The programming/sales divide in radio is becoming more ‘fluid’ says Amanda Keller

Radio panel at Mumbrella360 L:R Paul Murray, Amanda Keller, Michael Wipfli' Wippa', Ben Fordham, Merrick Watts

Radio panel at Mumbrella360 L:R Paul Murray, Amanda Keller, Michael Wipfli’ Wippa’, Ben Fordham, Merrick Watts

WSFM Breakfast host Amanda Keller has said the lines dividing sales from programming have recently become more “fluid” and that she believes the divide will further evolve in the coming years.

“In the old days, even a few years ago, as presenters that (advertising) wouldn’t be our role,” said Keller speaking at the Mumbrella360 conference. “We turn up to work and that was programming and that was separate from marketing, it was separate to social media, separate to sales.

“Now it far more fluid and I’m not naive enough to think that’s not the future.”

Keller made the remarks on a panel of radio hosts Nova’s Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli, Radio 2GB’s Ben Fordham and Triple M’s Merrick Watts, which was curated Commercial Radio Australia.

Drive host Watts backed Keller in how the separation between different parts of the radio business has changed but argued that it was important that brands and their agencies recognise they get the best value when their products are integrated seamlessly.

“Years ago it used to be that you would be integrated into the show, but then what happened is that we all started to get crazy and started to say we have to do more for clients,” said Watts.

“What happened is you were trying to construct a show around a client but the client wants to buy into the show for a reason. They are buying into the fabric of that show.

“If you create a show around their product then you are walking away from what they are buying in the first place.”

Watts argued in recent times agencies and clients were becoming aware of this risk and were now looking for better suited commercial relationships.

“What is starting to happen now… they are letting the show integrate the product and use it as a part of the show and then it will resonate better within the show.”

The Southern Cross Austereo host also talked about bad examples of product integration he had done including the time, with a previous employer, where he had been asked to do a live broadcast in a retail store when it closed.

“That was the first time I ever had a real blowup,” said Watts. “I told them I was embarrassed, that they had cheapened our brand, we got zero content, we were in store and people couldn’t even come see us.

“I don’t generally have a problem with brands and products. Recently where I said no was for breast augmentation – this was last year.

“I said no. They said you have to and I said I reckon I don’t. I’m a 40-year-old man and I’m not telling 22-year-old women to have their boobs done.”

Other presenters also cited their bad experiences.

“I had to do one for a handbag company and after a while I had to think: ‘I don’t think they are spending their money wisely’.” said 2GB host Ben Fordham.

“My show has lots of female listeners but it is mostly blokes and that was the one where I had to step in.”

Nic Christensen 


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