Shaun Buford is the Director of Sales for Entercom in Norfolk, VA. He’s responsible for directing the sales efforts of the entire cluster, coaching a salesforce of 17 people. He started in radio in his early twenties and hasn’t looked back. “That’s because I believe, with everything that I am, in the power of radio. This is my lifelong career, and I couldn’t be more happy about that.” Shaun Buford is one of 22 broadcasters that will appear in the March 6 issue of Radio Ink Magazine, highlighting Radio’s Future African American Leaders. Here is our extended interview with Shaun.
Entercom Norfolk Market Manager Bennett Zier says Buford demonstrates great leadership on a consistent basis. “It manifests itself through creativity, innovation, and knowledge. His instincts for recruiting, training, and retaining top performers is extraordinary. While serving as DOS in two different markets for Entercom over the past five years, Shaun has increased top-line revenue with impressive year-over-year growth. His bigger-than-life persona and attitude is contagious to all departments of the radio station. He is viewed as a true leader, team player, and conduit to our clients, listeners, and the community.”
Radio Ink: What makes you passionate about the radio industry?
Shaun Buford: What is there not to be passionate about? That would be the shorter answer. Let me be clear, radio is the only medium that reaches 90% of Americans each week. It’s the medium closest to the point of purchase. It’s the medium reflecting the lives of the people who consume it the most. In a world of one-size-fits-all marketing, radio offers tailormade solutions to grow businesses, both on a local and a national scale. If we can grow businesses, we can help drive the economy. If we can help drive the economy, who knows? Maybe we’re helping to change the world.
Radio Ink: What are your goals, both personally and to make the industry better?
Shaun Buford: My personal goal is simple. I want to wake up each day and do the next right thing. Whether that’s counseling a client to utilize a different radio station to achieve their marketing goals, or taking the time to introduce a new salesperson to the business that I’ve loved for so long. For me, it’s about the relationships we foster and the team we can build. It’s all about trust. If the business community can trust that we will act as their marketing consultant, that we will give them solutions to grow as opposed to selling them something, we will continue to win. That’s how the industry can and will get better.
Radio Ink: Why do you think you’ve been successful to this point in your career?
Shaun Buford: Well, I sort of touched on this above. I don’t sell. I build relationships, I build solutions, I execute impactful campaigns — I do not sell. I coach my team to have the same attitude. To go out each day and solve problems. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. I’ve found that if we can focus on what matters, the rest will fall into place behind that.
Radio Ink: If you were promoted to a much higher position of leadership tomorrow, what would you do to improve radio?
Shaun Buford: I’d go viral! I say that in jest but it’s true. I’d do everything I can to spread knowledge, love of the business, and the idea that we can never, and will never, lose if we do the next right thing. Let’s do the next right thing for our listeners, let’s do the next right thing for our clients, let’s do the next right thing for our teammates, let’s do the next right thing for the company. If every person woke up thinking about the next right thing to do, we’d not only change our buildings, our markets and our business, we’d change the world.
Radio Ink: What advice would you give to someone just getting started in the business?
Shaun Buford: I’d coach a radio newbie to be curious. They’ve got to ask questions of every department; ask questions of business owners, and, perhaps most important of all, they’ve got to ask themselves questions. What do you want to get out of this business? What do you want to give to it? Why are you here? Be curious, be thoughtful, be reading, and be participating. Rejoice. Take heart in the idea that the profession you have joined can provide you with a lifetime of opportunity and the ability to make an impact every single day.
Reach out to congratulate Shaun on a job well done [email protected]