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RADIO–Radio Keeping Up With Booming Technology



Industry Adjusts to Marketplace Changes

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Technology is booming, yet some so-called “traditional” industries are more reliable and important than ever. Those that are most flexible in adjusting to marketplace changes are reaching new levels of success.

Such is the case with San Diego radio. While many business analysts have been busy focusing on the impact of consolidation, audience fragmentation and the Internet, the radio industry has become more diverse and innovative.

Where there was concern that “mega-mergers” would cause limited choices for listeners and advertisers, and less service to the community, the reality has been the opposite.

Stations are more individually active, with highly targeted formats that offer better variety. They’ve created new techniques to get closer to listeners, inspiring greater affinity and response.

– Radio Makes

Use Of Internet

Most radio outlets are also heavily involved in the Internet, with all of its possibilities. They’re streaming audio, even video, 24 hours a day, engaging in E-commerce and new direct marketing options. They’re offering new multimedia resources, promotions and packaging. Companies are developing partnerships with new satellite-to-car audio and Web providers.

Some stations are also running, or are developing, additional Internet-only specialty formats on their Web sites, offering more interactive opportunities for their listeners.

As the Web becomes more portable, radio is already involved in the process and at the core of the new medium.

Radio is changing with today’s technology, yet building upon the qualities that have always made it such an effective marketing medium. Radio goes everywhere with listeners.

It reaches light users of other media as well as the upscale market, matching busy mobile lifestyles. Radio is “local” and personal, influencing consumers closest to their time-of-purchase. It creates top-of-mind awareness, and consistent reinforcement-of-message. It’s cost-efficient, urgent, immediate and flexible.

No wonder that a large number of New Media “dot-com” companies find radio to be such a compatible partner.

While all traditional media will benefit from additional spending by these businesses, experts note that radio is likely to grow faster than its competitors.

– Future Growth

Predicted For Radio

In 2000, radio is projected to demonstrate percentage growth ahead of magazines, national TV, newspapers or local television.

In the past year, revenue in the San Diego radio market has grown to $151.86 million, up 10.3 percent over 1998.

In December 1999 alone, market revenue was up 18.2 percent compared to the previous year. The increase was partly due to the large increase in dot-com spending. This higher level of investment by “new media” in that which is “traditional” now continues into the new century.

Rather than being intimidated by new media, radio is embracing it, finding creative ways to continue staying current with listener and advertiser needs. Tomorrow’s radio will, at first, appear to be far from its roots. It will reflect a merging with advances in digital, satellite and Internet technology. In effect, radio is becoming its own form of new media.

Yet some things never change. As it continues to adapt to high-speed changes, radio will continue to succeed because radio gets results.

Larson is president of the San Diego Radio Broadcasters Association and general manager of KPRZ/KCBQ.

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