The Secret To Becoming One of Radio’s Best Sales Managers


In 2014 Sonia Katz Ungerman was the Radio Ink Radio Wayne Sales Manager of the Year. This year she’s a finalist again. She’s that good. Her boss, Hubbard Radio Regional Manager Dan Seeman says because of Ungerman, one of Hubbards unique radio stations KTMY (myTalk 107.1), which is a pop-culture focused station which targets women has modest ratings success but tremendous revenue success. “Thanks to Sonia’s leadership KTMY had a Spring 2016 power ratio of 2.7 to 1. So far in 2016 KTMY has grown its Total revenue 3.2% and is currently the #2 digital biller in the market.” Seeman says his sales manager leads with “unbridled positive passion and enthusiasm.” She is a tireless leader and has some of the strongest relationships with advertisers in the market and is a mentor to many young women in the radio business and the advertising business.” Today, this 2016 Radio Wayne finalist shares her secrets to becoming the best in the business.

Radio Ink: What attracted you to sales?
Sonia Katz Ungerman: I love the idea of controlling my income, love the opportunity to be creative and help businesses grow, and love doing something different every day because no day is ever the same in radio sales. Additionally, the products (formats), I sell and sold were easy to sell because I was passionate about them and our medium. I love meeting with clients, and developing professional, and oftentimes personal, relationships with them. I also enjoy learning about all kinds of businesses and working strategically and tactically to help them grow their businesses.

Radio Ink:  What is the key to being a successful Sales Manager today?
Sonia Katz Ungerman: Understanding each seller as an individual and what motivates them. Listening to them and then coaching and developing them to be the very
best they can be, which in turn pays off for the radio station(s). I take leadership very seriously and spend time listening to podcasts, watching motivational and leadership speakers on video, in person, or reading books to continue to try to be the very best leader I can be. I believe my strength in being an activator works to my advantage but also know while I drive at full throttle, I sometimes need to have patience and accept that all sellers have a different list of strengths and have to be managed to their strengths, which brings me back to individualized coaching. Another key to being a successful manager is the ability to move reps, our potential and current clients, along with our radio station(s), forward. There are many things that get in the way of getting this done day to day and being a problem-solver is key to success. Helping reps navigate through all there is to sell and helping them to prioritize is another important ability, with so many things to sell today. Finally, positivity and leading by example are non-negotiable!

Radio Ink: What are your challenges, and how do you overcome them?
Sonia Katz Ungerman: We are living in a new world, so to speak, with digital being the “shiny new penny” and several sellers gravitate to it, sometimes leaving radio behind. It is critical today that we have our sellers selling integrated marketing plans with both radio and digital, whenever possible. Radio cannot be forgotten as it continues to be valuable today, and listenership, despite what our non-radio competitors say, is still very strong. I work with our sellers, along with our digital sales manager and his team, to continue to educate our sellers on the value of radio and digital combined. I would say that this is the biggest challenge we are dealing with today, and while it is challenging, it is an opportunity to help “write the book.” I would imagine this is the biggest, if not one of the biggest, challenges that radio management faces all over our country. Additional challenges include creating focus and balancing all that we have to sell today, as our radio toolboxes have grown exponentially. Reps have to be multi-task oriented, as do we. This is talked about regularly in sales meetings and target meetings.

Radio Ink: Give us an example of a success story you’ve had with a seller or client over the past year.
Sonia Katz Ungerman: I am proud to say there are so many examples. I manage two talk radio stations, but one of the two is a one-of-its-kind radio station called myTalk107.1, which is a female talk radio station that is “pop culture and celebrity gossip.” Sort of a “People magazine on the radio” only; it is so so much more than that. Our talent weave in their day-to-day lives and their real-life day-to-day challenges and more. The station delivers results like I have never ever seen a format do. Oftentimes our key clients lock in and advertise with us for years to come, many of them have been on with us for 10 and 15 years plus! The reps have to be passionate and knowledgeable of our format, as 70% of our business is done direct with marketing decision-makers or business owners. The example I am going to use relates to both the seller and the client. I hired a rep a little more than a year ago who came from successfully selling publications. We pride ourselves in selling new categories to radio and so I challenged Kristen to bring on a new category. Kristen decided to concentrate on title companies, who typically stay under the radar and focus on marketing to the realtor versus the general public. Kristen did a thorough CNA with a woman in town who has seven locations across the metro area. She had never done any branding or marketing, but after meeting with Kristen and learning our about our engaged audience and the results we deliver, she decided to give radio a try. She loved the idea of being the first title company to “own that lane,” as Kristen told her that the marketing formula is “first in wins.” Today, she has been on with us for just over a year and is doing endorsement radio with one of our on-air talents, plus, throughout the course of this past year and the success she was having with us, Kristen then helped her understand that we could be of help in the area of SEO and digital direct marketing and has added it to her marketing “mix.” Not only is she educating the general public about choosing your title company versus your realtor choosing it for you, but she is getting testimonials from realtors who heard her on the radio and are now using her as their title company. She has grown her business significantly and has already told us she will sign for another year. That, and she has quickly become Kristen’s number one spending key client.

Radio Ink: Describe the perfect relationship between management and salespeople.
Sonia Katz Ungerman: I believe the perfect relationship is one of mutual respect. The manager has clearly communicated expectations of the sellers and the manager has taken the time to get to know each individual rep and their strengths and weaknesses and how best to motivate them. All managers and all reps want to be respected, appreciated, and valued. When this happens, we have success. In my case, my reps are like my “work kids.” I value the dedication, focus, and commitment they bring to their job every day. In turn, I lead them by example and do not believe in managing from a soap box. A good manager leads by example and gets out in the field and lives in their world. Additionally, a good manager (leader) has their sellers best interest at heart, and in turn, if the reps value their manager, they do not want to let him or her down.

Radio Ink: How do you educate yourself so you are always on top of your game?
Sonia Katz Ungerman: Today this is a non-negotiable. Ongoing education is key. I have said it in earlier answers but our world is changing. It is exciting but can also be scary as we write the book on integrated marketing. We as managers, as we help our sellers sell a number of digital products combined with our traditional radio solutions, are not expected to know everything about everything but have to get in the game on the digital side of the world. We cannot hide from it and we have to support the changes or the business will pass us by and we risk no longer being a fit. I do this by listening to podcasts, attending seminars (like RAB!), and luncheons with speakers, joining networking organizations, and reading books or listening to audio books.

Congratulate Sonia on being a 2016 Radio Ink Radio Wayne finalist at [email protected]


  1. I have had the pleasure of working with Sonia at Hubbard as Director of Digital Sales for the past 8 years and can tell you that she definitely is one of the best in the business! Passion…Fire… Energy…Warmth…Drive… Empathy… I could keep going, but words don’t do her justice.


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