Why Radio is Losing Credibility

Why Radio is Losing Credibility

by Tracy Johnson

Radio stations are not as high profile as they once were. But some of the damage is self inflicted. Radio is losing credibility with listeners by not paying attention to what’s on the air.

En route to a meeting and trapped in my car for 20 minutes, I turned on my radio as usual and checked out four radio stations.

Here’s what I heard:

Station 1 ran a commercial from an attorney that was conducting seminars to set up a living trust. The ad told me I could “call and register now for the seminar on the 7th or the one in Oceanside on the 8th.” Today is the 8th. It’s 7pm. The first seminar was yesterday, and it was already too late to get involved in today’s.


Station 2 had a commercial for a florist shop that told me “order now for Mother’s Day because during Mother’s Day Week, starting Monday, flower prices could double, triple or even more… so order this weekend.” It was Tuesday. This ad’s expiration date was last week.

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Station 3 The third station has recently changed format, and two weeks ago finished a launch promotion during which they played several weeks of commercial free music. Great launch. Terrific promotion. I tuned in during a long stop set. It seemed like eight minutes, but probably wasn’t that long. Coming out of the break, they got back into music by telling me that they are the “Commercial free Music Station.”

Huh? Really? I just sat through a bunch of commercials. They lost the credibility they built with their launch promotion.


Radio Is Losing Credibility

None of these are necessarily the PD’s fault – maybe it was an ad agency to blame, or an Account Executive, or the traffic department. There are many areas this could break down. But it is our responsibility to provide a product that makes sense to the listener.

And you know what’s worse? It’s likely that nobody at the station heard the mistakes. Everyone is wearing so many hats there isn’t much time for listening. Or if they did hear it, they didn’t notice it. And the embarrassing copy will probably continue to run over and over.

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This will continue until the end of the month when someone at the agency level sends payment with a note that they won’t pay for the commercials that ran with the “dead” copy. That will finally get someone’s attention and the problem will be “fixed”.

Author: Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.

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