We saw dashboards that had multiple presets allowing listeners to go from Pandora to NPR to and iTunes account in the same way they use radio presets now. We heard one young woman say, “Poor FM. I don’t listen to it anymore because I don’t have to,” as she described how she used to listen in her old car and how her new car has her spending time with other alternatives. Others on the video explained how they use radio, and it was clear that the hands-free environment changes how they access radio. And the radio people in the audience saw clear evidence for how they need to talk to their audience to make sure their station ends up as one of the alternatives sought out in the connected car.
Rosin pointed out that these connected car drivers will listen to radio only when radio offers unique, compelling, live and local content they can’t get anywhere else. One major advertiser, Fred Sattler, EVP/Managing Director for Initiative + in Los Angeles — he controls advertising for Hyundai and Kia — reinforced that radio won’t hang on to advertisers unless it is offering live, local content. He said syndicated air personalities are not unique enough to the local town, the local dialogue, and the needs of the local community to interest him as an advertiser in a connected car environment. That means some radio companies today are moving away from radio’s best remaining strength: unique local content.
It’s impossible to summarize a two-day event here, but a good starter is checking the Twitter hashtag #DASHAudio. Frankly, those not in the room who sent representatives to report back will get bullet points, but may well miss the essence of what those who were there received. I suspect every radio person who attended is already changing things about their strategy as a result of lessons learned at DASH.
And some of those lessons were hard to swallow. For instance, a panel of local car dealers who were previously giant radio spenders revealed why, in a couple of cases, radio has fallen off their radar and budgets have been shifted elsewhere. Jaws in the room dropped when we learned that part of the migration away from radio could have been prevented. More jaws dropped when dealers discussed radio’s lack of data and proof of performance compared to Pandora.