Blog Articles

68% of All Local Radio Spots are “Dead on Arrival!”


Two-thirds of all local radio commercials tested in Philadelphia are failures. That might actually be good news.

“Facial Coding” is a form of research based on evaluating the facial reactions subjects have to various stimuli - a way to measure their emotional reaction and engagement. The science has been around since 1978, it’s effective, and one of the leaders in the field is a company called Sensory Logic.

What does Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino Have to do with Morning Shows?

Unicorn Frappuccino

Over the past seven days Starbucks brilliantly captured millions of dollars in free publicity with its version of a morning show stunt. You could hardly find a late-night TV monologue, or a Facebook community, that didn’t include some comment about the Unicorn Frappuccino.       

Why would Starbucks create a drink that, according to most reviews, tasted like sour birthday cake - and then only make it available for three days? It’s all about the buzz. And I can’t think of an industry or product that benefits more from “buzz” than a radio station and/or its morning show.

What Can Radio Learn from Paintball?

You don’t hear much about paintball lately, but at its peak in 2004-2006 nearly as many people played paintball in America as played baseball - over 12 million people were shooting at each other for fun. Beginning in 2006, though, paintball suffered a horrendous decline; by 2016 annual participation had declined by over 70%, to about 3.5 million players.

How’s Your Gender Gap?

Photo Copyright Shao-chun Wang |

One day I found myself in a video editing suite with four radio execs as we watched and commented on the editing of a TV commercial for their female-targeted radio station. At one point a spirited debate broke out over whether to include or delete a specific image from the spot. The arguments for and against boiled down to variations on two statements, which were:

What We Learned From 2,000 Women

What Women Want Study 2017

As we wrapped up the last presentation of data from the public portions of the “What Women Want-2017,” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood and I compared notes on what we thought was most significant from the study. Several people have asked me what I thought was the best or most surprising thing to emerge from the research. I learned a couple of new tricks from this year’s data, but to me the very best thing about the study was getting another strong reminder of just how powerful radio truly is. Radio is the ultimate survivor; if cockroaches are the only life form still around at the end of the world, they will be listening to radio.