Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Raising the Bar

Before I worked on the advertising side of broadcasting, I worked on the programming side of this business.

I recall 25 years ago when the radio station I worked for started doing 30 minute commercial free music sweeps, and promoted them that way on the radio to our listeners.

In hindsight, it wasn't the best way to get listeners to listen longer.

It implied that commercials are bad, music is good.

Granted, the reason people tuned in was to hear their favorite songs, not their favorite commercials, so it made sense that this was a way to market the radio station that rewarded our listeners for sticking around.

So what's wrong with this?

In traditional media, it's the advertising that pays the bills.

So if you imply to your listeners that commercials are the bad guys, then you are also implying that the businesses that advertise are bad too for interrupting your music.

In reality, commercials are not bad. But there are some pretty bad commercials out there on both radio and tv.

It's the bad ones that are a tune out.

What's a bad commercial?
The screaming car sales commercial, the lame save 10% sale commercial, the generic commercial that is filled with cliche's that are meaningless.

Bad commercials are forgettable.

Good commercials are remarkable.
They add to the programming of the radio station and television program.
They add value and reward the listener/viewer for sticking around and paying attention.

When I first made the switch to the advertising side of this business, the air personalities had the power to reject commercials and advertisers that were not up to snuff.
We had to produce good, remarkable, rememberable commercials.

Very few broadcasting outlets have these standards anymore.

But let's go ahead and raise the bar, to create advertising campaigns that listeners want to hear and viewers want to watch.

Everyone wins when we do this.

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