Mary Beth Garber (pictured), president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association, recently put forth a spirited, fact-based defense of radio in response to an article in media buyers’ magazine Media Life, which recently published a gloomy outlook for the medium.
Garber agreed that the internet is changing the face of media, but also pointed out that radio alone out of all traditional media has been able to take its programming intact to the new platform – for radio, in her view, new media is a positive.
She also pointed out that it is gaining access to other mobile platforms as well.
Meanwhile, some of the audio services touted as radio’s replacements, including Pandora and iPods, suffer from user fatigue, and those users often retreat right back to radio for fresh content.
All of this explains why radio remains one of the most used media despite all of the new competitors, with daily reach exceeded only by television.
She said that according to Nielsen, 60% more people will tune in a radio station than will log on to a computer; and that according to www.radioadlab.com, adding radio to an internet-only ad campaign will increase brand recall by 450%.
She said those who argue that radio is losing its grip on the young also say so the face on contradictory statistics from RADAR, Nielsen, Arbitron, Bridge Ratings and Scarborough that say radio is a daily habit of between 85% and 92% of all teenagers.
Garber concluded, “Obviously there’s a big disconnect between reality and perception when it comes to radio. Since the advent of television, radio has been the media industry’s favorite whipping boy. And it’s not just somebody else’s fault. Sure all those reporters, planners and analysts are listening to their friends instead of trusting he numbers, and the truth is that part of that perception is radio’s own fault, because the radio industry has been slow and quiet in its own defense or to publicize its noteworthy achievements. It’s another fact that cannot be denied. But the time of letting others define our future is over. Enough is more than enough. Radio is one of the two most powerful advertising vehicles on earth. Still. And for a long time to come.