The issue-which could make radio stations accountable for delivering the amount of audience promised on local buys or potentially reimburse advertisers-turned red hot among broadcasters and ad agencies after it was brought up last year for a Young & Rubicam client in San Francisco.
The idea was quickly picked up to be implemented for all Y&R clients by Bob Igiel, exec VP-director of broadcast buying & programming in New York. He immediately came under fire from broadcasters who unanimously opposed the idea.
Though he encountered greater broadcaster opposition than expected, Mr. Igiel went out of his way to console broadcasters that the emphasis was less about make-goods and more about fair rotation of spots.
This has paced things a bit and time was taken to study if Arbitron data could support such a use. But the effort still moves forward.
"You need to show what clients are getting and that's invaluable," says Mr. Igiel. "When we finish, we will have a sensible, fair way for radio to deliver as it always has."
While Mr. Igiel remained coy about whether, in the final version, make-goods would be required of radio stations that don't deliver audience as expected, a formal plan is expected by October or November.
`ON THE HIGH ROAD'
"Even though we haven't always seen eye-to-eye, Bob has a high regard for radio and its effectiveness," says Gary Fries, president of Radio Advertising Bureau. "He has dealt with the issues on the high road and works through conflicts. He truly understands the relationship between radio and clients."
An unusual win for the radio business, which has seen record growth in recent years, came when Y&R broke a $10 million campaign primarily in radio for Ford Motor Co.'s Mercury Tracer this spring.
Mr. Igiel has also been a pioneer in the TV industry, where he developed specials such as "People's Choice Awards," "Circus of the Stars" and the "AT&T Presents" miniseries, which included Emmy award-winning "Inherit the Wind."
A MAVEN LAST YEAR
Profiled as an Ad Age Media Maven last year for his TV work, he helped develop The History Channel while a senior VP at Arts & Entertainment cable network.
Mr. Igiel came to Y&R from A&E in 1993, though he'd been at the agency previously as VP-group supervisor of prime-time network TV. He had also done stints at BBDO Worldwide and N.W. Ayer & Partners.
Like the rest of the ad industry, Mr. Igiel is concerned about the effects of radio group consolidation, though he also looks forward to a stronger medium.
"Radio has a wonderful opportunity to be better. Great growth can come from an era of fragmentation," he says. "A fine line has to be walked."