Local Radio Set to Offer Over-the-Air Geotargeting with Proposed FCC Rule

The advertising community is very supportive of the FCC’s proposed rule change adopted in November (and released yesterday) that would allow FM radio stations to provide limited content origination. This change would include the ability to offer geotargeted ads, news, weather and other content enhancements to serve diverse audience and advertiser needs.

GeoBroadcast Solutions petitioned the Commission for the rule change so that technologies like its ZoneCasting solution using FM boosters in synchronized single frequency networks would be available to FM broadcasters for use on a voluntary basis to create hyperlocal broadcast zones inside their main coverage areas.

Two major figures in local radio buying from MAGNA and Amplifi filed in support of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and are excited the initiative is moving forward.

Kathy Doyle, EVP, Managing Director, MAGNA

Kathy Doyle, EVP, Managing Director of Local Investment at MAGNA stated, “We are very much looking forward to adoption of this rule change by the FCC. Permitting OTA geo-targeting of radio ads will bring a more informed approach to linear audio and will enable a move to audience informed investment.”

Jennifer Hungerbuhler, EVP Managing Director, Amplifi

Jennifer Hungerbuhler, EVP Managing Director, Amplifi, the media investment group for Dentsu shared that, “We are excited that the FCC has adopted the rule change that will allow over -the- air geotargeting of radio ads that could help local radio broadcaster and agencies like ours. By enabling them to offer geo-targeted advertisements as well as programming, including traffic, weather, alerts and warnings.”

BIA Advisory Services and Advertiser Perceptions collaborated in a joint research project to quantify the interests of “Main Street” and “Madison Avenue” advertisers in local radio over-the-air geotargeting. According to the report, nearly all (90 percent) of Main Street (local and regional brands and agencies) and half (49 percent) of Madison Avenue (national brands and agency buyers) reported they “are likely to spend more on broadcast radio due to ZoneCasting.”

Source: BIA Advisory Services, Dec 2020

The ability for local radio to offer multiplatform integrated ad solutions combining broadcast and digital goes right to the heart of where the ad industry is moving.

BIA’s new forecast for 2021, which will be released Dec. 3, shows local Radio’s top three verticals will buy $6 billion of local radio stations’ broadcast and digital inventory in 2021. These business verticals are also heavy buyers of digital advertising.

One major broadcast group’s annual surveys of its hundreds of local sellers consistently finds that their clients cite geotargeting as their number one priority in the digital inventory (website, mobile apps, streaming) radio stations sell.

The ability for local radio to offer integrated geotargeting for both over-the-air and digital advertising campaigns shows great promise for increasing radio’s competitiveness in winning share of wallet in the local ad market that continually shifts pend to digital.

Disclosure: GeoBroadcast Solutions is a strategic advisory client of BIA Advisory Services.

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