$12.00 an hour. That is how much I made in my first career as a morning show host in Santa Barbara. For 6 years I got up at 5:45 am and rode my bike to the radio station because I really couldn’t afford to fix my jeep. I had guns pulled on me, death threats, and at one point I had to wrestle the female sumo champion of the US. However, it was my dream job and honestly if I could go back and do it all over again I would do the exact same thing. Being on the radio also led to finding my fiancé, getting on MTV, and making some of the best friends I could ever want. The fact is – I would have done it for free. However, the world changes and around 2007 the radio industry started to feel the squeeze from the Internet. Both radio and Google exist solely on advertising and were competing for the same monetary resource, and while a company can advertise on both mediums they often don’t. When you give a perspective advertiser a choice between the two this is how it breaks down:
- An exact measurement system where you target an audience who is already searching for your product or service.
- A system where you have no real idea how many people listened to or responded to your ads, who may or may not even care.
The choice is obvious to any advertiser – open up the mac and start creating ads. However, I am writing this article not to lament the death of radio, but to talk about the moment I realize the Internet would crush traditional media.
One of the best things for me about radio was that it gave me the chance to explore the Internet realm of content production. It all originally happened by accident when I had my co-host film an interview I conducted. In 2007, I interviewed B list athlete Sam Cassel and unlike other interviews I did, I chose to post this on YouTube as well as play it on the air. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually performing my first split test. The exact same audio went out over the air as it did on Youtube in the exact same timeframe. I was shocked to see first-hand how the Internet crushed traditional media. Here are some stats to show what I mean:
- Reached about 30,000 people estimated
- Received about 6 phone calls
- Article in the local paper
- Pay for bit probably $24 total
- Reached 400.000 people on Youtube alone
- 1,200 comments
- Shown on Best Damn Sports Show, Vh1, and Sports Illustrated
- Payment from shows and advertising over $1,000
Content marketing on the Internet is how I mainly consume my media these days, and that makes sense when I think about it. The difference is broadcasting vs. narrowcasting. Traditional media such as TV, radio and the soon to be gone newspapers have to broadcast – their goal is to reach the maximum number of people. To reach the maximum number of people they have to make journalistic compromises and air nothing too shocking or spicy. This is why you see “news” reports (quotes are on purpose) about how a local youngster beat the heat. Traditional media shoots for the middle and by trying not to turn anyone off, they actually are turning many people off. I call this the “how about this weather syndrome”. When you are waiting at a bus stop and a stranger comes up to you and says “How about this weather?” you aren’t mad – but you also don’t really care. Now imagine if this stranger narrow-casted and was able to talk about exactly what you found interesting. Maybe they come up and say, “I think that Use Your Illusion I is way better than Use Your Illusion II” First off they would be right, but second off it would directly impact you because you really care about Guns n’ Roses (in this example).
The Internet beats traditional media and will continue to beat traditional media like Ivan Drago beat Apollo Creed (RIP). As a digital marketing community lets celebrate this and push our medium to the limits. I find this to be incredibly exciting that we have the opportunity to be innovators. We are like Guttenberg except with more lolcats. I see creativity and enthusiasm that blows my mind almost daily online. Interactive infographics, creative videos, and games that would have made my Contra playing head explode years ago have become the norm. With this mixed media approach and the ability to narrowcast, and we are be able to reach a receptive audience with unique and high quality content – so let’s take advantage of it!