WTF is Digital to Radio?


What does ‘digital’ mean?

Make it stop!

All we hear is radio has to be digital. Our analog signal is dead – or dying rapidly and we have to make the transition to digital.

But what does that mean?

Streaming? HD radio? Banner ads on our websites? Social media interaction?

These are thoughts…

1) Radio has a long tail and will continue to develop revenue and results. The growth won’t be there but radio isn’t in a death spiral.

2) Local clients will be buying digital display and video advertising programmatically and if your radio station isn’t selling them you are not doing yourself or your clients a favor.

3) Radio has been in the content development business. So far no one has developed a very viable local model for this – streaming costs, staffing and creative development all is too expensive for small/medium markets. Maybe it’s time to rethink that process – get out of the content business on digital platforms and see #2 above. Your clients only care about getting results and reaching their customers.

4) Get used to tighter profit margins – digital is more like traditional retail. Lucky if you get 50% and 30% is more likely.

5) Number 4 above is the reason radio doesn’t do more effective digital sales – but they miss the opportunity to sell digital out-of-market (tourist boards for example), be relevant to their clients and develop cross platform marketing.

Just like newspapers put radio stations on the air early in the 20s and radio put TV stations on in the late 40s we’ve all been there on the leading edge of digital media. Now we just have to define what it means to our stations and how to best serve our clients and communities with these new products.