Radio — you hear it here again

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest in the battle for listeners in radio… Apparently terrestrial radio is getting more than a bit scared and is about to run a series of commercials targeting satellite, though without mentioning the platform or either brand… The campaign is running with the tagline “Radio — you hear it here first.”

Major radio companies from Clear Channel Communications to Viacom’s Infinity Broadcasting to Entercom Communications have banded together to create 30-second spots featuring such stars as Avril Lavigne and Ludacris talking up local radio. The musicians run through highlights of their careers, and then remind listeners how all the Grammys and accolades happened only after lots of radio airtime. As one performer says in the spots: “Before being a lady of soul made me a diva, you heard me, Ashanti, on the radio.”

Did we mention the payola required to get you to hear those songs the number of times necessary to program your musical tastes?

Radio also is going after the niche audiences that satellite attracts by accelerating longstanding plans to move to digital broadcasting. That technology lets broadcasters transmit as many as five stations per frequency, compared with one today.

Radio executives envision having a rock station on the main channel and secondary stations featuring, say, boy bands, “deep cuts” from albums or traffic reports. They hope such specialized programming will help win back audiences from satellite radio and even from portable music devices such as Apple Computer’s iPod.

“If we end up deploying all the secondary channels and bringing the consumer dozens of niche stations, and we do it for free, what’s the value proposition in satellite radio?” asks Mr. Field. [WSJ]

I’d say the value is diversity of programming, content not available via traditional or HD Radio and of course no commercials.

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