Radio is a boat

You just left from a restaurant. It was an awful experience. And worse : it’s the second time in the month that you get very disappointed by a restaurant. Now…would you go to your friends and complain “Restaurants ? That’s so over for me. They suck!” No! Chances are you WILL make the difference between ONE specific restaurant and the whole restaurant business.

Now picture this : you’re trying to listen to the radio. First station : the DJ speaks too much. Second station : they announce “no ads”, and boom! 5 minutes later… ad break ! Third station : it’s just not the right song. Consequence ? You feel deeply disappointed towards “The Radio”, as in “The Radio Industry” as a whole. And… you SAY IT LOUD AND CLEAR!

You don’t believe me ? Then take a look at those pissed off listeners on Twitter.

Wait… @shinyblackshoes… you wish WHAT ? And what exactly is that #hashtag, @surfjohnsurf ?
See ? those guys are mocking and rejecting a whole industry because of a couple of bad experiences. They don’t NAME the guilty. There are no call letters here, no KWXX, no WHATEVERFM… Only plain, simple… “RADIO”.

But of course, it goes the same with our happy listeners !

Now… think about it. You get sick from a bad ice-cream. Are you gonna curse the entire milk industry ? You went to the movie, and it was Inception an awfully stupid production. Will you tweet about how dead the movie industry is ? No! You’re gonna be specific in your disappointment. You’re gonna give names.

People expect a lot from radio because of the level of intimacy involved in the relation with that little box. Radio is allowed in their bedroom, bathroom, car. It’s never considered intrusive (think TV..). There are no fights in couples about “Where should we put that radio ?” Radio IS part of everybody adult’s life, even those who don’t think about it.

And because they expect a lot, listeners feel betrayed “by the whole thing” when it doesn’t meet their expectations.

This can have disastrous results… because this “feeling” reaches people we wouldn’t think it reaches. Think advertising.

I was having lunch last week with the national Sales Director of Orange (182 million customers in 32 countries). And, out of the blue, my friend asks me “Denis, is it true what people are telling me ? They say that Radio still has listeners, and that I could think about advertising on it. True ?”

I had trouble swallowing the next bite of my Tartare steak.

What I’m trying to emphasize here is simple : proper execution of Radio’s Best Practices on ONE station is a benefit for the whole industry. And that bad station, there on your dial… is a hell for all of us.

This is a big boat we are in.
Let’s hope it’s more of a “Ross Revenge” than of a “Mi Amigo”.

You can find the original tweets here :

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One Comment

  1. Lenja F. Papp

    October 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Denis, you nailed it! Damn right!


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