How Did Private Companies Perform In Q4?


    As radio’s public company get ready to report fourth quarter revenue, this week we’ll be checking in with many private and small market companies to see how they did in Q4. First we hear from Delta Radio CEO Larry Fuss.

    Radio Ink: How did the fourth quarter come in for you? Were you up or down?
    Fuss: We were down. Our fourth quarter in Mississippi is always miserable. It has to do with the complacency of the businesses in the area. Fourth quarter rolls around and they think they don’t need to advertise because they are going to get a ton of business anyway.

    Radio Ink: What were your top categories?
    Fuss: Well we’re still doing well in automotive, we have a little health care money nowadays. My number one client is a legal firm. They run a heavy schedule and they get an excellent return, so they like to advertise. They’ve renewed now for at least the third or fourth year; so it must be working for them.

    Radio Ink: How is Q1 2019 looking so far?
    Fuss: So far it’s pretty soft. We’re down three salespeople. They got fired for not working.

    Radio Ink: What are the biggest challenges for you?
    Fuss: The biggest challenge, probably like most small-market operators, is finding salespeople who don’t have their “head up their ass” and are willing to come to work every day.

    Radio Ink: Are you facing much competition from Google, Facebook, and Pandora?
    Fuss: They’re not actively selling in the local area. I’ve only had one client tell me that they were going to do Pandora instead of radio. I think that’s stupid in our area because the Internet is not as widespread as it would be in a bigger city. They are not going to reach people like they can do with terrestrial radio.

    Radio Ink: Thoughts on consolidation. Is it good or bad for the business?
    Fuss: I have mixed feelings about that. I’m on the NAB board and I did vote for the current proposal the NAB has in front of the FCC that would allow more consolidation. I think in the smaller markets it might be better because in markets like ours, where we have a handful of half-assed competitors that shouldn’t be in the radio business in the first place, getting them out of the radio business may be a good thing in the long run.

    Reach out to Larry Fuss by phone at 702.898.4669 or e-mail [email protected] 


    1. Larry is an astute broadcaster, and, rare in these columns, an honest man.

      Better to leave the vacant sales chairs empty for a short time, Larry, than to fill them with others like the ones you canned. I’ve done it myself in desperation to get a full compliment of salespeople. Even though the labor market is lousy right now, it is for all media and many other professions, too, don’t hire people that you ordinarily would not. It totally confuses your advertisers-they start making bets on “how long will this one last?” Sell the clients yourself to long term deals and have the office staff change copy and do some of the service work until you find the right salesperson.


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