By Dave Vergin, VP, Sales and Business Development
Radio News Media Monitoring Now Available Beyond Top 100 Markets
Whenever an organization embarks upon a new endeavor that has taken a long time to plan and implement it is hard not to get caught up in the rush of excitement. When the new endeavor makes you and your team groundbreakers and pioneers the excitement is magnified. News Data Service recently announced that radio monitoring is now available beyond the top 100 markets. I am excited to be part of the pioneering announcement. It took a lot of expense, planning and effort and now we are in a new era.
Better Understand How Radio Fits Into Your Media Messaging Mix
I have been providing media monitoring information to clients for over 15 years. During that time, I have had the occasion to provide limited radio monitoring information and clipping for clients. Now, for the first time ever, I can say that it is possible to really understand how your radio media fits into the media messaging mix. It would seem amusing that radio, the third oldest medium for communicating (behind word of mouth and print/pictures) would just now be able to be monitored well. After all, we are communicating via the internet around the world in milliseconds every day.
Monitoring Radio is a Unique Challenge
However, radio monitoring provided its own unique set of monitoring challenges that have taken the advent of new technologies to overcome. When I first joined the media monitoring industry, I had the opportunity to visit with a large and influential public relations agency looking out at a beautiful skyline over Lake Michigan. I was joined by my new boss and one of the pioneers of the media monitoring industry. At the end of the presentation, I was asked by one of the participants when I would be able to provide more information from radio so that they could share it with their clients. I was asked by our company’s executive and founder to take a seat. He wanted to address that question.
Politely, I took a seat and listened to his explanation. I was surprised by his candor. He talked about what it was like to start and run a business that was dedicated to providing media monitoring information. He spoke about inventories, revenue and expenses. He explained that media monitoring was done by salaried employees who spent long hours indexing and logging information. He explained that TV News only occurs a few hours each day on a few stations in each market while radio news can occur 24/7. He then said that despite the expenses he incurs logging and indexing thousands of hours of programming daily, only ½ of 1% was purchased regularly by clients. As a result, he said that due to the economics of the time, radio monitoring expenses exceed demand.
Since that meeting, the ways and means of monitoring broadcast has shifted. Technology has provided significant improvements. News Data Service still provides some hand logging of broadcast content. However, closed caption text has replaced much of the hand logging in TV monitoring.
New Technology Solves Past Radio Monitoring Problems
Up until recently, radio was a different story. Closed captioning text does not exist for radio. The advent of new technologies that allow us to speak to and be understood by technology, like Siri on iPhones and iPads, has also meant improvements in speech to text technology. News Data Service employed speech- to-text experts to assist us with overcoming the challenges of yesterday in radio monitoring. After much testing, planning and effort I can now tell a different story than my predecessor did when I visit the beautiful offices of my clients that overlook fantastic skylines.
Radio monitoring now exists and I am proud and excited to be part of organization that has undertaken this initiative to make it so.