The Absolute Truth About Marketing
Monday, May 01, 2006
  2GB or not 2GB

Mistake #2006: Don't move. Radio as a broadcast medium is going to die a low, agonising death. In the 5 or so years since the industry revamped and brought in the current leadership and change the name and logo of the industry association, radio's share of advertising revenue has shot up from around 9% to around 9%. It is still a creative wasteland and most radio advertising stinks in the ears. The reason for its inevitable death is that young people interested in new technology are not interested in radio. So radio promotions by stations for the young become more outlandish and tasteless, and programs for the aging baby boomers and their parents become more extremist or bland. The industry is desperate.
Case in point:
A bus stop poster for 2GB says: "Change someone's mind. Air your opinion." (LOL) For the uninitiated, 2GB is a whitebread AM radio station in Sydney, Australia which exploits the anxiety of the over 60s to generate advertising revenue. As such, it is a mild form of hate radio, carefully disguised as 'common sense', but big on bigotry. It's leading light is Allan Jones, a former speechwriter for right wing prime minister Malcolm Fraser (now a lefty), who chose radio because it gives him the power of a major political leader without the need to share the microphone with opponents or opposing views. This is why I choked on the propaganda line "Change someone's mind". There is no freedom of expression on 2GB, only the pre-digested views of Mr Jones and his band of imitators. They only let a dissenting voice throuigh on the lines so they can ridicule and humiliate them. Their aging and increasingly irrelevant listeners think in lockstep with their radio heroes. What makes Jones dangerous is that he has extraordinary intellectual horsepower and oratory to boot. He could perform miracles insolving the problems besetting mankind were he not so ideologically rusted onto a world view that sees the white bread middle class as the master race and anyone below them or not homogenised into a white bread "Aussie" is the source of all our problems. His worldview was dominant among the white warriors at Cronulla who 'cleaned up the Lebs'. He could entirely understand how they felt. Mr Jones and his ilk choose radio because of its peculiar psychological dynamic - it is a medium that works at the most personal, initmate level. Listeners can grow emotionally dependent on their radio relationships. Hitler discovered radio and used it to amplify the Numerberg rallies, to bring all of Germany to kneel at his feet. Goebells said the Nazis would not have succeeded without the power of radio in carrying the Nazis 'spiritual' message into the hearts and minds of the German middle classes. That was then. This is now. Digital radio is not due for release in Australia until 2012. By that time iPod and Internet applications will have engulfed the space it was to fill.
So, Radio. Remember the words of the famous thinker whose name escapes me just now: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." 9%. And with the Internet debuting at 6%, look out. That's where the techsavvy next generation of spenders the ad spenders are after will cluster.
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