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News Flash: Radio PR Campaign Backfires – Already

Satellite gets more press from pro-radio campaign Go figure. Even the latest effort by terrestrial radio to promote itself (1/11/05 RBR #7) was twisted by the Wall Street Journal into yet another PR piece for satellite radio. “This week, a new advertising campaign with the tagline “Radio – – you hear it here first” shows just how scared the terrestrial-radio operators really are,” the WSJ said in yesterday’s issue. The story also included a graph showing that satellite radio subscribership was “Rocketing Skyward,” without noting that the total audience of XM and Sirius is still miniscule compared to terrestrial radio. As Jeff Smulyan noted in his conference call last week, “We have two radio stations that have more audience than the entire satellite radio industry.” But he tells RBR that XM and Sirius are great at PR. “The objective is to steal the thunder. The satellite guys have done a brilliant job of marketing the value of satellite radio.

My Comments:

Of course the WSJ “twisted” this into a PR piece for Satellite Radio. Our industry effort looks, feels, smells, sounds – and IS – defensive and reactive!

The WSJ is exactly right. They’re in the business of covering trends and Satellite Radio is a legitimate trend. Growth rates don’t lie.

Meanwhile, an on-air ad campaign aimed at attributes Radio no longer owns and listeners will not find credible funded using unsold inventory with an opportunity cost of zero is a token effort that plays right into Satellite Radio’s hands and provides a compelling angle to the WSJ on a silver platter.

It all makes perfect sense.

What would I do differently? If any high-ranking Radio pro cares to ask, you know where to find me.

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