Commercial radio agrees to trading reform

The commercial radio industry has responded to calls from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and agreed to create a standardised system of trading.

The commercial radio industry has responded to calls from the

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and agreed to create a

standardised system of trading.



The decision, which represents a major step forward in radio

accountability, comes in the wake of Capital Radio’s takeover of Virgin.

It was reached last week at a meeting between the Radio Advertising

Bureau and senior station chiefs, including Richard Eyre, the newly

appointed chief executive of Capital, and Tim Schoonmaker, chief

executive of Emap Radio.



Both sides made a firm commitment to make the process of buying and

selling radio more user-friendly and efficient. This will involve the

installation of uniform electronic methods of communication between

sales points and agencies at the time of booking the campaign. It should

also lead to a standard transmission report - the statement of where and

when spots ran - which varies substantially from station to sales group

at the moment.



As part of the process, the industry has also agreed to set up a working

body to be known as the Joint Industry Commercial Radio IT Futures group

(JICRIT), which will continue to focus the industry’s attention on radio

accountability.



The move towards a standard system of trading began last March when the

RAB undertook detailed research into the issue of accountability. Justin

Sampson, the director of operations at the RAB, said: ’The message came

back that clients wanted an electronic system to look at campaigns

across all stations. We presented this to the IPA who welcomed the

proposals but also called for the development of electronic information

at the pre-campaign stage.’



Derek Morris, the IPA’s radio spokesman, commented: ’The Capital/Virgin

deal means there could be as many as five major radio sales houses and a

window of opportunity to use and observe a common system.



Following the RAB’s initiative, we wanted to go one step further. This

new proposal will reduce the amount of time spent trading and increase

time spent selling.’



Sampson added: ’The process of buying and planning can be an

administrative burden. More efficient systems will mean planners can

spend more time planning and sellers selling their station.’