RADIO SHOW, Nashville, the Largest Annual Gathering of Radio Broadcasters, September 2016.
To view streams of any of the sessions reported below, please visit

Beyond the Spot: To engage today's consumers and drive results for marketers, we all need to be thinking beyond the spot which came across loud and clear as Christine Travaglini, President of Christal Radio and Katz Radio Partnerships, moderated a truly insightful panel of advertisers including Kristin Volkmann, Director of Media, Cricket Wireless; Ashley Hinchman, Director of Global Brand Management, Aloft Hotels; and Larry Schweber, Divisional VP, Marketing Communications, Comcast Cable.

Key messages from this session included the fact that advertisers are looking at cross platform as opposed to single platforms all the time, a holistic approach to business that uses the most appropriate mix of channels to reach the target at virtually every touchpoint throughout their day.

They also shared that metrics matter immensely and offered unique case studies of how they have creatively used the radio medium as part of their overall mix to engage their target audiences and drive results.

  • The Cricket Wireless Holiday Selfie program included on-air, online, social, in-store, mobile and personality endorsement components that provided consumers with memorable moments throughout the entire campaign and drove thousands of entries and impressions.
  • The Live at Aloft Hotels tour provides not only guests of Aloft Hotels an intimate music experience while they enjoy their stay but becomes the local "watering hole" with benefits for the local community of music fans. Radio's role within these events runs the gamut from on-air integration, on-premise appearances and custom concert events. This campaign benefits Aloft Hotels, local radio station partners, music artists and consumers.
  • Comcast Cable innovates with the medium across a number of campaigns and they continue to invest because it works.

In the end, all panelists agreed that it's not enough to just reach people anymore. Experience matters and radio provides the forum to immerse consumers with their brands and creatively involve them with their products.

DR Sounds Great: The sentiments brought to life in the Beyond the Spot session (see article above) were amplified during a headliner event featuring LifeLock's VP, Paid Media, Lina Calia and Kathryn Kercher, Radio Consultant for LifeLock. LifeLock was joined by top radio hosts Bobby Bones (iHeartMedia) and Chicago's Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, WTMX, Hubbard Radio). Identity theft has become an epidemic across the country and the world and impacts all of us, LifeLock is the leading brand in this category, protecting 5+ million members every minute of every day. LifeLock built its brand on radio commanding an efficient cost per new member. They attribute a significant part of their success to the radio talent that endorses the LifeLock brand. It's no surprise personality endorsements on radio work, and in the case of LifeLock, one of the secrets to its success is the belief the talent has in the product, allowing them to evangelize it successfully. "If you're not authentic all the time, they won't believe you," Bobby Bones said. "I was a user before I started working with them. The key is to find the talent that can talk about it on a personal level; otherwise they're just reading words." In addition, frequency of message has been essential to "see the needle move and so is having a consistent message" said Calia. Eric and Kathy weighed in by sharing that product endorsements work best when they are naturally integrated into the content and personalities of the show so it feels part of the natural conversation – "when you can tell a story that has a personal element to it, it is more relatable for our listeners."

Erica Farber, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, asked what radio can do to further the partnership with LifeLock, and both Calia and Kercher suggested getting the word out about the increasing problem of identity theft. "Radio is in the fabric of the country, and can really get the word out," Calia stated. Kercher added that the company is always looking for new on-air talent who believe in the product. "Radio is still the best way to reach a lot of people, and we truly believe in it," she stated.

Data Drives Decisions, Radio Drives Results: We are in an increasingly omni-channel world. Advertisers and agencies are challenged more than ever before with connecting the channels to follow the consumers. Data and cognitive analysis of the data is the link that agencies and advertisers are leaning on to bring the channels together and develop powerful plans to meet their objectives. In a session called Radio Data Attribution, Paul Brenner, President of NextRadio and TagStation, brought together partners from HERE, BLU, NinthDecimal and Veritone to demonstrate how their individual technology is integrated with NextRadio to provide advertisers with the real-time proof that their broadcast radio campaigns are driving ROI.

For broadcast radio a one-to-many media, the big question for advertisers and agencies is how to measure and attribute success like a one-to-one media (Facebook, Google, others)? The answer may lie inside the NextRadio app as it allows a listener to consume traditional broadcast radio through a mobile device that can be tracked like one-to-one media. Results for beta advertising partners have in fact proven that NextRadio can attribute broadcast listening to retail store visits and sales.

Technology represented in the session has the ability to use GPS map data to identify FM radio listener location, demographic and behavioral data for the individual listener, radio listening profiles and more. We are now able to identify patterns among people to determine where they live, where they work, when they vacation and more. The data available through the partners featured on this panel is so granular that it will allow an advertiser to know such things as who visited their store, how many times, when, what type of phone they use, or the type of car they drive.

As breakthrough as this is for radio and marketers, it begged the question, is there potential for backlash by consumers, more specifically radio listeners, that we know too much about them – aka too much big brother is watching and will they lose trust in radio? The panelists agreed that they really don't think so because data is presented in aggregate, consumers have the ability to opt-in or out and privacy is of utmost importance and is regulated by the government.

Programmatic: Last year around this time, the RAB released a white paper that laid the groundwork for understanding programmatic – what it is, what it means, how it works and where it fits in the radio ecosystem. This year, a panel of professionals discussed how programmatic has evolved in the past year and the opportunity it presents to radio. Erica Farber, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, moderated the session that included Scott Bender, Global Head of Publisher Strategy & Business Development, Prohaska Consulting; Mark Gray, President, Katz Radio Group; Chris Protzman, Vice President Sales for Radio, E.W. Scripps; and Lauren Russo, Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Audio and Promotions, Horizon Media.

To kick off the panel, Bender from Prohaska Consulting (authors of the RAB White Paper on Programmatic for Radio) presented a refresher and a bird's eye view of the programmatic space for radio, and shared that the projection for total programmatic media spending is $4B by 2020. It was agreed that automating through programmatic will remove some of the tedious aspects to the buying process so buyers can focus on the more strategic components of the activations. The most valuable benefits described come from automation and streamlining the RFP and activation processes. It was further indicated that the ability to provide a client the access to the platform to see performance metrics and air checks in real time helps tremendously with workflow.

It's indisputably an exciting time for radio. Reach is higher than ever and ROI is demonstrated in virtually every business category. There is growth across all platforms and once clients see the benefits buying radio programmatically provides it will help grow the sector. Regardless of the size of the broadcaster (small, medium or large), programmatic gives broadcasters an equal share of voice, evens the playing field and opens up opportunity. There are several vendors in the space right now and buyers are currently working with all of them, but down the road the market is going to determine how it gets consolidated and which exchange/marketplace becomes the universal exchange. One of the panelists shared the analogy -- VHS won the battle between Beta and VHS among consumers – test them all but end up with the format that the end user wants and needs.

"Radio is one of the few remaining mediums with captive audiences. They can't click away from you; they can't skip ahead. While they are driving in their car, you own their attention," said Chris Smith, Brand Creative Group Head from The Richards Group, as he was emphasizing radio's continued relevance as a great storytelling mechanism despite all other advertising choices.

But that said, you can turn on the radio in any market, large or small, and you're likely to hear ineffective commercials filled with clichés, fast-talking announcers and poor execution that sound stilted and unnatural. Those commercials cause listeners to tune out and we know for certain that when a good commercial runs, listeners stay engaged and it drives client results. A Radio Show panel of award-winning creatives shared tips, techniques, and strategies to approach writing for radio differently to achieve results.

Perhaps the most insightful strategy we heard was to just simply stop writing commercials and start telling stories instead. You don't sit at the computer and say, 'I have to write a commercial.' You say, 'I have to tell a story and you start with 'this is a story about...' By the time you get about three paragraphs in, you'll start to uncover the magic.

Beyond the "story" there is magic in the concept and the execution. Tony Mennuto, President of Wordsworth & Booth shared his strategy for Burger King breakfast sandwiches which used the unique approach of recording the commercials through the drive-thru at store locations using real, everyday people. When asked how they knew the campaign worked, Mennuto said, "The day the campaign launched on the air the sales of the sandwich doubled."

Mitch Bennett, SVP, Executive Creative Director for Fitzgerald & Co. (and the 2016 $50,000 Best in Show Radio Mercury Awards winner for Quikrete), shared that "radio is a good way to test and judge a campaign idea because it requires great creativity to pull it off with just audio."

Can creativity be taught? The panelists agreed that it can be and shared a book that helped them become successful called "Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads' by Luke Sullivan and Sam Bennett.

To view streams of featured sessions, click here.

Let us Entertain You: When Chief Marketing Officers of radio companies come together with the talent they represent, you get a very clear picture of the inner workings of what it takes to successfully engage millions of listeners, seemingly one at a time. That is what the attendees of Let us Entertain You were treated to on a cool Fall day at Advertising Week XIII in New York. Erica Farber, President & CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, was joined by Christina Albee, CMO, Cumulus & Westwood One with John Tesh, host of Intelligence for your Life; Kenetta Bailey, SVP Marketing for CBS Radio with TJ Taormina, host of the TJ Show on 103.3 AMP in Boston; Ruth Gaviria, CMO Entercom Communications with Nikki Nite, VP of Programming & Operations in Austin, TX; and Amy Newman, SVP, Marketing Solutions for iHeartMedia with Danielle Monaro, Entertainment Reporter on Z100's Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.

Regardless of the questions they were asked, it always came back to the personal and intimate relationship radio is able to forge with listeners on a daily basis. There is no other media that can drive that one-to-one conversation among the masses. It's human nature to want to be a part of a community, to be part of something bigger than ourselves, to have a voice even if you're not actively speaking. Radio provides that to people through its talent, through its native and non-intrusive nature and through relevant, local, authentic, comforting, inclusive content. Ruth Gaviria said "what local talent does to drive those relationships is like ‘pixie dust.'' John Tesh became a radio personality because for him growing up, "Radio was everything – we all want to be part of a tribe, part of a community.' It was and still is his go-to medium. Danielle Monaro confirmed through first-hand stories that listeners just simply trust us (radio talent). She said, "We're part of the family – a sister, a brother – when I have a listener that calls to tell me that I get her through her chemo treatments each week, I know I am making a difference."

It's established, it's proven by research and it just simply is fact that radio has these connections with listeners that is absolutely unmatched in the media industry, so what's in it for you, the advertiser? Amy Newman said a recipe of the 5 main ingredients including radio's core attributes of live, local, native, authentic and a proven track record of building brands – you have a winning combination for any product or brand. Nikki Nite shared that radio is filled with storytellers that allow listeners to be the hero of those stories – advertisers that recognize this can be a part of those stories vs. just a commercial message (not that there is anything wrong with a commercial!). TJ reminded advertisers (on behalf of ALL talent) that they really want to work with advertisers and partner with them to make their message resonate – there really is no other media talent that does that. Christina Albee stressed that Radio is more than a platform, a media channel, it is a strategy, and Kenetta Bailey reminds us that there is still a ton of misperception out there – marketers just assume TV is the best outlet in terms of reach, ROI, relevance, but you look at the data and it's actually Radio. Amy Newman added there is no other medium that has been able to keep its audience from the 70's straight through to today and beyond, and Ruth Gaviria simply amplified by reminding us that radio is the closest medium to the listeners heart and to their point of purchase.

Partner with radio, drive engagement and drive ROI.

Radio Set the Score at RAB's Huddle Up Session: Radio was front and center during the sports track at Advertising Week XIII in New York when Erica Farber had the opportunity to interview the broadcasters that feed the beasts that are sports fans! It was kicked off by our esteemed panelists agreeing that fans – whether they are fans of sports, music or anything else -- by definition are passionate. When it comes to sports, they add a little bit of crazy to that passion and come in with very strong opinions.

Erica was joined by Michael Holley, Sportscaster for Entercom Communications' WEEI-FM in Boston; Len Berman, Sportscaster for iHeartMedia's WOR-AM; Stephania Bell, Sportscaster for ESPN; Evan Roberts, on-air talent for CBS' WFAN; and Kevin Harlan, Sportscaster for Westwood One.

The session was chock full of insights and trends impacting sports radio and radio in general. From a sports radio perspective, the most dramatic change over the past few years is the rise in fantasy leagues and how sports radio has successfully adapted to change the dialogue to reflect what listeners want. According to an Ipsos study conducted for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the total number of fantasy sports players - both season-long and daily fantasy sports (DFS) - rose to 57.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, and more than 60% of players say they both consume more live sports and read more about sports because of fantasy sports. Men and nearly one in five women play fantasy sports because they live for the sport, because it's social, because they are competitive and because they can win money doing what they love. Not only does sports radio keep fantasy players in the know about developments impacting their leagues (player stats, performance, injuries, Monday morning quarterbacking, etc.), but they debate with listeners regarding their highly unique questions and outrageously unique comments every single day. The unique role that Stephania Bell brings to ESPN as a licensed physical therapist who can share stories about the recovery process of injured players is what listeners want to hear and talk about – not only will it inform their fantasy sports teams but gives fans yet another thing to cheer about.

Like we hear from listeners and talent from all formats of radio, these sportscasters re-confirmed that radio is so much more personal than any other media. In fact, Len Berman (widely known for his TV days), shared that when he was on the 11pm news in New York, he was just hoping the people were there (of course they were!). But in the 6 months he has been on radio, he shared that he has spoken to more callers, emailed, tweeted and texted with more listeners than he did in television in 10 years. And as the full-time voice of Monday Night Football, Kevin Harlan said "radio lets me be on the sidelines and literally say anything I see. I get to bring theater of the mind to my listeners and only radio can do that."

Those brands that rely on sports radio talent to bring their products to these extremely loyal audiences see the results. Both Evan Roberts and Michael Holley told the audience that they have people coming up to them all the time asking about products they endorse – when they mentioned their work for My Pillow and more specifically a Sleep Apnea product (as if it was planned all panelists got into a dialogue about "don't ignore the snore"). The immediacy and engagement provided by real time, play-by-play experiences along with the chatter that follows offers advertisers the most captivating environment where listeners are truly engaged. This is exactly the environment that brands want and need.


Brand marketers from across the country joined together in Orlando in October for the annual ANA Masters of Marketing conference. There were presentations made by P&G, MasterCard, Verizon, American Greetings, McDonald's, CVS Health, WWE, Mattel, Johnson & Johnson, Shake Shack, Georgia-Pacific, Facebook, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and The Sherwin-Williams Company (to name a few). After having listened to nearly all presentations there were three trends and overarching themes that surfaced and were included in all talks (and no – they didn't plan it that way!). Those themes are:

  • Story making and story sharing has never been more important to influence people.
    • Brands make stories every day and the secret sauce for making it relevant for the consumer is ensuring it is based on human truths, it lives within a framework and includes conflict.
    • As Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. expressed, in the WWE every storyline includes conflict but conflict is settled in the ring. When characters overcome adversity they become heroes and it gives their consumers a reason to care.
    • For Mattel, Juliana Chugg, Executive Vice President and Global Core Brands Officer, clearly stated they needed to tell the right story in order to change the way the world talked about Barbie to turn the company around.
    • Through its Priceless campaign, MasterCard allows consumers to make and share their own stories by simply interacting with the experience-based brand.
  • Brands must have purpose and value.
    • Never underestimate the value and attitudes of a brand in an effort to gain and influence a loyal consumer follower for life.
    • A brand's purpose and value must be delivered not only through the product but in the marketing of it.
    • As Raja Rajamannar, CMO of MasterCard, put it, everyone wants to do something good, as long as they don't have to pay for it – if a brand shares their values and will do it for and with them, it's a win/win.
  • A shift from mass marketing to mass mattering.
    • Brands cannot just "talk at people" to get their attention, they need to matter to them. Identify the insight, personalize the message and matter to the audience. (By the way…Radio does this exceptionally well!)

These themes resonated with the audience both as consumers and as marketing professionals. Attendees were left inspired and interested in climbing out of silos for deeper collaboration. For the radio professionals in the room - we were re-energized, motivated and inspired to follow up with you, our brand partners, to share:

  • There is no better medium for story making and story sharing - allowing them to experience a brand using imagery that is relevant and personal to them. In fact, to quote Mark LaNeve, VP, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service of Ford Motor Company, radio is "a storytelling medium with great scale and local personalities that can engage fans."
  • The relationship between radio personalities and listeners is grounded in trust, common purpose and value. It's a relationship that can be extended to brand partners.
  • Radio is the #1 mass reach medium with local listeners that are the most loyal and emotionally engaged consumers across any medium.

At the conclusion of every presentation, Bob Liodice, President & CEO of the ANA asked each marketer to share a tip for the marketers, media and advertising professionals in the room. Here are the ones we captured - food for thought!

  • Deborah Wahl, U.S. Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald's: "Never-ending transformation based on human intelligence at the speed of sound."
  • Norman de Greve, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, CVS Health: "Stand up - deeds matter more than creeds. Stand out – better find a unique point of difference or a unique way to say something. Stand firm - on your purpose - lay the options on the table and vet them through your purpose."
  • Diego Scotti, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Verizon Communications: "The more you open up and the more perspective you can bring to it – the better it is!"
  • Alex Ho, Executive Director, Marketing, American Greetings: "It's all about great insights, relationships and understanding your brand and a purpose vision charter."
  • Stefanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., WWE: "Have fun with your brand – don't be afraid to take calculated risks. Be a brand that has purpose and value."
  • Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, MasterCard: "If any of your companies are older than 5 years, it is time to reexamine your business model. You need to be really good at technology. You need to use data and get the insights out of it. Digital - this is where life is going."
  • Juliana Chugg, Executive Vice President and Global Core Brands Officer, Mattel: "Listen to your consumers. Be willing to take risks on your consumers' behalf. Stay true to noble purpose. Be courageous (with great risks come great rewards)."
  • Edwin Bragg, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Shake Shack: "Act globally, think locally."
  • Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble: "Spend time with consumers to understand true insights."
  • Alison Lewis, Global Chief Marketing Officer - Johnson & Johnson: "You need to build ambidextrous organizations. It is marketing that uses both feet, hands and sides of the brain to create complete, compelling and connected brand experiences. Today we are operating in a "phygital" world -- consumers still want the physical but operate in the digital world."
  • Douwe Bergsma, Chief Marketing Officer, Georgia-Pacific: "Story framing is not about asking questions. It is about identifying the information.'
  • Jim Spearos, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications, Fidelity Investments: "Always bring pride and honor to your name. This is the standard you should hold to."