Our Cold, Hard Data Has A Pulse!

Carrying Our Conversations To Water Coolers And Beyond, Fans Of Radio Stations Get Results For Sponsors.

By Rory Foster, Director Of Digital Media at Emmis Digital

Being a bit of a data geek, for a long time I believed in the following concepts as the currency when buying media:

  • Ratings Points – the estimated percentage of an entire audience that could be consuming the media at any given time.
  • Audience Share – the piece of the audience that is consuming the media at any given time.
  • Cume (for radio or TV), Circulation (for publications), or Unique Users (for digital platforms) referred to as “UUs” – the total number of different persons who consume that media during a period of time.

And the prevailing thought within much if the media industry has been that whichever content providers had the LARGEST of currencies were the most important ones to purchase advertising in.  Of course there were differentiators as audiences are always comprised of multiple demographics and psychographics, each reflecting different behaviors and interests, and for marketers, opportunities.  But this general pursuit of buying the most Ratings/Shares/UUs/etc. has dominated the media buying for decades and I, too, shared this almost universally accepted perspective for a long time.  After all, these currencies are cold hard facts, and businesses often live or die by cold facts.

Fans flock to live broadcasts of their favorite stations

However I’ve begun to notice something different, something strange, something unique about the Unique Users of our radio brands.  Our listeners, our audience, our cold, hard data has a pulse!

From sports-nuts, to hip-hoppers, to tattooed rockers, to right-wing talkers these people aren’t just numbers… they are our people, our fans.  They passionately consume our music, lust after our personalities, carry our conversations to the water coolers.  They not only let us – the radio brands – into their lives, they want to be a part of ours.  Here are some personal experiences I’ve which demonstrate this phenomenon.

  1. I went to a concert we hold in our L.A. market that featured a number of artists, some of which our radio station was instrumental in breaking. I saw our logos on all kinds of different types of clothing, stickers – “swag”.  Swag people wear, identifying them as fans of our brands.
  2. I went to SXSW (South By Southwest) festival in Austin, TX where our stations had live showcases in the mornings, featuring both established and up and coming acts.  One of the artists that had just blown up the house introduced himself to me backstage, and when he learned I was with Emmis, thanked me! And again, plenty of our station swag was worn by attendees.
  3. In my 6 years at a national publication, working both on the print and the digital sides of the business, I never once remember seeing a logo on a non-business related piece of merchandise. Of course there were loyal readers; they identified with the editorial perspective, the sports coverage, sometimes even following the critic’s advice on movies or food or vacations. But there was no passion, no love.
  4. I have worked at a digital ad network, offering advertisers more than 100 million UUs to market to.  Though offering incredibly tonnage, those were faceless IP addresses that likely didn’t even know they were being targeted, being sold goods and services from an anonymous machine.  There was no affinity for the media outlet delivering advertising messages.
Fans seek to wear logo’d apparel of favored radio brands

In radio though, consumers know their station brand and they trust it!  We don’t simply have listeners, we have fans – not data.  Fans respond to messaging and go do things.  Fans wear our logos with pride, fans hear commercials, fans attend our on-site events and fans spend money with our advertisers.

Marketing to fans drives results… improving the bottom line for businesses, which is the most important cold, hard fact companies care about!

And radio, more than any other medium, delivers fans.