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Pearse McCaughey, Group Creative Director, Cawley Nea\TBWA

Radio, and local radio in particular, offers brands an opportunity to get closer to their customers in a way which other mediums such as TV and print advertising does not. This opportunity should be capitalised by radio stations in order to maximise their revenues according to Pearse McCaughey, creative director, with leading advertising agency Cawley Nea/TWBA.

Addressing the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland annual conference today, Pearse McCaughey said; “With the trend towards customisation, local is the new global and many brands are now looking at ways to become more personal to their customers. As an advertiser, to be able to offer brands the opportunity to make their message more relevant to local audiences is a compelling argument for advertising on local radio.

“This is an untapped market which the independent sector has yet to wake up to. There is a very strong bond between local radio and its listeners. Station owners, presenters, researchers and producers generally live locally, understand local issues and culture and have very strong empathy and connections with their listeners. The power of that knowledge is immense and offers local radio a unique competitive advantage. They can market that knowledge to help brands customise their message regionally and locally so that the brand’s relationship with its customers are strengthened and developed”.

Mr. McCaughey said that despite the diversity of choice, young people remained loyal to radio. But, like other media, the single biggest challenge for independent radio was how to remain relevant to their audience.

“Again this is where independent radio, because it is close to its listeners and has that strong bond of empathy and trust can win out. Today’s generation of radio listeners may be spoilt for choice in how and when they listen to their favourite programmes. But despite this diversity of choice they remain very loyal to their radio and, if they don’t hear a programme in ‘real time’ will download podcasts and listen to it in their own time.

“Not only are they more promiscuous in how they consume radio, they are also more sophisticated and active listeners than older generations. They demand and expect active engagement with their presenters and their radio station. The day of passive listening is long gone – we see it in the volume of texts sent into radio shows every day and in the way playlists are decided not by the presenter, but by the audience voting on which songs they want to hear again.

“Rather than cannibalising their offering, those stations which embrace new media and services such as podcasting are maintaining and increasing their relevance with audiences”, he said.

The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland annual conference was held in the Four Seasons Hotel today. Sponsored by IMRO the conference was addressed by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

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For further information:
Laurie Mannix, MKC Communications 01 703 8620

About the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland
The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) is the representative body for Ireland’s independent commercial radio broadcasters. The mission of the IBI is to champion the agenda of independent broadcasters in Ireland and to be a distinct and coherent national voice in the ongoing campaign for competitive equality across the sector.

The independent voice of Ireland, 64% of the population tune into independent radio on a daily basis. This translates into weekday figures of 2.382 million listeners. With more than 1500 people employed in the sector, independent broadcasters make a significant economic, social and cultural contribution to the Irish economy. The IBI represents 2 national radio stations, 4 regional radio stations and 27 local radio stations. For more information please visit: www.ibireland.ie