Radio Ink Magazine, a leading radio industry trade publication in the U.S., included Brad Kelly, Managing Director of Nielsen Audio, in its recently released annual list of the 40 Most Powerful People in Radio. This marks Brad’s fourth consecutive year of being included on the list.
Brad was among several top industry executives interviewed for Radio Ink’s highly anticipated print edition. In the midst of media fragmentation and new technologies, Brad emphasizes the longevity and relevance of radio.
“It’s not about ‘radio’ anymore,” he says as an unexpected opener. “Just like it’s not about TV, or any other media, for that matter. It’s only about consumers—the ones at the center of an advertiser’s universe. To advertisers, radio, like all media, is just a means to an end. Radio offers what they want: consumer influence at scale. The good news is that big brands are increasingly media agnostic. Their media plan from last year is no longer the roadmap forward. They understand that no one medium can do the job alone any longer. Cross-platform analytics are where things are quickly heading.”
“As an industry, radio folks are embracing the fact that they’re not in the business of pitching spots and packages anymore,” Brad continues. “We’re way past that now. For media sellers, today’s objective is to deliver holistic, cross-media messaging to the consumer that will resonate, imprint and influence. Radio still offers massive reach while also being targetable—a highly desirable advertising proposition in 2019. AM/FM radio has an important piece of the consumer puzzle. The objective now is to figure out how that piece fits together with the other pieces to bring the mosaic into focus.”
But there’s more to advertising than just reach. That’s where tools like consumer neuroscience and advanced analytics come into play, which Brad notes will play a significant role in the radio industry’s future revenue growth opportunities.
“We need to better understand how audio messaging actually works from a cognitive perspective,” Brad says. “Is it a coincidence that toddlers learn their ABCs by singing them? Or that you can still recall the words to every song on the radio from back when you were in high school? Nope. That’s a million years of evolution at work. Advertisers need compelling new insights into the power of sound—its psychological, physiological and emotional impact on us as human beings.”
On the topic of how to most effectively “tell radio’s story” amid the evolving media landscape, Brad contends that we haven’t always had the tools to do that. Today, however, we do.
“That all changed when digital pushed everyone into the deep end of the data pool,” he says. “The new insights coming from digital media were unprecedented. High-caliber ROI analytics, attribution, better modeling—the allure was undeniable and ad budgets followed.”
“Radio—and Nielsen Audio—have both had to evolve to stay relevant,” he continues. “With vastly improved data analytics, sharper skills and a more sophisticated approach, Nielsen is helping radio bring keener insights to the advertising marketplace. The new Nielsen Media Impact (NMI) cross-platform planning tool tells us that radio has much to offer marketers—such as incremental reach to capture both light and non-TV users. Add to that radio’s competitive ROI metrics, attribution and improved data for better modeling. Taken collectively, the ad sales playing field is more level than it’s ever been. Radio is proving that it has a great story for advertisers and an important role in any good marketing mix…And big advertisers are responding.”
Brad concludes that radio’s value proposition for today’s advertisers can best be summed up by what Nielsen Audio has coined, “The 6R’s of Radio: Remind, Register, Reinforce, Relate, Reach, Return.” In an ever-increasingly crowded media landscape, radio unquestionably remains a highly successful medium for bringing in consumers and generating sales for goods and services of all shapes and sizes.
Brad Kelly and his co-recipients of Radio Ink’s 2019 Most Powerful People in Radio award will be honored at a reception at the Harvard Club in New York City on Nov. 20, 2019.