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SCBA to Auto Dealers: Radio is the Better Ad Buy

“TV … please move over. Radio is back … faster, smarter, and ready to deliver real value as a true business partner to the auto industry in southern California and the nation.”

So says the Southern California Broadcasters Association.

SCBA President Thom Callahan describes the growing audience erosion of TV and pure plays in his latest blog, reaffirming the rising growth of southern California radio. He introduces a SCBA initiative to help regional auto dealer associations reach more customers more profitably by using more radio.

“The auto industry in Southern California and the nation is facing a challenging year ahead with record new model introductions as well as a looming factory incentive battle among most manufacturers,” says Callahan. “This spells trouble for dealer profitability and makes the need to reevaluate traditional radio/TV spending levels as an immediate focus.”

While radio is considered an integral part of most auto dealers’ media plans, it is still local TV that gets the lion’s share of the ad budgets, says Callahan. For perspective, total ad spending through November 2013 for auto dealer associations alone for the Los Angeles market area was allocated as follows:

  • TV spending — $221,051,218
  • Radio spending — $34,086,440
  • Newspaper — $4,061,213
  • Digital/Search — N/A

The SCBA Auto Focus Report will be a detailed look at dealer association ad spending levels for radio and TV and compare those budgets to actual sales by dealership, according to Callahan. Using verified Polk auto data to document sales by dealership, the SCBA Auto Focus Report will create custom solutions and recommendations for each participating dealer association, the group says.

“The driving force behind our new SCBA Auto Focus Report is simple math,” according to Callahan. “If radio can reach more new and conquest auto customers, at a fraction of the cost of TV, then now is the time to shift more ad budgets to radio,” he says rather than “just waving a ‘Radio is great’ flag.”

“We have a compelling story to tell about cost of sales, profitability and bringing substantive value to radio’s relationship with the auto industry,” he says.