Radio is near and dear to my heart. Not the radio industry but those faraway radio stations I fell asleep listening to as a teenager. Not the radio industry but the radio stations I worked for thirty plus years before I struck out on my own. I love radio that is why it breaks my heart to watch the radio industry’s battle with satellite radio.
I had the opportunity to listen to samples from the new campaign the National Association of Broadcasters is about to roll out. “Radio, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.” I shouldn’t have to pay over two dollars for gasoline either but that another story.
In one ad, a pay telephone operator interrupts the play-by-play of a baseball game requesting “twenty-five cents for the next three minutes.” “Radio, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.”
There’s a lesson for all of us here. The radio industry is not a brand. Radio is not a brand. Radio is a content delivery vehicle as are the iPod, XM, Sirius, the Internet, cell phones, etc. Individual radio stations are brands but not the industry. But for the sake of discussion I’ll grant that you shouldn’t have to pay for radio even though I pay for my cell phone, my high speed Internet connection and my cable every month.
What about paying for content? That’s a different story. I grew up in Detroit following the Tigers. With XM Satellite I can still follow “my team” all season long. I can’t hear the Tigers in Milwaukee very often, so that content might be worth a few bucks a month.
I listen to WCPE, a listener supported station in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina over the Internet every day. It’s worth a donation of a few bucks a month to support their operations because I like their announcers and the brand of Classical Music they play.
Should I have to pay to shop? Membership stores such as Sam’s Club, Costco and Bi-Mart are sprouting up all over the country. They represent a small percentage of retail sales, just as XM and Sirius represent a small percentage of radio listening. But if we follow the radio industry’s lead, retailers should start using the tagline “Shopping, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.”
Makes about as much sense.
Listen to the NAB ads: