NAB’s LeGeyt says radio is in transition position

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Radio must “build the screen” in vehicles

Posted: July 9, 2022

NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said broadcasters will need to leverage the screen and mobile experience in the car for radio to reach its full potential over the next decade.

Appearing this week on the Borrell Local Marketing Trends podcast – where he took on the 10-year challenge by projecting where radio will be in a decade – the NAB chief acknowledged that the broadcasting industry is in a period of disruption extremes.

“From a broadcast perspective, we see what’s happening in the media landscape and the different ways consumers access media content. All of that has been turned upside down by new technology, so there’s a lot of work to be done,” LeGeyt said during the podcast.

When LeGeyt looks at 2032, he sees local radio offering a proliferation of ways for listeners to find adjacent programming streams, podcasts, station apps, and subchannels.

“All of this will be powered by what’s happening in the dashboard. Everything will be packaged. Everything will be easily accessible to the listener,” LeGeyt said. “More and more, the in-car experience is a driven experience. per screen. There’s a lot of real estate that radio can work with, build that relationship with the listener, and expand the relationship through different brands.

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The radio industry continues to focus on building the screen, LeGeyt said. “I think 10 years from now it’s the screen-driven experience for broadcasters and these larger audio platforms that’s going to be a real differentiator. What I think is going to change about radio is [that] a local radio station will be able to build its brand beyond just the traditional AM and FM signal.

The challenges facing radio are many, as the Burrell Local Marketing Trends podcast highlights. In-car systems like Apply CarPlay and Android Auto provide more immersive on-screen experiences for listeners with more options. But there are bigger concerns facing broadcasters that stand in the way of their future success, LeGeyt says.

“The real bugbear for me is the fact that Congress is always slow to adapt its laws, especially in telecommunications, and to adapt to what is happening in the market. What worries me is the problem that everyone can see. Broadcasters are effectively competing with an arm tied behind their backs against tech platforms and other media nationwide.

[Related: “World Car Tech Trends Offer Risks and Opportunities to Radio“]

LeGeyt, who took over the leadership of NAB earlier this year, continued, “There are several possible resolutions. One is to allow broadcasters to be competitive and achieve that scale. Congress is reviewing media ownership laws and making a long overdue modernization to the national ownership cap. As well as the scale that can be gained for the benefit of investing in localism by increasing ownership in local markets. The other is big tech regulation.

As for the future of media consumption, LeGeyt said on the Borrell podcast that he believes local broadcasting will be an important part of bringing communities together and combating social media misinformation and the politicization of cable news.

“I think some of these technological innovations and media opportunities are symptoms of what is happening in society. I don’t see them as technological enemies of radio, but rather the trends that (the FCC) allows to proliferate are bad for democracy. And I think they create a lot of unhappiness,” LeGeyt said.

Therefore, local broadcasters must dub factual information, LeGeyt says, to a hyper local level.

“We have seen the disappearance of newspapers. Yet there are commercial opportunities for radio and television to fulfill the role of local newspapers. They have trusted local figures to help bridge the gaps.

“The benefit of radio is live and local and I believe radio will continue to thrive in that regard. Whether they distribute programs via a traditional terrestrial AM or FM signal, or whether content is consumed via an adjacent stream or podcast,” LeGeyt said.

Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell pointed to podcast data that showed more media buyers were preparing to spend more on social media advertising and banner ads, with fewer plans to invest money. money in radio in the future. “Radio is about half the rate of social media,” Borrell said. “Only the newspaper is lower in the list than radio and television.”

LeGeyt, however, remains optimistic that broadcasting – thanks to increased diversification of audio platforms – will present advertisers with a unique opportunity.

“There will be new business opportunities and partnerships with local advertisers. I think there’s a lot to do for local broadcasters to build that screen (to increase revenue),” LeGeyt said.

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