Radio Heard Here is a misguided campaign


When a man is on target RBR gives them their just due and our dear friend and colleague Kurt Hanson is right on target. RBR shares his views on Radio Heard Here.

Radio Heard Here is a misguided campaign

As you guys may know, I’ve been a “radio guy” since I was answering request lines and wearing the station gorilla suit in high school. I continued to be a “radio guy” through 20 years of doing market research for many top radio groups, and I continue to be one today. (It was a thrill yesterday, by the way, seeing Larry Lujack inducted into your Hall of Fame.) In other words, I am a first-class example of the “radio enthusiast” that your PR strategy talks about.

So I don’t want to be perceived by you guys as a nattering nabob of negativity in RAIN all of the time… And I know that unsolicited advice is generally not appreciated… But, for what it’s worth, here’s my opinion:
Given radio’s needs, this is not a good campaign!

Here’s my thinking:

(1) The messaging is weak. “Radio Heard Here” says nothing more than would little stickers on coffeehouse doors that say “Newspapers Read Here” or little stickers on tavern doors that say “Beer Consumed Here.” It’s a “duh.” It won’t change anyone’s opinions or perceptions. It might vaguely increase awareness — “Ah, that’s not CDs they’re playing, that’s radio” — but awareness is not radio’s problem.
(2) The logo for “Radio Heard Here“ is a huge step backwards. In its use of typefaces, and particularly its use of the lightning-bolt motif, it’s a throwback to 1940s-era “radio” imaging. Do you want to position radio as a 1940s-era product? No! That’s precisely the wrong message to send!

(3) The accompanying intended-to-be-viral video (101X/Austin’s RayDog) hurts you rather than helps you. It’s a guy who tells us that he can’t find a full-time job in radio any more… and a guy whose actually essentially says “It’s not imminent that radio will shut down its towers soon.” (That’s a weak argument! Is that really your intended message?) Plus which, he seems horribly dispirited. Who in the world do you imagine would forward it to their friends? Do you understand what it takes to get a video to spread virally? This doesn’t have it. (The only way this might become a “viral video” is if it gets spread around by people making fun of it.)

What I don’t understand is this: Many top radio programmers, strategists, consultants, and researchers would be happy to help you guys and your PR firm craft a message that speaks effectively to radio’s real issues. (Although, frankly, fresh, relevant, cutting-edge actions would speak a lot more loudly than PR by itself.)
Why not get them involved? You’ve clearly got some money to spend… (Is it perhaps because, a la Groucho Marx, you don’t respect people from your own industry?) Between this and the HD Radio campaign, you’re in the process of blowing through $800+ million in airtime. With the right help, you should be able to get more value from that.

There’s an industry full of “radio guys” who want you to succeed. Let them help!



P.S. Let me reiterate one point: You’ve constructed a campaign to enhance awareness of radio… but awareness isn’t radio’s problem! You’re addressing the wrong issue!