Consolidate this: Why Radio Matters

This is an article I wrote a couple years ago. But I resurrect it now because feeling good about who you are as broadcasters never goes out of style.

A Mercury Radio Research Marketing Smart Tip March 13, 2002

Whenever your mind is bombarded with the frustrations of managing radio stations in 2002, whenever the pressures of techno-upheaval, consolidation, thinly stretched people and even thinner resources bog you down, remember what it is that we’re all fighting for. And remind your clients – and the fools who aren’t yet – of a few simple and compelling facts:

“TV gives everyone an image, but Radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains” – Peggy Noonan

What would a steak be without its sizzle? Radio is the security blanket of the ear. We flip a switch, we laugh, we scream, we sing along. We remember our youth, connect with our community, share our opinions, soothe our pains, calm our fears.

Through the radio, our imagination unfolds, we dress for the weather, drive for the traffic, cheer for the team, take comfort when the world is safe and hold our neighbor’s hand when it is not.

“Radio lets people see things with their own ears” – New York Times Editorial

You can’t sing along to a classified ad. When was the last time a comic strip made you laugh? Do newspapers put the most important details of a story first because the rest isn’t interesting enough to finish? TV is fine if you can afford it and if “waste” isn’t your idea of a four-letter word. Cable is cheap at least – and with enough frequency maybe somebody will even see your spot.

During WWII, Radio used to take requests from G.I.’s overseas for the sounds they loved and missed: The chirp of a bird, the sizzle of a steak. Whatever would remind them of home. Radio was their beacon of hope. Radio has always had that power.

“It’s not true I had nothing on; I had the Radio on” – Marilyn Monroe

Does an ever-thinner staff have you down? Have your jocks given way to computer consoles? Has the rate-grind left you pulling out what remains your hair? Whenever competition from the net or from satellites strikes fear into your heart, please remember how lucky we are. Ours always has been and always will be a powerful and great medium.

To the audience, Radio has never been about “the box.” To the audience, we’re always there, in the air. They breathe us in and smile. We’re not just the soundtrack to their lives, we’re the glue that binds each moment to the next. Radio. I can’t believe it’s free.

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