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Commercials: Get over it

Why do we as an industry feel we need to apologize for commercials?

Now granted, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and spot-load has certainly fallen into that category.

But once you reign in the spot-load you need to recongize some fundamental truths:

1. “Less may be more” but it’s also more than zero. And many of radio’s competitors have zero spots. Thus we should minimize our vulnerability here, but also we should understand that we will always and forever have this vulnerability and devote our attention to where our leverage with the audience is greater. And that area will not be in going commercial-free.

2. Listeners understand that radio is free and commercially financed. Thus they understand that commercials are a “tax” on them for which the benefit is the radio they enjoy every day – for free. The issue, in their minds, is whether the price of that “tax” is worth the value of what they’re getting in return. Thus our challenge is to provide greater “value” in the form of entertainment and/or information.

3. Every now and then a commercial is actually relevant for you and provides you with something you want or need. God knows there wouldn’t be any advertising if this were not true.

This kind of thinking and these kinds of strategies will, in the long run, allow us to shrug off the reality of commercial sponsorship and focus instead on what attracts listeners to the radio rather than what repels them.

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