Why Don’t Advertisers Know Radio Is Undervalued?


This article first appeared at RadioInk.

That’s the question MSNBC and NBC News Anchor Stephanie Ruhle asked the CEOs of radio’s three largest companies at the Radio Show in Dallas, Wednesday afternoon.

We’ve heard it many times, from so many radio executives dating back too many years to count, that radio is undervalued, punching below its weight class and not getting the revenue it deserves compared to the results it produces. So, why is that?

Here’s what the big three had to say…

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner: “It’s not for lack of trying. It’s a perception-versus-reality gap. It’s hard to change perceptions. Agencies are siloed so the impact of radio is not clear to them.”

Entercom CEO David Field: “There are signs that is changing. Scale is making a difference. We now have much better tools. There is reason for optimism that we are on the right path.”

iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman: “When I came over to radio it had the worst client relationships. It had much better agency relationships. We need to bring new money into the sector. We need to get rid of silos. We need to be talking to clients and showing them our data.”

Is it really that advertisers and agencies don’t get radio? Or is it that there are just too many radio stations, with too much inventory available, keeping prices down? Is it that radio still fights radio for total share of an audio buy? Perhaps that would have been another question for the big three.

Next year at the Radio Show will this question still be on the table? Or, will executives be saying we finally turned the corner, agencies get us, and revenue is rising? 2020 will be another record year for political ad spending, so maybe 2021 might be a better time to ask this question again.

This article first appeared at RadioInk.