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Young Seller, Old-School Broadcasting


I have been approached several times in the past couple of years by younger broadcast sellers who feel uncomfortable because they dont personally use all of the products they are selling. In other words, they (and their friends) dont listen to traditional radio. They (and many of their friends) find traditional television so old-school they dont even HAVE one in their living rooms. Their moral dilemma seems to be, How can I sell something I secretly dont really use or even like?

A few years ago, I went into radio because I loved rock music. I wound up working at a Country station and a Beautiful Music station. My dilemma then was, What a shame. I like rock but I have to sell Beautiful Music and Country Music formats (sigh). Frankly, that attitude lasted about two months, when I realized how easy our formats were to sell and HOW MUCH we could charge to play our clients' commercials on our stations.

I have a male friend who made a fortune opening stores that sold womens clothing. As far as I know, he never wore the clothes he sold (?) but he knew what women wanted and he catered to them and made a lot of money.
There is no question that we are rapidly moving into a new digital world. New technologies are, and will continue to have, an incredible impact on how people watch us and listen to us. But the bottom line is that right now, at this point in time, 90 percent of the U.S. population still listens to broadcast radio and watches traditional television each and every week. Whats not to like about that? You cant sell that? Sure you can. Package it up with mobile texting, streaming, social media, and whatever new digital opportunities come your way and will continue to land on your plate. But remember, right now traditional broadcast is still the entre.

With this fact in mind, when you hear from clients, Boy, Ill bet (satellite radio, Pandora, Google, Hulu, iRadio, DVR, Roku, whatever) is kicking your a**! do your job and remind them about the 90 percent thing. Its your job to dispel myths. As Daniel Moynihan famously said, Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts. And again, the fact is that an overwhelming percentage of Americans still enjoy traditional radio and television.

Did you know that the average age of a car on the road right now is 12 years? Never before in history have Americans hung onto their cars for that period of time. And the drivers dash still has a radio in it. Television viewing increases with the brilliant new HD and 3-D products that are now affordably available to us. DVRs actually cause MORE people to watch television than ever before. Engineers are developing very nice new interactive products to ensure radios place in the dashboard of the future.

Now is a great time to be in the broadcasting business. Additionally, for the first time, traditional Yellow Page customers are up for grabs. Direct mail devotees are looking at alternative ways to advertise. The formerly most-adamant newspaper advertiser is now looking for new media venues.

Youre in the catbird seat. Sell the new technology as it becomes available to your stations. But dont ignore the elephant in the room. Traditional broadcast stations still have 90 percent population penetration. And that is really better than a slap across the belly with a sack full of wet mice.

Paul Weyland is a broadcast sales trainer, author, and speaker. You can reach him at  or by phone at (512) 236 1222. Find Pauls books, CDs and software at or on

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vLXliL I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

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Zpar6I Very good blog.Much thanks again. Want more.

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(10/11/2013 7:13:56 AM)
Super, enjoyable article, Paul.
And... there's more.

Because radio comes with this innate and powerful access to audiences' capacities to generate emotional responses and other factors of experience, we have tremendous opportunities to be even more influential.

The challenges of today are those of attracting and holding even more listeners and of creating much better commercial content. All doable.

- Ronald T. Robinson

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