Interview With The Radio Agency’s CEO Mark Lipsky

2011 at The Radio Agency
February 7, 2011

Interview With The Radio Agency’s CEO Mark Lipsky

Welcome to The Radio Agency’s blog “Sounding Board.” To kick things off we are chatting with our CEO Mark Lipsky about the expanded services of the agency, clients, and industry trends.

Aside from being an audio only agency what makes The Radio Agency unique?

Frankly, I can’t say I know of another advertising agency that does exactly what we do.

First off, 100% of our media billings go into radio and radio-driven campaigns. To the radio networks and Sirius XM and everyone else selling radio time, that makes our agency 14 times more valuable than a typical agency that places less than 7% of its media billings in radio. The other part of it is our people. Because our sole focus is radio, our people know the medium inside and out. And that holds true whether you’re talking about good old AM and FM or online streaming and retail trade promotion.  The Radio Agency is all things radio.

What is a frequently asked question from clients?

Most of our clients come to us with successful experience in another medium. They’ve mastered the metrics of television or print or online search and they’re anxious to transfer their success to radio. So we hear a lot of questions about managing costs, measuring results and media accountability. And once we share the systems we follow for success in radio, they’re usually both surprised and comforted, because it’s basically the same fundamentals as the media they’re used to using, just with buzzwords and jargon unique to radio.

What is a hard to spot pitfall that is critical for clients to avoid?

Probably the toughest battle we face is convincing new clients to be patient with the medium. And that’s ironic, because most of them have experience in other media where they have to change a font, or an offer, or the media mix or any of a dozen other variables before they find the right combination for profitability. Yet, when it comes to radio, they’re quick to want to pull the plug if the results aren’t there in Week One. The overwhelming majority of campaigns I’ve seen fail miss the mark because they’re underfunded or because someone got cold feet and pulled the plug too soon. The irony is that some of those folks come back a year later and want to know why their competition is still using radio when “radio doesn’t work.”

Looking out three to five years beyond the obvious trends what do you think will be the next big change in radio advertising?

I have no doubt that emerging technology will continue to shape the way people use radio and the way marketers use the medium. Right now, you have millions of people listening to Sirius XM or Pandora or Internet Radio stations through their smart phones patched into their car radios. Eventually – and the auto industry has been half-promising, half-threatening this for years – we’ll have WiFi access through our car dashboards. When that happens, look out! You’ll have 10,000+ stations at your fingertips, plus the ability to create your own stations. Just like TV thinned the audience from three major networks to a thousand choices, radio – check that – audio entertainment will follow a similar path. And while it’ll take a more savvy media team to effectively place and manage your campaign in sound, usage of the overall medium will continue to rise. Radio has always been the most portable entertainment medium and wireless access to infinite content will only expand the size of the candy shop.