Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells

Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells

’Tis the season for holiday cheer, and radio stations across the country are ready. Some stations, including “94.5 Prime FM” in Salina, KS, and “Mix 94.5” WMXL in Lexington, KY transitioned to an all-Christmas format on Halloween. “97.9 The River” WMGA in Huntington, WV flipped the switch even earlier, in mid-October.


SMI monitors music format changes across all the stations our clients’ ads air on, and we notify clients of impending format changes so they can make marketing decisions accordingly.

“We have a comprehensive list of stations that flip each year, and we dust it off in early October as we plan for Holiday campaigns that lean heavily into the format,” said SMI’s Senior Media Buyer Pam Wolfgram. “The station list doesn’t vary much year-to-year, but the timing of the switch can change,” she said. 

By Thanksgiving, 100% of stations that are going to change their format have done so, Wolfgram said. “We track change dates in Media Monitors so that we can accurately inform our Evergreen campaigns of any flips,” Wolfgram said. 

The format change brings with it added listeners, roughly a 40% AQH (average quarter-hour audience) increase, according to Wolfgram. Added listenership brings with it the potential for increased customer response. As a result, SMI’s clients tend to be optimistic about the format change, Wolfgram said.    


Do you want to reach growing audiences with radio this holiday season? Contact Strategic Media, Inc. to get started today.

SMI’s Lisa Risk on Podcast Movement Panel

SMI’s Lisa Risk on Podcast Movement Panel

SMI’s Podcast Strategist Lisa Risk shared her expertise as a panelist at Podcast Movement, the world’s largest podcast conference, which took place in Denver, Colorado in August. 


Risk participated alongside other podcast industry professionals in a panel titled What do buyers want from the podcasting industry?” Panelists discussed current challenges faced by podcast advertisers. For instance, there is a lack of industry standards in terms of measurement and attribution, and in what is considered a download. According to Risk, “There are several third-party options for data, measurement, and attribution currently available. They are all very similar but each has unique aspects.” Risk said that with a shift from baked-in to dynamic ad insertion (DAI) for ad delivery, there has also been a shift from selling and buying by download to selling and buying by impression. But there is some discrepancy regarding what counts as an impression. If an ad is served twice in one listening experience or downloaded episode, for instance, does that count as two impressions? “In my opinion, it should count as one,” said Risk, “but many groups are counting those as two impressions.”

According to Risk, adding impression caps of delivery to schedules could prevent advertisers from hitting the same listener over and over again. “But there are no industry standards around that,” she said, “and only some groups are even able to do it.”

The panel also discussed why podcasting and audio perform poorly in mixed media modeling (MMM). On this topic, Risk said that audio does not have the same reach and lift that we see from video, and overall lift is how these studies are measured. But, Risk said, “When we look at structured tests with measurable KPI’s, we can see and measure the impact of audio.”

Despite certain challenges, Risk said there are new sources of new money coming into podcasting. Podcast budgets often come from digital and TV. “Brands are seeing success with digital and look to podcast to further growth,” she said.


“Transparency and industry standards are two important pieces that buyers want from industry partners and networks,” Risk said. But even as the industry moves toward these things, the podcast medium continues to be an exciting, profitable medium for advertisers looking to grow their brand.

Want to learn how you can grow your brand on podcasts? Contact SMI today to hear our expert recommendations for reaching new audiences on podcast.

Podcasters are More Influential than Social Media Influencers, Study Finds

Podcasters are More Influential than Social Media Influencers, Study Finds

A new study by Magna’s Media Trials and Vox Media shows that podcasters are one of today’s most influential figures in media. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they value podcasters’ influence more than they value that of social media influencers (15%) and TV/movie celebrities (10%). As Inside Radio put it, “podcasters have effectively dethroned social influencers.

The study found that podcasts fill a void that shorter-form content cannot. “While short form content satisfies dwindling attention spans, podcasts deliver on the high-quality, in-depth information consumers crave,” the report said. Listeners said podcasts offer more in-depth information and exposure to current topics than other media, including social media and video apps like TikTok. Seventy-nine percent said they see podcasts as being superior to social media content, and 80% said they feel like they are friends with fellow listeners as they listen to a podcast.


My big takeaway from this is how connected listeners are with podcasts,” Lee Syatt, Podcast Operations at SMI, said of the study. “No one feels like they are friends with their favorite actor.” Syatt believes the frequency of podcasts helps evoke a sense of connection. “Podcasts allow listeners into the daily lives and homes of their favorite hosts. Most television shows do 20 episodes a year if they are lucky,” he said. “There are big breaks between seasons, sometimes lasting more than a year. A popular podcast can release at least 50 episodes a year, and many release episodes multiple times a week which can bring their total to well over 100 episodes a year. Podcasts to me, at their best, are a long voicemail from the funniest, most interesting, and entertaining people in the world, delivered for free.” 


According to the report, “Intimacy becomes influence.” Syatt agrees that the connection listeners feel with podcast hosts helps with advertising. “Listeners feel like they are helping out a friend when they support a show’s sponsor,” said Syatt. The study found that 88% of respondents engage in activities to support their favorite podcasters outside of the podcast. Those activities could include purchasing a product advertised on the show. 


Fifty-one percent of respondents reported being persuaded by a podcast ad to buy or try a product. For Millennials, that number rose to 70%. 

I think one reason for the higher value that people are putting onto podcast host recommendations has to do with the way the medium it consumed,” said Lisa Risk, SMI’s Podcast Strategist. “Podcast listeners actively seek out their favorite show or host in order to listen to the show, usually by subscribing to a show and having it auto-download or by searching for the show each time they listen. In contrast, many social media and TV ads are consumed while scrolling through social media or flipping through the TV channels.”


Podcast listeners actively seek out podcast content, are highly engaged while listening to it, and actively engage in supporting their favorite podcasters. And podcast audiences are exploding. According to the report, monthly podcast listenership is expected to grow by double digits in the next five years, with an estimated 60% of Americans listening to podcasts at least once a month.

Want to hear your brand on the most influential medium? Contact SMI today to find out how you can advertise on podcasts.

2022 NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists Announced

2022 NAB Marconi Radio Award Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2022 NAB Marconi Radio Awards have been announced. Named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the awards honor radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities for excellence in radio.

Winners will be announced Oct. 19 during NAB Show New York. In the meantime, SMI’s Senior Media Buyers Pamela Wolfgram and Josh Knock share a few of our favorites:

WTOP-FM, Washington, DC, nominated for:

  • Major Market Station of the Year 
  • Legendary Radio Manager of the Year (Joel Oxley)
  • Best Radio Podcast of the Year for “American Nightmare Season 2: Murder in a Safe Place” 

“I’m not surprised at all to see WTOP nominated in multiple categories!” said Pam Wolfgram, Senior Media Buyer. “I like WTOP in DC because of the monster Metro footprint in prime; what clients don’t often realize about this station is that they’re getting about 20% extra impressions from surrounding metros like Frederick, Fredericksburg and Winchester.”


KSTP-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN for AC Station of the Year

Wolfgram said that KSTP-FM in Minneapolis has been a go-to for her for years. “The listenership is loyal and diverse enough to appeal to a variety of demos, making it a staple for a number of my clients, regardless of the target audience.”


WMGK-FM, Philadelphia for Classic Hits Station of the Year

“I first discovered WMGK in Philadelphia in 2010 when I was cold-calling for a national flower brand in advance of Mother’s Day,” Wolfgram said. “Our success there was crazy!  Since then, our team has used the station for over 30 different campaigns.”


WSB-AM, Atlanta, nominated for:

  • Major Market Station of the Year 
  • News/Talk Station of the Year

Senior Media Buyer Josh Knock said, “For as long as I can remember, I have been including WSB-AM in my media plans. WSB-AM is a mainstay in Atlanta having been on air for over 100 years. If I need to target an engaged, loyal, and affluent audience, they are on the short list.”


WBAL-AM, Baltimore, nominated for Large Market Personality of the Year (C4 and Bryan Nehman)

“It’s nice to see WBAL-AM for Large Market Personality of the Year,” said Knock. “This is a great station with a truly responsive customer base. Our clients benefit from a devoted audience that tunes in all day long enjoying breaking news weather and traffic.”


WBZ-FM, Boston, nominated for:

  • Sports Station of the Year
  • Major Market Personality of the Year (Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti)

WEEI-FM, Boston, nominated for Major Market Personality of the Year (Greg Hill)

Of WBZ-FM and WEEI-FM, Knock said, “Boston loves sports, there’s no doubt about it. Seeing two nominees for Major Market Personality of the Year reinforces that notion. Advertising on Sports stations is very effective because there is a truly interactive listener with spending power. We are lucky enough to hear these stations locally! Go Red Sox!”

The full list of this year’s finalists for the NAB Marconi Radio Awards are:

Legendary Station of the Year

KCBS-AM San Francisco
KRLD-AM Dallas
KTAR-FM Phoenix
WIVK-FM Knoxville
WLEN-FM, Adrian, MI

Legendary Radio Manager of the Year

Dr. René Heredia, Guadalupe Radio, Los Angeles
Julie Koehn, WLEN-FM, Adrian, MI
Pamela McKay, KMJQ-FM, Houston
Joel Oxley, WTOP-FM, Washington, DC
Steve Wexler, WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee

Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year

Erica Campbell, Reach Media
D.L. Hughley, Reach Media
George Noory, Premiere Radio Networks
Dan Patrick, Premiere Radio Networks
Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Media

Major Market Personality of the Year

Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel, WSCR-AM, Chicago
Frank Ski, WALR-FM, Atlanta
Greg Hill, WEEI-FM, Boston
Mark “Hawkeye” Louis and Michelle Rodriguez, KSCS-FM, Dallas-Ft. Worth
Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti, WBZ-FM, Boston

Large Market Personality of the Year

C4 and Bryan Nehman, WBAL-AM, Baltimore
Chris O’Brien and Janeen Coyle, WGRR-FM, Cincinnati
Dave Ryan, KDWB-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul
Obie Diaz and Ashley Morrison, WWKA-FM, Orlando
Tony Katz, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis

Medium Market Personality of the Year

Harlen the Sports Guy & Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, TX
Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise
Mo & StyckMan, WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, TN
Nancy Wilson and Woody, WHKO-FM, Dayton, OH
Roger Todd, Ashley Adams and Michele Silva, WJXB-FM, Knoxville, TN

Small Market Personality of the Year

Andrew McKay, WNRP-AM, Pensacola
Erin Hart and Chris Blood, KATI-FM, Columbia, MO
Kelly and Wood, KZPK-FM, St. Cloud, MN
Kristin Monica, KTXY-FM, Columbia, MO
Liz Del Grosso and Scotty Cox, KCLR-FM, Columbia, MO

Major Market Station of the Year

KTCK-AM, Dallas-Ft. Worth
WALR-FM, Atlanta
WMMJ-FM, Washington, DC
WSB-AM, Atlanta
WTOP-FM, Washington, DC

Large Market Station of the Year

KBCO-FM, Denver
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh
WIBC-FM, Indianapolis
WKRQ-FM, Cincinnati
WYCD-FM, Detroit

Medium Market Station of the Year

WHBC-AM, Canton, OH
WJBR-FM, Wilmington, DE
WOWO-AM, Fort Wayne, IN
WSGW-AM, Saginaw, MI
WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, TN

Small Market Station of the Year

KCLD-FM, St. Cloud, MN
KIK-FM, Alexandria, MN
KMON-AM, Great Falls, MT
KROX-AM, Crookston, MI
WXFL-FM, Florence, AL

Best Radio Podcast of the Year

“American Nightmare Season 2: Murder in a Safe Place,” WTOP-FM, Washington, DC
“Behind the Song,” WDRV-FM, Chicago
“Bloomberg Businessweek,” WBBR-AM, New York
“COLD Season 2,” KSL-FM, Salt Lake City
“Gone Cold: Philadelphia Unsolved Murders,” KYW, Philadelphia

AC Station of the Year

KSTP-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
WDUV-FM, Tampa-St. Petersburg
WFLC-FM, Miami
WRMF-FM, Palm Beach, FL
WWRM-FM, Tampa-St. Petersburg

CHR Station of the Year

KTXY-FM, Columbia, MO
KRBE-FM, Houston
WBLI-FM, Nassau-Suffolk, Long Island, NY
WHYI-FM, Miami
WWMX-FM, Baltimore

Classic Hits Station of the Year

WBGG-FM, Miami
WBZO-FM, Nassau-Suffolk, Long Island, NY
WMGK-FM, Philadelphia
WQLT-FM, Florence, AL
WRBQ-FM, Tampa-St. Petersburg

College Radio Station of the Year

WGLS-FM, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ
WHPC-FM, Nassau Community College, Nassau County, NY
WMSC-FM, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
WRHU-FM, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
WRRC-FM, Rider University, Trenton, NJ

Country Station of the Year

KATI-FM, Jefferson City, MO
KSCS-FM, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
WHKO-FM, Dayton, OH
WUBE-FM, Cincinnati
WXTU-FM, Philadelphia

News/Talk Station of the Year

KNX-AM, Los Angeles
KTMY-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul
WKXW-FM, Trenton, NJ
WLW-AM, Cincinnati
WSB-AM, Atlanta

Religious Station of the Year

KLTY-FM, Dallas
WFMV-AM, Columbia, SC
WKNZ-FM, Dover, DE
WMIT-FM, Charlotte, NC
WPRS-FM, Washington, DC

Rock Station of the Year

KCMQ-FM, Columbia, MO
WBAB-FM, Nassau-Suffolk, Long Island, NY
WDRV-FM, Chicago
WIYY-FM, Baltimore
WPLR-FM, New Haven, CT

Spanish Language Station of the Year

KLNV-FM, San Diego
KZNO, Los Angeles
WOEX-FM, Orlando
WYUU-FM, Tampa-St. Petersburg
WZTU-FM, Miami

Sports Station of the Year

KNBR-AM, San Francisco
WBZ-FM, Boston
WIP-FM, Philadelphia
WMFS-FM, Memphis
WXYT-FM, Detroit

Urban Station of the Year

WBTJ-FM, Richmond, VA
WALR-FM, Atlanta
WKYS-FM, Washington, DC
WMBX-FM, West Palm Beach, FL
WWPR-FM, New York

Are you ready to join top advertisers and hear your brand on nationally recognized radio stations? Contact SMI today.

Thinking about Advertising on Radio or Podcasts?

Thinking about Advertising on Radio or Podcasts?

With over 15 years of experience as SMI’s Director of Client Services, Christina Baeten is a wealth of knowledge on all things related to radio and podcast advertising. Whether clients want recommendations for which channel to pursue based on their budget, or they want to recap their campaign’s performance, or understand how learnings from previous campaigns can be applied to their strategy to improve results, Christina is the person to ask. In this brief Q&A, she explains some of her recommendations for how advertisers can grow their brands through radio and podcast. 


What sets Strategic Media, Inc. apart from other advertising agencies?

SMI does more than just media and creative – we work with clients to thoroughly understand the customer journey and collaborate on customized measurement and attribution solutions. We have a big toolbelt for this – it is not one-size-fits-all.

Which markets would you recommend for clients new to radio advertising?

A lot of new clients approach us asking which markets we recommend for their campaign. It’s actually quite rare that we recommend a strategy with geo-targeting unless their business calls for that explicitly. Format, demo, channel mix, and cost/CPM – with varying levels of focus depending on the campaign – are the most considered variables in building a successful audio campaign.

What categories are working well on radio and/or podcast?  

It’s a pretty wide array of products and services. Mostly e-commerce though not exclusively, business to business and direct to consumer. Our current portfolio includes telemedicine, mobile automobile repair, job-posting service, modern furniture, and exercise programs.

What budget do you recommend? 

My response is typically how much do you want to learn and how quickly? We can be very aggressive with testing multiple messages, channels/shows, and other elements or do so in a phased approach. Some campaigns do not warrant as much testing, for example, if the demo is very narrow and/or not much education needs to be done with the creative. Other brands need to invest more to find the combinations of media and message that resonate and deliver new customers profitably.

Do I need a unique offer? 

No, it’s a lot less common than it used to be to have unique offers by channel. We can help solve for measurement with you utilizing various tools like top-of-funnel measurement goals, ‘How did you hear about us’ survey, pixel tracking, etc. Our goal is to use audio to amplify your brand while keeping the user experience seamless.


Are you ready to improve your ROI by adding a new channel? Contact Strategic Media, Inc. today to hear your brand on streaming, satellite, or terrestrial radio and podcasts.