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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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While I don't disagree with your general (and oft mentioned) assessment about the state of radio advertising, I don't see how you can definitively conclude that "quality" is what these respondents objected to. All I see above is a percentage of "internet users" who said they hated advertising. They didn't say WHY they hated it. I think it's a far more reasonable inference that people who hate advertising feel that way because they don't want ANY interruptions, period. Regardless, you absolutely do NOT "have to believe they were zeroing in on quality." That’s pure opinion on your part and, unless I’m missing something, is not supported at all by the study.

You don’t need to cite research to convince me that most radio ads suck. But it’s a leap to believe we’d see substantive ratings improvement if we suddenly starting insisting on better ads. Lots of people hate advertising, period … and will change the station when they hear a spot. And expecting anyone to sit through 6+ minutes of commercials if they can easily switch stations is unreasonable, regardless of the quality of those ads.

Finally: When our “harried” production people are given the freedom to write and produce ads, they’re usually pretty darn good. But they’re rarely given that freedom. The bad stuff generally comes from the agencies and clients – the people who insist on hard sells, endless price points, and including phone numbers no one could possibly remember.


Ty, thanks for taking the time to comment - and you're right - this is becoming a theme in this blog because it is a chronic problem. I believe the central issue is that most consumers will actually accept a certain level of advertising. They realize that in radio, it's the price of admission. But as you obviously concur, "most radio ads suck." The "leap" I made in the blog is based on the research because it shows that many of the qualities that consumers might value in ads are MIA in most radio commercials. And as most radio people would be forced to admit, there is rarely - if ever - even a discussion about what constitutes effective, much less entertaining ads. And it's not just about achieving higher ratings with better ads (although wouldn't that be nice?). It is about doing a more effective job for our advertisers who are now being lured away by the sheen of digital. We are in agreement that most local radio production people are capable of better. But given the time constraints and the assembly line process of cranking them out, that professionalism is rarely recognized. Thanks for your thoughts.


Great point about better ads yielding better results for clients. How often do we produce a commercial knowing it will fail? Alas, if only more clients would buy into that. But these are the same guys who insist on yet another two-hour remote to "drive traffic" to a non-"event" that no one will carea bout.


There are going to be advertisers who believe it simply "works" when they scream or talk a mile a minute. But there are others that would be open to a better approach - a commercial that combines strategic with clever. Remotes will continue to fail because they have become too numerous, meaningless to listeners, and detrimental to ratings. The smartest broadcasters have already figured out that dog no longer hunts. Thanks for reading the blog.

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