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Whatever You Do, Don't Call Yourself Radio!

Whatever You Do, Don't Call Yourself Radio!
Blog Name: Riffs on RadioAuthor: Posted on: September 22, 2014

Chances are, if you don’t work in advertising, you haven’t given this idea a second’s thought.  But, but those of us in broadcasting, semantics can be everything! And I just made a deliberate choice; I used “broadcasting,” instead of “radio.”  That’s the discussion:  The word, “radio.”  Media types from everywhere are starting to shy away from using the word.  They are afraid that identifying as a “radio station” brands them as old fashioned, backward-thinking, static.  In other words, the exact opposite of what a thriving communication vehicle has to be in today’s world.

The most recent buzz came a week ago when the monolithic Clear Channel changed its name to IHeartMedia. “iHeartMedia reflects our commitment to being the media company that provides the most entertainment to the most engaged audiences wherever they go, with more content and more events in more places on more devices,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO. 

Some people in the business paint this name change as the tolling of a lone church bell. Michael Harrison, talk show host and publisher of RadioInfo, wrote  “The systematic abandonment of ‘Radio’ by ‘Radio’ is a disturbing half-baked trend, that although understandable in the big picture of communications, poses an unnecessarily sped-up threat to the livelihoods of everyone in the radio business – not to mention the fundamental role of audio-media in both the spoken-word and musical arts.” {{split}

While I appreciate the fact that communications have been forever changed (I don’t call my kids, I text them.) I don’t think Clear Channel’s name change exacerbates the death of radio, any more than VHS tape caused the death of television. It wasn’t recorded programming, but the emergence of so many channels, many delivered in new ways, has drastically reduced the viewership of the Big Three networks, but people still spend hours in front of their  screens, watching --- something.

You read it everywhere, Content is King.  Content sources, whether broadcast, webcast, or recorded, are in greater demand than ever.  The variety of options available has created a more discerning consumer, who selects the distribution hardware to connect to that content based on a number of options.  A medium that provides content that consumers want, and can get easily, will hardly fall out of favor due to its name.

More years ago than I care  to count, I was a fresh, baby media buyer, at a local agency, I still remember the astonishment in a VP’s voice when I suggested that a client, a car dealer no less, consider using radio to reach the target audience, as a more  affordable option.  RAAAAAAADIO???? His voice echoed down the hallways. At that time, the common wisdom was that car dealers advertised on television. Period.  “Why on earth would you suggest RAAAAAAADIO???” I told him.  We tried it.  It worked.

It still works. 

“Radio” is nothing to be ashamed of.  Using the word, “radio,” is not damning.  As active participants in the 21st century, we broadcast music, and we also webcast.  We have a lively interactive media presence, and a huge base who have download for our mobile phone apps.  We publish eNewsletters and post listen-at-your-leisure recorded programs via our website.  All this, along with a variety of youth-oriented music education programs, springs forth from our call letters. 

The folks at Clear Channel can dub themselves whatever they want.   After all, a rose by any other name . . . right, Will? 

                                                                                                  - 30 -

If you are interested in learning more about Radio,and specifically, how underwriting on Jazz 88.3 can help market your business, contact me!  AnnB@jazz88.org, or 619-388-3301.  I look forward to talking with you. 

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