1. What’s the best thing about your job? (Be honest!)
Official answer: The variety and breath of client challenges, the constantly evolving marketplace and the people I work with.
Off the record: The radio industry is the only medium where everybody works together and genuinely likes each other. For me the best example is the monthly POG (Palms Of Goa curry club) where radio representatives from Starcom, MediaVest, Carat, PHD, Arena, First and GTN get together to discuss the industry’s deepest issues (amongst other topics) over a Cobra, 21 prawn butterfly and a few mince patties.
2. What’s your favourite station and which radio programmes do you listen to?
I probably listen to Kiss or Absolute the most (guilty pleasure – Smooth) but I don’t really have a favourite radio station, I will generally flick to find something to match my mood. I do however avoid the BBC out of a strange sense of loyalty to commercial radio (not sure why!?!). Show wise, I’ve started listening to Andy Goldstein on Talksport, the guy had me in stitches at our Radioweek back in December, which is a vast improvement from his patter as a Channel 4 sales rep back in the early 00′s.
3. What radio campaign are you most proud of working on?
I would have to say the effective frequency partnership with Autoglass and a number of Salespoints across the industry. It was far from a branding piece with all the trimmings, it investigated at what point increased frequency levels started to show diminishing returns. The findings were staggering and blew out the age old saying of ’4OTH being a medium weight campaign’.
4. Which radio campaigns have caught your ear recently?
The Tetley Decaf sponsorship on Smooth Radio with the comeback of the tea folk, Smooth have utilised the voice of Gaffer to voice the sponsorship and on-air promotion, very nostalgic. I also like the Monster.co.uk advert for a bit of standout and humour.
5. What’s the biggest hurdle you have to overcome to get radio on the schedule, and how do you manage this?
Not showing up on Econometrics use to be the most common, but luckily at SMV our analytics and DR team are amongst the best in the business. They have plenty of experience and analysis to help present radio’s case for inclusion. One of the other major hurdles is the perception piece both with planning teams and clients. On occasion it maybe that they don’t listen to radio themselves, maybe it’s a lack of understanding or potentially it’s just their views are based on radio of 10 years ago. This is a constantly evolving challenge that requires an ongoing report. A recent initiative to address this issue was SMV’s Radioweek where we showcased live how radio can answer our client’s briefs. This was presented as a weeks long station with personalised programmes dedicated to our staff and clients. This opened a lot of doors for radio across the board and can be deemed a real success as some of the ideas created off the back of this will be going live soon.
6. What’s your view on what the big trend in media will be this coming year and how do you think it will it affect radio?
I think 2012 will be the year of voice activation and gesture. This technology is starting to become more mainstream with gadgets such as XBox’s Kinect and smart apps such as Sirius. The functional advantages for the consumer are fairly obvious, but for advertisers the opportunities are vast and exciting. I’m not sure this will have a major affect on radio in 2012 as this area is still in its infancy, but I can see the days of more interactive competition radio mechanics just round the corner.
7. What was your local station when you were growing up?
Kiss 100 or Capital 95.8.
8. Which DJ best defines your youth?
Dr Fox and the Pepsi Network Chart show.
9. What was the first album you bought?
I never really bought albums before my early teens as I used to just “borrow” my Brothers and keep them. I seem to remember commandeering Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by MC Hammer & Fog on the Tyne by Paul Gascoigne on LP and I think the first CD was his “To The Extreme” by Vanilla Ice.
10. If you weren’t working in radio, what would you be doing?
If I never fell into the industry I’d like to think I would still be working in a social environment. I enjoy cooking so something like running a restaurant or a pub. If I was still in media but had stayed as a TV Buyer I would probably still be spotmatching face cream and sanitary towels for Matt Landeman at Carat.
Archive for February, 2012
I was reminded recently of how easy it can be for received wisdom to influence how we do our research and how important it is to recognise received wisdom when confronted with it and to question it.
Let me explain…
I was working with an fmcg advertiser to set up a radio test for a major household brand. We wanted to measure radio’s impact on sales using a standard geographical test and control structure.
Now finding the right test and control areas can be challenging at the best of times (I won’t expand on this now but if there’s sufficient interest I might write a separate blog on it in the future). Suffices to say that, after a lot of investigation, two areas in the North were by far the best candidates for the job:-
- Manchester and Liverpool in the North West for the test
- Leeds and Sheffield in Yorkshire for the control
So far so good…but then the question arose as to whether people travelling from one area to another could damage the integrity and robustness of the test. What if someone living in Leeds heard the radio ad when they were in the car travelling to Manchester for example? Surely quite a few people do this, don’t they?…or do they?
Suddenly our plan looked like being scuppered by a creeping doubt. And whilst my own instinct was that in reality the numbers cross-commuting wouldn’t be very big and certainly not enough to impact on our test, I was going to need more than just a hunch to allay everyone’s concerns.
An hour or two of intensive desk research later and I had enough evidence to substantiate my hunch. For example, data from the ONS Annual Population Survey showed not only that the average commuting distance was significantly less than the distances between my test and control cities, but also that over 96% of residents in both Leeds and Sheffield worked in their immediate surrounding areas with no significant numbers of residents travelling as far afield as Manchester to work.
So our test methodology was robust after all – phew!
I’ve come to two conclusions from all of this. Firstly, received wisdom can occasionally be a useful catalyst for stress-testing a particular methodology (in this case for example it was right for someone to ask the question, if only to make us check the facts). Secondly, and I think most importantly, received wisdom should never be the only premise on which we make a final decision. If in doubt, ask yourself “Where is this assumption coming from? And why should I believe it?”
As researchers we should always challenge accepted norms and beliefs to get the best out of our research. And let’s face it, it also makes our jobs more interesting…after all who wants to just do what they are told?!
So back to my day job where I wait with baited breath for the results of our radio test…