Pandora eating Radio’s lunch?

Pandora internet radioPandora is the leading online music site with a serious buzz….and major advertiser support from Planters, The History Channel and many others. Recently, Pandora threw a party at a local Philly hot spot. It was sponsored by Budweiser. Yes, the King of Beers re-allocated a nice chunk of their Philly marketing budget, and gave it to Pandora. They even had one of their online personalities (Kevin Seal) host the gig, and give away prizes. Sounds like a Radio appearance….right?

As a former DJ who has done his share of club appearances, I was blown away by the FREE BEER, tons of T-shirts, and other give-aways that Pandora and Budweiser provided. By comparison, more and more Radio club appearances consist of a ‘street team’; low paid interns that put up plastic banners, and hand out a t-shirt or two. Maybe.

Philly2niteMost beer marketing dollars used to go to Radio…..but this club event was solid proof that major sponsors looking to reach 20 somethings, are ramping up their LOCAL online spends. More of these budgets are being targeted to independent music/entertainment sites like Philly2Nite,……not terrestrial Radio.

Can Radio step up and build online platforms that can attract these dollars ? The answer is YES if they take more dramatic steps to hire for, train for, and invest in these types of online efforts. Simply re-purposing content and firing up the sales troops will not be enough. Can Radio managers handle this challenge?