Rob Koblasz (pictured) is the CEO and co-founder of Sun & Fun Media, one of the most successful companies serving the radio industry today. In December of 1996, Rob’s lifelong love of travel led to an idea to enter the travel industry using barter as a means to secure radio advertising. A company called Central Florida Sun & Fun was born. Over 20 years later, Rob’s company operates a radio network, sold by Premiere, with over 1,000 affiliates. We love to highlight great, successful companies. Today, we shine the spotlight on Sun & Fun media.
An actual Florida native, Rob was hooked on radio at a young age. He grew up listening to the local rock station and radio legends like Howard Stern. He called in for radio contests, requested songs, went to station events, and dreamed of one day owning his own radio station so he could make a living listening to his favorite music.
When 1996 rolled around, and Rob’s idea of bartering advertising for travel, it only took four years for Rob and his business partner to establish relationships with over 180 radio stations nationwide. And you all know the products better be good if you’re going to start a barter relationship with a vendor. Rob and his team knew that as well.
Rob also recognized the advertising value of the commercial time they were receiving, and conspired a plot to sell it. In February 2001, life came full circle for Rob as he finally joined the radio industry, and Central Florida Sun & Fun transitioned into a network radio company known as Sun & Fun Media. Since then, under Rob’s affiliate sales leadership, Sun & Fun Media has grown into an impressive network of over 1,100 radio stations nationwide, generating over 100M gross weekly impressions.
Here’s our interview with Sun & Fun Media CEO Rob Koblasz on his entrepreneurial idea, how he grew the concept, and what he’s doing for radio stations all around the country.
Radio Ink: Sun and Fun is now over 20 years old. How have you been able to be so successful for so long?
Rob Koblasz: We’re 100% turnkey, we’re always looking for new products and services to better serve radio stations, and we’re very committed to the satisfaction of our affiliates. If you’re a station that needs some incentives to motivate your sales team and clients, you can call us on Monday morning and have a dozen luxury trips by lunchtime for 100% barter, with one phone call. If you flipped a format after Christmas and need your vehicles rewrapped on barter, one call to us can handle it. We’ve got affiliates that have been with us for over 20 years because of how easy it is to work with us, and how satisfied they’ve been with what they received.
Radio Ink: How did your dream of owning a radio station turn into the launch of Sun and Fun?
Rob Koblasz: I loved radio as a kid growing up, and in 1996 when my business partner, Roger Fray and I started the company as a travel company, our entire advertising strategy was based on bartering with radio stations. By the year 2000, we had over 180 affiliates across the country, and we realized we had far greater potential as a network radio company. We called Global Media, which would eventually become Westwood One, and reached an agreement for them to sell our advertising time. That was the beginning of Sun & Fun Media. Having them manage our ad sales gave us the ability to focus on our affiliate sales, which it turns out is something we’re really good at. We have over 1,100 affiliates in the network now delivering over 100 million gross weekly impressions, and the network is now sold by Premiere Networks.
Radio Ink: How and when did you know you had something with the company and this was going to work?
Rob Koblasz: Within a year of making the transition to a network radio company, Roger and I knew we made the right decision and that we were going to be just fine. That was also coincidentally about the same time our wives stopped asking us when we were going to get real jobs.
Radio Ink: Tell us about a few of the biggest/most successful events or promotions your company has been a part of over the years.
Rob Koblasz: We’ve been a part promotion called A Trip A Day in the Month of May for a lot of stations over the years. We have some affiliates that made it an annual event, and their listeners look forward to it every year. It’s got a catchy name, generates a lot of buzz and excitement on air, and the PDs are always happy afterwards when the spring book comes out.
Radio Ink: What are some of the most successful promotions these days?
Rob Koblasz: Trips to high-profile music festivals and sports events are always very successful promotions. They have endless sponsorship opportunities for the sales team to sell, they sound great on air, and the listeners absolutely love them.
Radio Ink: Tells us about your team.
Rob Koblasz: I’m blessed every day to work with a small and incredibly talented team of individuals that do a fantastic job. Our team includes former radio GMs from some of the largest companies in radio with careers spanning over 30 years, that were formerly clients of Sun & Fun Media while sitting in the GM chair. That kind of experience enables us to better understand and relate to our affiliates’ needs and deliver great customer service.
Radio Ink: What do you want stations to know about your company they may not know?
Rob Koblasz: Our billpay service can be used for so much more than the cellphone bill or the gas card. We’ve done everything from power supplies and transmitters to station vans for 100% barter with it. Cutting costs are always going to be important, and this is a way for a station to cut 10-20% off a top expense category such as ratings subscription fees or health insurance. That kind of savings can make a significant impact on a station’s bottom line at the end of the year.
We love being a part of such a fun industry, and we’re sincerely grateful to all of our loyal affiliates and Premiere Networks. Thank you, radio.
Rob Koblasz, owner of Sun & Fun Media, can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or by telephone at (407) 328-4246.