THE FOOLISH FALLACY OF RADIO ADVERTISING’S “IMMEDIACY”
by Dan O’Day
Most radio advertising salespeople have been taught to sell “The Immediacy of Radio.”
But they have been completely misinformed as to what that “immediacy” actually means.
For generations, radio account executives have been taught to equate “immediacy” with, “Give us the copy — or just the order — this afternoon, and we’ll get it on the air tomorrow morning.”
That is not what “the immediacy of radio” means.
The concept of “the immediacy of radio” originates from the fact that radio can cover news as it happens.
It dates back to the days when if some major event occurred, people would automatically turn on the radio because they could learn about that event as it unfolded. They didn’t have to wait until the next day’s newspaper to find out what happened.
If you’re over the age of 40, when you were growing up and you heard about some big news story and wanted to get the details immediately, what did you do? Probably you turned on the radio.
But most radio salespeople have been taught otherwise, and they in turn have led their clients to expect almost instant turnaround on their commercial copy.
Why is that bad for Radio and bad for radio advertisers?
If you routinely accept an order at 4 o’clock in the afternoon for airing at 6 o’clock the next morning, you are doing two things:
1. You are virtually guaranteeing the client does not get his or her money’s worth, because you are not allowing enough time to do a professional job of creating the advertising.
Yes, you can write, produce and air a new commercial within 24 hours. Or within 24 minutes.
If you manage a radio station and allow that to occur, then you are contributing to radio’s small percentage of most advertising budgets and to the all-too-common complaint, “I tried radio, and it didn’t work.”
2. You are training your clients to think of radio as a “last-minute” medium of last resort, rather than as the powerful advertising medium that it can be when used properly.