We’ve heard it over and over again: Radio is not a home for the young, the college graduates, the millennials. Radio Ink took that as a challenge and set out to find happy millenials at radio stations all over the country. We will be spotlighting those millennials, asking why they’ve chosen this career and why they love working in radio.
Twenty-nine-year-old Katelyn Pray is a sales marketing executive for Galaxy Communications in Syracuse, NY. She originally went to school for TV, and even landed an internship at a local TV station, but quickly realized she did not want to do that for the rest of her life. She graduated college with a broadcasting/mass communications degree in the spring of 2009, when the job market was terrible, and took the first job that was offered, a customer service position.
“I was there for two years and learned I didn’t have a personality to sit behind a desk on the phone all day,” she says, “but didn’t know what in the world I was going to do with a broadcasting degree, so I went back to school for business administration. Radio sales is a combination of both degrees, so it all worked out.”
Galaxy President/CEO Ed Levine says, “Katie is the kind of person that we all look to hire. Energetic, passionate, strategic, and a great sense of humor. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, but takes her job very seriously, and her clients love her for it.” Here is our special interview with millennial superstar Katelyn Pray.
Radio Ink: How and why did you choose radio?
Pray: I have always been a fan of music. I love the fact that music tells different stories and people can relate to it, and also how songs have the ability to emotionally connect you with events in your life that you’ll always remember. My family went to Long Beach Island, NJ, every summer, and when we got to the causeway we would always play a certain song. To this day, when I hear that song, it gives me goosebumps and puts a smile on my face to think of all those memories. I also love meeting and talking to new people, so what better job than radio sales?
Radio Ink: There is this perception that millennials do not want to get into radio. Is that true?
Pray: For someone young and just getting started, I can’t think of a better place to start. It isn’t easy by any means, but it is rewarding. To be able to put together a marketing plan for a business owner and have them come back and say their sales increased, and the thing they did differently was run a radio campaign, is amazing. My friends think that I go to sporting events and concerts all the time, but entertaining is also part of the job.
Radio Ink: What interests you the most about selling radio?
Pray: I love the fact that radio allows companies to tell a story or paint a picture of their business in a different light. With radio, you can get so creative with your messaging and create custom promotions. The creativity in radio is so great, and everyone works together to put together an effective campaign for the client.
Radio Ink: What do you find most exciting about being in radio?
Pray: I absolutely love the fact that every single day is so different and that you have to be a chameleon to fit in. People run their businesses differently, and you have to be able to adapt to their lifestyle and personality. In any given day you can work with multimillion-dollar companies, and the small mom-and-pop stores. Their business plans are different, their initiatives can be different, but at the end of the day, they all want more sales.
Radio Ink: What are your biggest challenges so far?
Pray: As a whole, I think the radio industry is devaluing itself and the products it offers. Radio is a free form of media. I am a millennial, and I haven’t had cable in years; we watch programs off of apps and Netflix. Every industry has had to overcome the next big thing, but radio is still a free source, and it is an affordable way to build your brand and create top-of-mind awareness through high frequency. People might listen differently, but they still listen. They still want the local sports, the local weather, the local news, and to hear their favorite DJs.
Radio Ink: How does the digital world affect the way you sell?
Pray: I don’t like to think that digital has affected radio in a negative way; I think it has enhanced it. If you utilize digital and radio together, you’re getting the best of both worlds. Radio is a vehicle that drives people to websites and social media. Radio is that little tap on the shoulder that reminds you that a business is there and what they offer, and when someone eventually needs the product or service, they turn to the Internet for that next step.
Radio Ink: How do you deal with rejection?
Pray: Business owners get hundreds of sales calls, and I can only imagine how irritating it gets. You have to have thick skin and realize that they aren’t being nasty to you personally. I have had a lot of people tell me that I was persistent enough, but not in an annoying way, which is a huge compliment. I want to approach people the same way I want to be approached, so I can relate when people have had a bad day and they snap. They aren’t disliking me as a person, they just don’t want to be bothered with their advertising at that moment. So you try again at another time.
Radio Ink: What are you doing to train yourself to be successful?
Pray: I am very much a visual learner, so I am always trying to pick up on things that other successful people do and see how I can implement it into what I do. Networking is also a huge part of being successful; the more people you know, the more people that know you.
Humans by nature are always willing to help people. When someone is looking to buy a car they refer their friends to “their guy,” and the same goes for a Realtor, insurance agent, etc. If I can become the go-to “media guy,” that opens doors for a lot of opportunities.
Radio Ink: What are your long-term goals?
Pray: I don’t dread my life 40-plus hours a week, and I look forward to coming to work every day. That is something that I will continue to strive for as long as I am in the workforce. I want to be able to continue to have that with my career while also being successful and challenged.
Reach out to Katelyn and welcome her to the radio industry Katelyn Pray firstname.lastname@example.org