Once Again, Radio Blazes a Trail

Close your eyes, lean back and listen. Radio is is only getting bigger.

There’s probably never been a moment of such massive change in the media business. For advertisers – and particularly for radio advertisers – this is a crazy exciting time. So this week, as we re-launch the Altitude Group’s Web site, I want to take the opportunity to talk not only about all the great stuff we’re doing here at CBS RADIO, but about some exciting innovations in media and marketing in general.

The media business is undergoing radical transformation almost daily – and as we’ve seen before, audio programming is at the forefront of this revolution. We have the catbird’s seat in this transformation. And we hope to use this site as a place to share our insights with you.

Radio and the New Market Platforms

It’s both scary and exciting to face the biggest fact in marketing today: Marketers now have the ability to reach more consumers in more ways than ever. Long gone are the days when you could reach your target audience through a few predictable channels. Indeed, just knowing what audiences want can be tricky. Consider some terms that people in the industry heard rarely, if ever, just ten years ago:

  • Group buying
  • Music in the Cloud
  • Hyper Local
  • Geolocation
  • Social Networking
  • Gamification
  • M-Commerce

Each of those term now represents a nascent market category — with its own new set of technologies and platforms! Not only is there a blizzard of innovation, there are already established players, a robust venture-capital market and enormous opportunities for advertisers to increase their reach and impact.

The most interesting of the new technologies and trends share qualities that legendary venture capitalist John Doerr has described as SoLoMo.

Which is more or less what it sounds like: the most successful new media will be socially fueled, locally-rooted and mobile.

The Inescapable Durability of Radio

But when we look at the cutting-edge of media innovation, we notice something pretty unusual: SoLoMo are all intrinsic to radio.

What is sports radio if not social? There is no media as locally relevant as broadcast radio. And we know that a huge percentage of radio consumption happens in cars and on other mobile devices.

So for all the hype about new platforms and disintermediation, there remains the undeniable fact that radio – music and talk — continues to have an amazingly central role in people’s lives. And despite technological innovation, radio’s reach is only increasing.

Consider just a few stats:

  • Every week, almost 240 million people tune in to broadcast radio
  • Broadcast radio’s reach (90%) is nearly tied with TV’s (92%)
  • Even with more audio-based choices, broadcast radio still dominates by a huge margin
  • 84% of Americans commute in a car every day for over 1.5 hours
  • Broadcast radio dominates the auto environment with 74% of listenership

At its core, radio’s energy is shaped by the daily interaction between talent, content and people. Working with programmers and advertisers, we’re rediscovering every day what makes radio unique: passionate, direct communication about what people care about most.

We couldn’t be more excited to get started!