Let's Talk Radio!

Attendees of BCAB’s 68th Annual Conference were exposed to thought-provoking views and opinions from Canada’s broadcasting leaders.  Lisa LaFlamme, CTV’s chief anchor and senior editor of CTV National News moderated a lively discussion between the industry’s brain trust that included Bill Evanov, President & CEO of Evanov Communications Inc.; Chris Gordon, President of Radio & Local TV at Bell Media; Patrick Grierson , President Canadian Broadcast Sales; David Murray, COO at Newcap Radio and Paul Larsen, President of Clear Sky Radio.

The conversation covered a variety of topical subjects that are top-of-mind to today’s broadcasting industry. Regarding the state of today’s radio landscape, there was agreement amongst the panelists that radio is guilty of beating each other up which in turn drive rates down and one key to holding rate is developing better sales skills at the local level. ‘All’ broadcasters undervalue the product. The future health of radio lies in great content transmitted via a variety of technologies ultimately delivering a great client experience through engagement and brand building. Over the air broadcasters will have to fight for their position within the emerging connected car and it was suggested that the CRTC should get involved.  As well, the industry has to do a better job in promoting the amazing ‘creative’ it produces.

There was consensus that broadcasters must invest in capital but not at the expense of content. If you have irresistible content, listeners will listen. As new technologies emerge, radio must be proactive across all channels & platforms and must be ‘everywhere’ listeners are. As consumption through digital platforms increase, it may be conceivable that companies such as Tune In start charging broadcasters coverage fees.   

Social media does not move the needle on product consumption however studies show the positive impact of radio within multi-media campaigns. ROI studies also show the value when products are marketed using both radio and TV. Smaller broadcast companies have different digital strategies than some of the larger media companies and as one example created their own in-house digital agency. The moderator added that currently there is no metric to measure social media’s impact on CTV’s National newscast viewership.

Across the country, the vast majority of agency buys are targeted to the A25-54 demo which is an agency strategy to lower the cost per point. Talks are in progress to re-launch a new industry body to promote radio although the reincarnation will look very different than the previous Radio Marketing Bureau.

To summarize, all in all radio is still an extremely relevant medium but must work harder moving forward to keep its relevance to both consumers and advertisers.