Telling Radio's Powerful Story (Guest Blog)

  • Today's Guest Blog comes from Melissa Kunde,

    Executive Director of the Seattle Area Radio Association (SARA)


    by Melissa Kunde

    "To thine own self be true" were famous words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and “Differentiate or Die” are the echoing raw words from respected marketing strategist Jack Trout. While each of these quotes stand alone they are dynamic co-conspirators in the mindset of businesses that grow.  As an industry, Radio has spent the majority of its years after “the golden age” justifying its worth in the marketplace.

    Now, we face our relevance in the Digital Age. Our battle is with new seductive suitors (Google, Facebook, Youtube and even worse, Pandora and Spotify) who boldly position themselves as necessary advertising vehicles in the Age of the Internet. They claim daily and persistently, in advertising conferences, digital conferences, colleges, press releases, whitepapers, advertising organizations, blogs, and webinars that they are the new models of connection and brand development. Your clients and prospective advertising decision makers believe what they hear and read. They want to feel smart, relevant and cutting edge so they seek knowledge through all those venues and Radio is not there. They are converted with the “story” way before anyone sells them anything. 

    I asked Jack Trout what Radio needed to do to grow its business when I interviewed him in 2010. This is what he said, “Reposition Radio as a primary medium and the reason you can do that is because of the power of sounds… you have to explain to people that sound is more powerful, even more powerful than pictures.”

    This is what I have done. I have repositioned Radio.

    Superpowers Are Hard to Ignore.
    Radio in the 21st century is a primary entertainment, information and advertising media and the only superpower of sound and story. It is these qualities, sound and story, that profoundly set Radio apart from our competitors. Neuroscientists, social scientists and sound experts have our back. These kinetic and humanistic assets amplified are the key to changing perceptions from “Radio is dead” to “Radio is necessary.”

    Norman Corwin, the poet laureate of Radio said, "Sound itself attracts. Ask any eavesdropper… Sounds have a romance. The sound of a cricket at night to establish a mood in a radio drama…There is no sound on the moon because it takes air to support it; the vibrations of air create the sound. And Radio was a medium which employ(s) that magic.” Sound is irresistible and when linked with story the combination is even more magical.

    Braithwaite Communications explains the leverage that story possesses. “Human beings are wired for narrative. That’s why stories work. Information in story form outperforms any tactic and transcends any media. Audiences retain up to seven times the information shared via a story versus statistics. More than recall, stories create ownership. Stories work to create movies in the mind — engaging more of the person with more of the message. Stories have greater impact on key metrics, including awareness, recall, understanding, persuasion and loyalty. When people own information, they tend to act on it and share it. And isn’t that what you want your marketing efforts to do?”

    This is what we do. Best-in-class Radio campaigns increase recall, understanding, persuasion and loyalty. Radio engages and connects with humans so uniquely that even listening passively doesn’t escape the mind’s attention: You can’t shut your ear lids.

    What results has this new position accomplished? I co-wrote and produced this video “An Audio Explosion in a Digital World” with the “sound and story position” for a Radio Summit in 2010, hosted by the Portland Area Radio Council (PARC), for advertising prospects and non-radio users. When asked in our survey did the video and the summit contents change their perception of Radio 95% said, “It changed their perspective and gave them a excited feeling about Radio.”  KXL, a Portland news talk station, currently hosts the aforementioned video on their “Advertise on KXL” web page, the GSM says that the video has been a persuasive asset for new advertisers.

    Another example, PARC brought in Tim Miles, a partner of the Wizard of Ads, to speak to 300 small businesses. I chose Tim because he fully embraced my “sound and story” strategy and held true to his intent to be a strategist advocate for small businesses. PARC surveyed all the attendees after his very informative seminars: 54% responded and 99% said his presentation change their perception of Radio for the better and they would consider Radio in their advertising strategy. (I should note not one classic radio statistic was used in Tim’s presentation.)

    And one last insight, I was asked to create a pro-radio presentation for a big agency that represents two big automotive brands. My gut told me to only present sound and story content but I questioned myself and compromised only dedicating four slides to sound and story and completed the rest with expected statistics. The presentation went well but a day later my gut was confirmed the VP of this agency sent me an email expressing her gratitude and also added that she would have really like more information on the neuroscience of sound and story. 

    United We Grow Radio’s strength and renaissance starts with you. It is essential we speak with a unified voice. Join me as ambassadors and supporters in every aspect this new story. Let’s gather great storytellers and movement makers inside and out of our industry to support our new position. Helen Keller was once asked, if she had to choose between sight and sound, which would, she pick? She said sound because the lack of sight only separates a person from things while the lack of sound separates a person from people.

    Radio is the peoples’ media and the superpower of sound and story.

    Reach out to Melissa: