Stephanie Callihan is the Vice President and General Manager for Entercom in Austin. She started her radio career as an assistant to an account executive and worked her way up to NSM, GSM, DOS and then finally market manager. Her colleagues says she is a true radio professional. “Her experience and knowledge of the sales and programming side of our business are vast and we are lucky to have her leading the charge in Austin.” Prior to taking the Entercom position in Austin, Callihan lead the Wichita cluster for iHeartMeia where she achieved monumental growth in the 2 years she was there. Callihan is one of Radio Ink’s Best Managers for 2016 and she’ll be featured in the issue out this week. Here’s our extended interview with one of radio’s best.
Radio Ink: How important is it to be able to make local decisions in making a station successful?
Stephanie Callihan: Entercom is greatly invested in cultivating homegrown local talent and delivering content that entertains, informs, and serves our communities. At the station level, Entercom encourages autonomy which allows for us to develop custom content that is truly tailored to the interests of our listeners and mirrors the culture of the communities that we live in. Entercom’s local mindset ensures that we build authentic and personal connections with our fans.
Radio Ink: How are you attracting millennials?
Stephanie Callihan: A little known fact is that millennials are huge fans of radio! In fact, we know that 92% of the millennials in the U.S. tune in to radio each week, a number that surpasses their television engagement (just 73%). Despite digital streaming options, 90% of total radio listening hours is broadcast radio. In this fast-paced and ever-changing media landscape, the opportunities in radio are evolving and making this a fun, unique, and exciting industry for passionate and hardworking performers. In live and local radio, there is never a dull moment and this is the millennial mantra.
Radio Ink: How do mnage work and home life with so much to manage these days?
Stephanie Callihan: When you are as passionate as many of us in the radio business, you are constantly plugged in. The good news is that today’s communication environment gives us an unprecedented ability to create balance. I rarely miss my children’s athletic, school, or church activities because I can do a lot of my job from anywhere. Also, being active in my community allows me to truly connect with what matters most to our fans. I encourage our Entercom family to do the same. This is part of our vision to make a positive impact in our communities.
Radio Ink: What is the number one challenge you face every day as a manager in 2016, and how are you overcoming it?
Stephanie Callihan: Our biggest focus is maintaining a culture in which all of our team can succeed. We are committed to identifying and attracting the best and brightest talent and making big investments in our people, both on and off the air. This is what makes Entercom a great place to work and the best-performing and fastest-growing radio company in the country.
Radio Ink: Tell us what your biggest/most proud moment at the station or cluster was over the past year.
Stephanie Callihan: I took a look at our group and knew that our team is taking the cluster to the next level. Our VP of programming, Nikki Nite, has done an outstanding job of growing our ratings, our sales team has achieved strong revenue goals, and our marketing department has made great strides in strengthening the identity of our brands. It is all about the right team to make sure we are serving our listeners and our partners.
Radio Ink: What is it going to take to get radio revenue growing at a decent pace every year moving forward?
Stephanie Callihan: Radio is tried and true measurable media. As we continue to see changes in the media landscape, radio is uniquely placed to deliver strong ROI versus other mediums. Radio’s ability to be truly local means we are the gatekeepers for the communities we serve and we facilitate authentic conversations with our fans. Radio is live, local, and human in a way that other media can’t be. That is what makes our industry attractive to marketers and advertisers, and this is why radio is today’s strongest reach medium.