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Misconceptions of Pandora Radio - Told by the Traditional Radio World

There is no doubt that in today’s ever-changing media world, there is an undeniable hatred between general market radio stations and the more digital-savvy Pandora radio. Okay, so maybe hatred is a strong word…perhaps intolerable; intense dislike is a better description.

 Call it what you will, the war between these two mediums is increasingly evident as each broadcast quarter passes. Media Buyers are finding advantages utilizing Pandora radio for their clients, simply by putting the time and attention into discovering what Pandora is all about. All the while, they are also fighting backlash from radio stations that have had their full attention and budget for the last umpteen years. As I have worked my way through the cobwebs that are the ins and outs of Pandora, as well as the pros and cons, I have also battled questions and accusations from traditional media reps that I sometimes just want to scoff at. “Pandora! You call that buying local!?” “The cost associated with advertising on Pandora is way too much for anyone in this market!” And, my personal favorite, “If you want to target a specific audience, why on earth are you buying Pandora? You can’t target the local area!”


Ah…yes. The joys of finding a more effective outlet for some campaigns and letting the competitor down easy. Note that I said SOME campaigns. Yes, while I do find several advantages in including Pandora to some of our client’s marketing budgets, I do still believe there is a definite purpose for GM radio. It’s wonderful for branding a new client, local audiences are still very loyal to radio personalities, and some audiences just haven’t jumped on the Pandora bandwagon (or the digital media bandwagon for the that matter).


As the first Media Buyer in our market to begin buying Pandora over two years ago, I can tell you that, despite the protests from angry traditional sales reps, Pandora offers something that no one outlet ever has- guaranteed delivery. Yes, you read that right. GUARANTEED delivery. The listener has no choice but to hear the commercial. It follows you. It stalks you, even if you switch stations. Not only that, but you can be confident in knowing that every listener that hears your commercial is in the demographic that you are trying to reach. No more spending dollars on an audience that you don’t care to target. Sure, ABCD-FM may have 250,000 listeners, but while you are targeting your intended consumer, you also may be targeting their 6-year old son. With Pandora, every individual that hears your message will be in the age range and geographic area that you are trying to reach. For you, this means no wasted dollars come out of your marketing budget.


So while the Pandora haters of the world may not fully understand my media buying thought process in this regard, the bottom line is simple- Pandora has the capability to do what no other radio outlet can, and it does it effectively.



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