Oct. 2nd, 2006

Radio trys to win back listeners by increasing ad load. Clear Channel listeners excited by new Blink commercial format. Not.

Interruptive marketers take note, advertising really should entertain, inform and delight. 

Not barge in and help itself to whatever’s on offer.

Advertisers have a contract with prospects. Ignore the convenant at your peril.

Take these stats from today’s Wall Street Journal "Ad Buyers Eye Clear Channel’s ‘Blink’ Spots":

"Clear Channel’s seconds-long ad pitch is the latest
phase of a broader effort by the company to sweeten the appeal of
advertising on its 1,100 stations. In 2004, in an initiative it called
"Less is More," the broadcaster began to cut back the number of
commercials it runs by 15% to 20%, a response to critics who complained
that commercial overload was driving away listeners…

…In 2004, radio stations averaged 14.9
minutes of ads an hour, while some stations were running as many as 22
minutes, according to Wall Street firm J.P. Morgan Chase.

JP Morgan analyst John Blackledge says the heavy ad
load is contributing to the erosion of listenership.
Indeed, a survey
of 401 radio listeners conducted last year found that 13% switched the
station as soon as a program went to a commercial, while another 20%
switched after hearing one ad. More troubling for advertisers, the
study, by Denver research firm Paragon Media Strategies, showed younger
listeners were significantly more likely to switch the channel.

Young people are likely switching away from ads in
increasing numbers because there are far more choices for them to find
commercial-free music today — from satellite radio to iPods.

Because of the Clear Channel cutbacks, other radio
stations have begun to cut back on ad load, says J.P. Morgan’s Mr.
Blackledge. As a result, the average amount of ad time on radio
stations in the U.S. has dropped to 10.8 minutes per hour, he says.
Still, he adds, some stations are running up to 17 minutes of ads per

So, Clear Channel is responding to the flight of listeners to the Web by actually increasing ad load. You’d think they would reduce the number of ads — or maybe police the quality of what they air.

Now that’s an idea.

Isn’t it about time someone figured out how to accurately measure how many people are listening to our spots?

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