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  • Writer's pictureStephen Pollock

Digital revived the radio star.

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

When the Buggles released their classic track, “Video killed the radio star”, they were on to a good thing. MTV had just launched, with their first ever broadcast song being the aforementioned epitaph.

Talk about rubbing it in.

Video was indeed huge. You no longer had to travel hundreds of miles to see your favourite band. You just switched on your television. Stuck in a tape. And there they were. Your favourite band. Full colour. And the same size as you would have seen them from the back of a stadium.

Who the hell needed radio? Okay, maybe mom and dad. And grandpa Pete, of course.

But then digital came along, and it too was in a killing mood. And how better to assert its dominance than by destroying the reigning media world champion?

So, they squared off. In the one corner, you had video, hefty and armed to the teeth with terrestrial television, VHS, Betamax, video machines, and, its most famous poster child, and visual spectacular of its time, the moon landing.

And in the other, you had digital. What did it have? Well, for one thing it was losing weight rapidly. Practically anaemic. What started off a mighty behemoth, intimidating the world with servers the size of rooms, was on its way to fitting in a pocket.

The prediction was obvious. Experienced Sumo wrestler crushes young upstart, with its terminal case of the shrinks.

That’s not what happened, is it?

And then digital, flush with victory, looked at the radio star, lying there, twitching in its death throes, and revived it.


Because digital doesn’t see radio as its competitor. Quite the opposite. Digital knows that to grow even bigger, well, smaller, it could use a friend in the broadcasting business.

And there’s no greater proof of this than radio advertising.

· Champion of brand browsing

Studies show that when exposed to a brand’s radio advertising, listeners are over 50% more likely to browse that brand-name. Which makes it amazing for web-centric categories, like insurance and online meal ordering.

· Cost effective ally

An average brand assigns only 10% of its media spend to radio. That means that radio is four times more cost-effective at driving brand browsing online than other broadcast media.

· Quick off the mark

Well, that’s obvious. Digital thinks in terms of a millionth of a blink in the eye. So, radio must be nimble. Research shows that 58% of all browsing stimulated by radio takes place within 24 hours of hearing the ad.

· A friend that gets it

Radio was never like TV. For a start, it doesn’t spoon feed its audience with visual cues, and signposts saying, “This way to the joke”. Radio leaves the magic to people’s imagination, just like digital does, with over 7 billion potential creators worldwide.

· And a bugle that calls to arms

The best radio ads make no bones about it. They know their place in the ecosystem. They drive listeners online with a simple call to action. Visit king of the world dot com. And then it’s over to you, digital.

So, ja, who’d have thought that video’s victory would have been pyrrhic? In fact, to paraphrase another classic, rumours of radio’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

Visit and see how we can help your brand, online and off.

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