iHeartRadio's radio advertising works; and Iain Lee
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The top three most-aired radio spots last week in the US were for podcasts. Ads for iHeartRadio’s The Ron Burgundy Podcast, Fake Doctors Real Friends and Missing in Alaska were all played over 64,000 times on US radio last week. For Podnews, I calculated that’s an average of almost two ads per hour (6am-midnight) on every iHeartRadio station.
Did it work? iHeartRadio’s campaign - I estimate it would cost $1.9m if they were buying it - did make a difference, it turns out. Who knew, radio advertising works?! As you can see above, all shows saw a significant increase in the Apple Podcasts chart during the week. The chart is worked-out using new subscriptions, rather than downloads, so is ideal to show the effect of radio. Most interesting: Ron Burgundy wasn’t even charting before the ad campaign (it’s in a production break).
MediaMonitors’ data also shows that the 5th most-heard ad was for “iHeartRadio”, the company’s own app, which got a further 56,000 plays. It would be fascinating to work out how much iHeartRadio have paid to promote their own app: and even more fascinating to learn why it appears to be doing virtually nothing in terms of podcast downloads. (But please listen to Podnews there anyway.)
As an aside: a broadcast, non-sponsored version of the Podnews podcast is aired every day on Podcast Radio, the UK radio station. At about 3 minutes, if you’d like this content on your station, we should chat.
An AM service was switched off in the UK on June 11 - Bauer’s Radio City Talk, on 1548kHz in Liverpool. I link to a video of the transmitter being turned off. Bauer also quietly closed 990 and 1017 kHz in Wolverhampton and Shropshire in early May.
For the UK, there’s little future for AM broadcasting as far as I can see; DAB and FM coverage in almost all of the country is just fine, and AM is expensive. There’s no appetite for DRM (for almost the entire population, DAB coverage is a good alternative), so I suspect we’ll see more AM closures in future.
We’re now at a time where AM is either dead or dying within Europe; yet the impression, at least, is that AM is in fine form in Australia, the US and Canada. There are good reasons for some of AM’s continuing relevance in these countries: but I’d not be investing in AM transmitter operators.
Late night presenter Iain Lee’s contract wasn’t renewed at talkRADIO, and he wasn’t given the opportunity to say goodbye. He was, as he said in a TV interview, really upset. Now he’s got his last pay-cheque, he’s been answering listener’s questions; and he’s been apparently snapped up by Twitch to present a five nights-a-week show.
Geoff Lloyd on Twitter: “It’s insane that Iain Lee’s not being inundated with job offers. He’s original, authentic, funny, innovative, provocative, a brilliant storyteller - all the things that broadcasters claim to value, whilst filling their airwaves with shows that might as well be hosted by Siri.”
I rather liked this comment from Paul Stainton: “So much radio is beige these days and he is a vibrant shade of people”.
Edison Research published some surprisingly low online consumption figures for broadcast radio: apparently during COVID-19 it increased to 10%.
It’s normally rather more than that in other countries (12.7% in Australia; 14% in the UK; both outside the pandemic). I was curious as to why the US is so behind here. Brian Gongol’s response on Twitter is good - including “too many rival apps, no clear leader” and “garbage preroll ads, awful filler, bad synchronisation”. The latter perplexes me: it really isn’t hard to get a different adfeed right.
I use Sendy to send this mailing list out. It’s like MailChimp, but no monkeying around with high fees (it’s 100x cheaper).
Decent radio is more than just show and go. A £1 week-long trial of Show Prep will make your show rather better.
I get paid by people all over the world, and TransferWise really helps. You get proper bank accounts in the countries where you want to get paid; a Mastercard that works everywhere; and very cheap currency transfers. This link gives you a fee-free transfer.
Very recommended: this lovely chilled-out remix of lots of bits of BBC Radio 4. Sit back and relax to this 45-minute bti of ambient excellence.
In our current locked-down state, jump in a car in one of the world’s greatest cities, and listen to the radio. What a great idea this is. (If you get tired of the world’s greatest cities, you can also drive around Melbourne, where - of course - it’s raining.)
NH Radio is using text-to-speech to produce a news programme on the station (between 5am and 6am). Interesting idea. I wonder whether we’ll see more of this in future.
Huntingdon Community Radio, a community station in the UK, apparently banned any discussion of Black Lives Matter on air, and fired those presenters who wished to discuss it.
An editor of a newspaper in Australia responds nicely, but exasperatedly, to a PR trying to get them to cover a toy sale.
Nigel Farage, a failed UK politician, is off the air at LBC. He’s a decent radio presenter, whatever you think of his views; one day later, he popped up as a guest on talkRADIO which seems more his spiritual home.
A fascinating piece about net neutrality and US Internet, told through the medium of HBO Max. The same is relevant for radio, as well; as some broadcasters play with removing their services from some platforms in a misguided attempt at control.
Matt Deegan tried a radio group’s online music test, to discover that a) it didn’t work with Chrome properly; b) some stations mentioned in the test had closed in September 2015. “This survey probably decides 80% of the output. I assume bosses would be shocked if they filled it in,” he adds.
Twitter added voice-tweeting in their iOS app. Great for radio, kind of, except you’ll annoy your Android listeners (about 50% of your audience). It will, like all other attempts to do this, fail, I predict. Which is a shame - here’s one of my voice-tweets from 2010, on a product known at the time as Audioboo.
In New Zealand, NZME have launched a radio station called Gold. It’s a 45+ greatest hits format on FM, with additional, um, farming news and sports on AM, including simulcasts with Newstalk ZB. It replaces the company’s “Radio Sport”, which was yanked off-air in late March, and The Mix, a greatest-hits station. They describe it as a “powerful demographic”; though most gold-format AM stations in Australia, at least, seem to carry advertising for funeral companies, retirement homes and pain-killers, and not much else.
I boringly link to an LBC tweet every few weeks now. Here’s another. They’re a radio station: but that’s a nicely-composed video shot, on location, with captions and a branded microphone. What all stations should be doing.
Finally, a big story: is there a future for local radio?, asks David Lloyd. I’d suggest examining the model of CBC Radio 1 in Canada, or ABC Local Radio in Australia, for a different way forward.