Coke Says Buh-Bye to American Idol. This is a Wake-Up Call for Radio

Coca-Cola was a major sponsor of American Idol for thirteen years. This week, though, the company said they were pulling out.  This is should be filed under the heading A Very Big Deal.

Coke came to the conclusion that young people–their main target–just aren’t watching conventional television anymore. Hell, they’re not watching TV period.  And with sales of carbonated beverages on a worldwide decline, Coke needs to reach the kids–and fast.

So where’s Coke’s sponsorship money going? Where the kids are. YouTube. Gamer sites. Mobile.

This should send a message to all traditional media–including radio–that things have changed. The audience is migrating to new platforms and advertisers are paying attention.

If radio thinks things are just business as usual–i.e. operating like it’s still 1992–it has another thing coming, especially stations dealing with the under-35 demos.

Radio consultant Jerry Del Colliano has some extra insight on the situation here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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