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John Purcell Describes how he is Striving to Change the Way we Think about Radio Advertising

Meet John Purcell

John Purcell is the CEO of KCLR, chairman of Independent Broadcasters Ireland and chairman of Radiocentre Ireland. Radiocentre Ireland is a new industry body created to promote the medium of radio to potential advertisers. The project runs research for a number of different agencies and they are currently recruiting a CEO. Radio advertising budgets have suffered at the hands of COVID-19, however, as pandemic restrictions ease, radio profits bounce back. Radio is still a very significant part of the Irish media landscape.

The size of the overall radio market is often underestimated. Radiocentre Ireland will soon establish a robust and reliable figure for advertisers to see. 92% of Ireland tunes in weekly to a radio station. “We just need to put our best foot forward” says John when describing his initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of radio in advertising.

The Importance of The Radio

Penetration of Irish radio is stunningly higher than public perception. Conducting research and putting together strong arguments is crucial for John to highlight the efficacy of advertising on radio, a public misconception has caused numerous brands to miss out on the fantastic opportunity radio presents as a media platform. The narrative that the prevalent radio audience is an ageing population is false, many young Irish people tune into the radio.

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What Makes the Radio Relevant?

Social media was not the demise of radio. Radio presents a more trustworthy source for a lot of people; they use it to stay informed and consider it more reliable than social media news. Online websites contain more statistics to back up the click through rates and effectiveness of their campaigns. However, trusting social media companies to report their own reach data gives them the power to fabricate it.

The research surrounding radio is broader but it has stricter regulations regarding audience manipulation. Radiocentre United Kingdom studied the listener behaviour and media consumption of people driving to get groceries and how advertisements affect their purchasing decisions. There are powerful examples proving radio’s influence on listeners. John believes there is data out there that can compete with other mediums such as television to prove radio’s impact.

Radio is community listening; multiple people can listen to a radio show at one time. Social media and web browsing are primarily solitary activities. Radio needs a voice in the marketing conversation to promote its strong engagement potential. Listeners of both National and local radio are very broad and representative of the diversity in Ireland, and radio provides a sense of community to its audience which has the potential to create a feeling of unity and minimize isolation. This feature of tuning into radio stations may have proven particularly advantageous throughout lockdowns.



Photo Credit: Elijah Merrell, Unsplash

Why Do People Love the Radio?

Radio programmes allow for freedom of choice. Different stations offer different programmes. Some channels have long discussions whereas others offer quick bites of information. Radio is a truly diverse way to discover news, business, culture and entertainment. Anything from public relations to advertisements can be curated effectively through the channel. In a broad sense companies may be remiss to ignore the potential for creativity and impact that radio offers. Attentive audiences are available through the airwaves and Radiocentre Ireland will endeavour to prove the value of radio for advertisers.

Listen to Ellen Gunning’s conversation with John Purcell on Spotify:

Originally aired on Dublin City FM’s Mediascope Programme.

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