that people are listening and the sound of the cash register is ringing for both advertiser and medium.
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a TALKERS marketing consultant. He can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.