Radio Blog

This page contains blog articles on a range of topics of interest to professionals in radio sales, including everything from selling technique to the state of the industry. If you have an opinion on any issue regarding radio or would like to share some of your sales techniques with others, you can submit an article for the blog here (max 400 words, please).

Get off your Knees

In the radio industry we continually face challenges and how we view these obstacles defines us. Do you choose to see challenges and problems as opportunities or obstacles? It has long been my belief that the people who work in the radio industry do more damage to the industry than any competitor could ever wreak. We’re just not good at our own PR.

So far this year I’ve heard people in the industry state things like “Radio is dying”, “We’re live and local” (but never do anything about it); I’ve even had radio sales people tell me “Advertising doesn’t work.”

If we choose to see things as obstacles, then the challenges we face will be viewed as problems; problems that need to be overcome. It’s not a healthy way to run any business is it, let alone an entire industry?

Sure, there is a lot to contend with these days but we do get to choose. Are you simply sitting around lamenting the good old days of radio and hanging on for grim death? Or are you standing up ready to fight the good fight?

Far too much of our time is spent focused on misery - do you think things like "I can't", "I won't", "I don't want to" and "I shouldn't have too” during your work day?

It was Henry Ford who said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.”

At the heart of this truism Ford is of course saying if you think your radio station will die - it will. If you think the radio industry is under siege - it is. If you think you don’t deserve success - you don’t; and if you think you won’t make your next sale - it’s unlikely you will.

Conversely Ford is also saying if you believe you can, you will. But we need more than one or two people in the industry ‘believing’ don’t we? If the entire radio industry, all the broadcast associations, everyone in your station from the receptionist to the janitor, everyone, is moving forward together as an industry, then our success will take care of itself.

So what is it we should be thinking about in a positive way every day? The future? Our listeners? Our formats? Our advertisers? Our local community? Our relevance? Our substance, or what we give back to our hometowns? Personally I believe a radio station that makes nothing but money is a poor business - it’s easy to see the financial carnage just take a look around at the current state of the industry.

From the micro to the macro we need to see our current challenges as guides lighting the way to the future - this will help us achieve more, develop further and ultimately actualize more of our individual and collective abilities and goals.

The radio industry should focus on the areas of greatest concern. An engaged and happy audience and happy successful advertisers.

How do we define the commercial radio industries key vision?

Is there one?

There are so many opinions out there in terms of developing a vision for radio - too much in fact, and sadly most of it is only rhetoric. We need to guard against creating a vision that is too broad, too encompassing and ultimately a vision that is too generic, so that it eventually says nothing all. We need to be mindful of the temptation that focuses on quantity instead of quality. A plethora of ideas and information - can we use it all? No. If a new idea comes along - do we suddenly throw out the old in pursuit of the miracle format?

“Should I change my format to Mojo or Hippie?” No.

So, what do we do? Everyone in the radio industry needs to be committed to defining our vision. We need to draw on tried-and-tested experience and hold onto what works, we need to introduce new thinking and approaches where feasible and we need to stop what isn't working.

We need to create a vision whereby Radio becomes synonymous with excellence, innovation, honor, integrity and outstanding quality and service. We need to promise less and deliver more - every single day.

Aria’s vision for radio?

Radio needs to be local and live. It needs to sit itself at the heart of every community - and become the glue that holds these communities together.

Aria believes the secret to the ongoing success of radio is direct / local money - but that’s not new news is it? Ultimately we believe the thing that will save local businesses is local radio; and we believe the thing that will save radio is local business.

Sales people desperately need to be trained and trained efficiently; we believe GM’s, GSM’s, and DOS’s need to roll up their sleeves and get out into the market.

We believe radio needs to get off its knees - we’re not a secondary medium - we never were.

Aria believes sales people need to stop under-selling airtime; and we believe automation needs to be heard only in elevators.

I know we don’t have all the answers but what I do know is if we don’t come together (the entire industry) we will die not with a bang but a whimper.

Michael Tate, President, Aria Inc.

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