NTR and Small Market Radio: A Necessity for Survival

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Non-traditional revenue (NTR) has been one of the main buzzwords in the broadcast world for the past 10 years. Although a lot of focus has been put on NTR, the concept and several of the practices of NTR for radio stations have been around nearly as long as commercialized radio. By definition, NTR is any means by which a radio station brings in revenue through means other than on-air spot sales. Until about 15 years ago, this meant that NTR revolved around events and promotions. With the advent of widespread Internet usage and other technological advances through the 1990s, several new avenues for NTR have opened.

The advent of new media has been both a blessing and a curse for the traditional forms of media in print, television and radio. The Internet alone, bringing with it the ability to perform the basic tasks of delivering print information, streaming audio, and streaming video, brought forth a means for non-broadcast enterprises to produce and distribute audio and video content in a far more efficient and cost effective way. These changes challenged traditional media providers by bringing regardless of whether they are traditionally a radio station, newspaper, or television station.

The Internet's potential in bringing NTR opportunities to media outlets is a double-edged sword in that the Internet's ease of access and relatively low costs make it easy for a business to do a large portion of its marketing without involving traditional media outlets to purchase advertising. This has made media selling more difficult nationally as businesses explore other avenues to more directly reach consumers.

Pre-new media marketing avenues

Figure 1. Pre-new media marketing avenues. Click image to enlarge. Source: RAB

Businesses are moving toward the Internet and other NEW Media for their marketing needs. Instant response, unlimited access and a global perspective make it hard for the small station to compete. What used to be a viable marketing strategy is now almost obsolete. Flyers, coupon books, direct mail and even the plain newspaper have been replaced with new media ideas.

Instant everything makes the old media a dinosaur just waiting for final extinction. If a station wanted to expand its listener base before the Internet, there were limited options, as shown in Figure 1.

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