Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB
According to Gary Shapiro, CES president and CEO, CES is a “beacon of hope and optimism” that starts the new year on a positive note. “Be in it” was the theme of 2023, and radio was there.
As an annual event, CES delivers glimpses into the near future bringing together technology and the importance of personalization. While technology may have been at the forefront, the focus was on the consumer experience.
RAB covered this event and spoke with representatives of various organizations who shared their views on implications, opportunities and possibilities for radio, as well as advertisers to connect and engage with listeners. There were consistent themes: technology, content and opportunity.
“Everything is evolving. It’s not going to stay the same. So it is important for us to change so we can continue to grow.” – Caroline Beasley, Beasley Broadcast Group
“The rapidity of which everything is changing is breathtaking. All if it facilitates a better radio experience. It enhances what we (radio) do. It’s an unfolding revelation.” – Ed Atsinger, Salem Media Group
“It’s unbelievable how much automotive is becoming a sector of this show. How exciting of an opportunity it is for the radio industry. We’re no longer restricted to being a one-dimension industry. We no longer have to think of ourselves as audio. There is a huge theater available in vehicles and the technology is now there that we can be a big part of that.” – Steve Newberry, Quu Interactive
“Fearless imagination. As technology accelerates, that dramatically impacts us as radio broadcasters. We owe it to our listeners and our industry to be as informed as we can.” – Sheri Lynch, The Bob & Sheri Show
“Our competitive advantage is local. In innovating in the way we deliver locally focused programming and leveraging (radio) assets whether through our linear stations, podcasting, streaming… All the different ways that we can engage with our audiences and offer a uniquely ‘boots on the ground’ local experience – that is where we are going to win.” – Curtis LeGeyt, National Association of Broadcasters
“As a broadcaster, you are content creators and a storyteller. Your ability to connect with your listeners and communicate to them and foreshadow some of the crazy changes that are coming their way. There is a real relevance to that.” – Steve Jones, Skyview Networks
“The tech has evolved but what the core business is, is can you tell a great story and can you make me believe it. The rest will take care of itself. It always has and I promise you, it always will.” – Shelly Palmer, The Palmer Group
“We know that broadcast radio is always there in those last few miles before a person goes into a store. We know that that is a place of conversion. But now consider how those XR (extended reality) moments can enhance and confirm those steps into that store. Imagine and on-air personality, an on-air influencer, is talking about said product. Those products can suddenly reveal themselves around the person. That is how you can create a kind of extended reality experience, that takes from what just a radio show, suddenly becomes an inclusive experience where the listener is now engaging where they are in ways that they never could before.” – Rahul Sabnis, iHeartMedia
“With economic headwinds coming at us, marketers are going to have to make hard decisions and go back to fundamentals. They are going to go back to ‘I need to deliver my brand objectives. I need to deliver engagement and I need to deliver performance.’ You are going to see audio playing across the entire funnel. So that reach and precision and total audio across the funnel is where I think it is going to go in 2023.” – Paul Suchman, Audacy
So, with all these observations, the big question is, with all this technology impacting businesses, categories and consumers, is radio is still relevant? The answer is yes.
According to Karen Bernard with Stellantis, radio will always have a role in the dash. ”We’ll always have room for AM and FM. I love to listen to sports talk radio and that’s (radio) is where I need to find it.”
Radio delivers results as well. “It (radio) does something that no other platforms can do, in terms of having that local relationship; the one-to-one captive audience where people tune in to hear that local host or local podcast that they really love and going back to every week,” stated Ashley Menschner, The Ad Council. “It’s got a much more rabid following that some of the other platforms might. We see huge value in radio.”
If you would like to watch RAB’s full CES coverage, click here.