Convert Your Listeners Into Dollars


(By Charlie Sislen) When attempting to grow the radio pie, a smart sales rep will often talk to those advertisers who are not familiar with radio terminology. They may be unfamiliar with GRPs and CPP, and that is a good thing. As a representative of radio and your station, you need to recognize that and speak their language.

All these potential radio advertisers care about is whether or not their investment in your station (or cluster) is going to increase their bottom line. Simply put, is this going to make their cash register ring.

Clearly, you need to take a different tack.

Many stations have taken their weekly cume and converted that into dollars spent. Often called “Spending Power,” it can be acquired from Nielsen Audio software or Research Director, Inc.’s sales tools. Both use the same data source: Devonshire. What makes this tool so effective is that it breaks spending in the local market into 118 different categories. Therefore, you can not only be market specific, but also use a category that is appropriate to that advertiser.

A new car dealer may not care that you have 262,600 people tuning to your station, but according to this study your listeners over the next year will spend $1,100,000,000 at new car dealers. That averages to:
$96,700,000 per month
$21,200,000 per week
$3,000,000 per day.

Imagine the impact of documenting that your listeners’ average spending on new cars is over $20 million per week. Without advertising on your station, how will this car dealer get your listeners into the showroom? They will spend their new car dollars somewhere else.

This same effective positioning statement can be used for just about any potential advertising category.

One word of warning: while this data varies across markets (which is extremely important), it treats all people in a specific market the same. It is based on your Nielsen cume and does not factor in a specific station’s qualitative profile.

That will be covered in my next post on Growing the Radio Pie.

Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This blog post is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.


  1. Charlie – thank you for this! Showing spending power is an awesome tool to catch the interest of advertisers; and documenting their actual spending is the ultimate in follow through!

    This is why it’s critical that radio sellers provide advertisers with 52 weeks of documented sales results directly attributable to the spend with their stations. Given our industry’s preeminent advantage in catalyzing the consumer journey, it’s incumbent that we deliver advertisers what they want (see this paragraph’s first sentence).

    Showing them the money they made is irrefutable proof of success; and justification for larger, longer term renewals. That’s what makes the radio seller – and the seller’s clients – more sales and profit. The systems, strategies, tactics and tools exist. Using them makes for an irresistible pitch that crushes competitors and pushes most every investment, ratings, CPP, or CPM objection off the table.


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