Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What Makes Public Radio Different?

I saw this article in the Boston Globe today: Two Seconds are All an Advertiser Needs

In a nutshell, it's about how commercial radio is starting to use more 2 second "blinks" and 5 second "adlets" instead of the usual 30 or 60 second commercials. They're cheaper and you can fit more of 'em in.

What the article didn't address was how shorter "commercials" are a hallmark of public radio.
Mostly because they're considered "less intrusive". "So what?" you say? Well, this is potentially a huge deal.

Why? Well, we all know public radio depends on fundraising to make its budget. Now, what's an very common theme in pubradio's fundraising? That's right: we're not as bad as commercial radio. To be specific, pubradio doesn't have those long, obnoxious has quicker, less-obnoxious "underwriting".

Starting to see why this could be a problem? Experts have warned for years that public radio has relied too heavily on the message of "we're not as bad as commercial radio" and anything like an "adlet" that narrows the gap could be bad news for public radio.

What's the solution? The simple answer is that you have to get away from the old "we're not commercial radio" marketing because it means you're not defining your station...other commercial stations are defining your station...and sooner or later they're going to change to your disadvantage.

In other words, you shouldn't be telling your listeners that you're not as bad as commercial radio...that should just be self-evident from the quality of your programming.

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