Are You Helping Or Hurting Radio?


(By Lisa Thal) As broadcasters, we need to ask ourselves that question.

It continues to amaze me when I discover sales managers and account executives monitoring other radio stations and approaching clients with a focus on stealing their business, versus supporting the clients’ decision to advertise on radio and then providing a valid business reason to add their own station.

I recently had a customer share correspondence from a competing radio station. From our conversation, it was clear the competitor’s intention was to find a way to get the client off my station and on to one of theirs. The focus was on all the reasons my station did not make sense to advertise on, how their station could offer more commercials for less money, and how they could offer another station in their cluster as a bonus if the client placed a campaign.

Is this the strategy to grow radio’s share of ad revenue in your market? Where was that station’s strategic plan to help grow the business? Where was the creative concept to motivate the consumer? Obviously, this is a disastrous approach. Even my client said they were surprised at this “selling tactic.” This account executive and station questioned the client’s strategy and in the process, broke any rapport and hurt the client’s confidence in working with them on any future campaigns.

I admit that I call on advertisers airing on other radio stations to gain their business as well. I realize that a talented account executive found a way to get that advertiser to believe in radio as an advertising vehicle. They did the heavy lifting, and I have to encourage the client to buy more radio. It’s the approach that can define your success in converting them long-term.

What the client wanted was access to homeowners with high household income. They wanted to reach them creatively with a message to motivate them to use the client’s products and services. This client realized that the customer journey takes many paths, and using our station to reach this audience was a smart strategy.

Our approach to this client was to share the benefits of how radio can reach that busy consumer. We encouraged them to add more radio stations to their plan to build deeper relationships with consumers and grow their market share. I always encourage my advertisers to include more radio in their marketing campaigns. We continue to dominate in reaching the active consumer, especially going to and from work.

Radio has always been the platform for getting a company’s product or service positioned in the consumer’s mind. We’ve heard the numbers many times: 93 percent of people listen to the radio on a weekly basis. We connect to them at home, at work, and in their cars. They download our apps to take us with them everywhere they go. Radio is a true companion!

We are in the relationship business. Every day, our talent nurtures the relationship with the listeners while we discover solutions for our advertisers, and create a way to give them access to these loyal consumers.

I encourage you to review how you go to the market and implement the following approaches so we can band together as an industry in selling all the benefits of using radio. We have an incredible story to tell the advertising community, and, when positioned correctly, it should grow your revenue.

Here are four ideas to help you grow your revenue:

1. Rally for radio. Call the client and say, “Congratulations for advertising on the radio. You made a great decision to buy that station. If you are looking to expand your reach and complement your campaign, I would love to share my ideas to support your current marketing strategy.”

2. Share vs. selling. Share solutions and a valid business reason that adding your station as a strategic partner can benefit the client.

3. Ask for a referral. You have current advertisers on your station that believe in our media and are getting a great return on investment. They know other companies that could benefit from meeting with us.

4. Lead by example. Take the lead and focus your energy and ideas on helping clients solve their biggest challenges. We have a tremendous resources for helping companies find new ways to reach consumers.

Decide today to become an ambassador for radio! If we support each other, we will find our revenue growing faster as an industry instead of retracting each year.

Happy sharing!

If you would like to find more ideas on how to help engage your team, go to

Lisa Thal is the general sales manager for Hubbard Interactive Cincinnati. She’s also the author of Three-Word Meetings: A Simple Strategy to Engage, Inspire and Empower Your Team. Get it on



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