Will This Innovation Come to Local Radio? Agencies Hope So.

2019 Radio Show Logo

If local radio stations could offer over-the-air geofenced broadcast zones, the industry stands to gain up to $750 million in incremental annual revenue, according to a recent BIA Advisory Services study.

Instead, radio stations have become the last major medium that can’t offer geotargeted content or ads in their local markets. With the launch of ATSC 3.0 (Next Gen TV), even local TV stations now have this capability.

Lowery Ferguson
SVP/Group Partner, Integrated Investment
Universal McCann

Universal McCaan’s Lowery Ferguson says, “the timing is perfect” to consider a local radio innovation that will make the platform more compelling to accounts like his client Coke who are looking for new ways to engage audio audiences. Lowery will be speaking on the Innovations in Local Radio: Zoned Coverage Areas Info-Session at the Radio Show, Thu Sept. 26 from 12:45-1:45. The session is sponsored by BIA client, GeoBroadcast Solutions, the company working to bring this innovation to market.

As Ferguson will explain on his Radio Show panel, agencies and clients like innovation, and without innovation local radio dollars will seep into digital audio budgets.

Ferguson says UM’s in the process of developing their “2020 Audio POV” are essentially working to justify media platform investments. He believes local radio remains a relevant and strong platform to engage audiences with their personalities and local branding in ways that digital audio platforms can’t match. However, the ability for digital audio to geotarget and reach certain audience segments is having an impact in how his clients activate media spending.

In their 2020 Audio POV, Ferguson plans to include potential developments in the zoned radio initiative. He’s disappointed it’s not already available and surprised the FCC does not currently allow radio stations to offer geofenced broadcast zones like local TV can with ATSC 3.0.

For more background on zoned radio advertising, check out this BIA Local Media Watch blog post.


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