Radio CMOs and Celebrity on-air talent gathered at the Liberty Theatre on Wednesday to talk about the power of radio and to shine a light on why it’s a medium more brands and advertisers should consider.
There’s a chance that the word radio doesn’t exactly fall into an “innovative” or “relevant” category in your head. I know this was the case for me but thanks to the panel, my understanding of the medium turned 180 degrees.
Radio fosters a connection between listener and broadcaster that host and musician John Tesh says creates a tribe among listeners. This “tribe” is a multi-locational force that keeps the broadcast and its personalities relevant by way of social media and online conversation long after the show wraps for the day. These qualities make radio a kick-ass platform to reach consumers.
What’s still somewhat shocking to me is the number of listeners radio pulls in. According to Amy Newman, Senior VP of Marketing at iHeartMedia, 97% of the population tunes in to radio daily; that number doesn’t even include the satellite radio or podcasts people are listening to either.
“Radio is a medium that has been around since the ‘70s and isn’t going anywhere,” Newman said. “It’s consistent and accessible. It’s live, local, native, and authentic.”
Cumulus Media CMO Christina Albee also believes it’s radio’s strong connective nature that gives the medium it’s power. Danielle Monaro, On-air personality for iHeartMedia and the entertainment reporter at the Elvis Duran Show, echoed that thought noting that messages she received like “it’s thanks to you that I made it through chemo” or “you’re the reason I could laugh after my brother died” are what made her fully realize radio’s potential to form human relationships.
CBS Radio Boston Host TJ Taormina says the magic connection of radio made him feel like he was part of something. Radio transformed him from an “awkward kid in headphones who listened to the radio everyday after school” to the radio show host with an avid fan base that he is today. Taormina is so serious about creating relationships with his audience that he posts his personal phone number on his website for listeners to reach out.
The hosts say it’s not just their virtual reach that creates such a strong radio following. Vice President of Programming and Operations at Entercom Austin Nikki Nite says local listeners are eager to jump on a chance to foster their relationships in real life. Her stations in Texas organize experiences for listeners and talent to interact, a strategic move that she says creates an authentic connection that earns the trust of an audience.
As for me, after hearing so much talk about the powerful connection radio has to offer I think I’ll reconsider before I plug in my aux cord next time I jump into my car. In an era marked by multiple-screen media consumption and virtual reality confusing the senses, maybe the answer reaching an audience is simplicity. There’s nothing more universally relevant than the need to feel connected and the evidence from this panel suggests radio is doing a damn good job at it.