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July 15, 2011



Answering both Deke and Royle:

Deke first - There is little incentive to work towards building numbers that "impact PPM," because, for all but the largest markets, the size of your local online audience will be small. From my experience, I'm going to place that figure at less than 3% of a station's cume (of which most of these people will be from out-of-market). Concerning the AFTRA rules problem, this is a combination of whoever signed that Los Angeles AFTRA contract on behalf of media nearly a decade ago, and the insistence by Arbitron that, to be measured, 100% of a station's streaming program come from an over-the-air signal.

Royle: Two points... you can't make money selling by straight CPM online. Impressions are easy to buy today - even in an accountable environment - for much less than the $12 CPM you get. You speak about focusing "on local direct advertisers." My question is are you letting the clients who pay that CPM know what percentage of your web site's visitors come from out-of-market? Portland is market #23, large, but not large enough to where a single station's web site visitor count would bring substantial revenue (even at a $12 CPM, or by tallying audience from all six Alpha stations).

Looking at Alpha's web sites, there does not appear to be any local advertiser besides "Sylvan Steakhouse" so, at a $12 CPM, there's not much revenue being generated.

As for your statement about "Google Ad Words pre-2000 were cheap ... Same thing for streaming radio." I've supervised over $1.5 million in online ad buys and will assure you that, by buying the right Google keywords today, the price is still cheap. You don't have to purchase the most sought after keyword to be effective in this style of advertising. About buying "streaming radio," yes it's inexpensive. But, how much of the streaming advertising is being tied back to accountability? That's where you can ask for, and receive, higher revenue.

Ending with Royle's "Next time ask someone who sells this in real life." I have sold and bought broadcast, and still speak with with many who sell broadcast. Having spent 27 years in broadcast radio and a few in television, across all positions, I'm aware of the process.

What I was stating is about the radio industry "being late to the game in every sense of the word... and it continues to waive away any threat by new media, which is the biggest mistake broadcast radio continues to make." This is my major point that Neither Deke or Royle address.

At what time will the radio industry begin using the internet as an adjunct to its broadcast signal? And start using the internet's ability for accountability? Simply sending people to your web site is not what I'm referring to, either. Using your web site to capture the ad-serving and visitor metrics, and then using those metrics to improve ad performance and visitor count is what I concentrate on.

To again quote that Inside Radio headline "CEOs see potential in e-commerce." This observation was made a decade ago by many people outside of radio who are making money online today. Now what will the radio industry's next step be?


Comparing CPM's is the correct way to buy media, including radio. $4 cpm are the crap national rates Triton and other national rep agencies sell for.

At Alpha in Portland we sell average $12 cpm because we focus on local direct advertisers. Google Ad Words pre-2000 were cheap and prices have increased tremendously since. Same thing for streaming radio.

Next time ask someone who sells this in real life.


Ken, you missed my point. Stations should have unique streams as well as the same over-the-air stream available. A simulcast of the station's over-the-air stream is the one that will impact PPM numbers. Stations ruin any chance of combining streaming numbers with over-the-air performance by playing to the AFTRA rule.

Ken Dardis

Re: "They say give up on terrestrial broadcast. That’s history. Focus all your energies on a digital future."

I'm not aware of anyone who knows broadcasting and streaming who is suggesting this - even your labeled "naysayers."

What is being suggested is that the broadcast industry pay more attention to streaming, because its audience is growing at a fast clip.

Deke's observation also misses the mark: Radio should not be rebroadcasting its over-the-air signal online. A stream should be unique to the station, and different than what the local audience hears because the online audience is mostly from out-of-market.

A last point: Here's a headline appearing at Inside Radio today - "CEOs see potential in e-commerce."

Don't you think a concept like this is about 10 years late?

This whole argument is about the radio industry being late to the game in every sense of the word... and it continues to waive away any threat by new media, which is the biggest mistake broadcast radio continues to make.


One big hurdle for radio's continued revenue health is the burden of antiquated AFTRA rules on simulcasting. That line item cost related to a station's streaming content creates a situation where inferior "fill" material is needed to cover spots. These fillers hurt stations both in terms of quality (for the listener) and with measurement via Arbitron's PPM system. Try listening to a typical station online. Stop sets are littered with junk content. Just simulcast the main terrestrial content; if you're doing it right, it will improve your PPM numbers which will also improve your billing. Not saying you shouldn't develop new/unique content for your digital site but enough already with these stupid AFTRA and PPM stipulations that litter station streams with too many superfluous elements. Salespeople would make more money selling improved numbers than trying to monetize a separate digital stream that's inferior to the main product.

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