Over the past couple of weekends, I've been catching a variety of "March Madness" games on local sports-talk radio stations here in Detroit. One thing that has jumped out at me is the number of commercials for satellite radio on these terrestrial stations' radio networks. Whether the pitch is a part of an appliance store commercial or not, these radio spots are in your face, and clearly position satellite as superior to anything else on the radio.
All of that begs the question that we have been asking for several years now - why in the name of smart business would any commercial radio station (or its parent company or a radio network) air commercials for satellite radio, a new media invention that is out to kill us? We can certainly see in our new Technology Web Poll how Howard Stern effectively sold the benefits of Sirius (and conversely, the deficits of commercial radio) to his willing audience throughout 2005. Yet, on many AM and FM stations, this blatant pitching continues. As commercial radio blindly takes the revenue, the well-financed XM and Sirius marketing meisters must be laughing at us, as they push harder to sell their radios to American consumers.
We have used this space and the pulpits given to us at broadcast conventions to implore commercial radio CEOs to end this practice once and for all. Don't take another dime of satellite radio advertising. If we feel our own air is the best way to market HD Radio or "You heard it first on the radio," why would any thinking CEO believe that satellite isn't making inroads at the same time on our own air at our expense? How many more financial analysts need to take shots at commercial broadcast companies before we realize that we are enabling satellite radio to make inroads on our own air?
We call on every commercial broadcast company to ban satellite radio advertising, directly and indirectly, whether on your stations or on your networks. And that means being vigilant about any advertising that walks through the door with any hint of an XM or Sirius pitch. And in that same spirit, every radio network should say no to satellite radio ads, or any pitches that incorporate it into commercials.