I’ve just had a read of Mark Ramsey’s post explaining that the US commercial radio trade body has arranged a programme on QVC demonstrating and selling HD Radios. It’s then using a radio airtime bank to plug the TV show. In the post, Mark suggests that maybe it’s bad to use this freebie time to promote QVC.
I couldn’t disagree more.
People take on messages better when they have multiple media telling them about it. Indeed, the RAB’s work show’s the effectiveness of radio’s multiplier effect. Listeners also don’t think it’s bad when someone they trust tells them to consume something else, somewhere else, especially if it’s something they might be interested in. This trust means they come back to the place that sends them away
The best way to sell digital radio (of any flavour) is to let people experience it, play with it and understand it. This is something that’s hard to completely do on the radio. Radio’s great about reminding people about something, building perception and encouraging listeners to do something. TV’s good because it lets viewers see the devices, the very things that they’re going to have to look for in Best Buy or Currys. It also allows them to learn about the features and the kind of things that the digital radio does.
If I was a music station programmer I know that we could build people’s perceptions of HD Radio with liners that remind people about it and ads that a little more aggressively push it. I’d also be happy producing new radio output so I can sell the content benefits of having HD (tune into Station Xtra and get the concert live with highlights on Station FM) but i’d always be concerned about the clutter of going into more detail. What I would welcome would be the opportunity of pointing people to web/telly/in-store demos so they can find out more at places that will best serve their level of interest.
I think to push digital radio, stations should be willing to barter even more to grow the noise about the medium. If growing HD Radio is a true objective for US radio then it needs to increase its airtime bank even more and to hire more people who can do deals like this.